There are over 300,000 restaurants in the US. More than half of new restaurants will fail before their first year is up. 80% of restaurants that start this year will not make it past five years. No matter how new or established your restaurant is, the right marketing tactics can help you bring new life to it.
Below are the 13 best, easy-to-follow, marketing tactics that require very little additional time and money invested. Even though they require few new resources, or may also save you some, these tactics are tried, tested, and will keep your restaurant up-to-date with today’s demands.
1. Train Your Staff to be Service-Oriented
Well-trained staff will provide your customers with the best possible experience. Every restaurant should be able to provide training to new staff members, and the occasional refresher, especially when policies or systems change.
Training should consist of orientation, written guidelines, and well-defined expectations. While all members of your staff are bright, capable individuals, you can’t expect them to know what to do by instinct alone. The better the training you offer, the more your staff can realize their potential and help your customers feel well cared for.
Service-oriented training means that your staff can anticipate the needs of your customers before they have to ask, without being overbearing. It also means establishing a personal connection between customers and staff. For you, this can mean better reviews; for your staff, it may mean 56% more in tips.
2. Make Your Menu Easy to Read
Menus aren’t just a list of what your restaurant has on offer. This item, be it a signboard or a laminated object on every table, is your best in-house promotional tool, aside from your staff.
The best menus, according to psychological research, offer fewer choices and include vivid photographs. Each menu item should be followed by a discrete price and kept in the same font as the item’s description. This keeps the menu clean and makes it easy for a customer to make their choice.
3. Set Up a Website To Showcase Your Menu
Today, online ordering accounts for as much as 30% of all restaurant sales. Nearly every single customer you get that looks your website up online will read a review and attempt to find a menu online before stepping in. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they may move on.
4. Add a Blog to Your Website
Blogs are a great tool to show customers why your restaurant is unique. [/caption]
In addition to a website that showcases your menu, along with any time-sensitive deals and promotions, you may want to add a blog. Blogs are a great tool to show customers why your restaurant is unique.
Do you serve a rare type of cuisine? Source local ingredients? Keep a cleaner kitchen than the competition? Whatever your particular strengths are, get them out in the open, and don’t be afraid to show your customers how things work behind the scenes. A blog is also a great place to detail your loyalty program.
5. Utilize a Reliable Restaurant POS System
The last thing you want is for a customer to visit your restaurant, have a great time, go to pay and be told that you can’t accept credit cards right now. Or that their ticket has been lost due to a system outage.
A reliable restaurant Point of Sale System (POS) will work even if you get disconnected from the internet. It will work even if one device fails by syncing with every device simultaneously. Further, these systems should link up flawlessly with a customizable loyalty program or back-office.
6. Create a Loyalty Program
When you buy something, don’t you like to be rewarded for it? When a customer gets something for free, or has the opportunity to, by staying loyal to your restaurant, they may be more likely to return.
These days, most loyalty programs have gone digital. Either they link up with mobile phones, phone numbers, or digital loyalty cards. Some POS systems, like eHopper, even have loyalty-program-building features baked in.
7. Speed Up Sales with Online Ordering
As stated above, nearly one-third of your orders should be coming from a digital source. If you haven’t set up online ordering for your restaurant yet, you could be missing out on 30% more orders. This is especially true if you already have a robust carry-out clientele.
Setting up an online ordering system can be as simple as getting your menu online was. With the right point of sale system, you can even have every online order automatically filter into the order queue. This means no answering phones or manually creating tickets after an order has been placed.
8. Add Your Location to Google My Business
Google My Business allows you to set up a simple business page within Google. That way, whenever a customer searches something like “restaurants near me” or “where can I get ____?” and your business applies, your page will come up in search. That page will include where your restaurant is, your operating hours, photos, a menu, and more.
Creating a My Business page on Google is a great way to get more reviews, stand out in search results, and get local business exposure. Some restaurants that have been established for some time may already have a business page that has been automatically generated.
If there is an automatically created page for your business, signing up for Google’s “My Business” allows you to ensure all of the information displayed is accurate. If anything needs to be updated or added, you can do this manually.
9. Regularly Send Out a Customer Newsletter
Customer newsletters are a great way to get the word out about promotions, new locations, events your restaurant is involved with, and more. Sending out a newsletter just once a week can help keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers.
10. Create or Update Your Restaurant’s Social Media Accounts
Social media can be an excellent way to attract more customers or connect with them. If nothing else, it’s crucial to maintain a basic social media presence for your business. This means setting up an account or page in your business’s name and posting intermittently while keeping an eye out for responses.
Facebook – With well over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook offers the most exposure out of any social media platform. Creating a business page is similar to creating a personal page, though, like Google’s My Business, you may need to claim an auto-generated page.
Instagram – An Instagram account can help your restaurant showcase the food you offer, and connect with potential customers that find that type of cuisine appealing.
Twitter – Twitter may be one of the best platforms if you tend to announce a lot of limited-time sales or promotion codes. It’s also great for having public conversations with customers and gathering reviews.
11. Create a YouTube Channel for Your Restaurant
Videos of all kinds are gaining momentum. If you want to take a unique approach to shareable content, try creating a few behind-the-scenes videos.
Even sharing a few of your recipes with home cooks isn’t a bad idea- many people find going out to eat easier than preparing food at home, especially after seeing how much work really goes into a given dish.
12. Ensure Your Restaurant Has a Yelp Account
Yelp is a free platform that allows customers to leave a review for nearly any business, service, or establishment. Your business may have even already been added to Yelp. Claiming your Yelp account will allow you to respond to reviews and keep your information up-to-date.
13. Set-Up and Run a Contest
Running a contest is a great way to get people to sign up to your email list, share your restaurant’s information on social media, or create good-will with your customers. Just make sure the type of content you’re running is legal in your area.
To ensure that your contest only attracts potential customers, you may want to consider the following prizes:
– A Gift Certificate to Your Restaurant – Gift certificate giveaways ensure that anyone entering wants to eat at your restaurant.
– Cooking Classes – If your restaurant has a few accessible but easy to prepare dishes, offering a private cooking class to learn how to make these specialties may be a good incentive.
– Free X for a Year – Instead of offering a one-time gift certificate, you could provide a grand price of free something for a year. This could be anything from a donut a day to free appetizers once a week for a year.
– T-Shirts, Mugs, or Other Merchandise – Maybe you’re hosting a grand opening or a renovation party. Sending guests home with “party favors” can be an excellent way to leave an impression.
– Naming a Menu Item – Many customers would like the chance to leave their mark at a local business, especially if they are regular. Hosting a naming contest is an excellent way to get people involved and increase loyalty.
For Maximum Restaurant Growth, Marketing Should Never Stop
Above, you have read the best restaurant marketing tactics for any restaurant. These tactics all combine to make a single optimal marketing strategy. None of these tips are mutually exclusive; many of them only require a one-time setup.
None of these tips should require too much time or money to set up or keep in place. Further, some of these tactics, such as updating your POS system and linking it to your digital ordering options, should save you and your staff plenty of time, while improving your overall revenue.
If you are looking for a reliable POS system that restaurant operations and marketing, test drive eHopper POS for restaurants today, risk free!