For any restaurant owner the aim has to be a full house as many times a week as possible. Competition in the hospitality industry is fierce and finding innovative ways to attract customers in your direction is a key element of restaurant success. We have picked out 21 of the top restaurant marketing ideas and food marketing strategies to help you make sure that it’s your tables the customers are booking.
Restaurant Marketing Ideas
- Local shows and events
Attending local shows and events is like taking your restaurant on the road. Make sure you offer snippets of your best menu samples and, in return, collect contact information for future promotions.
- Social Media Competitions
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer great opportunities to attract customers. Follow each platform?s guidelines and you will find that it isn?t only the competition winners who come in to try your menus.
- Make the News
Most local newspapers are happy to print an interesting story if you provide the copy and suitable images. If you have an event coming up, make sure you take advantage of this free advertising opportunity.
- Ensure Website Simplicity
When potential customers are looking for a place to eat they only want a few key pieces of information. Keep your website simple with easy access to opening hours, sample menus and contact information.
- Book a Music Artist
There aren?t many people who don?t enjoy a bit of live music while they are eating or food while they are enjoying music. Advertise your live music bookings and you will see your tables fill up well in advance.
- Utilise Video Storytelling
This is one of the restaurant marketing ideas that, if you start soon enough, will really give you the edge on your competitors. Social media is becoming more video-centric all of the time. Get your staff involved with quirky video ideas and share, share, share.
Food Marketing Strategies
- Local Produce
Focusing on using local produce in your restaurant is a great idea because it encourages visits from both local customers, who are proud of their area, and visitors, who are interested to see what the area has to offer.
- Themed Food Evenings
Themed food evenings are one of the best food marketing strategies and work well when you need to boost your table bookings during a slack time. You could try a barbecue evening or maybe a celebration of vegetarian food.
- Eat Healthy
There are certain times of the year, after food-oriented celebrations, that customers still want to dine out but would prefer to do so in a relatively healthy way. Design a tasty menu to suit and ensure marketing to match.
- Get a Photographer In
Many of us eat with our eyes so great photos of your food should always be an important part of your food marketing strategies. Getting the lighting right for food photography can be tricky, so get the professionals in to do the job for you.
- Make the Most of Your Wine Expertise
For many people, wine is an intrinsic part of the dining experience and a wise restauranteur will capitalise on this. One of the most popular food marketing strategies is to write a wine pairing menu or host wine tastings to get customers through your doors for that all-important first time.
- Consider a Value Special for Slower Nights
Every restaurant has nights when they are less than full. Consider a value food and drink pairing for those nights only. For example, steak and wine or pie and pint are popular options.
- Offer Free Birthday Meals
By learning more about your customers using the restaurant marketing ideas above, you can email them just before their birthdays and offer a free main course. They are bound to bring friends and order drinks as well and you will be getting people into your restaurant.
General Marketing Tactics
- WiFi for Free
Strange as it might seem, people do tend to go for restaurants that offer free WiFi. Socialising online and working lunches are a big part of the dining experience so make sure you have the facilities to suit.
- Encourage Social Media Sharing by Staff
Real-time images of great dishes, happy customers (with permission) or a busy kitchen can all spread the word that your restaurant is the place to be and attract customers. Keep a staff mobile device handy and allow trusted staff to upload to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Use Email Marketing as a Food Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is a must for restaurant owners. You can collect email addresses through website vouchers, social media promotions and in restaurant competitions and use these to promote menu changes and special events.
- Offer Culinary Courses
The existence of so many cooking programs on TV has left customers hungry to have a go themselves. Cooking classes are a great way to show off the expertise of your staff and encourage customer loyalty.
- Get to Know Your Customers
Encourage your staff to learn the names of regular customers and treat them as welcome visitors. Taking the time to chat with customers yourself makes them feel welcome and can give you some great hints about the type of experience they are after.
- Write a Recipe Book
People are always intrigued by the ingredients and methods used in the food that they are eating. Choose a few select recipes and share them in a recipe book. This is one of the most effective restaurant marketing ideas because each time they use the book, they will want to be back at your restaurant, eating your food.
- Optimise your Local Search Potential
Most people either use online searches to find a restaurant or to investigate it. One of the best ways to optimise your premises and website for local searches is to make sure that you have claimed it via Google My Business.
The key to getting more customers through your restaurant door is often creativity. Be the first to try your best restaurant marketing ideas or food marketing strategies and you will attract customers. Never a dull moment with restaurant marketing, however, as soon as your idea is out there, someone else will copy it, so keep that creativity coming.
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