Before getting into this, we got to understand that word-of-mouth is the best ever means of marketing, hands down. This statement is backed by various researches and customer studies that were done in the past, the recent one being the one conducted by the National Restaurant Association
Running a restaurant today can be surreal sometimes but growing your customer base is gonna be a different ball game altogether.
Simple things like asking customers about how they got to know about your Restaurant will give you a clearer idea of where do you want to market your Restaurant.
Apart from all these ideas, there are some ways where your products can market itself. Below are some marketing ideas for a Restaurant at almost 0$ spends
How many times have you looked into google while going to your destination? As simple as that.
Google places are the new Yellow pages directory for every user who has access to a smartphone and internet. This lets users get all the information about your Restaurant including the cuisines, contact number including the directions on their maps.
Your restaurant is more visible for people looking for Restaurants within your locality. Say, I look out for a Chinese restaurant, so I search for ‘Chinese Restaurant near me’. This shows me your Chinese Restaurant provided I am in your locality and you have updated this information on your Google Listing.
It’s an amazing place where small-medium-large restaurants advertise to their customers in a given locality costing absolutely nothing compared to other means of marketing.
Instagram/Snapchat/Social Food photos & Testimonials:
Welcome to the world of Instagram where the hashtags related to food like #foodie #foodporn #foodstagram are always amongst the buzz. One of the best ways to promote your Restaurant is to start off with a detailed Instagram profile with high-quality mouth-watering photos of your exotic food items.
At the time when Image content consumption is on the rise, it is a great tactic for restaurants to capitalize on this. Hiring a professional photographer or trying a DIY activity with your next-gen smartphone would be a good idea since these photos are hard to click that they look.
So, what are you waiting for?
Post interesting pictures on your Instagram, Snapchat handles & start setting up a whole new customer-base out there.
Zomato/Swiggy Online menu:
Now, this is a no-brainer. Partnering up with 3rd party food ordering platforms like Swiggy, Zomato, FoodPanda etc., should be a must-have for your Restaurant marketing plan. Maintaining a good profile and ratings on these platforms is a great way to market your Restaurant marketing plan.
A recent study revealed that a restaurant which has a rating of above 4 tends to get 23% more orders compared to the others. Maintaining a rating of over 4 is going to be hard, but good taste, service and a lot of patience will be the key here. Word of mouth will increase volume of orders and indeed put you under the popular Restaurant tab.
If you are looking at a slightly expensive option, you can try ads on these food ordering platforms as well. But there is no one success mantra here. You got to play around to find out the best offer for your restaurant.
In a recent study, it was observed when a set of restaurants stopped giving their customers their usual discount of 10%, they saw a dip of 80% in the orders whereas 15% increase in repeat orders. So the best way is to give the 10% discount to the first time customers.
It is also important to maintain a goof rapport with the Account Managers of these platforms who handles your Restaurant. This will give you some room to sneak your restaurant into a promotional category and rake in some moolah.
Online Reviews by Famous Foodies
Nothing works better than word-of-mouth marketing.
How many times have we chosen not to go to a restaurant for a family dinner or a casual hangout with friends?
Converting the happy customer emotions into reviews work big time to bring in the new crowd every single time.
Identifying Foodies in your locality with a lot of Followers on Food platforms like Zomato, Yummly etc., to your Restaurant for a free taster meal is a great idea to get their feedback/reviews. This gives your business more visibility and most-importantly reliability amongst his followers.
Important Note: Make sure you reply or thank all the reviewers who have reviewed your business.
Looking for yet another better way to garner more reviews from your happy customers? Keep reading.
Offers & Discounts
Now, this is pretty straight-forward. You give a discount and people flock to your restaurant. I wish it is that easy.
While you giveaway offers and discounts, the most important thing is the marketing and how you make use of the profit cuts you go through.
From a marketing aspect, listing the offers online and mentioning it on a geo-centric google ad & sponsored posts on social media would enable your customers to know about the offer.
How you make use of the customers who are regularly availing these offers is by giving an extra 5% discount or a free dessert for an online review they post online.
Trust me, it is worth it. Every positive review online is going to matter in bringing you more customers. This was the other effective way to garner more reviews which I spoke of earlier.
Pay by Social:
This is one of the smart strategies used by a few restaurants that I have visited recently. Most of the customers walking into a new Restaurant do so, just because they were recommended the Restaurant. Like I had always mentioned, word-of-mouth, the most powerful marketing tool can be tapped with this new technique.
With ‘Pay by Social’, the restaurant gives customers a chance to share a picture of their delicacies on their social media pages and avail a small discount on their bills.
Imagine, 10 customers with at least 200 followers share a picture of one of your slurpilicious dishes on their social account and tag your Restaurant. I’m pretty sure that at least 5 customers would want to try out the meal and visit your Restaurant.
Charity, Celebrities & Events
Inviting a charity group for a deal where you promote their events at your Restaurant or contribute a small part of every bill for a cause. Hosting them for a few meetings among themselves
Get that friendly local celebrity to grace your Restaurant sometime. Serve them well and get a testimonial to post it on your wall. Indeed a subtle way of marketing your business.
Inviting a local group (start-ups, charity groups etc.,) to host their meetings will provide you with some great marketing as they tend to send invites among attendees
Another way is to get a local band or an artist to perform live at your restaurant over the weekend. Create an event or even post an ad on Facebook which might also be light on your pocket.
Getting a food blogger who has a good following to write about your restaurant will boost your restaurant visibility among the foodie audience.
Some of these bloggers might charge you a bit for their piece of work, but don’t step back yet. Who knows, if his followers read a blog about the city’s best pasta at your Restaurant.
How do you pick these bloggers? Simple, look out for someone with at least 30k followers and are mastering the art of #foodie #foodgasm. These writers come in at a handy price whereas the expensive ones start at above 50k followers.
Now that you’ve read till here, we have some more goodies for you in the coming weeks. We will be diving deep into some of the Marketing techniques and platforms that a Restaurant can effectively use to increase their customer base, sales, and reputation. We will also be talking about how you can set up these processes in a step-by-step Restaurant marketing guide. Stay tuned!