2020 was a tough year for most restauranteurs due to the global pandemic and the restrictions and uncertainty that came with it. As 2021 starts to see things calm down at least a little, now is an excellent time to ramp up your marketing to try to get your restaurant’s growth and profitability levels back on track.
Have a Quality Website
You need to develop a quality website for potential patrons to visit. This site is the epicenter of your brand and will be where people go to find out more about what you offer, how you’re different from competitors, peruse your menu, and perhaps order take-out.
Your website will enable people to learn about your location and ethos, the team behind the restaurant, and discover information about upcoming events or specials. Create a professional-looking portal that provides enough information and graphics to convey the type of experience customers can have if they dine in or buy take-out. Be sure to keep your website updated over time and include contact details for bookings and inquiries.
Utilize SMS Marketing
A marketing avenue that increasing numbers of restaurants are using to great effect is SMS campaigns. Using a text message platform can create many benefits for your business. For example, it can enable you to let those signed up to your database know when you have a special deal on or introduce new menu items.
You can use SMS messages to encourage referrals, gain new business, and engage more with current or potential diners. People tend to open texts more often and more quickly than they do emails, and many people prefer SMS communication over other forms. As such, this provides an excellent avenue to drive repeat business and land new customers.
Ensure your SMS campaigns involve clear, concise language with calls-to-action to get you results. Don’t be afraid to use videos and photographs in your messages, too (they become MMS as a result), as visual components can have more impact.
Also, think about the timing of texts and how you can create a sense of exclusivity. For those engaging in text message marketing platforms for restaurants, it pays to offer limited-time deals such as free drinks or entrees or shared invitations to events only a small number of patrons get to hear about.
Offer Mobile Ordering and Delivery
Many restauranteurs find that enabling patrons to order via mobile devices and enjoy delivery straight to their homes or offices pays off significantly. People are busy and often eating late after a long day at work or working over their lunch hour. Many find online ordering and delivery saves time and hassle.
Also, since the pandemic began, people are dining more at home without worries about a potential virus spread. Many consumers have become worried about the chances of last-minute restrictions that mean large groups can’t sit together or days when dining-in isn’t possible due to pandemic restrictions. As such, if you don’t already offer online ordering and home deliveries, now is the time to start.
Keep in mind, too, that via delivery apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, your restaurant can receive helpful promotions to audiences beyond those who already frequent your establishment. This further expands the marketing reach that providing order flexibility and personalized food choices can have.
Encourage Customers to Share Content
Another excellent marketing strategy is encouraging customers to share content about your restaurant online. Promote user-generated content such as reviews on social media sites and platforms like Yelp by offering to take group pictures of diners on-site and creating easy-to-use hashtags related to your business.
You might also consider running contests that involve people uploading images of their meals or group dining events to enter. Plus, you could provide people with discounts if they rave about your restaurant online or incentivize them in other ways, such as via random prizes. This strategy helps get the word out about your company while boosting the number of existing customers you retain.
User-generated content is typically viewed more favorably by consumers as they see it as more genuine than paid advertisements or companies spruiking their own goods. Even better, if you can leverage customers who have a big following and “influencer” status, you’ll expand your brand awareness in the market.
Some other marketing ideas for restaurants include creating a referral program, paying for ads on sites such as Google and Facebook, and focusing on local SEO strategies to optimize your restaurant’s search results in your city or suburb. Also, try getting involved in your community to find more customers you can turn into much-needed regulars.
Test different strategies over a year to see what works best for your particular establishment and client type.