The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Restaurant

By Brett Doyle November 22, 2021 Categories: ,

Trying to grow your restaurant on social media and going nowhere? Marketing your restaurant while still running the daily operations can feel like a serious burden—but you don’t want to neglect it. In fact, 80% of restaurant owners said keeping up with the competition’s marketing efforts was important to them.

Thankfully, there are ways to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste. 

We’ve seen plenty of viral campaigns that helped restaurants boost their sales, like Starbucks’ iconic Unicorn Frappuccinos that drove fans wild. Not to mention Slim Jim’s witty Instagram page that grew from just 5k to over 500k. 

While big brands certainly have a leg up, small businesses can still compete thanks to the affordability and approachability of digital marketing. And that’s just one strategy.

Today, we’re going to help you create a restaurant marketing strategy that makes an impact—and helps you grow your business. 

6 Ways to Effectively Market Your Restaurants

Nowadays, the journey of your restaurant’s success starts not in the restaurant—but outside it too. In this day and age, the virtual world is a huge part of your business. Today, digital marketing has taken over traditional marketing methods by far, especially for restaurants. 

So, let's explore how digital marketing will help you grow your restaurant.

Of course, the old-school marketing techniques are still worth mentioning, so talk about some of those, too.

1. Establish a Reputation with Good Reviews

It’s no secret that a well-reviewed restaurant attracts new customers. Good reviews suggest that a restaurant has good service, ambiance, and, most importantly—good food. People trust others’ opinions and you need to make sure your reviews make you look amazing. 

How Do I Get Good Restaurant Reviews?

  • Incentivize the review. Most diners need some extra motivation to leave a review. Try offering free dessert, appies, or a drink as a reward for leaving a review. (Hot tip: Choose a menu item that people actually want and that has a high-profit margin.)
  • Maintain a clean environment. A spotless restaurant will leave a good impression on your guests. Make sure you have checklists for regular bathroom cleaning schedules and detail-oriented staff. 
  • Handle bad reviews well. How a restaurant handles a bad review says a lot about the quality of a restaurant. Showing empathy and understanding shows your restaurant’s character and how much you care for your customers. Inviting customers who left poor reviews back to impress them also shows other future guests you’ll take feedback well and take care of them. 

2. Invest in Good Photography

If there’s one form of media that circulates more than the rest—it’s a mouthwatering picture of a perfectly cooked meal. We’ve all seen a delicious-looking dessert on Instagram or Facebook and wanted to try it with a friend. 

If you want to attract customers and get people talking, then invest in good photography. After all, 90% of the information our brains process is visual. Luckily, today’s phones have fantastic cameras, so you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to get started.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use Good Lighting. This is far more important than a good camera.
  • Showcase Everything. Plate your main dish beside items you can upsell like drinks or dessert.
  • Get Creative! Use holiday colours to make your image stand out or make your food into a quirky shape to make your followers laugh and show your personality.
  • Make it Presentable. Your food needs to look its best, but don’t go overboard. If it’s unrealistic, then it can backfire on you.

Why is this all so important? Well, posts with images on Facebook and Twitter have much higher engagement rates than posts without. And, as a restaurant, your menu items are perfect models for your business. 

Alt: Photographer photographing food

Image from: pexels.com

3. Maximize Your Restaurant’s Social Media

Most businesses nowadays have a social media page—and they should. These days, 80% of customers expect brands to have a social media presence and interact with them. 

If you haven’t already hopped on the social media train, then it’s definitely time to get a ticket and hop on. Otherwise, you're missing out on the 90% of people who buy from brands they follow on social media. 

A phone screen showing popular social media apps 

Image from Pexels

How Can I Maximize My Restaurant's Social Media?

  • Use different forms of media. Apart from quality photographs, social media also uses videos, stories, polls, captions and so much more! Create interesting and eye-catching content to attract new customers and delight old ones. Some features might work well, others might not. So, try them all to see what your audience prefers. 
  • Use stories. These are temporary images that disappear and people love them. Try to use them to show the behind-the-scenes of your restaurant. Social media is for socializing after all. 
  • Always look at what your diners are saying. People also talk to each other in the comments and sometimes, even leave their reviews there. You can get some helpful insights just from reading through their comments. Interact with them too to show you care about their opinion!
  • Create shareable content. Make quality and captivating content that others want to share. When your fans share your content, you’re getting the best kind of advertising—word of mouth. All it costs you is some time spent posting online. 
  • Leverage Short-Form Video. Social media sites, like TikTok, have dominated with short video content. And trust us, 88% of marketers say that video gave them a high Return On Investments (ROI). While it takes slightly more effort, the payoff is well worth it. Even Instagram has Reels that make it easy for anyone to make simple videos to show off your brand. 

4. Optimize Your Restaurant’s Website

Your website shows off your restaurant's identity, and it’s often the first impression people get. While some might think blogging is a waste of time—it’s worth it when done well. 

You can even get organic traffic for free to your website if you use tools like Seo Engine Optimization (SEO) correctly. By creating content that might end up on Google, people can discover your restaurant and add it to their list of places to try. SEO marketing is a digital strategy that continues to gain popularity since it can result in free traffic like social media. 

A man is surfing the web

Image from Pexels

How Do I Optimize My Website?

  • Run a website audit. There are tons of free website auditing tools out there. If you’re not the best when it comes to tech stuff, you can always hire a freelance SEO expert to help you fix broken links and catch other hard-to-see issues after your website performance. That said, many website audits make it easy for novices to understand.
  • Keep content up-to-date. Consistently updating your website is important to keep it running well and it shows you put the effort in. People gravitate towards things that come off established, and one way to establish your business is by having a clean, professional website.
  • Launch a Blog. While a blog seems like a lot of work, it can be easy. Even just posting articles with your new menu items or listicles of the top restaurants in your city can get your organic traffic. If you have an email list, you can also use it to keep in touch with followers and announce any events. 
  • Have a Calendar. Lots of restaurants host events, from music nights to fine wine tastings. It’s a great way to get more people in your restaurant and bring in new guests. Putting events in a calendar keeps guests informed (and excited) about what's happening. 
  • Write comprehensive FAQs. A good way to know what to include in your website is by putting yourself in the inquisitive customer's shoes. It also helps with SEO because if people search those questions they might land on your website. 

5. Try Co-Marketing with Another Business

Another way to market your restaurant is through events and collaborations with other brands, aka co-marketing. That way, you split costs and benefit by exposing your brands to each other’s audience. You can work together hosting an event, doing social media shout-outs to each other, and even doing pop-ups in each other’s business.

For example, if you run a bakery and your friend runs a brewery, you could set up a great partnership. They might even sell your pretzels at their location and you might sell their beer at yours. 

What are the Types of Events I Should Do?

  • Partner with an Artist. You can mix and match all sorts of activities with food and drink. For example, if your restaurant serves wine and you have an artist friend who hosts a workshop. That way, patrons can sip on wine while they learn how to paint. 
  • Host Themed Nights. Try hosting events that could target particular audiences. Trivia nights, comedy nights, and music shows are some events that restaurants and bars commonly use.
  • Do Rotational Specials. If there is a local farmer or baker with a great product that people love, then work with them for a seasonal special. This can also excite new customers who want to try something different. 
  • Create Special Promotions. When you offer discounts for takeout, pickup, or even a like on your Facebook page, you can easily get new restaurant fans. This is an old-school marketing tactic in a sense if you use flyers and business cards, but it also works well online! 

These days, social media advertising is affordable and works well to attract new customers when you target your local area.

 

Man delivering food with a bike

Image from Unsplash

How to do Restaurant Promotions: 

There are plenty of ways to run profitable promos for your restaurant. From exclusive deals to platform-specific coupons. To get the word out there, here are a few ways to get started: 
  • Run Ads Online. As we mentioned, running social media ads can work well for restaurants. Breweries can do same-day delivery and coffee shops can sell subscription services. 
  • Place coupons in delivery orders. It’s a retro strategy, but it can work well. People might put your menu on their fridge and think of it next time they plan on ordering in. After all, food delivery service is a $126 billion dollar industry—so don’t miss out.
  • Team up with influencers. While some influencers charge a pretty penny, plenty of smaller ones can be surprisingly affordable if not free. Ask them if they’re willing to post about your restaurant for a discount or even a free meal to increase your brand awareness and grow your own social media.

Don’t fret. Just market!

There you have it, 6 marketing methods you can use to get your restaurant out there. If you feel like your restaurant’s marketing lacks in any of these areas, then go spruce it up to seriously boost your profits.

At Mosaic, we’ve seen firsthand how our clients leverage marketing to grow their businesses. But really, you need data and analytics to create a winning strategy.

Our restaurant management system helps you streamline your business and make decisions to help you grow. Find out what dishes sell the best to promote it on social media and track your turnover rate to find out what’s not working.

At the end of the day, marketing is vital to get the word out—but your restaurant also needs to operate efficiently to impress them. 

Looking for ways to improve your restaurant business? Contact us today, and let’s work together to reach your goals!