Answered January 31 2020
Marketing your restaurant in a way that fits your unique brand is key to bringing in customers, and keeping them coming back. Finding unique and simple ways to do that isn’t easy. Here are seven simple tricks for marketing your restaurant to both new and existing customers:
People like to support the community they live in. Get involved in your community by partnering with other businesses, organizations and charities. By getting involved, you are creating opportunities for press coverage and word of mouth. Most community events have options for local marketing, or to do something outside the box.
Social media is social, and that is key to remember when starting or working on your social media campaigns. The simple trick? Remember that your customers love sharing pictures of food online, namely on Instagram. Start off by putting in the extra effort to ensure every dish served is ready for show time. Then add your social media handles to your menus and around your restaurant. Remind customers to tag you in their posts, and maybe even run a contest.
Why? Because when a customer posts about your restaurant, that post will reach a whole new audience. Remember to respond to posts, and share them to your own accounts.
Quirky and clever sandwich boards work to bring in foot traffic. Do you have a witty staff member that you can put in charge of maintaining a sign board outside your restaurant to draw pedestrians in? Choose sayings and quotes that directly relate to the food and atmosphere customers will find inside.
There is no better marketing than word of mouth. Create a customer experience that wows by training your staff to get to know your regulars and their orders. While this may be easier in a sit-down restaurant, it may be harder if your restaurant is delivery or take out only.
A good point of sale system with a customer database will let you recall previous orders. If a customer calls in with a phone number that is already in your customer database, you can quickly pull up all of their previous orders. This allows even the newest staff members to personalize the experience for your customers. And personal is memorable.
Offer a new signature dish with local or interesting ingredients. Consider offering it only for a short amount of time, like Starbucks does with their PSL. Having a unique signature dish will draw in customers to try it and create customer loyalty, while offering it only for a limited time will create a sense of urgency.
Have you ever stood in an elevator with someone holding a pizza? It smells delicious, and it’s the only thing you want for dinner now. Then, you sneak a peek to see where the pizza is from, but it’s just a plain brown box! That right there is a wasted marketing opportunity.
Ensure every box or bag that goes out the door has your branding on it. Whether that means custom made bags, or standard paper bags that you stamped yourself, it doesn’t matter, as long as they match your brand.
Work with hotels and conference centres in your area to offer delivery to their guests. Place your menu in hotel rooms, and offer the staff free samples. Many visitors from out of town still rely on suggestions for where to eat, and may ask the hotel staff.
Of course, none of these tricks will work without a solid marketing plan to back them up. Take the time to evaluate your restaurant’s brand, and design marketing campaigns around it. At the end of the day, quick marketing campaigns will bring people in the door, but a solid brand and good food will keep them coming back.
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