Restaurant marketing strategies are a whole different ball game and one which is essential to play for your restaurant to have a fighting chance at being successful in this competitive industry.
But how do you make your restaurant stand out from the crowd and be the place that people want to choose?
The right restaurant marketing strategies can do just that. With a range of routes you can take your marketing strategies, we have put together this list of the best restaurant marketing strategies to use in 2021.
We have divided our list into different types of strategies including social media, your own website, your restaurant app, online presence, and the human touch. Feel free to skip to the section that you feel will best help your brand.
Want to Get a Quick Recap of The Best Restaurant Marketing Strategies?
If you’re pressed for time and don’t want to scroll through all of the amazing 35 restaurant marketing strategies, here’s a quick insight on the most important ones. Incorporate these into your business model to see results at an accelerated rate:
Your Very Own Restaurant Food Ordering App:
Food ordering apps are perfect for streamlining all incoming orders through the internet. Also, since COVID-19, the majority of restaurants from all over the world have shifted their focus on partnering up with food aggregators to do more business.
The only issue with food ordering apps is the initial cost that you need to put down. For starters, it costs somewhere around $2,000 – $8,000 to have a fully functional food ordering restaurant app – and that too without any bugs and inferior security protocols.
Our best advice is to sign up for a partnership contract with Blink, or other food aggregators that have a monthly subscription model.
These aggregators charge a nominal subscription fee for not only offering you your very own white-labeled food ordering app, but also the luxury of other add-ons, such as; pos sales modes, flexible payment options, fleet management for monitoring food deliveries, food order customer analytics data, and much more.
Incorporate Loyalty Programs for Maximum Customer Engagement:
The next one on restaurant marketing strategy tips is the inclusion of loyalty programs. Customers love the idea when they are put on a pedestal through incentives and reward programs. Since Blink offers back-end customer sales and metrics data, use it to your advantage.
Once you have pinpointed a handful of your most regular customers, it’s time to turn them into loyal followers. Offer these customers special discounts on their next order, or credit a certain discount amount into their online food order app account for redemption.
Likewise, for the general populace that comes to your restaurant’s social media profile pages, create promo campaigns that entitle winners to a special discount on your upcoming exclusive weekend menu, or something like that.
Be creative, and think outside the box.
Set Up Google Alert for Your Restaurant Name:
Google alerts are a great way of staying on top of your restaurant marketing strategies. Whenever someone mentions your restaurant name in a review or some other context, Google sends an automated email to ping you of the latest developments.
This way, you can visit those web pages and respond accordingly. Also, it’s a great idea to register your restaurant domain name with multiple extensions so that your brand name cannot be claimed by rivals and other parties that wish to create a similar restaurant without sending you a heads-up.
These strategies are great for damage and reputation control for online businesses in general.
Interested in learning more about the best restaurant marketing ideas? continue reading to find out.
So, let’s get to it. Here is our list of the best restaurant marketing strategies to adopt in 2021.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies Type 1: Using Social Media
Make your Food Photos Appetizing
The way food looks influences taste. But when you consider your online presence the main if not only thing bringing people to your restaurant, is the photographs.
Therefore, it is beneficial to invest in good photography of your food to capture the attention of potential customers. While you could take pictures yourself, food photography is an art, and investing in professional photographs could generate the right amount of buzz around your restaurant which would justify the cost of hiring a photographer.
These photographs can appeal to foodies and other customers who see your drool-inducing photos and have to come and try the dishes for themselves.
You can use the photographs for your website, on your social media accounts, and even for your interactive menu which we will discuss below.
In fact, Instagram is a big player in the food photo game. And having a good Instagram presence is a key strategy to capturing the eye of potential customers.
There is a group of individuals who take their food photography seriously, and by upping your Instagram presence you will appeal to them and invite them to your restaurant.
Make your Food Photo Ready
This is the age of social media. And one thing to come out of that is the popularity of snapping pictures and uploading them. You might even say that for some people the photo is more important than the taste.
Therefore, a great tip is to make your food photo-ready. Get your chefs to focus a little bit extra on the presentation. Or if you are feeling extra adventurous you could even include a meal or dish that has a unique feature such as its color or resemblance to something.
Not only will this attract foodies to your restaurant but it can also act as free advertising. Encourage customers to upload their pictures and tag your restaurant. Word of mouth is great advertising and these photographs can be your ticket to new customers coming to try your food.
This incorporates email marketing, but with a twist. If you are running an online social media paid ads campaign, it is time for you to beef up your email list on the side.
A lot of new customers, throughout the tenure of the ad campaign, will be coming to your website. There’s a good chance that many of them will convert. However, if you haven’t set up a system to get the incoming referrals’ email addresses, that conversion is only going to happen once or twice.
In order to fully benefit from all your paid campaigns, and online ads, it is best to get your incoming customers’ contact info to connect with them later. Running email marketing campaigns is a great way of staying connected with your new website visitors, and converting them into customers through content that’s optimized for their search queries.
Social Media Influencer Collabs
Food bloggers are not the only “influencers” in the online stratosphere.
There are many other platforms booming with social media and online influencers who can help you devise a successful restaurant marketing strategy. The question is, how does one go about connecting with these influencers?
Start with a reverse hashtag search on Instagram to see which profiles are popular. Alternatively, you can look up your competitors in the food industry on social media platforms to see the type of influencers they’re connected with.
Write a killer collab program proposal and send it to the influencers that you have shortlisted. We recommend hitting up influencers who have around 10,000 to 30,000 followers. These influencers are categorized as “micro-Influencers”, since they are relatively new, but carry a very high engagement rate.
On the other hand, you might be tempted to collaborate for a social media influencer campaign with a mega Influencer. These influencers have millions of followers and a very good outreach factor. However, mega Influencers DO NOT have a healthy engagement rate.
According to InfluencerMarketingHub.Com experts, mega Influencers have around a 1% engagement rate, while micro-Influencers have an engagement rate of up to 3.8%.
On the other hand, there’s a cost factor too. Small-scale influencers do not charge much and work hard to come up with creative ideas. This way, you can target collaborate with multiple micro-influencers within an affordable influencer marketing budget.
Promote User-Generated Content
User-generated content develops both intimate and personal engagement with users. Such content is a great show that you appreciate your customers and is the perfect tool to encourage occasional customers to revert to loyal fans of your restaurant.
You can use user-generated content by resharing content that your customers have posted, such as we mentioned above. This provides high-quality free content.
Another way is to host contests or encourage customers to take photos and upload them to sites in return for maybe a free drink or dessert on the house.
Encouraging a few people to share such content can generate a good-sized audience reaching potential new customers.
Monitor Social Media Presence
Social media marketing has great power that cannot be denied. While setting up accounts such as Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Instagram profiles is the first step, it is not the entirety of this marketing strategy.
You want to ensure you continue to actively post on your accounts to maintain relevance. This could be quite difficult at times and there are multiple different social media management tools that can help with this if you want.
Run with Twitter
Twitter is another great social media platform to have in your marketing strategy repertoire. However, the secret behind getting the most out of your tweets for your restaurant is timing them correctly.
Schedule tweets around different meal times to get the right crowds at your restaurant. For example, time tweets specifically for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Blink is your #1 Commission-Free Online Ordering Platform for Restaurants!
Restaurant Marketing Strategies Type 2: Using Your Restaurant’s Website
Create a Great Website
A restaurant has to have a great website. This is the place where your potential customers will come for information such as what you offer on your menu or even to create reservations and bookings.
Your restaurant’s website will also serve as the center for your marketing strategies. You can choose a variety of platforms to build your website depending on what you are looking to achieve and how you want to present your brand.
Why not contact one of our restaurant consultants at Blink for some guidance? You can book a demo to view what services Blink offers and see how we can help you with your brand image.
Have a Great Online Menu
The way you present your menu is also important in the image you are providing of your brand. After all, people will be coming to your restaurant for the food, and one way to get them there is by having a great menu.
Include your menu on your website for it to be available to potential customers. Ensure it is up-to-date and has some great drool-inducing pictures to make people want to come and try your food.
If you don’t include a menu on your website, customers won’t know what you have to offer and probably won’t come to your restaurant as a result.
Include Online Ordering
While including a menu on your website is important having the menu be functional so that it allows for online ordering is even more beneficial.
Online ordering can boost your revenue and even turn one-time customers into loyal fans of your restaurant.
One way you can do this is through an online ordering system like Blink. Blink also known as BlinkCo offers mobile apps and web interface for your restaurant’s online ordering needs simplifying the entire process for you.
Create a Blog
A blog is a great and cost-effective way to engage with your customers and community. You can use the blog to put forth your restaurant’s story and brand’s vision.
The blog can be used however you want and is an easy marketing strategy to manage. You can include updates, customer stories, deals and discounts, and anything else that you think will be appealing to your audience.
Share positive Press
We will discuss generating customer reviews below, but one way to market your restaurant is by sharing positive press, this includes positive reviews.
You can also include positive press that highlights how you are giving back to the community or the environment (more on this below).
By showing off your good publicity on your website or social media accounts you are encouraging newcomers to visit your restaurant while reiterating you are a good choice for repeat customers.
Provide Special Offers and Events Based on Monthly Observances
The year is full of dozens of awareness causes and observance days. Use these to stay relevant.
Days like international pancake day or national pizza day are great to encourage customers to come to your restaurant with deals and discounts specific to that occurrence.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies Type 3: Creating Your Restaurant App
Create a Restaurant App
A restaurant app is great to market your brand, provide a platform for deals and offers, and also gather user data to help with other marketing strategies.
As mentioned above Blink offers both Android and iOS apps for your restaurant allowing you to reach your customers in the best possible way.
Create a Customer Loyalty Program with Loyalty Points
A restaurant app is also a great way to reward programs and loyalty points to encourage loyal customers to keep coming back.
Loyalty programs are a means to use incentives and offers to generate repeat business. Although you can house loyalty programs without having an app if you feel that is better for your brand, Apps are a great way to make this entire transaction easier.
Offer Coupons and Offers
How many times have you ordered takeout or gone out to eat after seeing a limited-time offer or coupon that just seemed too good to pass up?
Coupons and limited-time offers are a great way to get people through the door. Once you can get customers to try your food and give them an enjoyable experience, they are likely to return and also recommend you to their friends and family thus generating more business.
Include Online Reservations
No one wants to go to a restaurant only to find that the waiting time is too long or there is no space to be seated.
The option to create online reservations ensures a place to eat without the wait which is an important consideration for many individuals.
Collect and Use Guest Data
Guest data is the basis for creating a great and effective marketing strategy.
You can generate targeted marketing by knowing how often a customer visits you, what their preferences are, and other such information.
Targeted marketing has greater success than generic messages or advertising. You want to create personalized restaurant marketing.
One way to be able to do this is through having your own app or website rather than relying on an aggregating site. This is just one of the features that Blink has to offer.
Use SMS Marketing
If you choose to use SMS marketing, you need to get the message just right. Offer a discount or other such limited-time deal to get people instantly excited.
Much like other marketing strategies you need to consider what you are saying and who your target audience is to make the most impact.
Offer Birthday Discounts and Deals
A common offer that many restaurants provide is special birthday deals. These types of deals are a great way to create loyal customers.
What’s more is that people usually celebrate in groups on their birthday, thus offering special discounts on a birthday will not only bring in the birthday girl or boy but also his or her accompanying party.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies Type 4: Taking Advantage of your Online Presence
Improve Discovery via Restaurant SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is one of the cheapest marketing ideas and helps businesses show up in search results.
By improving your SEO, you can improve your restaurant’s discovery online thus achieving greater outreach to potential customers.
Encourage Online Reviews
The most common ways people decide which restaurant to visit according to Square, a payments platform, are personal recommendations and online reviews.
Therefore, online reviews can significantly boost brand identity. The more customers you have the easier it is to get reviews organically so if you are a new restaurant this may be a little more challenging.
A simple way to get reviews is to request feedback. Not only are online reviews great for marketing, but they can also be used to better your restaurant and provide your customers with what they are after.
Google Ads, Instagram Ads, and Facebook Ads
People are usually looking for good places to eat close to where they are. That is why to get the most out of digital ads you may want to consider geo-targeted ads.
Online ads are easy to set up and don’t cost too much and therefore are a great marketing strategy. Add to that the geo-targeting and you have yourself a win.
Google, Facebook, and Instagram all have their own features which you can use to your advantage.
Verify the Details of your Restaurant Online
You need to ensure that the details of your restaurant online are accurate. Incorrect Opening hours, address, or phone number could cost you customers.
In fact, studies show that 89% of customers research a restaurant online before they dine there. The more accurate and detailed the online information of your restaurant the better.
Reach out to Food Bloggers
Food bloggers are a great way to generate hype and get reviews for your restaurant. Inviting these influencers to your restaurant and getting their review could get the attention of their following who could convert to potential customers.
While you cannot simply ask food bloggers to give you a good review, the aim is to get them through the door and wow them with your food. Why not offer a free meal or appetizer to help convince them to try you out?
A popular channel for food reviews is Yelp. Although it has lost some of its relevance with other websites taking over there are still many users on the page that could be potential or existing customers.
Therefore, you should still consider keeping an optimized Yelp profile. It may not be as important but Yelp is still crucial in restaurant marketing.
Blink is your #1 Commission-Free Online Ordering Platform for Restaurants!
Set Up Google Alert for Your Restaurant’s Name
Knowing who is talking about you and what they are saying is an important part of marketing and therefore you can benefit from setting up Google alerts for your restaurant name or other such keywords.
By being informed of what is being said you can damage control if there is negative feedback but also advertise if the response is positive.
Send Email Marketing
Although a common practice. Email marketing is still a useful tool provided you know how to use it.
Use customer data you have gathered to send out emails that are targeted to the recipient. This way you will ensure that your brand is able to compete with larger brands and make a bigger and lasting impression.
Sending out a general email usually has little to no effect. So, ensure you do not waste this avenue by following the masses and doing just that. Customize to have a greater impact.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies Type 5: Don’t Forget About the Human Touch
Use Restaurant Surveys
Restaurant surveys are a great way to get to know what your customers are thinking and what they want.
Use surveys not only to get ideas on where you need to improve but also to gain insight into what your customer base is interested in.
You can give out surveys at the restaurant or even have circulated them online through email or on your website.
Some people may not be too keen to fill out a survey so you could always incentivize them with a free drink or something of the sort for helping you improve your business.
Listen to Your Customers
We have mentioned taking customer surveys above but there is no point in going through the trouble of doing so if you do not listen to your customers.
Whether that be in regard to what you find out through such surveys or just general feedback it is important for customers to know their concerns matter to you and you are making changes to better your restaurant.
Thus, in the case of a good visit or even one that could have been better, you are more likely to get the customer to return if they know that you take into consideration what they want and the feedback they provide.
Reply to Reviews
Following on from listening to your customers is this point of replying to reviews. We have discussed above how reviews are a great way to generate buzz and get the word of your restaurant out there. But you also want to show you are connecting with your customers.
Negative reviews are always a possibility and can hurt your business. Managing and replying to reviews, especially if they are bad should thus be an important part of your marketing strategy.
When replying to negative reviews you want to approach with a positive attitude. Empathize, acknowledge, solve, and evaluate the problem for the best results and the most impact.
Source Local Ingredients
While this may not be the easiest marketing strategy it will definitely get buzz around your business.
Sourcing local ingredients is a great way to show you support your local community. It also ensures to your customers that your food is as fresh as it can be.
Sourcing from local vendors will mean loyalty from your community in return, thus increasing the number of regular customers you have, and ultimately generating more revenue.
The aim of marketing is not always to get new customers through the door but also to retain your regulars which often is gravely overlooked but an essential element to the success of your business.
There is a major increase in the need from the population to rectify some of the damage done to the environment.
By taking initiatives to limit your carbon footprint and ‘go green’ not only will you be giving back to the environment, but you will also show potential and existing customers that you care.
Many individuals now prefer to choose businesses and restaurants that are conscious of their effect on the World and you will be catering to these people while also doing good.
You could try and swap out plastic containers for more sustainable options when packaging food for delivery or pick up. You could also switch out plastic straws for paper ones in the restaurant.
Give Back to the Community
Another great way to get a good image and get more customers interested in your restaurant is by giving back to the community.
There are multiple ways you can do this. One way is to avoid throwing out food and giving it to homeless shelters or other places where the food is needed. People will appreciate your efforts and be more willing to visit your restaurant if you give back.
You could also be connected to your community in other ways. For example, if there is a play or event at the local school advertise an offer for all those that have a ticket to said event. This keeps you connected with the community while providing incentives for customers to come to your restaurant.
Pop Up shops or Food Trucks
Another way to get the word out about your restaurant is to stop waiting for customers to come to you and go out to them.
You can do this through pop-up shops, food trucks, even just simply handing out taste-testers is a great way to market your food and get the word out about your business.
Learn From your Competitors
If you are just starting out or want to boost your marketing to generate more buzz you could always look around you to see what is working for your competitors.
Grab some ideas from other restaurants or speak to your customers and see what appeals to them to be able to cater to their interests and grab their attention for your own business.
The basics of advertising and marketing never go out of style. You want to ensure that you do not underestimate the reach that a billboard or pamphlet can do for your restaurant and brand’s outreach.
Therefore, traditional marketing techniques are still worth looking into and investing in. local newspapers and radio stations are a great way to stay relevant in your community.
You can place ads including enticing offers and coupons to get customers to check out your restaurant.
And there you have it, our top restaurant marketing strategies.
To summarize, in order to maximize your restaurant’s success and growth you need to take advantage of all possible avenues to reach the right customers and maintain the ones you already have.
With these 35 restaurant marketing strategies now in your arsenal you can take your business to the next level.
However, you need to remember that simply implementing a marketing strategy is not always as easy as it seems and generating the right buzz can be more difficult than you anticipated.
Online success is reliant on your offline performance, so make sure your offline activities are right to bring success to your restaurant.
Furthermore, while internet marketing may seem straightforward it can be challenging. Get an expert if you want to stay at the top of your game. Work hand in hand with a professional marketing company to ensure successful restaurant marketing.
With these 35 restaurant marketing strategies and these following tips you are well on your way to taking the restaurant business by storm.