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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Marketing

The most of Tested and Effective Restaurant Marketing Strategies could be easily applied in many restaurants, while others require more effort, time and money.

Your restaurant is offering great food and perfect customer service but there is still lot of empty tables during dinner time ? If you are looking for new methods to attract customers you are at the right place.

Planning of Restaurant marketing is very important and it is the key for booming business. Successful owners and restaurant managers create a marketing plan in advance for the whole year and in line with it forming its annual budget.
If you did not foresee funds for the promotion and marketing you can still do a lot of things to make attention to your restaurant and improve your profit.
Today Restaurant Marketing Strategies can be grouped in Online and Offline Marketing.

Online Restaurant Marketing Strategies

It’s time to take advantage of new opportunities to promote your restaurant offers. We are witnessing the rapid development of technology and the increasingly frequent use of the Internet as a primary source of information.

These changes in the habits of your current and potential customers directly result with the need for significant changes in the development of marketing plan . Online marketing strategy opens the door to virtual ways of promotion.

What you need to do for a successful online restaurant marketing?

Attract  New Customers With Functional Website

Your website is the identity card of your restaurant and also marketing tool for establishing communication with guests, promoting the restaurant, giving information about daily deals, prices, menu changes and announcements about events in your restaurant.

How make your restaurant’s web site functional and interesting to your potential guests?  It must be regularly supplemented with new content and optimized for Internet browsers. Only web site like this will be displayed at search results.

High quality POS software offers the ability to update menus, offers and changes in the prices on your website directly relaying information from your restaurant program . In this way you do not have to spend time entering data, and information on your website is always fresh and updated.

Good web page design provides to visitors easy navigation in the web site content, beautiful and unique look. Good design is conditioned by knowledge of the basic directions for functional websites creation. Keep this in mind when giving money to professional web designer.

Start Taking Online Orders Today

If you have a food delivery service online ordering will definitely increase traffic. Some people like me, prefer to see and choose the dish from your online menu and order it directly from the web site.
Quality POS cash registers offer the ability to transfer online orders and online reservations directly into your Restaurant program. It allows you to accept ordered food easily, and provide fast delivery.

Do not forget that the web form for online ordering includes space for writing e-mail and phone contact. If you do not deliver the food to enhance the database of guests provide online booking in your restaurant.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Ok, you have a beautiful designed website with all necessary information, attractive articles and photos for your guests, but if you just type in Google “the name of your city” and “restaurants” your web site is not listed , not even at third page of results.

Your site must be properly optimized and that means it must meet certain criteria according to which search engines ranking pages as interesting and offering them as search results.

Some of the criteria that are used to optimize the site include: editing site content frequently, inclusion of most searched keywords in the content, inclusion of images and videos, promotion of web site to increase the number of back-links or inbound links and much more.

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This work is hard but for result you would have better positioning on search engines, and consequently higher website traffic and finalymore potential guests. That is one of the reason why you read this article.

If you don’t have knowledge to do this, pay that someone do it for you, because this is very important part of internet marketing.

Google Bussines Photos- Virtual Tour For Restaurants

If you subscribe to  Google restaurant virtual tour that will have a big impact on your place on the list of Google search results. Your potential clients or guests who looking for your restaurant by name on Google,  will see pictures of the restaurant displayed on the  page of searched results. These panoramic images will be posted on the Local Google+ pages, Google Maps and other Google ‘s services and provide better insight into what awaits them in your restaurant, the design, staff and the atmosphere you offer.

Visual content in the search results on Google and Google Maps are very welcome . Attention of the person who is looking for a restaurant for lunch or dinner has been attracted, which allows a greater number of hits to the website of your restaurant that will result with higher attendance and better ranking on search engines. And more website visitors means more business.
One more very important thing when optimizing websites for better ratings in search engines is the time that visitors stay on your website. Virtual tour through your restaurant will definitely extend this time which is sure way to climb to the top of Google ‘s list of search results. So many reasons to make Google Photos – Virtual Tour for your restaurant.

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Social Media Marketing For Restaurants

Presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter , Google,Pinterest or Instagram is a very important. Use these channels to inform your regular and future clients about everything what happening in your restaurant. If you have succeed to make interaction with fans you will definitely improve business and increase profits. How to do this?

To achieve this it is necessary to create a profile on the social networks: Facebook , G+, Twitter, Instagram , Pinterest , and at least once a week to post interesting content or images on your profile page. It may be news like new dishes supported by beautiful and attractive photos, event announcements , photos or music that will evoke the atmosphere in your restaurant , various video clips and other interesting content.

Communication with the fans you can easily accomplish by setting different surveys or incomplete statements or questions about actual topic. You can announce a competition for the best photo shot in your restaurants and for award give to winners free dinner for two , or three. Four would be too much ?

Your special offers and daily menus should be an indispensable content on your profile. Do not forget that everyone loves to get something for free and use that fact for promotion. Share your web site links with interesting content and increase its attendance rate. Openly ask your fans to share your contents.

Even if you fail to get new guests through social networks, it will allow that your regular customers feel that you care about them.

Create a YouTube Channel

In my opinion this is one of the most interesting and most original way of online restaurant marketing . Today, when almost every smartphone can capture HD video I can not see the reason why would not you do it.

Create your own YouTube channel and share some interesting short movies from your restaurant. Some pleasant atmosphere of Saturday night in your restaurant or interesting videos from the kitchen. Your chef in action preparing dishes from the best-selling menu! Make it fun or educative, or above. People are happy to share with others videos which awakens our feelings, which are fun, looks nice or even stupid!

These videos posted on YouTube will soon appear on Google and will help in ranking your website. Remember, a picture says more than 1000 words, then what else needs to be said for a role of videos in the restaurant promotion ?

Mobile Applications For Restaurants

Are you aware that behavior of your guests is changing. According to recent research, 75% of smartphone users are finding information about restaurants as they come out, and even 50% of them make a search in the car. Potential guests are “glued” to their mobile phones and keep the reputation of the restaurants in his hands. That’s the reason why restaurants have to keep up with the latest marketing trends or lose relevance. Youre guest are mobile, your restaurant must be mobile too! Be sure that building a restaurant app is profitable investment.

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Search can be done by restaurant’s menus, the location and even the atmosphere in the restaurant. Be sure that your restaurant has a place in the database of listed applications and that you are connected with your guests in this way. This is necessary especially if you are in an urban environment.
The most commonly used mobile applications are Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Foursquare, Open Table and TripAdvisor. Connect.

Internet Restaurant Coupons

Few years ago this kind of coupons we could get with newspaper. Today we have a lot of websites that offering daily deals for your potential customers.They could buy and print their restaurant coupons directly from website. Most of the big restaurant chains as well as smaller ones give this opportunity to their guests.

Global leader in local commerce is a Groupon. This great tool driving traffic and awareness about your restaurant. It help to people around the world to search and discover great restaurants deals. How it works?

They splits the revenue for the sale of the coupons on a fifty/fifty basis with the restaurant. Only competitive offers are selected science Groupon splits the revenue with the vendor and offers only one deal per day per market.

But when we talk about usage of restaurant coupons results of the studies are not staggering. Use of restaurant coupon is one of 33 visits. Another disadvantage is that the coupons are sold through affiliate companies and not directly over the restaurant owners and marketing for the restaurant offer is not enough personalized. This kind of marketing don t bring returning customers but is very good for promotion of unknown restaurants.

But if you have a well-frequently visited website definitely consider to put online buying of restaurant coupons in your offer and use it as a possibility of direct online marketing for your business.

Restaurant Email Marketing

E -mail is still one of the most reliable methods to build customer loyalty. Small businesses spend 15% of their marketing budget on email . It’s still more than what is spent on marketing through social media , and even face-to -face contact as a marketing method.

The secret to effective email marketing is to have a clear strategic message. This may seem obvious, but many caterers have an informal and non- strategic approach. How to create email campaign ?
First, select the program that you will use . For starters , you can use a well-tested system like MailChimp . It is very easy to handle and can be freely used for lists up to 2000 email addresses.

Familiarize yourself with the program, write a strategic e- mail and get started. Pre- write mail in which you will thank your client for responsiveness. Personalize your email if you know the customer. Encourage your potential guests for feedback . Make sure that it is easy to respond directly to the message you sent.

One of the reasons why I like MailChimp is that recipients can respond directly to your address , and information about them will remain private. People love to stay in privacy.

Check your emails regularly and make sure that you answer to all within one or two days.

Build  Restaurant Customer Database

Take every opportunity to gather information about your guests. Any information will be helpful. Names, Cell phone numbers and emails of your guests are your tools for direct marketing.

Encourage your staff to collect emails. The easiest way to gain confidence is through the strengthening loyalty program. Your waiters promote a special offer for your website subscribers. Also ensure that the flyers with promotional content are easily available in your restaurant.

This way you challenge your guests to sign up with their email at your restaurant website to be able to use special benefits. Customers feel privileged and your business and guest’s database is exponentially growing!

Restaurants QR Code

QR (short for “quick response”) code is a two-dimensional code that its functionality resembles a standard bar codes, with one key difference – it can be read by mobile phone.

Using QR codes for restaurant marketing is very simple. The advantage of QR codes is in the reading, as it can be easily read in any direction, from any distance as long as the code is visible.
Put it on your menu, a delivery car and flyers. Include a QR code on the bottom of the check and special offers. This way each user’s smartphone is able to show information about your restaurant in the form of images, text or video clips. Very simple isn’t it?

These methods are the basis of online marketing. How you will start to build a successful strategy that works for your business depends on the type of restaurant that you operate, as well as time and your budget.

Offline marketing strategies

Offline marketing, as opposed to online marketing, is used in all marketing activities without the use of Internet. Beside traditional forms of advertising, such as ads in culinary magazines, radio ads, TV commercials, etc. I would write about methods which provide successful promotion of your restaurant. I’ve selected a few simple marketing methods and tricks which can be easily applicable to your business and will help to attract new guests.

Printed Promotional Materials

Effective printed promotional materials, business cards, flyers, brochures, etc. need to attract the attention of your potential customer with its interesting design. Carefully choose the content and offerings that you will put on it and do not overdo with information. Stimulative offer must be professionally done and do not forget that it need to be such size that the guest can easily put it in his wallet, and interesting enough to remember that it is right  there when he need it.

Business cards: As a owner or restaurant manager it is important to have business cards. Business cards are used for information about you and your restaurant. Typically they are standard format and include card holder name, contact information such as address, phone, fax, email address and logo, which must be recognizable and striking.
It has to be designed to stand out from the rest to attract attention. If your business cards looks standard it would not be interesting to anyone, and it would quickly forgotten. Bold letters, strong colors and unusual design will make sure that your business cards fulfill its potential as a marketing tool.

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Leaflet i
s defined as a paper sheet that transmit a particular message. Leaflet are printed advertisement that emphasized certain benefits of your restaurant offer, and are related to your restaurant menu offer and customers services. Basically it announce some event or special offers and advertisers can distribute these leaflets for free on the street, put it under a car wiper blades or simply leave it on good visible place so people can take it. The best way to is to give it to your guest personally.
Leaflet design is also essential and should highlight the benefits of your product or service over the competition such as: cost, size, speed of delivery and quality.

Restaurant Menu Design

Your new menu design can bring you new guests or make that your new guest to become regular. This can increase traffic by 20% if it your menu is created professionally. The menu is the central ( and unfortunately often neglected ) part of restaurant marketing. Successful restaurateurs don’t use the menu that just ” look nice ” and not sell. .

Menus should be successful tool and serve as the good advertising. This will happened only if they have meet the essential requirements. This means that they are seasonal, visually pleasant, sophisticated, clear, various, targeted to a specific group of guests, and definitely must to be credible.This “silent salesperson” does not occur by accident – it needs to be strategically planned.

Restaurant menu need to provide to guests free information about your restaurant offers and upcoming events. Give them information what they can taste just today . Get used them on daily changes in your offer and you will get regular guests.
Take advantage of using your restaurant menu as free advertisement for the services that you provide. Do not get into a situation that menu, which your waiter gives to customer is dirty, illegible or confusing , because in this way your guests will easily lose their appetite, and you will lose your guest.

Daily Newspapers, Magazines, TV Commercials

When you have a new product, promotion or some interesting event at the restaurant, create a press release and send it to all the local newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. Make sure that it provides practical benefits and make contribution for spreading your ideas. When you do such a advertising show to your potential guests the way you follow trends and how you are applying them in your restaurant business.

You can organize various events such as a Happy Child Wednesday-Free Pancakes Day in your restaurant, socializing with kids and parents. This way the media will pay attention on your restaurant and you will gain the trust and sympathy of the citizens.

Don’t Miss The Food Festivals

Fairs and Food Festivals are increasingly popular events that are mostly organized and plan on an annual basis. Events like these give to customers opportunity to compare offers from various restaurants, so you and them can get a picture of the restaurant market situation. Attend trade shows to improve and expand your business network.

If you take a stand at the fair you will be able to meet so many people, and if you do that right they will remember you. If you have your own product or idea presented it in the right way.  And remember you must have a creative and striking stand , which will attract visitors to come up to you and see what you are offering.

Offer them a free snacks , prepared by your chef or interesting cocktails, which your bartender mix it on the spot , talk to people while sipping drink, and ask them if they like it. Provide a sufficient number of promotional materials that your potential customers will be able to take.

New Restaurant Offer and Promotion

When introducing new foods or drinks in your menu, it is useful – if not necessary, to conduct restaurant promotion activities such as wine tastings, promotions or other forms to motivate your guests to try and then order a new dish or drink. Promotion takes bond function between the initiatives of your restaurant and sales.
The main objectives of promotion are the influencing, informing and creating an atmosphere for your guests to come back to your restaurant. Also, the goals are to increase sales, create awareness about the new offer and memorable experience for your guests.

When doing promotion make sure that it is sufficiently subtle and your guest is not aware of it.
Suggestive selling is good unobtrusive method for promotion of new offers and is based on “adding” the already announced. For example, the proposal to your guest to try specific wine with delicious fish which he has already ordered is a good way to promote the new wines on the wine card. Learn more.

Become A Sponsor To  Local Sports Team

This is the simplest way that your local community become aware of your existence. This marketing method is more effective than TV advertising. In exchange for a contribution, the logo of your restaurant or cafe may be found at the shirts of  players of your local team and possibly even around the field where the game is played.
Sponsorship is a contractual relationship in which sponsor, for the mutual benefit of the sponsor and the sponsored, provided financial or other support for specific action, activity or giving awards for advertising purposes. The aim is to establish a link between sponsors and sponsorship holders in exchange for a predetermined benefit.

Loyalty marketing

Give to guests who dined at your restaurant six times, seventh dinner free or if they had seven coffees in your bar, eighth is free etc. This is the best and most concrete loyalty marketing for your returning guests. You need to show respect and thank to them for their loyalty. Today, 30% of all restaurants offer some form of loyalty program (source: National Restaurant Association). 57 % of adult consumers will more likely visit restaurants that offer some of the loyalty program for its customers. Restaurant Loyalty Programs could boost your business by 35 % and intimate contact with your guests, but which one suit you best?

Make a VIP club for your regular customers – Everyone loves to be a VIP!

Our most loyal guests have the opportunity to be part of your VIP’s. In this way they will be more likely to return to your restaurant and spend more money each time. Having VIP club is really cool – and not just that, give to your customers 10% discount, which can be exploited on a particular product and a particular day. Add as many benefits as you can and see how your best customers enjoy in all of VIP benefits.

Cheer your guests with “Happy Hour”

Happy hour is usually in a late afternoon Monday through Thursday, and often taking place at some period between 4 PM and 8 PM. This promotion is intended to boost business on what may otherwise be a slow day.
In most cases the “happy hour” lasts longer than sixty minutes, but the term “happy hour” is spread across the globe, although the catering services are by country different.
“Happy Hour” is used to animate the guests to visit your restaurant at a particular time and gets various benefits such as two drinks for one, discounts for particular dishes etc.

Restaurant Uniforms

Use your bartenders and waiters dress code as a marketing tool for your restaurant. Modern guest will hardly identify superior service with the classic black and white combination. Today, everything should be on the level, and so the restaurant uniform. Wait staff dress code affects what guests think about them and completes experience of customers service and your restaurant business.

As a marketing trick, you can invite your guest to wear certain clothing or colors of clothing. Animate them for example that on the day of statehood to wear a shirt in a states colors as well as national flags, and in a turn give them a 30% discount on the total account or if you wear a shirt that has only two colors of the national flag, give them a 20% discount, etc.

Food Delivery Packaging Design

Take advantage of the food delivery packaging design and magnify your profits. Modern and qualitative packaging are an important sales tool in addition to the products that you sell. High-quality, original and innovative packaging highlights the quality of business and will take you above the crowd of similar boxes for food delivery.

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Exclusive Events In Your Restaurant

Once a month you could close your restaurant and organize an event for the first 40 people who retweet something about your restaurant on Twitter. The event can be use to promote new food or drink that you want to sell. People love the feeling when they are invited to go to exclusive events.
When you decide to make an event in your restaurant ,good deal is to offer free food and increase prices of drinks and create popular “Aperitivo time.”

Here are some ideas that can help you to offer something new in your restaurant:

Once a month bring in some new culinary specialty, which normally you do not serve in your restaurant . Organize “Thai dinner,” or “Turkish evening “, when you will allow guests to try one of the Thai and Turkish specialties or any other ” world cuisine ” and get an appropriately decorations and music for these evenings so you would get complete atmosphere for your guests.

You can also invite a famous chef or a cocktail master, which will prepare delicious meals and drinks for your guests. Make that night more funny and provide the opportunity that your guest can watch how they made food and drink preparation.

Create a special offer and promote your restaurant for holidays (Mother’s day, New Year and Christmas, Easter, Valentine day …) with special prices that are valid just for  holiday, and inform your potential guests about the same.

Bars but also restaurants can organize entertainment like Karaoke nights , Beach party , Party 60s or 70s , Dinner with one type of music ( Jazz , Blues, Rock …) Single Party etc…

Wine tasting in your restaurant is always welcome. Choose lighter wines for the summer months , and heavy for the winter. Make sure that these events are organized at Friday or Saturday evening. You can offer to your guests the appropriate cheeses that go well with wines, live music , and we guarantee good party for everyone. .

If you decide to make any kind of event in your restaurant , do not forget to make a good promotion for the same.

Tracking Restaurant Trends

Restaurant trends are very important for the restaurant marketing. For example restaurants that prepare meals with organically grown ingredients are very popular across the globe . It is usually the result of cooperation with eco stores and producers of organic food. Fresh ingredients from organic farms have been translated into a delicate dishes. Don’t stop with that, include in offer organic drinks that are very interesting to guests too.

Everything domestic is also “IN”. Guests love the fresh, seasonal food from region.
“Home cooking” is becoming more popular than Italian cuisine. Take advantage of these trends, promote them, and soon you will have new guests, who like trendy things.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla as a marketing method was invented and began by marketing expert Jay C. Levinson in the middle of 80s . These unusual marketing campaigns promise a lot of success with a little investment.
One of the most important characteristics of guerrilla marketing objectives is the creative execution of advertising ! The point is to interact with potential customers ( passers ), in order to draw attention to new and interesting content on a particular product and / or services of a particular company. The guerilla marketing strategies use many unconventional marketing tactics, and the following examples represent only a small selection of them:

  • ” Word of mouth “
  • Campaigns that use stickers and posters
  • Mobile advertising ( stickers on the car companies … )
  • Advertising T shirts
  • Advertising in the receipts : logo and all other data about the company
  • Street Branding ( graffiti … )
  • The projection of images, texts or videos on public surfaces with a projector or laser
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Precisely , because the guerrilla marketing does not require a lot of financial investments and it is very effective ,it becomes very popular among owners of restaurants.
With original marketing ideas you can get new customers and put your offers closer to potential guests.
The effect of surprise  is very important. 
In recent years , guerrilla marketing have more and more illegal performs: like public facilities with a large number of provocative stickers or posters and graffiti. They bring messages through the walls , asphalt and other urban areas and inform passers of the presence of certain ideas, thoughts, organization, etc.

Random Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Promote your facility with your ideas without following any rules! For example let your restaurant staff wear pink ribbon at the day of awareness of breast cancer or use important sports events like Super Bowl to make a party in your restaurant or bar. Use your imagination and knowledge about what could be attractive to your guests. Get out of the box and be creative!

There are a lot of things that can be used for restaurant marketing, do you agree with me?If you have some new idea that works in your restaurant bisiness I would be honored  if you share it here.