The 8 Essential Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

The 8 Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

As a restaurant owner, you'd think serving good food would be your bread and butter. (pun intended)

However, today's customer is savvy and busy. Restaurants need to rely on more than just good food to keep customer loyalty.

But marketing often seems hard, confusing and time-consuming.

That's why we created this list of the 8 essential restaurant marketing tips you need to be using.

To start with, a successful restaurant marketing campaign should contain these 3 strategies:

  • Dine-In Presence
  • Digital Presence
  • Offline Presence

1. A Good Restaurant Doesn't Just Mean Quality Food

If your food isn't good, no one will eat there. This isn't news.

However, there's more to restaurant marketing than just good food.

Over 80% of diners will view an online menu before they dine out.

That's why you need to:

  • Redesign your menu to keep it looking fresh
  • Ensure all menu items are current and correctly listed

59% of diners will also view online photos of your restaurant before they dine out.

Get a decent photographer to take photos.

But a meal is not just about the food, it's also about the experience.

So remember to also photograph:

  • Your Staff: That way potential diners feel they already know them before walking through your doors.
  • Loyal Customers: People want to see others are enjoying being and eating at your restaurant. Show them you can deliver by photographing your favorite customers.
  • Special Events: Birthdays, office parties, wine tastings all go to show that your restaurant has more to offer than just good food.

Your staff can also either make or break an in-house restaurant experience.

Train your staff properly. Not just on how to do their jobs, but how to effectively provide the experience you want all your diners to have. Proper training will ensure repeat customers and less turnover with your staff.


2. Create a Dine-In Marketing Campaign

Food is an experience. Often an experience shared with friends and family.

Impress one person and you often find many others following in their wake.

Here are some easy-to-implement marketing ideas for retaining customer loyalty:

  • Birthday Promotions: A free meal to the person celebrating their birthday can give back in spades. Happy customers talk.
  • Free Samples: Having a staff member hand out free samples on the street can bring in a ton of foot traffic.
  • Customer Loyal Program: If you'd like customers to return, offer discounts to let them know you appreciate their business.
  • Extend or Offer a Happy Hour: Get people in the door early for drinks and then have them stay for dinner. In the colder months, extend your happy hour to lure people out of their homes.
  • Offer Seasonal Drinks: Whether it's a 4th of July cocktail or a new spiked twist on hot chocolate, specialty drinks are always a great way to get new people in the door and regulars coming back to try new things.

3. E-commerce Marketing

Most restaurant owners can't rely solely on foot traffic anymore.

Too many people are searching online instead.

You need to be found easily online.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ways to create an online presence:

  • A great site for ensuring your restaurant is found by all the locals on all the local search engines.
  • Blog: Blogging is a great way to get people talking about you online. Try these following topics: Feature loyal customers, share a story about an employee, share recipes, invite a guest blogger to write for you.
  • Google Toolbox: Anyone marketing online needs to use these tools. They help you locate and correct errors and perfect your online marketing methods.
  • SEO: It is imperative you use the right keywords in all your marketing campaigns. Whether it's your blog, website or menu, keywords are the best strategy for success.

4. Social Media Marketing

People talk. Especially online. Social media is here and it's not going away.

It's also a great place for a restaurant to effectively and easily market their business.

  • Set Up Profiles: Look for the social media sites most often visited by your customers- try Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram.
  • Create a Strategy: It's important to post at regular intervals and set up a campaign so there is new content people shared on a regular basis. This keeps people informed, entertained and your restaurant on their brain.
  • Videos: This medium is hugely popular right now. Try creating a short video around an event or interviewing happy customers to post online.
  • Social Media Buttons: Ensure your website has social media buttons so it's easy for more people to find and follow you on social media.
  • Keep Up With Reviews: People talk when they're happy. They talk a LOT more when they're unhappy. It doesn't take much to get a bad review these days, either. Make sure you're monitoring online chatter about your business and handling any bad reviews ASAP.

5. Offline Marketing

The Internet helps but it isn't everything.

Here's how restaurants have been effectively marketing since the Stone Age:

  • Partnering with another Brand: Two is always better than one. Especially when you can utilize one another's loyal customers. Try partnering with a local charity, your favorite alcohol or food distributor or business to help bring in extra business.
  • Make Your Signs Count: Make sure that your outdoor signs are easy to see and read. Put smaller signs in front of your restaurant to attract passersby.
  • Restaurant Week: January and February tend to be slow restaurant months. This week was designed to get people out of their homes and into your restaurant.

6. E-Mail Newsletter

Newsletters are huge right now.

They're quick. They're easy. And they're versatile.

There are also tons of online tools like MailChimp that help you easily create and send newsletters.

They're also an inexpensive marketing tool.

Here are some topics any restaurant can use:

  • Food & Drink Promotions
  • Loyal Customers Sharing an Experience
  • Share Recipes
  • Promote Events

7. Use Technology

Technology will only increase the dining experience and help a restaurant owner make the most of their marketing campaigns.

Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Create Your Own App- Keep your loyal customers up-to-date with specials, events, and promotions.
  • Utilize Snapchat GeoFilters - A great way for mobile users to find you when they're in your neighborhood.
  • Deal Sites - Offering coupons and discounts help grow brand recognition and customer loyalty.
  • Online Ordering - Food deliveries are growing and can become a huge part of your business.

8. Be Socially Aware

Sustainability is quickly becoming a new trend.

Restaurants are poised to directly benefit from this trend.

Here are just a few ways you can help the environment and attract loyal customers:

  • Cook What's in Season
  • Buy Locally and in Bulk
  • Manage Your Waste

There are many ways to successfully market your restaurant.

But successful marketing takes time and an effective strategy. If you aren't sure where to start or realize a professional should take over, contact us and we'll gladly help.

Need help getting your restaurant marketing above the noise in 2017?

Contact Us

Dallas Restaurant Marketing Advertising Agency

Dallas Restaurant Marketing: 5 Innovative Digital Channels

At Red Herd Media, we are often getting asked how to make a small budget go a long way. Many of our clients are restaurants, attorneys, breweries, and bars looking to get their feet wet in paid advertising. We believe in the concept of "building to test" which means testing lots of different platforms, measuring results, and then reallocating based on performance.

We also believe that every good marketing plan should be 70-80% "vetted avenues" and 20-30% test platforms. These vetted avenues are the ones that everyone has heard of - Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Yelp, and the list goes on.

Where do you begin with your experimental spend? We've got 5 recommendations to get started.

1. Snapchat Geofilters

As a restauranteur, you probably already have a loyal fanbase that comes to your restaurant often. One of the ways you can tap their individual reach is by purchasing a Snapchat Geofilter. Snapchat Geofilters cost $5 per hour and can cover your whole location. When customers are at your store, you can either encourage them to utilize the filter for some incentive (a free soda!) or setup and wait for the people to use it. As people share their Snapchat with their friend base, you will reach customers who are friends with / similar to your customer. Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing and cheapest ways to reach your customer base on the internet today.

2. Food Bloggers / Influencers

Food bloggers and influencers are a new(er) rage. They carry followings that typically focus around a specific city or geographical region. Finding influencers can be tough but you can start by combing people who mention your restaurant by name. These people likely will accept some type of incentive (whether that is a fixed dollar amount per Instagram post or an in-store discount or freebie) to post content about your restaurant or its food. You can then work with these creators to get their permission to use their content on your own social feed. These users can be a great way to reach users who are in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

3. Waze Competitive Takeovers

One of our favorite tactics is actually using the popular navigation app Waze to takeover navigations to your competitive restaurants. You can actually serve ads to users who have inputted a restaurant or another location near you. It comes at a relatively high price at $20 per 1,000 impressions and a minimum of $15K per month but the power of redirecting their intent to your restaurant can definitely be worth it.

4. Location-Based Mobile Advertising

You might have heard that 2014, 2015, oh wait... 2016 is the "Year of Mobile". The truth is that now ~56% of all internet traffic is coming from mobile devices. There are tools out there now where you can target a user's precise location and previous interests. You can even go as far as targeting people who have been in your store before (or even one of your competitor's stores). These users will see your ad when they are navigating a mobile browser or are in-app and are within a close proximity (as close as 1/2 of a mile at times) of your store. You can use these ads to incentivize them to take a step inside your door and have lunch or dinner. Bonus points go for if you use an attribution product like Foursquare's new location-based attribution tool to track users who actually do enter your store.

5. In-Store Beacons

If you are a restaurant with an existing customer base that uses your mobile app, you can utilize tools like beacon advertising to convey your message. Beacon advertising takes location-based mobile advertising to the next level by actually being able to send a push notification to a user when they step within proximity of the device. These devices communicate via Bluetooth with users who have your app installed on their mobile device. That means that you have to: (1) make sure that your user base has an incentive to download your app, (2) install an SDK (software development kit) within your app to communicate with the device, and (3) pay a monthly fee to the beacon provider for the software / hardware. This can be an expensive investment and is only reserved for restaurants that have a large marketing budget as it can cost in upwards of $10K per month.

So, what does this mean?

The world of digital marketing is growing and technology partners are each an individual task to manage. If you use the proper mix of traditional digital efforts (AdWords, Social Ads, SEO, etc) and more innovative, "growth hacking" procedures, you can expand your restaurants footprint and stand out from the rest of the Dallas' restaurants.

Need help with your Dallas restaurant marketing?

Contact Us