MARKET YOUR RESTAURANT
You have opened or are planning to open a restaurant. You then ask, “What’s next?” How do I bring in customers and increase my visibility to help drive sales?
Here are our 7 Steps to Market Your Restaurant:
Hopefully you will have thought this out before you opened your restaurant and put in a business plan. If so, retrieve it from the dusty drawer you have it in and please proceed to the next step. Who are your customers or who do you envision them to be? What is the age group? Income level? What locations are they coming from? Radius?
Your logo and concept should match each other. This should also be outlined in your business plan. It should have a personality that reflects your restaurants identity and what you are doing. Keep an eye on the font styles and colors. Make it unique to you so that it is instantly recognizable and memorable.
Your website is a pivotal marketing tool. It is how new customers will discover you and existing customers will see the new menu items that you have available. It is extremely important to have a site that is user-friendly and well-built. You should showcase your current menus, location, contact information and online reservations. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to make you more visible to search engines and use your Google Business Profile to engage with local customers. Integrate your website and social media presence on Instagram, TikTok Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) as well as other applications to allow you to expand your reach of guests. This is done through posting food photos of new and existing dishes, promotions and special offers. Engage with your customers online and use your restaurant to create a community. Signup for Yelp, Google My Business and TripAdvisor to encourage customers to leave reviews. Quickly respond to reviews that are both negative and positive. Many potential customers will use these reviews to make a decision on where to go. Like it or not, it is here to stay! Once you have completed these strategies, you should consider utilizing paid advertising such as Google Ads and Social Media; this way you are appearing at the top when someone searches for your cuisine, concept and menu within your demographics and location.
In order to market to your local community, you must become a member of the community. This can mean: Use your community drop off food at the local town hall, support the local fire and police departments and see how you can participate in the school lunch programs, the local chamber of commerce and events that are in town. Sponsor a local sports team and join in fundraising efforts. Promote yourself through local businesses, hotels, venues and attractions. Remember that goodwill builds the community. Contact the local town or county newspaper and get listed in local directories and publications. Send out menus to customers to know that you exist and what you offer. You’d be surprised by the customer reactions.
Bringing people in to your establishment at off peak hours is the key to success. You already have the staff waiting and able to handle more customers but they just don’t seem to be coming in. Offering an incentive through drink and food specials come in very handy here. You are not going to “Give Away the House”!! You are just going to offer something to entice them to come. You will advertise inside your restaurant, as well as local and online marketing. Loyalty programs are also a great way to get new customers as well as email and direct marketing with your customers. You can use this to create different events like game nights, live music as well as theme and holiday events.
Use your customer reviews to engage with customers to bring ones with positive experiences back and negative ones to turn it around. This is also an important learning tool for you and your staff. Customers look for an owner or manager that is actively engaging their customers.
Contact your local food bloggers, influencers and food critics. Let them know they you are open and what you offer and any interesting specialties you might have. Invite them to to your restaurant and where appropriate, offer things complimentary.
These steps are what it takes to successfully market your restaurant. However, quality, consistency and service must be paramount. You can have the best marketing in the world and it still won’t matter without the basics being met first. At JK Consulting our team is experienced in tackling all of your restaurant marketing needs and building effective strategies. Contact JK Consulting today!
JK Consulting is a New York-based international restaurant & hospitality consulting firm. We specialize in restaurant & bar openings along with turnaround programs. Our expertise is in developing highly effective operational systems, management procedures, hospitality services, staff training, beverage, menu and mystery shopping programs.