5 restaurant marketing ideas to try in 2019

Shaun Lowthorpe

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Shaun Lowthorpe

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Posted on
March 25, 2019

What are the ingredients you need for creating a great restaurant marketing plan?

Of course, the venue is vital – both its location and ambience, then there’s hiring a great chef and kitchen staff, developing a fantastic menu and providing top notch service.

But as someone working in the hospitality industry, you know all of that.

And you also know that the cherry on the cake is great restaurant marketing which will help you fill your restaurant with happy diners who want to eat your food and tell the world about it.

Getting a good marketing plan that works allows you to focus on your passion of providing great food and hospitality to your customers.

However, creating a restaurant marketing plan may not come naturally to you, so to help you, we’ve put together your must-have list of 5 restaurant marketing ideas to succeed in 2019.

1. Build a value-led rewards program full of your happiest customers

You know that the seasonal nature of the industry means that there are inevitable peaks and troughs in your restaurant. But building a rewards program exclusively for your happiest customers is a great way of giving extra value to them and in turn driving new business.

Gathering regular feedback in real time is a great starting point for building a relationship with your happy customers and finding out what they like about your offer. In fact the only thing you need to know is how happy they are.

Finding out how your customers feel should be the cornerstone of any restaurant marketing plan.

Once you have gained their email, mobile number, and yes even their address then you are all set to begin to know how they feel and start a conversation with them.

Use this insight to market to them directly by creating a rewards program where you can reach out to them with offers, such as giving them priority bookings on Christmas Day, advance details of your new menu, exclusive notice of any special events or taster evenings, or even a glass of wine when they arrive.

Remember your rewards program should be value led and not discount led.

Happy customers are the key to growing your business because they tell their friends, family and loved ones how great you are. Encourage and reward them for any referrals to your restaurant, and you will soon see the benefits.

How to get to the top of TripAdvisor

2. Actively manage your online reputation

Building a relationship with your customer has got to be at the heart of any restaurant marketing strategy you put together.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your relationship with your customers is simply confined to the time they are enjoying your food.

A combination of social media, review sites, and mobile technology means we are living in a new relationship era, and that means customers are checking you out online before they book, and posting about you afterwards, all of which is going to affect your online reputation – both good and bad.

Too many business see review sites as a problem, but actually it’s the greatest free marketing platform for hospitality ever created so you owe it to yourself to make the most of it.

You run a good business but everyone is going to make mistakes or have a bad night. The reality is that you have got less than 24 hours to resolve a customer complaint before they post it on review sites such as TripAdvisor, so you need to actively manage your online reputation. Be proactive and deal with the negatives – and, if you can, make sure it’s before or immediately after your diners have left, and encourage happy customers to post positive reviews.

But remember, it’s asking your happiest customers to tell the world about you which is going to make the real difference.

Improving both the quality and quantity of those reviews will help improve your reputation and in turn bring in more customers.

5 restaurant marketing ideas to try

3. Post mouthwatering foodie photos on social media with relevant and local hashtags

Give your customers a flavour of the great dining experience you offer by posting mouth-watering foodie photographs on your social channels.

For example, when you launch a new menu post photos of it on Instagram and make sure you are calling out to your target marketing using relevant and specific hashtags.

Also if diners are sharing their photos of your restaurant and food then make sure you comment and respond to them.

Make sure you gain traction with relevant and local hashtags, which will also help people find you.

They say every picture tells 1000 words so a good foodie photo should promote your business better than any blog post could.

You can let your imagination run here but make sure you capture your signature dishes in good light, and don’t be afraid to tell a story and show what makes you different and better than the rest.

Also whet people’s appetite by posting at times you know they are likely to be hungry – just before lunch and late afternoon – or thinking about what to eat?

4. Set up Google My Business and make Google work for you

While it may feel like Google is a corporate monolith which has taken over the world, one of the bedrocks of its success is the way it supports small businesses and helps them get their name out there.

Google My Business helps people find you easily online and serves as a great local directory helping you to target people in your neighbourhood and understand who is searching for you and why.

Did you know that businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t?

So take action and verify your business on Google My Business – you’ll be twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers as a result.

 5. Targeting ads by location (close to your restaurant)

Gone are the days when advertising was simply a case of hit and hope – now you can attract customers and segment them based on their age, relationship status, where they live, their hobbies, and whether or not they eat meat. Platforms such as Google and Facebook and even Linkedin all enable you to really hone your marketing message.

Set aside a small budget and boost your social media posts to your local target market to attract diners searching for somewhere to eat in your area.

The site promises that it only shows ads to the most qualified diners looking locally for a restaurant like yours.

It follows that visitors are looking for somewhere to eat so your ad is in the right ball park.

Try using location-based adverts targeting prospects based on other places they like to hang out – say the local gym, or cinema..

Taking it further

All of these tactics will work in your business so it’s time to action and transform your restaurant marketing strategy into something guaranteed to deliver continuous improvement and results. Happy customers will help you generate more business and create a happier business as a result.

But if you want one takeaway from this blog, then this is it: to win in your industry you need to build a relationship with your customers, and the only way to do that is to know how they feel. Once you know that, then you can engage in a conversation with them, just as you would with any new found friend.

So if you’re raring to get going and grow your restaurant business using real-time feedback, then we have a solution to help. The One Question is a platform which enables you to carry out those steps easily and efficiently freeing you up to do what you do best – running a great hotel business.

If that sounds like a winning solution for you then book an online demo here.


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