In today’s competitive restaurant landscape, the right restaurant marketing is more important than ever. Customers have more choices, and it’s making them more “choosey.” Great food and service are key to bringing them back, but the right marketing mix is how they first learn about you and how your great food and service stay top of mind, so they do remember you and come back.
Here’s a quick checklist of the Do’s and Don’ts of restaurant marketing:
DO make time and budget for it
It’s important. Your competitors are doing it. Set aside budget dedicated to marketing your restaurant – a common place to start is 5% of your sales. And set aside time. If you don’t have the time, hire a dedicated staff member to concentrate on it. In today’s digitally connected world, if you aren’t connected to your customers, your competition probably is.
DON’T spend your limited budget on general advertising
Unless you are a known brand like McDonald’s or Chipotle, brand advertising won’t get you too far, and spending your money on general ads in newspapers just isn’t targeted enough. Concentrate on direct marketing tactics – those efforts that are targeted directly to a specific audience, meeting their needs, and providing a call to action. Examples of a direct marketing call to action include a request to complete an action, such as clicking through a link, visiting your restaurant or sharing a photo. Direct marketing provides tangible results you can measure and optimize: click through rates, impressions, calls, visits, likes, shares, comments, sales, etc.
DO use social media
Your customers are on Facebook. They are probably on Instagram. They may be on Twitter, or Pinterest. If you aren’t on, you are missing on free direct marketing opportunities and a further reach for your message. Find out where your customers are – you can simply ask them. Or you can get on these social channels and social management tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial and do searches to find out if and where customers are talking about you. In any case, you can’t ignore these important channels; they are not going away, they are evolving.
DON’T rely only on social media
As important as it is, social media is not the “end all be all” solution to marketing your restaurant. As more of these channels go public or look to monetize their sites, the reach of your free message may be more limited.. It’s important to be there, but make sure it’s not the only marketing channel that you utilize.