The competition among restaurants is fierce, and you’ll need to give your all to be successful. Arguably the very best way to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality, drool-inducing photos.
Consider hiring a pro to take some top-notch photographs, or try it DIY style with your smartphone.
Partnering up with online food apps should definitely be a consideration as part of your restaurant marketing plan. Yelp has tremendous power in the restaurant industry, and having a strong backing of positive Yelp reviews is like having a flock of golden geese – reviews from Yelp can do wonders for your business. The most important thing to understand about Yelp is that people canand will review you, even if you don’t set up an account.
If you’re responding to the negative review publically, thank the reviewer for the feedback, apologize for the incident, and promise to improve in the future.
Setting up your restaurant’s Google+ account is as important (heck, maybe even more important) as setting up your Yelp account. When you search a business within Google, Google’s Knowledge Graph provides the business’s details in the sidebar. Also encourage visitors to review you on Google+, as Knowledge Graph loves to aggregate Google user reviews. Many online advertising services, from Google AdWords to Facebook and Twitter, offer geo-targeting ad options (at no extra cost).
Having a strong Instagram presence is another semi-obvious (but too important to ignore) restaurant marketing tip. Show off your storefront, get up close with your top dishes, and use this social media main stage as a place to play around with your brand identity. Also be sure to have some fun with hashtags – whether jumping on the hype of existing popular Twitter hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday or inventing your own, hashtags are a great way to have some fun with fans. Instagram is a no-brainer for those in the food business – learn even more about Instagram marketing here.
Remember, your restaurant newsletter doesn’t have to be weekly – in fact, users will probably appreciate a less flooded inbox if you simply send them a newsletter every month or so. Use your email newsletter as a chance to celebrate your success, discuss new menu items, or share special discounts.
User-generated content (lovingly dubbed UGC) is a great way to develop personal and intimate engagement with users. Hosting and promoting user-generated content shows customers that you appreciate them, turning occasional visitors into die-hard devotees. In an age of robotic customer service reps and soon to be self-driving cars, the human element is severely lacking. Showing off your pleasant employees also provides major reputation points – happy workers say a lot about a business, and fans are sure to take notice. Often, the restaurants with a strong social media presence as part of their restaurant marketing plan are the ones that fare the best, and in the competitive food industry, ignoring social media is a death sentence. Of course you’ll want to create a Facebook business page and a Twitter account to share special discounts, exclusive coupons, photos of your newest dishes, and promote your own news accolades. Another major restaurant marketing tip – when you’re mentioned in a news outlet or magazine, be sure to show off your good publicity on your website and via social media. Google Alerts notify you when your business name (or other designated keyword term) appears in a new piece of content on the web! When you’re a new restaurant, you may find it difficult to generate reviews and hype about your business. You can’t outright ask for a positive review, as that would be dishonest, but it’s fine to simply ask them for an objective restaurant review.
Some food bloggers have big followings, and getting their attention can have a huge influence on your restaurant. Eaters love to do research online – in fact, 89% of consumers research a restaurant online prior to dining. Building your restaurant’s brand identity can have a big affect on your social media performance.
Twitter can be a true treasure for restaurants, and timing your tweets can have a big influence on hungry stomachs. Still, you’ll want to make sure to have your menu published on your website, since that’s often the #1 piece of information users are looking for when visiting your site (along with hours, location, and contact info). If you don’t have a good menu online and available for customers, most of your other restaurant marketing strategies are basically useless! Providing coupons and discounts for your restaurant is always a surefire way to bring customers running. Alternatively, you can try advertising a discount through Groupon or Living Social – if you go that route, you’ll get a TONS of exposure, but you’ll end up paying a hefty portion of sales to the deal website, so keep that in mind.
What’s really cool is that AdWords allows for all kinds of mobile customization and targeting options that let you get the most out of your bids.
Not only are these raffles fun, but you can also make use of those business cards by emailing customers. Starting a food truck isn’t for the faint of heart – it’s a tremendous endeavor and, depending on the kind of truck you want to buy, it can be very pricey.
You can greatly extend your reach, build more press, and acquire new fans who might love you so much that they become patrons of your brick-and-mortar location as well! Customers love to hear that they’re eating local, and sourcing local ingredients from nearby can do a lot to boost your fan base and give you a positive reputation in the community. Success in restaurant marketing really does come from doing a collection of little things, like the 25 that Meagan has listed, as opposed to just one. Email (newsletter) marketing as Meagan has mentioned is one of the ones that rank higher in my opinion, as you can communicate with people directly, and most importantly, it's free!
Instagram seems like a big must in the food world but should yelp be given so much premise? A great place to start creating loyalty is in your own neighborhood and tip #5 about geo-targeting ads is awesome.
Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have came upon so far. Obviously, that means you also need to take responsibility for educating staff about their responsibilities, commercial sense and the dangers of doing the wrong thing. Anyone considering starting or investing in a restaurant should be familiar with this information. These tips are great, I'm helping a local restaurant wit their outreach and marketing campaign and will definitely use some these tips. As a Search Engine Analyst for years with an international company, I can not stress enough the importance of Google+! Also, I have found a new comer to the loyalty, geo-targeting market that use beacon technology. Incredible article, social media marketing strategies are an undeniable force in today's world. 2015 marks the sixth year of consecutive industry growth, with year end profits estimated at $710 billion. Most of today’s restaurant marketing strategies fail to get NEW customers back through the door just one more time. Over the past 15 months, Bridg has analyzed 2.6 billion sales transactions from dozens of restaurant chains across the United States. These numbers are average values across the entire medium and large chain restaurants (25 – 1,000 locations).
Because VIP guests spend so much, boosting new-to-VIP conversion rates by only a few percentage points can result in millions of dollars in additional sales. After looking at billions of sales receipts, analysts at Bridg saw that, on average it takes 4 purchases for any brand to earn real guest loyalty.
This might not sound hard or efficient, but compared to 1, 2 and 3 visit customers it’s an impressive gain. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to achieve this goal, but it needs to be the right type of marketing. Marketers that are using the EXACT SAME message to attract guests for their 1st, 4th and 40th visit are seeing that method start to fail as consumers get used to more personalized marketing from other industries. Capturing their attention requires marketing specifically to their customer lifecycle stage, whether that’s new, active, loyal, lapsing, or lost.
The hospitality industry lives and dies with the holiday season.  Reading this one might think, didn't the holidays end in December? We won’t waste our time trying to come up with a conclusive list of all the benefits of mobile marketing.
With the standard text campaign you will be targeting affluent members of Generation X and Y. You can integrate your mobile marketing campaign with other marketing efforts, thereby increasing the effectiveness of all individual elements of the campaign! When you embark on a mobile marketing campaign you should set two goals: build up your brand image and bring in more customers.


One great strategy is to send out trivia questions and promise free gift cards to the first XX number of people who respond with the correct question. QR codes are those two-dimensions barcodes that are often found on billboards, posters, and in magazine ads. There is no one way to launch a successful mobile marketing campaign but there are some general principles you should follow. If you are sending a text remember that you have 160 characters in which to get the message across. If customers aren’t biting on the messages, offer rewards such as a 10% discount to customers who respond to your text.
Whether you use an automated program or send the message yourself (most people will use a program) it’s a great idea to reply “thank you” for every response you receive. If you are looking to establish a world-class restaurant one of the first things you should do is dominate the local market!
The idea behind neighborhood marketing is to build up a strong following in your local market. One key focus of neighborhood marketing is building up your reputation as a good corporate neighbor. While neighborhood marketing is highly effective, you should be warned: It requires time, patience, and commitment. If you want your local community to support you, you will have to support your local community.
At the end of the day it’s all about meeting people, and the easiest way to do that is to get out from behind the counter and actually go meet with people! At the end of the day, whether a business is great or mediocre often depends on the quality of the staff.
And not only that, your staff will be talking about their job and experience at your restaurant.
You will need a plan that details activities to be carried out in the short term and also outlines a vision for the future. You should keep an eye on your sales trends, count the number of coupons turned in, and measure any increased sales on nights that you host events.
We’re helping you out with 25 restaurant marketing ideas and strategies that promise to help you improve your business and get attention from growling stomachs everywhere!
Visual content is in high demand online these days, and having delicious looking photos on your website and across various social media outlets is essential for drawing hungry eyes. Be warned though – taking really great food photos can be tougher than it looks, as lighting is often a key factor. Partnering with online apps encourages visitors to check out your restaurant through gamification and loyalty programs, which offer visitors a free purchase or discount for visiting a certain number of times.
They aren’t quite as cool as apps, but they still show that you value customers and appreciate their loyalty!
I’ve written an entire blog post devoted to helping you get more Yelp reviews, so peruse that at your leisure.
For that reason, as a restaurant owner you should absolutely be proactive and dress up your Yelp account so it works for you, rather than against you.
I have a whole section in my Complete Guide to Yelp post about how to handle negative reviews, but the nutshell version is to always play the gracious host.
You may also want to consider contacting the reviewer privately for more information about any negative incidents. Google’s Knowledge Graph gathers a large chunk of its info from Google+, so having your business set up on Google+ is a huge bonus, as having your restaurant appear via Google’s Knowledge Graph allows for more prime search real estate (for free)!
Most folks are looking for good eats close to home, and you’ll get the most value out of your online marketing efforts by investing primarily in geo-targeted ads. Be sure to take advantage of these handy targeting features to get your best ads in front of your best customers. For example, an all-natural health food store might try snapping pics of people kayaking, cooking, farming, or other activities you think your fan base will enjoy.
But setting up your accounts is only half the job – it’s also essential you keep up with activity happening on your social sites. Staying active and posting valuable articles (that your fan base will enjoy) is key for social success.
Fans will spread the word, and newcomers will be encouraged to visit in person when they see trusted sources celebrating your restaurant. One great way to get reviews and press on the web is to invite food bloggers to your restaurant to give you a try, and consider offering a free meal or appetizer to get them in the door. Some bloggers might decline your offer, but the more you ask, the better your chances are of getting some positive feedback and generating more interest online. Even just one write up or mention from a major foodie can be a huge for restaurant promotion efforts.
This is why it’s of vital importance that all your restaurant details are online and up-to-date, including address, phone number, hours, your current menu, etc. Try crafting and scheduling tweets at different times of the day to specifically target the breakfast, lunch, or dinner crowds (depending on your offerings). Don’t make users scramble to find your menu – publish a high-quality, easy to read menu that is up to date and accurate. In this day and age customers need to have access to an online menu, otherwise they’ll simply look elsewhere.
Many online delivery services streamline the ordering process, and internet-savvy patrons often love taking advantage of such delivery services.
Offer a free dish to your new email newsletter subscribers (we can show you how to get more of those too). Open Table is an online reservation tool that lets customers book reservations for your establishment online! Restaurants are one the best candidates for mobile ads, as users are often looking for nearby dining options while on the move.
For example, you can increase your bids around dinnertime, when users are often looking for fast food on their mobile phones. The reward can vary – a lunch for the winner and 10 friends, a 2-hour happy hour with discounted drinks, whatever you feel like! Let them know that while they didn’t win this time, they can sign up for your newsletter to be notified of their next chance to enter, plus the opportunity to hear about discounts and other offers they’d enjoy. However, starting a food truck enables you to dish out your food to folks you might never normally come in contact with.
I just got my first restaurant client, who I will be working on restaurant marketing with for their 3 month small business, this short guide was a great read and very helpful!
We used most of these tools and helped a franchise grow 5X faster than the other stores in the company. I think more quick-service restaurants should think about e-commercifying their website too. There are countless yelpers who have a god complex and threaten restaurants over the slightest thing, I really wonder if it should have such ‘power’ anymore?
I've often found myself trying to find offers in places near my house and I end up going to restaurants that have an offer available.
Do you think you should run specials every night of the week or should you limit it to just the night you are slower? I don't like that you didn't recommend a mobile web app with the menu and online ordering, though you did recommend the providers of some who charge substantive percentages of a sale (15%) for online.
I think going local and getting more involved in your community is still one of the biggest opportunities for restaurant owners. I'm currently working on a paper for my Business Information Systems course and our topic is the use of Information Technology in Restaurants and I was able to obtain a lot of helpful information here on the use of IT in Marketing of restaurants. To get even better results, Restaurants should consider combining these ideas with an event.
Our analysis found that, on average, 60% of restaurant revenue comes from the top 8% of their customers. Once a customer makes 4 visits (or places 4 online orders) they have 51.04% chance of staying active in the next year. By personalizing campaigns to a customer’s buying stage, restaurant marketers can achieve real results when it comes to same store sales lift. Many people have great ideas for restaurants and produce high quality food served in unique atmospheres. This emerging marketing technique targets people with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
In fact, some people even think that eventually mobile marketing will become the preferred form of advertising, especially for small businesses. You could offer a coupon on the flyer and tell customers they must bring in the coupon to secure the discount but besides that it is hard to track. For example, you can purchase software that will measure the effectiveness of your mobile email and ad campaigns.
After all that work and money printing up the ad less than 4 out of 100 people who receive it will ultimately respond.


For example, if you are running a YouTube commercial campaign you can ask people to “Text Free Pizza to 555-5555 to receive a free slice of pizza.” Or you can text someone telling them to check out the newest deals on your website. The number of ways to do this is nearly limitless but we will outline some of the most popular methods! Instead of trying to figure out which flavor of pie customers will like most, just send a text and ask “what flavor of pie should we add?” Many customers will respond with one of their favorite flavors!
For example, you could text “who won the 2007 Super Bowl?” and give a ten dollar gift card to the first five recipients. Customers can use their phone’s camera to scan the imagine and find out information about a product or to receive a coupon code.
This refers to offering a great discount, say 25%, but limiting it to either a short time frame or to the first XX number of meals sold. This will build up your relationship with the customer and also make them feel appreciated! By doing so you will build a base of strong support should you decide to expand your reach further out. You can do this by sponsoring charity events, giving back to the community, and joining local business associations. If you just plan on “dabbling” in neighborhood marketing, don’t even waste your time.
For example, if there is an XXX City Business Development Board for your local community, sign up! For example, if it’s a scorching hot day, you could hand out ice to people passing by.
Ultimately, it’s the staff who will be cooking and serving most of the meals, so make sure they are happy and feel like you appreciate their hard work. If they are enjoying their work they will be far more likely to share that good experience. For example, if there’s a theater nearby, why not work with the managers to offer dinner and movie packages?
Some business owners offer to send gift cards to Yelpers who have had less than favorable experiences, hoping to get them back in the door for a second chance. Geo-targeting ads help you save money, ensuring that only users in certain cities or within a specific radius see your ads (eliminating non-relevant clicks, which can cost you big ad bucks).
Seeing happy, smiling employees does wonders for your reputation, as customers long to be served by joyful workers. Share your successes and struggles, funny stories, recipes, and anything else you think might interest your customers. You don’t have to be constantly posting (quality over quantity), but it’s good to have your restaurant blog set up for when you have an announcement or news you want to get out to the world. Politely ask if they’d be willing to review your restaurant and share their experience online.
Understand who your target patrons are, then build your brand around what they are interested in. Patrons love it when you make life a bit easier for them, and Open Table already has a base of loyal customers you can tap into. Mobile ads tend to be cheaper than desktop ads, and mobile boasts impressive conversion rates.
Boosting your bids during the dinnertime period increases your chances for showing up for a specific query. Also, a mobile optimized site is essential since over 50% of all restaurant traffic is from mobile devices. They could be having fun sharing their life at work on social media and encouraging their friends and family to be liking and sharing, which extends your brand reach. Why have specials on a Fri or Sat night when you are already going to be busy with full paying customers.
I think the restaurant industry is an industry that is very dependent on keeping new and updated based on users wants and needs. I think Our coupon system created for restaurants allows a restaurant to track ad conversions based on the coupon redemption. My favorite part is it is opening up the #buylocal space for smaller restaurants and local business because it is affordable! Giving back and building long lasting relationships will not only increase repeat customers, but it will also improve your image in the community. I'll be keeping this site on a bookmark and whenever I feel unsure of our steps concerning our restaurant I'll be sure to go back to this list. Love all the ideas, and especially the one recommending restaurants to source locally - thumbs up!!! The problem is, this competitive marketplace is making it harder and harder to compete for the limited discretionary income of potential customers!
And since most people have such a device on them at pretty much all times of the day, mobile marketing is a near surefire way to get in touch with potential customers!
Instead, we will show you 5 of the best reasons to engage in this restaurant marketing strategy. You can also require customers to respond to the text, “like” your Facebook page, or take one of numerous other actions in order to secure a discount. These generations represent some of the highest spenders, especially in regards to eating out. Then they can type the code into your online ordering system or provide it to your employees at  the store! You can send them a text with the information, though you should be careful and not send too many updates or customers will start to ignore you. If you are trying another method, such as email, remember that even the biggest smartphone’s screen is far smaller than a computer screen.
For example, you could offer customers a 25% discount from 8am to 9am, or for the first 50 meals sold.
There are also strategies, like letting people know about your upcoming lunch specials by sending a text at 11am. Usually that means targeting people who live and work within 3 to 5 miles of your restaurant.
Further, a strong local base will empower marketing tactics, such as viral marketing, by giving you a core group of loyal customers to build momentum with in marketing campaigns.
Of course, on the other hand if they are not enjoying their work, they will talk bad about it, thereby tarnishing your reputation. For example, if a recent dieting craze claims that blueberries are the key to losing weight and suddenly people are eating blueberries by the bushel, start offering blueberry pie and blueberry muffins! I’ve seen this work in favor of many businesses, as reviewers are often flattered at the consideration shown and are more generous in their critique knowing the restaurant owner values their opinion and is working hard to improve. This means you could be the first ad to show up for a “pizza” search when pie-hungry users are on the search for a slice.
I mean completely rethinking the design of their site so it converts to online orders or gift card sales. Toallow these files to properly run you need to download and installone of the Zend guard run-time libraries. 83% lapse rate for single visit customers) most of the insights point to the same core challenge: getting new customers to come back a 2nd, 3rd and 4th time is hard. You save on the printing and mailing costs of traditional marketing campaigns while texting itself costs mere pennies.
Not only that, but to be blunt usually only people with a decent amount of discretionary income own a cell phone, so you can be confident that most of the people receiving your text will have the money to be customers. For example, if you know a neighborhood center is having a summer picnic event, go ahead and offer to cater it for free or with a heavy discount! You can set up a similar deal with a local hotel and can even offer hotels commission for each customer they send your way. Open Menu is another great site that can help you get your menu looking sleek and stylish (it even offers some handy social integration, for both paid and free users).
If you’re a restaurant marketer, don’t miss out on digging into a slice of the mobile ad pie (we’re talking deep dish). And if you are going to hold such a deal, using text to spread the word is a great method of communication. Community involvement is a proven tactic, with a survey finding that 52% of adults prefer to eat at restaurants that are engaged in the local community. For example, the hotel can offer guests 10% off coupons, and each time you see this coupon you can give the hotel 10% of the sale. Not only will people who come to these events order food, but you will also spread your brand and build up your company image.



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