The restaurant business in the United States has maintained a growth trend over the past few months and customer behavior has changed very quickly . It’s time to see what marketing tactics are currently working and how restaurant owners can apply them during their reopening to keep up sales.
What actions can you take as a restaurant owner to adjust to our current environment and keep up with competitors? With a better feel for how restaurant consumers have changed their ordering habits since the pandemic, you can make better decisions to meet your clients` expectations.
At the same time, it is important to be proactive with your marketing efforts. It’s not enough to just open your doors and hope that customers will come in anymore – you have to work hard at marketing yourself as a business that cares about its customers.
In this article, we will look at operational marketing tactics to help drive your restaurant sales during your restaurant’s reopening. Most importantly, if you want to stay in the minds of potential customers, you will need a consistent, multi-channel online presence.
We hope this information helps give you the boost you need to successfully reopen your restaurant business.
Where to begin and what to do?
1. Create a professionally designed, lead-generating website with contact forms so your customers can easily get in touch. Use SEO to drive relevant traffic to the site.
2. Set up Social Media accounts to promote your business. Invest in paid social advertising.
3. Set up complete, accurate, and consistent online listings—starting with Google My Business and Yelp.
4. Create a customer journey by guiding them politely, quickly and clearly through all stages of online ordering from your restaurant.
5. Adjust the Menu, Taking Online Orders into Account.
6. Stay creative.
Create a professionally designed, lead-generating online ordering website
For many small restaurants and local bars, an online presence and the existence of a website with online ordering capabilities has become one of the most critical necessities during the post-pandemic period.
If you do not have a website for your establishment or you have one but it appears unattractive or nonsensical to customers, this situation can be easily corrected.
A simple website design with a clear menu and page and online ordering capabilities will help customers find what they are looking for quickly and will increase the number of people who will buy your food, as it can be ordered from the comfort and safety of their home.
There are many different website templates on the Internet, but 80% of them are not suitable for use in the restaurant business. The online ordering site acts not only as a way for consumers to find information about your business, but as an online shopping cart for your restaurant. Therefore, it is important to choose and set up a website that will immediately meet all the restaurant’s operational requirements while being convenient and aesthetically pleasing for the client.
The good news is eHopper has created ready-made templates for beautifully optimized websites for restaurants. bars, cafes, and more, which can be tested absolutely free of charge by registering on our website.
Setting up Social Media Accounts
Create social media accounts for your restaurant, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and then put a strategy behind your interactions with followers. See some ideas below:
1. Use foody photos
2. Use Instagram Stories
3. Add relevant local and trending hashtags
4. Try retargeting ads
5. Post right before meals, when people are likely to be hungry.
6. Use a direct local target audience to ensure fast delivery
7. Interact with customers who have tagged your business in their photos—especially if they have lots of followers
8. Find local influencers and offer promotions to get them to your restaurant – you know they’ll share a photo of their meal with followers, giving you more exposure
9. Reward customers who leave positive reviews about the restaurant, and respond to any negative feedback constructively and respectfully.
Yelp + Google Online Listings
For small businesses in the United States, customer reviews on Google My Business and Yelp mean a lot. Yelp brings in 31 million unique mobile devices users every month. While Google does not reveal exact search numbers, this year, it did announce that monthly active users on Android devices have crossed the 3 billion mark. This means that billions of customers around the world are probably using Google search to look up small businesses in their region.
Nevertheless, local customers in the U.S. trust Yelp, so it makes sense to use this resource as a pro channel for your restaurant on a par with Google My Business.
Yelp has a robust market presence in the U.S, which makes it a must-have for small businesses. The five most reviewed business categories include restaurants (18%), home and local services (17%), shopping (17%), beauty & fitness (11%), and health (8%).
While Yelp is meant to help small businesses gain from a high-intent, moderate-to-high income customer community, Google will help you increase reach and visibility.
For new/upcoming businesses, Google “puts you on the map,” letting you earn credibility via open-to-all reviews.
After completing the previous 3 points, you can integrate them into a marketing strategy that will ensure a 24/7 presence in the customer’s line of sight. Use all marketing channels to get in touch with your customers including Google Ads, Social Ads, Display Ads, and guest postings to reach a wider audience.
Create a Successful Customer Journey
So you’ve created a website, optimized it, promoted social networks, and received positive reviews on Google. What’s next? A hungry client has reached your site and the first thing that will be interesting to them is, of course, the menu, fast delivery and the ability to make a payment without contact.
At this stage, it is important to use the power of innovation and technology that will make this process as fast, comfortable and stress-free as possible for both the client and the restaurant staff, including the kitchen and delivery service.
Adjust the Menu, Taking Online Orders into Account
It is important to study your menu carefully and think about how online ordering may affect the current options.For example, if fast food dishes are predominant in your menu, it might be a good idea to replace items that tend to be affected by the delivery time from the restaurant to the customers, such as hot dogs, polish sausage, etc., with alternative options, such as Italian beef etc.
Be sure to leave on the menu the restaurant’s specialties, which your customers tend to find most favorable and order the most of before the pandemic.
You can run a detailed analysis of the menu, using a POS reporting system for the restaurant. With such a reporting system you will be able to make insightful decisions on which part of the menu to leave constant, and which should be adjusted, offering customers new dishes on the one hand, and on the other, giving them the opportunity to enjoy their favorite dishes just as they did before.
It also makes sense to analyze the menu by the hour so you can determine which food items are purchased the most over- each of the breakfast, lunch and dinner
The simplicity of the menu and the availability of a high-quality POS system that allows you to receive payment online make the process of ordering much faster and easier.
Use a QR Code Digital Menu Solution to Speed Up Orders
Serving customers faster is the key to success for any restaurant. A QR Code Menu for Restaurants helps you do just that by giving your guests a way to simply order and even pay from their table directly with their mobile devices. Once the order is placed, it will immediately be sent to your restaurant’s kitchen printer, so there is no need for guests to wait in line or call your staff over to order or pay. It’s simple and easy-to-use, so your customers can get right to enjoying their meal with friends and family, as soon as possible. Finally, QR code digital menus allow for a safer experience for guests during the pandemic era, than using printed menus that are touched by multiple people per day or having staff be in close proximity to guests while taking their orders.
Ideally, this necessary functionality can be implemented in the restaurant’s POS software system and integrated with the website. Thankfully, this is possible with eHopper’s OmniChannel Package. See https://ehopper.com/digital-menu/ for more details!
Try different ideas to help you stay connected with your customers, inspiring them to enjoy their food in any environment and under any circumstance, as well as prompt them to be more likely to order from you. For example, you may announce family meals outside for the warmer months, the opportunity for guests to purchase gift cards for your restaurant, or provide guests with a free dessert for large orders.
In order to implement all these effective ideas for boosting sales during your restaurant reopening, you will need an excellent website, superior staff, and a convenient functional system for managing sales, orders, personnel and payments.
eHopper has the necessary software that allows you to do this for your restaurant., You can try eHopper for free, without any major investment, in order to adjust your routine and enable you to use new covid-adapted technologies that will increase your restaurant sales, and keep you competitive at this difficult time.
To register for eHopper POS click here.
To register for an online ordering website, click here.
Our experts are ready to contact you and will be able to help you customize the POS system and website for the needs of your restaurant.