Perhaps the most salient factor to be considered by restaurant entrepreneurs when devising a marketing plan for 2014 is ensuring that they are fully integrating all available technologies, and have completely jumped aboard the social media bandwagon. Beyond that fact however, the elements of gaining and retaining loyal customers is still based on producing quality food and services in a comfortable and relaxing environment. These 14 restaurant marketing tips will help you on your way!
1) Positive Word-Of-Mouth
Once they’ve swallowed your delicious portions, positive word-of-mouth is the life blood of any eatery. Simply stated, positive reviews to friends and loved ones is the single best way to fill your tables with loyal, local customers.
2) Review Sites
Whereas the restaurateur of a generation ago relied on the aforementioned word-of-mouth and rave reviews from professional critics, today’s entrepreneur are faced with technology that transforms every customer into an online food critic. For instance, today’s customer is just as likely to post a positive or negative review as leave a tip. As such, the savvy restaurant entrepreneur needs to take ownership of these sites and monitor them with an eye towards managing these customer expectations.
3) Embrace Mobile Technology
A large number of people feeling peckish when they are out and about are likely to go to their Smartphone to find a nearby place to eat. Owners should ensure that their restaurant has a mobile-friendly website.
4) Tweet Your Treats
Of the many social media options available Twitter’s 140-characters are an excellent way to blast your daily specials and weekly events.
5) Facebook Supper Status Updates
The ubiquitous nature of Facebook makes this social media site a must have when developing your online marketing persona. Unlike the brevity afforded through your Twitter feed, Facebook gives you an opportunity to engage your audience on a more substantive level.
6) Embrace Full Range of Social Media
Wherever potential customers congregate on the web, they’re open to receiving your marketing message whether it’s on the aforementioned sites, or any of the other plethora of available networking locations.
7) Optimize Your Website for SEO
Search Engine Optimization is the science of ensuring that your website is noticed by the big players in the search engine game like Google and Bing. Whether you master the science on your own, or you hire out those responsibilities to an IT professional, if your restaurant appears on the second page of an internet search it might as well not even exist at all.
8) Order Food Online
An increasingly large segment of people armed with smart technology are availing themselves of the ability to order their food online before even leaving the house. Offering this as an option to your customers is a great way to inaugurate your first Twitter tweet.
9) Staff Training
In addition to being the public face of your establishment, your staff needs to be fully versed in the entire array of your marketing efforts. For instance, your servers will be on the frontlines of prodding your customers to like your Facebook page and otherwise engage them in ways that reinforces your larger marketing message.
10) Flyers and Offers
There is a lot to be said for the old-school marketing ploys of an earlier age, and they should certainly be integrated into your new technological marketing push. As such, don’t hesitate to print out flyers and coupons to entice hungry people through your doors.
11) Customize Your Offers
Whenever possible, you should customize your specials to appeal to recognizable market segments. For instance, a loyalty rewards program can be aimed at those customers who have frequented your place in the past, while another offer can reward first timers with the entrée of their choice.
12) Don’t Ignore Your Neighbours
Whether you are nestled in a local residential neighbourhood or are situated in a business district, don’t neglect to canvass your nearby neighbours with offers that will draw them in so you can begin to develop a relationship with them.
13) Work With Your Competitors
It’s a rare customer that wants to eat the same thing every day, so it is your responsibility to engage in co-operative marketing with other restaurants in the area. Consider engaging in cross-promotions that will serve to benefit both establishments.
14) Compile Email List
A concerted effort should be employed to build a comprehensive directory of your customer’s email addresses. With this directory in hand you are well-positioned to tailor direct marketing messages to your growing legion of fans.
Now it’s your turn. What marketing ideas will you be using in the upcoming year? Share with us below.
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