6 Restaurant Marketing Strategies That Work

It’s very common for restaurant owners to get a bit lost when trying to think of ways to attract more customers to their tables. Marketing for restaurants has always been a misunderstood topic. And even if the fundamental goals of any marketing plan is clear — creating brand awareness and promoting a product or service — it can be difficult to come up with profitable ways of reaching them.

See Also: A Successful Way to Start

In this article, we want to discuss several restaurant marketing strategies that have proved to be successful throughout the years, with an emphasis in online marketing for restaurants. They have been used both by large restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and small family restaurants to attract more customers. Let’s get right into them!

1- Know your clients:

This is the cornerstone of any sound marketing plan, and a marketing plan for restaurants is no exception. What is it that your client likes about your restaurant? What it that he doesn’t like? What’s your typical client’s profile? At what times does he go?

The answers to these questions should be known by you better than anyone else. If you can’t answer them, you need to stop, research and think. For example, if you find out that your typical client is young, single white-collar professional, maybe promoting big group discounts aren’t the best restaurant marketing idea.

2- Social media marketing:

Social networks are one of the most creative marketing ideas for restaurants that can be used to build a presence online and attract more customers, however, not many take the advantage of this.

Facebook and Instagram are two of the largest social networks in terms of users nowadays, and they offer features that are particularly useful for food-related businesses. Instagram for example, is the perfect channel to promote high-quality pictures of your dishes. And Facebook offers the possibility of creating events and sweepstakes that could quickly go viral via sharing.

When thinking about social media marketing though, you need to take into account the demographics of the social networks you’ll use. Instagram for instance, is more suitable if your audience is mainly a young crowd. On the other hand, if your customers’ average age is 35+, you would be much better off focused on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

3- Incentivize customer loyalty:

Picture two restaurants on the same street. Both offer the same value in terms of service and price, and hence customers often rotate between the two places. Now, let’s imagine one of them decides to take a step further and begins offering the following deal: “Buy 9 breakfasts, and the 10th breakfast is free”.This low-cost marketing strategy will produce a strong incentive for customers to go to the same restaurant again and again in order to benefit from the deal.

As simple as this marketing strategy sounds, the number of restaurants that put it to practice is surprisingly low. Many restaurant owners set their minds on chasing high profits from day 1, and fail to see that the key to long-term success is customer loyalty. Don’t be afraid to operate at a small loss for a few months if this translates to an investment in loyalty building. It will pay for itself several times over in the long run.

4- Don’t force the sale:

Even though we are talking about marketing for restaurants, it is important that the client doesn’t feel as if you are trying to force a sale on him. You need to put in front of him an offer that is hard to resist but never impose. That’s the reason why suggestion Is always the best route: suggest your best dishes, suggest the perfect side dish for a specific filet, or simply suggest a dessert for two if diners are full.

But above all, don’t force on your clients something they don’t really need. You need to remember at all times that the landmark of excellent restaurant management is making you clients feel at home, or even better.

5- The menu, a great marketing ally:

Your menu can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly and allow you to put unique restaurant promotion ideas into practice. You can highlight your best and highest margin dishes, you can include sales oriented content to generate cross-selling and you can even play with customer loyalty tactics, such as including QR codes to sign up for your restaurant newsletter.

Always outsource the design of your menu to professionals. Creating a high-quality menu is a relatively low cost in comparison to other marketing initiatives, and the impact it can generate on your sales is considerable.

6- Alliances with suppliers:

Both you and your suppliers have the same goals: to create brand awareness and attract more customers. Hence, an alliance can make perfect sense at times. The result is a win-win the situation for both of you, as you will be able to promote better your respective products in a joint marketing operation in your restaurant.

For example, Italian restaurants franchise “La Mafia Se Sienta A La Mesa” formed an alliance with Coca-Cola, exemplifying the great use of marketing ideas and trends understanding. The basis of the campaign was: if you drank a Coke in one of the franchise’s restaurants, you could have the chance of winning a trip to Italy or a free dinner. This campaign, product of the mentioned alliance, created a lot of buzzes and managed to attract a
huge number of customers, both for the restaurant and the soda brand.

We hope that the restaurant marketing strategies described in this article help you take your business to the next level. While it may be possible that some of the strategies outlined don’t apply to your business or are not practical to implement in your case, the main principles behind them are easy to understand and extract. You can perfectly create customized strategies that work with your particular restaurant and see very positive results as well.

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