43 Simple Yet Effective Restaurant Marketing Tips and Examples For Growing Foodservice Operations

How To Sharpen Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy

What is a restaurant marketing strategy?

Do you need to revise your brand identity?

Is your brand image consistent with your identity?

What are your restaurant marketing goals?

  • Specific: “increasing sales and social media followers as much as possible” is too generic. Increasing them by X% is specific.
  • Measurable: there’s no point in setting a goal if you cannot know whether you have achieved it or not. Don’t use a ‘customer satisfaction score’ if you have no way to collect data to measure it.
  • Achievable: goals don’t have to be too easy but should not be impossible either. Shooting for the moon to land on the stars won’t work.
  • Relevant: you don’t want to waste time and energy chasing any metric under the sun. Facebook or Instagram likes, for example, are a good indicator of what type of content works, but are probably not relevant for your business goals.
  • Time-bound: restaurant marketing plans don’t go on indefinitely but have a duration. After that, you assess, correct the course and start again.

How much should a restaurant spend on marketing?

How to track your restaurant marketing ROI?

Keep in mind that the effects of marketing often only reveal themselves after some time. Especially marketing projects geared towards restaurant branding. Consistency is key. Sometimes you just have to keep going, even when there seems to be no immediate ROI.

A 3-Part Restaurant Marketing Plan

1. Find and attract new customers

Optimize your restaurant’s website

  1. The top search queries on Google related to your restaurant brand name are most likely the address, contact information and opening hours. Don’t hide them in a subfolder but make them easy to find.
  2. When people navigate to your website they probably intend to order or make a reservation. Don’t make them look for ways to give you money. Make the sales channels and reservation option immediately available when a visitor lands on your website. Buying from you should be the easiest thing they have ever done.
  3. The number one asset of your F&B business is the menu. Make sure it’s available on the website, including the current prices. Customers will do their homework before deciding where to eat. They’ll research their options and look up menus of restaurants near them. If the only place where they can glance at your menu is your restaurant, chances are they won’t bother going at all.
  4. Make sure your website has a consistent look that aligns with the brand image and identity. Consider your website a virtual version of your brick-and-mortar restaurants, so the look and feel must be consistent with your corporate branding.
  5. Optimize for search engines: the restaurant industry is crowded, not only in real life but online too. Although you may not reasonably expect to rank #1 for ‘best restaurant in [your city]’. That is too broad a search query to tackle. You should, however, aim to show up on top of organic search results at least for your own brand name (which should be easy) but also for your category, target audience and/or speciality.
  • “Best Japanese restaurant in Birmingham”;
  • “Cosy hamburger restaurant for large groups”;

Keep Google Business updated

An active base of followers on social media will help you to create a buzz when you’re expanding to new areas.

Get the most out of social media

  1. Post high-quality pictures: everyone agrees on this, but not everyone knows how to take great pictures. If you don’t have the right equipment and skills, consider investing in a new camera and a photography course. No need to become a professional, but you’ll want to rise above the level of badly lit on-the-fly smartphone pics.
  2. Go beyond food: your restaurant brand is more than food. It’s also the personality of your staff, the energy of your customers, and the general vibe of the environment. Your social media activity should capture all of that. A little transparency goes a long way.
  3. Use the right hashtags: use a tool like Ritetag to use hashtags strategically to be discovered, without stuffing your posts.
  4. Engage with followers: don’t use social media as just a shop window. Reply to the comments of your followers and proactively comment on their posts too. Disclaimer: Customers will use your social media as a customer service channel, whether you like it or not, so you better embrace it. And yes, you will have to deal with negative comments as well. So it never hurts to brush up on your skills for dealing with negative feedback on social media.

Reply to online reviews

Consider using reservation platforms

Use promotions

Engage with the local community

Connect the online and offline world

2. Create an outstanding dining experience

Offer options

Optimize your menu

A platform like Apicbase will assist your menu development team by collecting and analyzing the restaurant sales data and food costs.

Use feedback to improve

3. Keep’m coming back for more

  • email marketing, and
  • loyalty programs.

Email marketing for restaurants

Loyalty programs for restaurants

Develop Massively Popular And Hugely Profitable Menus [Using Powerful Data]

Data-driven Menu Engineering with Apicbase

Apicbase pulls real-time sales data from your POS system and links them to the individual CoGS in a crystal-clear dashboard. You can see at a glance which menu items you need to kill, fix or promote.

3 Extra Restaurant Marketing Tips [That Will Give You Peace Of Mind]

  1. The best marketing plan is the one you can follow consistently.
  2. Marketing is an ongoing process: start with the basics, get good at them, and build from there with more sophisticated tactics.
  3. You may not get goals and budgets right the first time. Stick to it, though, you’ll get better over time.

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Geert Merckaert

Geert Merckaert

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I write about F&B Management Best Practices for Multi-Unit Food Businesses. My goal is to help you keep costs down, quality up and operations running smoothly.