After a challenging couple of years, it’s now springtime and your restaurant is full of customers. They’re eating, laughing, and ordering lots of food. Most restaurant owners have been looking to get back to the good old days, however, the current environment for local restaurant owners requires them to fight for their fair share of today’s customers. Many customers have now shifted their behavior to order from the comfort of their homes and expect a great takeout and delivery experience.
Running a restaurant is not easy. It definitely takes a lot of hard work and close collaboration from their service provider partners for a restaurant to make it. In this blog, we’ll focus on arguably the most essential piece: restaurant digital marketing. You can learn more about different ways to market and grow your restaurant at FetchMe Marketing.
In this blog, you won’t find In this blog, you won’t find common sense items like couponing, pushing takeout or driving high Facebook engagement. Those are given. You’ll get five creative ideas that are guaranteed to bring life to your restaurant.
Before we get started, here is what the U.S Small Business Administration recommends: “Many businesses allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues – usually between 2-3% for run-rate marketing and up to 3-5% for start-up marketing. If your store traffic is slow after the holiday and you are waiting for more of your customers to come back when they get their tax refund checks, let’s get started on 5 lucrative and low cost ideas guaranteed to jump start the growth of your restaurant business in 2022.
1. Promote Your Top-Selling Meals
Pull a report from your point-of-sale system and determine your top-selling items. Take appealing and high-quality photos. Choose the best and start promoting them in Google My Business and Google Local Ads.
Make sure you promote your highest margin meals. Promote what people love. This way more people keep coming back for their favorites. So why put advertising dollars in Google Local Ads? It’s new and few of your local restaurant competitors advertise within Google Maps–therefore you are guaranteed to have a great reach at a low price.
Why are high-quality photos of your best-selling items so critical? Because Google loves to promote high-quality images. Make sure you invest in a professional photographer who knows about angles, lighting, and editing. Pay a premium so you can get a high return.
The good news is that you can also use these photos on your menu and your website. This way they last you years and get one of the best ROIs for anything you do.
2. Invite bloggers to your door
It isn’t just about the food anymore. People want to understand the behind-the-scenes experience at your restaurant – something they can tell to their friends and share on social media. One of the best ways to find great food and experiences is by following bloggers in local towns.
In Auburn, Alabama, FetchMe has a respectable customer base that keeps them busy most days. That all changed when they started a food blog in 2020. Practically overnight, they had hundreds – if not thousands – of people following their blog.
Your restaurant could be the next one promoted. Start by figuring out where people follow a local blogger in your city and start extending offers for a free dining experience to various influencer types.
3. Leverage Lead Marketing & SEO
If you’re thinking about spending on your website, keep it to no more than $1,500 and ensure it’s optimized for your key marketing and business goals so you achieve a high return on your spend. Why? Because when people are looking for somewhere to eat; they want to view your menu online, read reviews, check out your hours and order directly from you so they can support your restaurant. For example, if you run a Chinese restaurant, then you want to show up at the top of the page when customers type in “best fried rice near me.” The only way to do that is through SEO optimized content, and lots of it. If you’re new to search optimization marketing, then it’s worth investing in some professional help.
These days, GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats have everything they need, however, their negative reputation for customer service can end up that reflects on your restaurant too.
Save your money that you spend on DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber eats and spend it on website marketing so you are promoting your brand.
4. Create a YouTube Channel or Build a TikTok Presence
Millennials are loyal food lovers. They’ve to follow their favorite chefs and it has the potential to drive serious traffic.
Make videos showing how you make your most popular dishes and/or drinks including how you source your ingredients and prepare the meal or drinks. Give behind the scenes access so your customers will come back for more.
5. Spread the word
Customer word of mouth is invaluable for any restaurant. It’s the most effective marketing avenue for you and it’s completely free. When your customers are raving fans; great things happen for you.
One of the best ways to spread the word about your restaurant is through incorporating a unique element into the customer journey. For example, work with other restaurants to create a local food tour. This can be part walking tour and part cooking class. Introduce participants to the history of the food. Then, show them how to cook their own dishes under the guidance of a chef.
As we close, it’s critical for restaurant owners to focus on your online presence. It’s one of the most important factors for your business to grow and is often what will make or break your restaurant. Provide incentives for your customers to leave good reviews, and make sure that you engage with every single review you get across all social media and Google platforms.
Even if your customers provide a negative review; be curious, learn from it and respond calmly in an empathic way. Don’t forget to offer a discount for their next visit. Highly rated restaurants will grow their business and spend less money on marketing with great reviews. It will be truly a win-win for you and your customers!
If you have questions about these lucrative and low cost ideas guaranteed to grow your business or would like to learn more, you can book a meeting with one of our restaurant marketing creative experts at fetchmemarketing.com.
Have any other restaurant marketing ideas? Tell us in the comments below.
Soo Cha is the marketing director and strategist at FetchMe, the leading restaurant marketing and restaurant takeout and delivery company. When Soo’s not marketing or strategizing on new marketing ideas you can find her traveling or visiting with friends.