Over 1,000 new restaurants open up each year, making the food and beverage industry one of the most competitive in America.
Yet, you’ll need more than an innovative dining space and fresh menu to draw in customers. You’re going to need a unique marketing strategy to grow your establishment.
Read on for the most creative restaurant marketing ideas to promote your business.
1. Take Drool-Worthy Food Photos
To promote your restaurant, you’re going to need quality images capturing the essence of your brand. Enlist a skilled food photographer to take images of your most popular dishes along with photos of fresh ingredients and your restaurant space.
Professional photographers have an eye for the best angle to shoot food. They use special lighting and editing techniques to make your pictures more eye-catching.
These professional shots are something to budget for in your restaurant marketing strategies. Your iPhone and editing apps can do in a pinch but a gallery of professional images will set you apart from the competition.
Use this fresh content for your website, social media, and other marketing materials. It’s also a great asset to use for press outreach as online blogs and magazines want high-quality images to share.
2. Establish a Digital Presence
A quality website is a must-have for how to market a restaurant in the digital world. It needs to be visually creative, informative, and easy to navigate.
Online menus are important as it’s the main reason people visit your website. Make sure menus are mobile friendly or easy to download. You should also have clear and easy to find contact information.
Use website content to promote your passion and tell the story of your restaurant. Use important keywords in your web copy to increase your SEO and website traffic. This will get you a higher Google ranking and help people find you through local online searches.
Online reservation tools are also much appreciated. Offer an easy booking link to OpenTable. It’s also smart to include links to all your social media channels.
Make an Impression with Your Homepage
Once viewers click on your website, you only have less than 20 seconds to wow them. So make a great first impression above the fold. This way you capture their attention without them needing to scroll down.
Do this with a clean and creative logo in the top corner. As well as one of your most impressive professional food shots as a banner image.
Looking for more ways to incorporate unique restaurant marketing ideas into your website? An eye-catching and well-optimized homepage is one of the most important tips for website design. Check out this website for more about how to wow viewers with mouth-watering imagery.
3. Get Savvy with Your Social Media Channels
Social media is an easy and inexpensive outlet in marketing for restaurants. Instagram and Facebook are important platforms to use in the restaurant industry. Use them to create awareness and gain new clientele.
It’s best to hire a marketing professional to do this. This way they can dedicate all their time to growing your channels and engaging with your audience. Be sure to avoid these social media mistakes.
Keep an active presence, aiming to post at least 4 times per week. Post daily specials, new cocktails, and seasonal highlights. Make sure to interact with customers and re-gram their best pictures.
Use social media to promote events or happy hour specials. You can also post short videos of food preparation. Don’t forget to be creative with branded hashtags and catchy captions.
Invite influencers and food bloggers to dine with you. This will help promote your restaurant and get you some fresh content. They can post their own shots and geo-tag your location.
4. Expand Your Brand
Branding is an important tool in your restaurant marketing plans. Expand your brand with a creative logo, slogan, font, and other graphics.
Hire a graphic designer to help with printed menus and menu boards. Put your brand on everything to help promote outside of your restaurant. This includes to-go cups and takeaway bags.
You can also design your own restaurant swag like brand hats, shirts, shot glasses, cookbooks, and other promotional products. Consider adding an e-commerce section on your website to boost online sales.
As your business grows, you may want to consider adding a delivery service. Partner with a local company like GrubHub or Eat24 to reach new target audiences.
5. Get People to Talk About You
The online community is paying attention to your reputation, so it’s crucial to get good online reviews. You’ll want to focus on Google, OpenTable, and Yelp.
90% of people check online ratings before going to a local business. Ask happy customers to rate their experience online. You’ll also need to manage your online reputation.
Respond to feedback, both good and bad. People want to see that management cares about customers opinions and experiences.
6. Capture Customer Emails and Communicate
Email marketing is a great way to stay in contact with customers. Use an on-brand email campaign to communicate restaurant updates. You can also target emails for booking holiday reservations or promoting special events.
MailChimp is a great resource for managing your online database. You can also deploy emails and get real-time reporting.
Capture emails by offering a loyalty program. This way you can honor repeat customers and keep them coming back for more. You can also give out discount cards, like buy 10 coffees, get one free.
It’s a great idea to send out coupons or discounts for first-time customers. Check out these best practices for making your email campaigns more successful.
7. Hire Brand Ambassadors as Employees
The people who work for you are the face of your brand. Hiring the right people can help grow your business. So it’s crucial to find the right personality to match your brand.
A casual neighborhood restaurant should have positive, upbeat, and friendly employees while a fine dining establishment’s staff should evoke refinement and knowledge.
More marketing ideas for restaurants include decking your employees out in branded swag. Use them to promote your restaurant, even while they are not at work.
If employees are happy, they will tell their own friends and family to dine at your restaurant. So be sure to take time to meet the needs of your staff and take care of them.
Going Local with Your Restaurant Marketing Ideas
These restaurant marketing ideas will help get customers in your door and keep them coming back for more.
Local marketing efforts like community outreach can gain you new loyal customers. Small businesses should also harness the power of local marketing tactics to reach new target audiences. This means attracting people who are new to the area or only visiting.
Here are more tips on how to use local marketing tactics to reach new audiences and set your brand apart from the competition.