If you run a restaurant, you understand how fierce the competition is. You might serve amazing food, but potential customers have dozens of restaurants to choose from in their area. Somehow, you have to stand out and convince them to pick yours.
In order to do that, you have to market your restaurant well to bring customers in. Here are 5 tips for doing just that.
1. Make Reservations More Convenient
Convenience has a huge influence on whether someone chooses your restaurant over another. You lose out on potential customers if they find it too much of a hassle to make a reservation.
Ensure customers have several, easy access points to your reservation system. Though it isn’t as prominent as it was in the past, Yelp is still an important marketing platform for restaurants, and it processes reservations for them.
You likely already have a Google Business account. If not, then create one as soon as possible. It’s necessary for gaining visibility for your restaurant online. Google allows you to add a link in a “reservations” field in your Google My Business page that will bring them to your site.
You should also consider using an online reservation platform. Millions of people use these platforms to find places to eat. This is practically a requirement for fine dining restaurants, especially the ones that require reservations to eat there.
As for your restaurant’s site, make sure it’s updated and has a reservation button somewhere easy to spot.
2. Leverage Social Media
A social media presence is essential to any business. Social media platforms help you connect with your customers and increase awareness of your restaurant. Without it, people are much less likely to take an interest in your restaurant when other restaurants have enticing photos and informative content on their pages.
Fill your social media pages with good content. Consistently create posts for your accounts and time the posts so that people see them at or just before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, depending on what your restaurant offers.
Facebook is great for publicizing events and running contests. Instagram is great for showing off your food. Arrange and present your food to be as enticing as possible in your photos. And Twitter is great for reaching customers with short, impactful messages. It’s fantastic for telling your customers about coupons and discounts.
Don’t focus on just the food though. Keep in mind that your customers choose restaurants primarily for the food but also for the service. Take the chance to show your staff. Post a photo of your chef holding a personalized knife engraved with your restaurant’s logo. Or just post a photo of a waiter serving some customers.
Finally, invite an influencer. Influencers are individuals with social media accounts with huge followings. You can reach out to one and offer a free meal in exchange for sharing their experience online. Try looking for local Instagram users with large followings and give them a good experience.
4. Encourage and Respond to Reviews
Reviews affect your restaurant’s reputation. Millions of people use Google and Yelp to search for restaurants and reviews. Good reviews make it much more likely that someone will want to try your restaurant out.
Encourage customers to write a review. You can try incentivizing them to write one, but be careful not to give off the impression that you are trying to “buy” a good review. But what do you do if you receive a bad review? You respond to it.
When responding to a review, you have to be as natural and sincere as possible. You cannot respond aggressively, sound automated, or give a general, noncommittal response. This will only anger the reviewer and give a bad impression to other readers.
Instead, respond with a positive attitude and turn it into a marketing opportunity. Admit to being imperfect, but keep your dignity, and talk about specific actions you will take to avoid repeating the mistake. A bad review is still bad for business, but responding positively will minimize the damage and possibly even show potential customers that you offer sincere service.
5. Foster Customer Loyalty
Fostering loyalty might be the ultimate goal of all the previous tips. Repeat customers are profitable. They are more likely to eat at your restaurant again and tell their friends about it. It’s also much cheaper to market to retain customers than it is to attract new ones.
You can also actively foster loyalty by sending personalized emails or offering customer loyalty programs. However, it will it come mostly from great dining experiences. Train your staff to give the best service they can. Do not underestimate the worth of a friendly, positive waiter.
Keep these tips in mind and give your customers the best service and dining experiences possible. By actively engaging with them, you will be able to spread your brand and encourage people to try your food.