Your restaurant has it all: mouthwatering menus, a great location and ambiance, and the skilled staffers that make it all happen. But are you getting enough feet through the door? In a world where googling “restaurants near me” is the start of many an evening out, you need to be tech-savvy too. Let’s look at some of the ways you can leverage technology to fill those empty seats. Short on time and expertise? A restaurant marketing agency could be the missing ingredient in your recipe for success. Now, let’s dive in!
Your Google Business Profile is a great place to begin. And it’s pretty easy to get started. What you want is to show up in that all-important local search on Google. And you’ll make it easy for potential customers to find your contact details and physical location since you’ll show up on Google Maps. Your customers can provide reviews and ratings, and you can make your presence more appealing by adding photos and some basic information to help diners in their decision-making.
Round off your presence on Google by staking out some online real estate of your own. Your website is the place to strut your stuff with appealing images and detailed descriptions of the cuisine you have to offer. With some search engine optimization strategies at your fingertips, you can be sure of ranking well in searches for keywords that drive local digital traffic to your website and physical traffic to your door.
Have you ever noticed how people respond to a beautifully presented plate of food? Before digging in, they’re snapping pictures and sharing them on social media. And they’re getting tons of likes in the process of teasing their followers’ appetites.
With an endless succession of gorgeous food passing through your kitchens, getting attention on social media doesn’t have to be hard. Even better, a little paid social media advertising ensures that your target market gets exposed to what you do. And once your following starts to grow, you may not even need to boost those posts to get the attention they deserve.
Get repeat business from your supporters with a bit of judicious email marketing. Promote in-house events, specials, and specialties. Most of your customers will be only too pleased to get your ideas for a night out with friends and family – and you’ll be just as happy to make it a memorable culinary experience for them. Everybody wins! Still not convinced? According to Forbes, Email marketing is still one of the most effective tools at your disposal. Use it wisely and well!
You’ve probably seen that recipes and events are popular items in local print and online media. Getting press coverage needn’t be an expensive business. You already host events, and some of them might be truly newsworthy. As for recipes, there’s no harm in sharing at least some of your secrets. A syndication agency will make your stories available to editors who’re looking for great local content that will interest their readers. Make yourself famous! Your reputation could be the deciding factor when diners are choosing between competing restaurants.
With just about every phone seeming capable of taking a reasonable snapshot, it’s easy to think that pro photography doesn’t really matter anymore. But it does. Photos that look just like everybody else’s aren’t going to make you stand out from the crowd. For that, you need professional work. Before you baulk at the cost, consider the many uses you’ll get from each shot. Social media posts, your website, your newsletters, menus, and print adverts: a great photo library can go a long way towards grabbing people’s attention and whetting their appetites.
This idea might scare some restaurateurs. After all, even the best restaurants occasionally have unhappy (and vocal) clients. But here’s the news you might not know: an unhappy client is as much of an opportunity for you as a rave review. It just depends on your reaction, and that means being alert and responding well to criticism. A disgruntled diner can be turned into one of your most enthusiastic supporters – if you play your cards right.
Even if you can’t win the occasional disgruntled reviewer over, most people will be more ready to trust a business with 4.5 stars than an outright 5. That’s because review manipulation through fake reviews has been big news and most people are aware of it. So be brave! Encourage your clients to leave reviews – new customers find this kind of social proof more compelling than regular advertising.
Once you’ve got these basics in place, you can go even further with using tech to grow your business. For example, you could look at introducing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to help you add that personal touch to the customer experience. But your first step is to get ahead of your competitors by doing what many of them may be doing online already – only better! Try it yourself, or consider getting help from experts for a truly professional touch.