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By Kristin Savage, Contributor

The influence of social media on the restaurant’s brand establishment is hard to overestimate. Today, people don’t really trust the paid ad any longer. They tend to base their decisions – like where to eat out – on the honest reviews published on Instagram, Tweeter, Facebook, Yelp, and other popular platforms.

If you want to improve brand loyalty and brand awareness, you should consider user-generated content as a key element of your marketing strategy. This article presents four ways in which you can encourage your guests to create high-quality posts about your restaurant. Let’s consider these ways in more details!

Make your place Instagram-worthy

The rule of the game is simple: if you want to encourage people to take pictures of your restaurant, you should make its design Instagram-worthy. What does it mean? It means that the restaurant interior design should look awesome in photos taken on smartphones.

The point is that young people are obsessed with social media. Trying to create stylish Instagram profiles, they struggle to find new beautiful locations to take photos. So, if you create an adorable instagrammable spot, you will attract numerous guests who will be glad to generate content for your restaurant.

In fact, you don’t really need to renovate your place. All you need is to add one distinctive decorative element, which will create a “WOW” effect and will promote the core brand’s value.

Let’s consider a few ideas, which might help you to design an instagrammable location at your restaurant.

Flower wall

A number of female social media users will never miss a chance to take a photo on the flower wall background. If the lighting is adequate, nothing can spoil a picture.

So, if you install a flower wall in your restaurant, it will drive curiosity among the Instagrammers. It will help you to increase organic reach and, consequently, promote your restaurant’s brand more effectively.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtJz4FCHGxD/ Live flowers and plants

If the interior design of your restaurant looks fresh and “green”, modern social media users will be glad to generate tons of content for you. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love exotic live plants and beautiful flowers. For this reason, you can be sure that you will not face any branding challenges.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtENUGqFOY5/ Extraordinary piece of art

If you want to boost your marketing efforts, you might visually express a concept of your brand in one recognizable piece of art. For instance, Brasserie of Light installed a huge crystal-encrusted statue of Pegasus to underline that the concept of the restaurant is built around this magical creature. Obviously, most visitors take photos of Pegasus and post them on social media, tagging the restaurant.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs-CRePh2pD/ Holiday ornaments

If you use lots of ornaments during the holiday season, you will definitely grab the attention of social media users. Everyone wants to take a photo with an exclusive Christmas tree or fireplace, right? You should provide your guests with an ideal instagrammable spot, so they can share the holiday spirit with their social media friends.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrN23DUgEor/ Fabulous exterior design

If the exterior design of your restaurant is Instagram-worthy, not only your clients but also regular passersby will take pictures on its background. There are high chances that your restaurant’s brand will become highly recognizable on social media.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjg3ZV1AGmp/ Make your food look extraordinary

The restaurant business is all about delicious food. So, it’s important to make sure that not only your interior design but also your dishes are Instagram-worthy.

Yep, it’s unlikely that restaurant guests will share photos of the meals if they look ugly, ordinary, or tasteless. Everyone wants to see and to taste something brand new. For this reason, you have to come up with the creative food presentation ideas.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjg3ZV1AGmp/ Tag your guests & share their posts

If you use social media as a tool to establish your restaurant’s brand, you must actively interact with your followers. You should like, comment and share their posts on a regular basis. This is a great way to demonstrate that you value your clients as well as keeps your own social media accounts fresh with new content.

You should always mention and tag content creators when you repost photos and videos. Otherwise, your actions will be qualified as copyright infringement. Your guests will also appreciate the shoutout.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BstSuKVHSH3/ Offer a free beverage or treat

If you want your guests to generate content on social media platforms, you can offer them a little gift. For instance, you can give them a cup of coffee if they publish a photo of your restaurant on Instagram. Just make sure that user will add your hashtag, geotag as well as will tag to your account.

Run contests

Contest on social media is another way to grab the audience’s attention to your brand. For instance, you can encourage your followers to share a post about your food by offering a gift certificate to the most fascinating or exciting story related to their experience.

Cooperate with influencers

If you have just opened a restaurant, you can invite the influencers for a free dinner. They will take high-quality photos of the food and interior design and will share them with thousands of their followers. Content, generated by digital celebrities, will help to grow brand awareness, as well as encourage other social media users to produce fresh content of your venue.

Encourage more UGC through visuals

If you want to increase the volume of content generated by guests, you should create “visual reminders.” They will encourage clients to share their photos on social media and tag your restaurant. It’s highly recommended to place the restaurant’s brand name, logo, and hashtags on the following items:

  • Menu
  • Plates and dishes
  • Tables and bar counters
  • Decorative elements
  • Mirrors in the restrooms
Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsGZc9QA9tc/ In conclusion

Today, user-generated content plays an important role in the restaurant’s brand establishment. If you want to stay competitive or grow your digital presence, you should try your best to make your place instagrammable to grab the users’ attention. Encourage your guests to publish posts on social media, and you will significantly improve brand awareness.

About the Author
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She is practicing regularly while reviewing new translation services at Pick Writers and constantly contributing to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. You can find her on Facebook.

The post 7 Ways to Establish Your Restaurant’s Brand with User-Generated Content appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Tamara Marie Johnson, Contributor

Guests laughing and clinking glasses, servers rushing to and fro, the phone ringing off the hook – if only your restaurant could be busy all the time. The good news is it can. It just takes the right planning and the right marketing campaign efforts.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the causes behind slow times and how restaurants typically attempt to fill those dreaded empty tables. Then, we’ll delve into kicking those tried and true methods up a notch with layered targeting on Facebook.

Slow times vary from restaurant to restaurant

Lore has it that Mondays and Tuesdays are the slowest days of the week for restaurants. And, of course, there’s the dreaded summer slowdown. The truth of the matter is, however: your slow times depend on your particular situation. If you run a restaurant in a place with nasty winters, for example, business may be booming in summer when all the snowbirds return from Florida, California, New Mexico, and the like.

Even slow hours can vary between establishments. For example, a sit-down restaurant located right next to a college campus may not see a lot of action during typical lunch hours because the majority of students can only take a very short lunch break. In contrast, there may be a long line in front of the fast-food joint’s take-out window at this particular time.

So, the reasons behind slow hours, days, months, or even seasons depend on factors such as a restaurant’s particular location and offering. However, the ways restaurants typically attempt to fill those dreaded empty tables are very similar across the board.

Restaurants typically opt for special offers

Kyle Thaker at Uncorkd suggests handing out free drinks or launching a local loyalty program. On the Food Newsfeed, Matthew Murray recommends teaming up with local businesses such as museums to create package deals. Emma Alois of Lavu advises restaurants to offer smaller, cheaper plates between lunch and dinner to entice people who aren’t hungry but are in the mood for some food.

What do all of these experts’ suggestions have in common? Special offers. And why not? Special offers make people happy. That’s a scientific fact. The problem is that every restaurant under the sun uses special offers even if it’s as simple a concept as Happy Hour or Lady’s Night. So, you need to find a way to make sure you can grab the right people’s attention at the right time.

This is where Facebook advertising comes into play. Facebook advertising can give your restaurant the competitive edge when it comes to filling seats on slow nights.

Facebook connects restaurants with guests

As I explain in detail in my post “Social media marketing for restaurants,” Facebook is the most important social media platform to be on. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of US adults have a profile and roughly 75% of those users access it on a daily basis. So, Facebook is the place to reach a large percentage of the population.

And as if being able to connect with the majority of America wasn’t enough, Facebook offers businesses an awesome advertising platform with oh-so-many perks.

The advantages of advertising on Facebook
  1. It’s user-friendly. Not only is the user interface very intuitive. Facebook also offers different levels of support with setting up ads: guided creation uses a wizard to slowly walk newbies through the steps a professional marketer would take. Quick creation, as the name suggestions, is faster – but you have to know what you’re doing. Facebook offers an extensive library of step-by-step resources. And if all else fails, you can always contact customer support.  
  2. It’s versatile. There are so many different formats to choose from on Facebook. Videos, images, collections, carousels, slideshows, instant experience ads, lead generation ads, offers, and post engagements, to be exact. But don’t worry, you don’t have to remember all of those names or even understand what they mean. The wizard will guide you through easy-to-understand examples.
  3. It’s cheap. In the US, the average cost-per-click (avg. CPC) on Facebook is only around $0.28. That means you pay 88% less for a click on a Facebook ad than you do for a click on a Google AdWords ad. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll likely get more out of social media advertising than you will out of paid search.
  4. It’s targeted. DING DING DING! This is where things get super interesting. Like many advertising platforms, Facebook Ads lets you target a lot of basic demographics:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Locations people are current or were recently in
  • Behaviors such as device usages

So that may not seem like anything out of the ordinary. But think of how many details people enter about themselves on their Facebook profiles. How old they are, where they work, what music they listen to, whether they’re in a relationship or not… And that is exactly why the targeting is insanely specific.

Layered targeting reaches the right people at the right time

Let’s say you run a family-friendly restaurant and you want to target parents. You might be amazed at the choices Facebook will offer you.

Now imagine you have access to that detailed level of information about people and you start combining – or layering – that information.

To demonstrate the power of layered targeting, let’s return to the example of the sit-down restaurant and the fast-food joint located near a college campus. The former could create a take-out lunch special for busy students. And to reach those busy students on Facebook, the layered targeting could be:

Occupation: student
Location: at the neighboring college
Behaviors: clicked on ads involving foods the restaurant offers

Additionally, Facebook lets advertisers display their ads at particular times. In this case, the restaurant might choose 11:30am to 1pm.

The fast-food joint, on the other hand, may want to highlight the fact that they are the cheapest option around. Therefore, they could benefit from adding an extra layer to the above targeting: low income.

So who should you market to?

This is, obviously, going to depend on your theme, market and target demographic. If you haven’t yet, we highly recommend you create customer/guest personas of your target/ideal guests. It’s difficult to target in on the right Facebook users if you don’t know who’s already walking through your doors. Marketing to “everyone” is a foolproof way to find failure in your campaign.

Once you have that figured out, you’ll want to make sure you’ve created a message that resonates with those demographics. Make sure you know your offer and have all the right text, links, and images/video prepped.

Take-home message

Your restaurant is bound to have some slow times, no matter how fantastic your food is. Try to identify the circumstances that regularly cause business to drop. And then come up with a special offer to delight your guests – and layer your targeting so they actually see it.

About the Author
Tamara Marie Johnson specializes in Search Engine and Social Media Advertising for restaurants and other local businesses. As a student, she worked at different restaurants and bars where she fell in love with the industry. She is currently working on getting her Ph.D. Her thesis? How to manipulate ad copy so that foods taste better.

The post How Restaurants Can Beat Slow Nights with Facebook Ads appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Denise Langenegger, Instasize

Everyone loves a good food photo, and Instagram is one of the best places to scroll through to look at delicious meals and beautifully-designed restaurants. There’s no denying Instagram has changed the restaurant industry and the way customers interact with it. While before someone may have felt chastised or embarrassed to be taking a snapshot of their meal, technology (and Millennials) have flipped that concept onto its head.

In data presented by Fundera, 69% of Millennial diners now take a photo of their food before eating, 59% of them review menus online, and 30% actively avoid restaurants with a weak social media presence. Having a visually appealing Instagram feed and an active online presence gets attention — and restaurants should take note.

But do these posts actually drive people to click through to a website or visit a restaurant’s location? The answer is yes, they can, but not always. If you want to ensure your posts bring the web and foot traffic you want, you need to consciously optimize your Instagram profile for the purpose of driving traffic. We’ve listed down four ways on how to do so.

Make your main bio link count.

Embrace the phrase “link in bio!” After all, your main bio link is the only clickable you get on your entire profile. You don’t need to link the home page of your website. You can also link to your ongoing campaign, promotion, a menu or even a location list. Use a trackable URL so you can evaluate how many visits you get from social media on web analytics.

Despite only having this bio link, your call-to-action phrases don’t need to be cut-and-paste. First, if it fits your restaurant’s personality, dress up your bio with emojis and special characters that not only describe you, but draw the eye towards the link itself. You can do the same to photo captions as well — using emojis as dividers between the description and your call-to-action makes it more visible. Alternatively, mentioning the link seamlessly in the caption is a natural way to get your audience to read it.

Let followers do the talking for you. source: @ohdoughmumbai, @blend

What users think of your brand remains as important as it was before internet — maybe even more so. In one study, 84% of respondents said they trust an online review as much as an in-person recommendation, and 68% read between one and six reviews before making a decision.

What users think of your brand remains as important as it was before internet — maybe even more so. In one study, 84% of respondents said they trust an online review as much as an in-person recommendation, and 68% read between one and six reviews before making a decision.

Because of this, user-generated content (UGC) is one of a restaurant’s most powerful tools in the digital age. Social Media Today’s report shows 75% of 500 surveyed organizations believe UGC makes their marketing more human, and most marketers believe UGC assists in various levels of the marketing funnel.

Creating a branded hashtag, displaying it somewhere in your restaurant proper (try on your menu!), and encouraging guests to use it will help track the content you can then repost to your Instagram profile. This attracts diners’ followers to your profile — the first step in the marketing funnel.

Tell stories. Instagram Stories.

Did you know that the rise of food tourism has made Instagram a popular space for travelers searching for the perfect place for a bite to eat? Many posts tagged #travel feature photos of local delicacies. Leveraging this by tagging your location in posts and Instagram Stories will drive interested travelers and nearby locals to your restaurant.

If you have 10,000 or more followers, use links in Stories to send people to your website. If this feature isn’t available yet, type up shortened links in the text that users can easily remember and input into their browser on their own. Remember: Tell stories with Stories.

Instagram Ads source: Wordstream

If you’re willing to allocate the budget, running Instagram ads is a tried-and-tested way to increase engagement on your posts as well as traffic to your website. One easy way to create an ad is to simply select a post from your feed to promote.

For an effective Instagram ad, choose a post with creative visuals with copy that evokes emotions rather than sales talk. For a restaurant brand, you would want to choose food photos that make your audience think “I want to try that.” Create an ad that looks like a natural extension of your regular posts, put a good call-to-action phrase in the caption, and wait for the ad to bring traffic.

You can’t drive traffic without users being interested in your profile in the first place. This underscores the importance of high-quality visual content. Instasize is a reliable multi-functional app for editing photos and video. You can download it on the App Store and on Google Play.

The post 4 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant Website from Instagram appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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With 72% of Americans visiting a quick-service restaurant for lunch, it is no wonder that the United States culinary industry saw consumers spending up to $798.7 billion on food and drinks in 2017. However, even with its obvious profitability, there is no doubt that running a restaurant business is no easy feat, especially when you’re a newcomer to the industry.

Unfortunately, the restaurant business is still a risky one and certainly not a get-rich-quick industry. It takes a lot of thinking, planning, hard work and focuses to actually make a living with restaurant business.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Restaurant

Before you start working on menus, marketing and management of your restaurant, there are a lot of other things to put in place first, so your restaurant business does not crumble before it even starts.

Who is your target market?

If you create a restaurant that attempts to please every possible target market demography, you will end up pleasing no one. This is why you need to choose who you want to majorly visit your restaurant. Do you want young teenagers who are mostly fast-food eaters? Or the adults looking for quick-service and a comfortable atmosphere? What about seniors who always want excellent food and are working on a tighter budget?

You have endless demographic options, but you’ll find more success if you build customer personas and figure out what they want and how.

What is your restaurant concept?

Your restaurant concept should reflect in the design of your restaurant, since guests anticipate their dining experience based on this. It should also reflect the taste of your target customers as well as your menu. Your restaurant concept will reflect whether your business is quick-service, mid-scale or upscale — based on the ambiance, type of food, and target customers it attracts.

What is your restaurant brand?

Your restaurant brand is no simple thing. It is the force that makes your restaurant different from other restaurants that have a similar concept as yours. It is your restaurant’s personality and identity, which is why your restaurant concept should also reflect your brand.

As such, SuperiorPapers advises that, based on your brand and concept, your restaurant should give a certain vibe or ambiance and an atmosphere that communicates your concept to your guests in an appealing way.

Do you have a business plan for your restaurant?

Your business plan is essential for a number of reasons for finding investors to fund your new business startup and for applying for restaurant loans.

Your restaurant business plan should contain an executive summary, market analysis, business offerings, your strategies (marketing and public relations), financial projection, management and many others. This is to help you develop a strategy and determine the feasibility of your restaurant, which is why it must be written by a professional writing company.

Your funding

Even if you have a sizable inheritance somewhere, you might still need some funding to cover your total cost for the startup as well as for keeping your restaurant functioning on a day-to-day basis. You can reach out to investors to get funding or even apply for restaurant loans.

How to choose the right location

Choosing the right location for your restaurant depends on a lot of things like:

  • Visibility and accessibility. Make sure your restaurant is located somewhere people walk by or people drive by so they can see it. You should also consider the accessibility in terms of access by foot or car as well as parking spaces for people with cars.
  • The cost of labor. How much do you intend to pay your staff that won’t cut into your profits and what is the minimum wage based on your chosen location.
  • Your competition. You should also consider the distance between you and another restaurant with a similar concept and target market because it will determine your pool of customers and whether you will be locked in a struggle or catering for the growth and development of your business.
  • Your target market. Ensure that your target market matches the demographics of your chosen location. If you’re target market is young professionals, you’ll want your business to be in areas where they work and live. Your best option for choosing your location space is leasing, which gives you a lot of flexibility especially when you’re just starting out.
Permit and License

Get your necessary permits and licenses, whether federal, state or local and make sure you have legal counsel as you fill any of those permits so you don’t have any legal problems in the future of your restaurant.

How to choose the right staff

You can’t open a restaurant without hiring staff and you can’t just hire any kind of staff. The perfect restaurant staff will not only fit the culture you’re hoping to build but must also be able to communicate your restaurant brand and concept when interacting with guests. They’ll be taking an active part in the molding of your brand and experience, so starting off with the right team is crucial.

When searching for staff to cover different responsibilities, you need to search for candidates with good experience and evident work efficiency.

Your Restaurant’s Menu

Your menu would be informed by your restaurant concept and brand, your target market, your funding, and your chefs. Therefore, it is wise to consider them first when building your menu. Of course, you should have an idea of your food menu based on your target market and food concept before you hire staff and buy the necessary equipment you would need.

Engineer your menu to increase your profit and present what would sell to your target market, according to your market analysis, and continually tweak it based on your on-going experience.

Your menu should also be designed to show guests your restaurant’s purpose and concept, to display your culinary philosophy, and your restaurant’s specialties. The design sends a clear message about the level of your professionalism and is one of the main visual elements of your brand.

Therefore, engineer your menu to create a great first impression in the mind of your guests, and build your brand with a good layout, readable fonts, the right color and wonderful appetizing imagery.

Marketing Your Restaurant

If you can’t market your restaurant, then how do you expect people to come and eat there?

Your storefront

Make sure your restaurant’s storefront communicates your restaurant’s concept and brand. The storefront décor should whet your guests’ appetites and build anticipation expectations of the food and service you provide inside.

Digital marketing

You must also make use of digital marketing for your restaurant. Since so many of us are very reliant on technology, the internet and, most importantly, peer recommendations for their purchasing decisions.

  • Social media. Your restaurant needs a social media account to connect with your customers, share photos, updates, news and personalize your follower’s experience, along with behind-the-scene videos. All of which communicate your business’ food concept and brand.
  • Website. Your restaurant’s website should contain information about your restaurant, including your address, phone number, working hours, menu and adapt a feature to collect feedback from customers. Having an will also be helpful.
  • Use review sites. Every restaurant should have a Yelp or Google reviews account and it keep it up to date with the same type of information you would provide on your restaurant’s website.
Traditional marketing

It’s useful to put ads in your local newspaper, especially when you’re just opening. Make sure you hire a writer to create captivating contents and call-to-action for you if you don’t know how to do it.

You can also try radio and direct mail advertising. However, you shouldn’t rely on this marketing alone. You need to offer promotions and coupons to loyal customers or first-time guests and create a loyalty program to reward loyal customers.

Quick Tips for Managing Your Restaurant
  • Develop and keep tweaking your menu with food cost and profitability in mind.
  • Keep a close eye on your operating costs and sales income.
  • Manage your inventory and suppliers carefully. This includes tracking your inventory on a daily basis.
  • Lay down the rules in form of operating procedures for opening and closing, cleaning, stocking, serving, food preparation, food storage and so on.
  • Train, manage and monitor your staff and their scheduling for optimum results.

The post Short Restaurant Startup Guide: Menus, Marketing, & Management Tips to Grow Your Restaurant appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Daniel Lummis, Marketing Consultant, Bladon WA

The way your restaurant is presented to consumers is very important. Building a strong, focused corporate identity will help create a favorable image of your company in people’s minds.

The way your restaurant is presented to consumers is very important. Building a strong, focused corporate identity will help create a favorable image of your company in people’s minds.

But what exactly is corporate identity? And how can you build a positive corporate identity that will set you apart from the competition and help you grow your restaurant?

Defining Corporate Identity

The term corporate identity is often used to refer to a company’s physical expression which includes taglines, logos, flyers, fonts, colors, social media, etc. It’s like your restaurant’s branding, but corporate identity is much more than visual appearance; it is a combination of your restaurant’s values, culture, and communications.

The Importance of Corporate Identity

Corporate identity isn’t something related to big corporations only. In fact, even if you’re a small restaurant, chances are you already have a corporate identity (social media presence, logo, etc.).

The question is: do you want to turn it into a powerful tool for success? If you are, then be prepared to go beyond visual appearance. You’ll also need to work on your restaurant’s personality, and fix what’s not working.

Creating a strong corporate identity for your restaurant will enable you to:

  • Have consistent external and internal communication
  • Stand out from the competition
  • Effectively engage with investors, employees, and customers.
What Does Corporate Identity Consist of?

Here are the components that build a strong corporate identity:

Personality and culture

As mentioned before, corporate identity goes far beyond design. It encompasses everything your brand represents. This includes:

–    Purpose and vision. Having a great menu is not enough to attract new guests. Ask yourself: What is your mission? Why should people care about your product?

–    Culture, behavior, and values. Giants like Facebook and Google work hard on their corporate culture. By allowing flexibility and interaction, these companies make people comfortable, boost creativity, and build trust. The culture is reflected in the company’s leadership, policies, and the people it employs.

Design

Your restaurant’s culture and values need to be reflected in your design elements, too.

Website. Your restaurant’s website is the first thing potential guests see when they search for you online. That’s why you need to make sure it’s visually appealing, easy to use, and that it offers valuable information (like your menu, hours of operation, takeout/delivery info, etc.).

Social media. Social media networks come right after your website, so ensure your company image is consistent through all platforms.

Logo. The logo should symbolize your brand. It should represent your company’s values and produce positive feelings in consumers. 

Physical locations. While online identity is very important, we shouldn’t forget the real world. Your company’s locations, vehicles, uniforms, as well as the way your employees present themselves are also part of your restaurant’s corporate identity.

Merchandise and packaging. Make sure that the packaging of your products, as well as all merchandise, are consistent and reflect your company values.

Company communications. Design also plays an important role in corporate communication. This includes business cards, envelopes, letterheads, etc. All these are seen by guests, partners, and investors, so make sure their design is consistent, professional, and presentable.

5 Tips to Help You Build Your Restaurant’s Identity

Here is how to create a strong corporate identity for your restaurant:

#1 Look Back

In order to be able to craft the right corporate identity, take some time to think about the reasons that motivated you to found your restaurant. What was your purpose back then? How did you plan to develop your business? No matter how much your business has evolved, these things still form a base for building strong identity.

#2 Where is Your Restaurant Now?

Before you begin moving forward, you need to figure out where your restaurant is at the moment. Use surveys and polls to determine how your customers and employees perceive you. In addition, examine the impression your company materials create in people. If the results are positive, you’re on the right track. If not, be prepared to make changes and use them as a foundation for your corporate identity in the future.

#3 Envision the Future

When developing your corporate identity, you’re not doing it for the present moment. That’s why you need to have a clear vision of what you want for your company in the future. Ask yourself: Where do you see your restaurant in five years? Will you have any new services or menu items? How many employees will you have and how will the teams be structured? The corporate identity you build today should be relevant in the future and help you achieve your goals.

#4 Look into Your Competitors

When crafting your corporate identity, it’s very important to stand out from the competition. To be able to achieve this, you’ll need to look beyond your own company. Do some research to identify your competitors. Once you do this, analyze their corporate identity: What do you like/dislike? What makes a certain company more successful than another? Take notes and use them when creating your restaurant’s corporate identity.

#5 Start Building Your Corporate Identity

Knowing where you started from, where your restaurant stands today, what your vision for the future is, combined with an insight into your competition, now you can start developing your corporate identity. Don’t forget to consider visual appearance, as well as the brand personality and culture

https://goo.gl/images/1B179d
Here is how to start:
  • Create a brand strategy. The process of creating a branding strategy includes elements that are also important when building corporate identity. So, by doing this, you’ll be able to revisit crucial things such as your purpose, values, as well as your brand positioning and personality.
  • Focus on developing brand identity. During this process, you’ll get into details such as logo, website, colors, typography, etc.
  • Create a style guide. Create a document that contains details on how your company presents itself to the outside world.

You’ve probably noticed that the three above-mentioned steps all refer to brand instead of corporate. Small restaurants that have only one brand can be effectively represented by that particular brand. And although presenting your company to corporate is different from presenting your brand to customers, the process is similar!

The post Build Your Restaurant’s Corporate Identity with These 5 Simple Branding Tips appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Allen Graves, Bloom Intelligence

There’s never been more advertising “noise” demanding consumer attention than now. Everywhere you turn on the internet, you see banner ads, text ads, click bait, video advertising and endless amounts of content leading you back to commercial sales pages — and that’s not even considering the traditional advertising that consumers see offline every day.

Being noticed and remembered in such a blizzard of marketing, messages can seem almost impossible for brick-and-mortar businesses. For restaurants, it can appear as an even more challenging task.

A lot has been said of late about restaurant customer segmentation – and rightfully so. Segmentation and targeted marketing can lower marketing costs, increase engagement with your messaging, and boost your bottom line.

Fortunately, WiFi marketing can provide restaurant marketing professionals the solution they’ve been searching for. It is a relatively new marketing channel for restaurants that can lead to highly successful , while also providing that all-important customer engagement that has proven to increase guest spending, frequency and satisfaction.

How it Works

If you offer free guest WiFi at your physical location, then you have installed at least one WiFi access point which provides internet access wirelessly to your guests. Just as this access point transmits wirelessly, it also receives wireless data.

Every mobile device has a unique ID called a MAC address. Your WiFi access point “hears” that device’s MAC address when it comes within range and stores it in a database. It anonymously listens to the device until it no longer hears that unique ID. It tracks and logs things like first-time visits, repeat rates, dwell times and visit times/days.

The true power (and profit) of WiFi marketing occurs when guests enter your physical location and access your free guest WiFi. Rather than entering a universal password that anyone could use, you require them to enter their name and email address to access the free network. Some systems will also allow them to login with their Facebook or other social media account.

This individual customer data is then stored in a database and a customer profile is created based on the unique ID of their device. If the customer had visited the store previously, all the data collected on that unique ID in the past will be transferred into the customer profile.

When the customer logs into your WiFi, they will be taken to your WiFi landing page. This page can deliver whatever message you’d like to convey to your guests. You can offer a digital coupon they can use immediately or on their next visit, promote a specific product, offer the opportunity to sign up for a loyalty program, or advertise an upcoming event.

This gives you the ability to passively create a substantial database of customer contact information, demographics and behavior data. Using this data, you can communicate with – and market to – your guests in a way that improves interaction and encourages engagement, which benefits both your business and your guests.

The Big Benefit: Customer Engagement

As we mentioned before, cutting through today’s overwhelming advertising noise is very difficult. Personalized, omni-channel customer engagement provides the key to getting through to today’s consumers. Loyalty programs, exclusive offers and in-house promotions can make it  easier to establish a connection with customers. But the one channel that just about all members of any persona have in common is email, and email can be accessed from any device. Using targeted based on your WiFi data allows customers to view your messages whenever and wherever they wish to do so.

Email continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach customers. Recent studies and examples show that than any other form of marketing in terms of getting a positive response from customers.

Having your guests’ email addresses and coupling that with their demographic and behavior data, restaurant marketers will suddenly find themselves sitting on a gold mine of marketing opportunity. You’ll be able to easily send them special offers based on, or triggered by, specific behavior or reaching certain milestones. You can further focus your messaging based on demographic data, such as age or gender.

This makes the consumer feel like you are speaking directly to them and not just blasting out more of the advertising noise. It all comes down to engaging with the customer, which is what lets you stand out clearly from your competition. This is the key to increasing customer frequency, spend and satisfaction.

WiFi Analytics

You will also be passively generating a great deal of useful information about your overall customer base, including:

  • First time visitors
  • Customer repeat rates
  • Average customer dwell times
  • Daily traffic
  • Popular visit times and days
  • Age and gender distribution

Some WiFi analytics and marketing platforms will even integrate with your POS and give you accurate per-person averages and customer lifetime values. All this can help you not only craft more personalized email marketing campaigns, but generate creative ideas to help you improve each of these metrics and increase your bottom line.

Offering WiFi at your place of business shouldn’t just be for your customers’ convenience. Yes, that is important, but if you’re not also using it as an avenue to segment your customers and create targeted marketing campaigns, you are simply leaving money on the table as you quietly fade into the advertising background noise.

Summary

When segmenting your customer base for marketing campaign ideas, make sure to take generational tendencies into account. Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating your next big campaign.

About the Author:Allen Graves has been on the front lines of digital marketing for over 15 years. Previously a bartender and server, Allen has recently steered his career toward working with Bloom Intelligence and brick-and-mortar fast casuals and QSRs, utilizing WiFi marketing to help them increase customer acquisition, spend, frequency and satisfaction.

The post WiFi Analytics for Restaurant Marketing & Customer Engagement appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Kate Myroniuk

To start your own restaurant is certainly no quick and easy achievement. There are a host of things that one needs to look into while the startup; however, things get even tougher once your restaurant is up and running.

One of the things that you need to take care of is the promotion of your place. Having great chefs and amazing interiors is not enough to do the trick for you.

You need to ensure that thousands of people get to know about your restaurant and its specialties. So how do you manage to do this? Here are effective ways on how to make your restaurant is the most popular in the city.

Restaurant Reservation Software: Availability & Convenience

As we live in the digital era, more transactions are made online. So, if your restaurant hasn’t yet, you may consider expanding your restaurant to the online dimension.

The goal is to make your restaurant available, appealing and convenient. This is easily done by utilizing an online restaurant reservation system. Why should you use it? For starters, it helps increase the service quality by letting the guest conveniently reserve a table at your restaurant whenever they want. It lets them see when you’re available, making planning easier for your guests.

It also frees up your restaurant staff from answering the phone, so they can do other service or prep work. The old fashioned pencil and paper method of keeping booking records is ripe for errors and mishaps that rarely happen with a software reservation system.

With reservation software, you have the means of accessing all of your records instantly. Everything is updated automatically, and can even be easily printed out as needed.

Promoting Your Restaurant Instagram promotion

It’s no grand secret that people share news, experiences and life position in social networks. It’s where the people are and where your restaurant should be, too. The question is which social media network should you concentrate on?

For restaurants, we’re big fans of Instagram. It provides you and your guests with not only the opportunity to describe an event (or experience) but also attaching visual content. This is powerful as restaurants are selling an experience as much as they are food and drink.

Moreover, new apps allow you to repost photos & videos your guests share on Instagram. Keep an eye out for the posts that you get tagged in. When a guest posts a great photo or video of them enjoying your restaurant, share it and show off how much fun your guests have. Just don’t forget to use proper hashtags so new visitors can learn about you.

Don’t forget about using Instagram Stories, either. These are perfect to entertain your followers with short videos and news about your restaurant that do not fall into the main profile.

Work with local food bloggers

It’s good to look outside social media, too. We love the idea of inviting local food bloggers to your area into your establishment for a meal. Show them the best experience your restaurant has to offer from start to finish. Comp the meal, of course. Introduce them to key members of your staff for questions and comments – not to mention to make that special connection.

When the article or video material is published, you’ll gain access to the writer’s audience and, if all went well, a bunch of new guests.

Internet promotion

Make the Internet your ideal marketing battlefield. You can create your restaurant website where guests are able to find clear info about your prices, menu and special offers. Moreover, you can use it also as a blog and start down the path of content marketing. Such an action will not only attract usual customers but also specialists in your sphere with which you will be able to deal in the future.

You may want to look into buying sponsored posts on social media sites or even targeted ads on search engines or websites. The key is to figure out where your target guests visit online and to meet them there. If they don’t know you exist, they won’t visit you!

About the Author
Kate Myroniuk is an avid content marketer and blogger. She enjoys learning all-things-related to businesses – be it the promotion of small restaurants, or creation of new SaaS companies. When she is not involved into improving her business skills, she enjoys drawing with watercolors and playing board

The post How to Make Your Restaurant the Most Popular in the City appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Elina Barklon, Content Manager, Lightspeed HQ

As a restaurant operator, you know how hard it is to attract guests. Getting them coming back is doubly hard, especially when your restaurant’s competition is not just the establishment across the street, but all the other options people can find online. That’s not all: restaurants aren’t solely judged based on the quality of the food and drinks anymore. Looking for an experience more than a meal, your guests have reshaped the industry and the definition of impeccable service. Still using pen and paper? It surely has its vintage charm, but it’s probably wasting you a lot of time. And your customers, too.

A cloud-based point of sale system is a modern day management tool for any type of restaurant, bar, café or even hotel restaurants. Why? Because it helps your staff work more efficiently, it gets your guests their orders faster and it gives you a better picture of how well your business is doing. Cloud-based is a standard for a modern POS. It means that all your data is stored online in a secure space, and you can access it anytime and from anywhere.

Now, how do you pick a POS system? Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before saying goodbye to your notebook or legacy system.

#1 Is it easy to use and can I try it for free?

POS systems aren’t complex systems by nature, but keep in mind that they are tools to manage entire businesses. Getting a complete system means that there is a learning curve. Make the most of free trials, even just to see if you like the system’s interface.

Have some of your staff try the system as well; the POS is for your staff as much as it is for you. With staff turnover, it’s just not going to work if new hires need weeks of training.

#2 Does it work offline?

With most technology relying on the Internet, your connection can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Look for a system that won’t let your service be interrupted. A point of sale that works offline will let you take payments, send orders to the kitchen and do everything without an Internet connection. You won’t see a difference, and most importantly, your guests won’t either. When the Internet decides to come back, all your data will be synchronized. This feature is not a nice-to-have; your interruption-free service needs it.

#3 Will it speed up my ordering process?

It has to. The faster you serve guests, the faster they are ready to either order more or pay. Efficiency doesn’t only simplify your operations, it increases guest turnover, which increases your bottom line.

First requirement: a mobile POS. Ensure you can grab a POS tablet and take orders from anywhere, even on the patio. The best POS systems also allow you to replicate your floor plan in the system, so you can monitor tables’ statuses in real time.

#4 Will it provide me with data?

Automating the way you receive data can be a game changer for your work-life balance. If you have several locations, ensure your POS lets you see the big picture as well as granular data related to individual locations. Make sure the system can generate sales reports for any period of time, and show you intel like tips and sales per employee, or even your customers’ preferred payment method.

Avoid manual calculations and let the machine do what it does best, turning complex equations into digestible information.

#5 What if there’s a problem?

In a perfect world, you’d be setting up your new POS and you’d never talk to your provider again. In the real world, there’s going to be a moment when you’re not sure what to do or a night where new employees need a quick answer about the system. With a technology provider that offers 24/7 support, you can always rely on someone to help out, from people who know the system better than anyone. Some POS companies even take the time to offer free onboarding sessions. Having an expert that can show you how to use the system makes a huge difference. If you pick a company that has this kind of support, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Between long-term goals like growth and short-term objectives like speed, make sure you pick a system that covers ALL your needs. Yes, it may require a bit more work at first, but a POS is a real investment for the future, and the bright future of a restaurant is built with a complete, cloud-based POS system.

Good luck!

About the Author

The post 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Restaurant POS appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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By Monica Smith, Reliant Funding

If you’re the owner of a successful restaurant, you’re probably not new to promoting your business on social media — especially Instagram. Whether you handle social media yourself or outsource marketing to an agency, you’ve always got to be ahead of your competitors in what, how and when you post it. Putting the best day and time aside (nuances we’ll get to later), the best season to promote yourself on Instagram is the festive one. Holidays and celebrations are in abundance between October to January and it’s up to you, to make the most of them and champion the Instagram game.

To be the best at Instagram, it’s important to build appeal to those who use the app. Instagram is close to touching almost 1 billion active users and it’s a number that’s on the rise, making it one of the most used social media apps. We’ve compiled a list of the things your restaurant should tick off to truly optimize your restaurant activity and outreach on the app.

Pre-Season Boost First Things First…

Switch to a business profile account if you haven’t done so yet. While switching to a business profile account itself is free, additional features may cost you a small amount, but it’s a good investment to get your business seen. With a business profile, you can link your Instagram account to your Facebook business account, get insights on how your business is doing on Instagram, and even easily create ads to promote on Instagram.

Beat to the ‘Punch’

Create a new and changing menu over this season. Add some bright new dishes and drinks that are sure to bring people flocking to your store, and take pictures of what you’re selling. Millennials and Gen-Z love to experiment with new food. Rest assured, if you create something truly spectacular, it will pick up traction on social media.

Thanksgiving. Restaurants these days stay open on Thanksgiving Day, and yours could offer Thanksgiving courses including a turkey, sides, and desserts such as different pies. Include a vegetarian option for Thanksgiving such as salads, roasted cauliflower, and stuffed mushrooms. Above all, keep a warm and welcoming ambience that’s visually appealing and brings a feeling of home to your customers.

Include a corner for kids to dress up as pilgrims and turkeys to share on your Instagram and promote the holiday!  Add drinks like a Maple Perfect Manhattan, or a Cranberry Champagne Cocktail in your menu. You can even try non-alcoholic twists or create a November sister to the pumpkin-spiced latte.

Christmas. Christmas is one of the most loved holidays. And what’s not to love? Wrapping presents, decorating the tree, and the endless lights. Create a menu to bring the Christmas cheer to your customers.

Include dishes like a Caprese Christmas Wreath or Ham & Cheese Pinwheels which have been claimed to be one of the best things ever eaten. If these dishes don’t go with the theme of your restaurant, don’t fret! Anything that keeps up with the Christmas theme, uses red and green colors, sprinkles, gingerbread and is eye-popping should certainly catch the eye of Instagram users. Incorporate the theme in even your regular dishes and show off what your guests can look forward to on your page.

New Years. New Years is meant for food. Several cultures around the world celebrate the dawn of a new beginning with different foods to symbolize different things. Special cakes and bread are the most common, long noodles (represent long life), field peas (represent coins), herring (represents abundance) and pork (represent good luck). Market foods that will bring good luck in the year ahead to your guests and welcome them to try it at your restaurant!

New Years is also big for food delivery, so having a delivery option will help boost sales.

In summary, include dishes and drinks to bring a wow factor to your restaurant and get people buzzing to take pictures and post on their Instagram- talking about the food and talking about your restaurant.

A Holiday Story

Still don’t know exactly what your guests would like best? Ask them! Create an Instagram template that asks your followers their preferences in a subtle and fun way. Ask them what their favorite part of the season is, whether they prefer this or that, what’s their favorite thing to eat and drink during the holidays etc. Ask your followers to screenshot the template, fill it out and post it on their stories. Remind them to tag your restaurant so you can check out their answers and plan out your menu to surprise them.

You can also use Instagram’s Ask or Poll features, too, for faster & more direct feedback.

One-Stop Photospot

Create the perfect Instagram-worthy location. Whether it’s a natural setting or you set up an artificial wall with decorations, make it the perfect background for your guests to click pics up and post. It can be something cheesy for adults like dressing up like Santa and elves, or a gingerbread house corner for people to decorate. As long as it packs a wow factor, it will be memorable and talked about by your guests and their friends.

The best part of creating something really amazing is that it will keep your guests eager for the next holidays to see what your restaurant has to offer.

Play the Tease

Now that you have your festive menu and decorations all planned out, it’s time to tease your fuests & followers with what to look forward to during the holidays. Post stories (or go Live!) where you’re planning the menu and decorating the store. Showing followers the work and effort you put into holiday planning can also intrigue them more into what you’re cooking up.

Create polls and quizzes and let them interact with the goings on at your restaurant to stir up an interest to pay your restaurant a visit. You can even put up posts using word plays or crosswords in posts, asking people to comment and guess what new items are being added on the menus. Offer discounts or surprises to the first X number of people to guess it right. Hold challenges and contests on Instagram and offer giveaways to the winners.

Let the Holidays Begin! Post with the Most

The weeks building up to Thanksgiving and “Drinksgiving,” Christmas and the New Years is going to be eventful in celebrations. In other words, Instagram feeds are going to be very crowded. Don’t be disheartened! Start ahead and post everyday posts about the holidays and what’s happening at your restaurant. Make yourself a familiar name and when the holidays come around, people will certainly want to drop by your store.

Use the right filters, use other Instagram editor apps and plan out every post. Don’t be afraid to use holiday-themed puns in your captions. The cornier the better!

Hash Browns and Hashtags

It’s critical to do a proper research on the hashtags used during the festive season. Including those in your posts can be the biggest thing to create organic impressions and build a maximum outreach. Even one hashtag can average 12.6% more engagement than posts without them.

Repost, Repost, Repost

Ask guests to tag your restaurant when they share pictures on Instagram. When they do, the best way to build a following is to re-post what they have shared. This will make your guests & followers feel appreciated, and make them want to return to your restaurant.

You can even start a hashtag such as #’yourbusinessname’Thanksgiving and anyone who uses the hashtag in a post and write about what they enjoyed the most at your restaurant can get a pitcher of soda or an appetizer for free next time they visit.

It’s All About the Timing

Although you may have epic Instagram posts, you may ascertain that they aren’t reaching the engagement levels you wish to make. That’s why it’s important to plan out when you post using Instagram tools that will plan it out for you. Check out tools like Later, Agorapulse, and Autogrammer to help you out with this.

Food Bloggers

Reach out to food bloggers with a loyal amass following. Bloggers with anywhere between 20k-30k followers have a good reach and wouldn’t be too heavy on the wallet either. They’re your best chance of getting a good reach to new guests and would be happy to post about your restaurant.

Instagram is one of the best tools to push your restaurant and attract a large audience during the holidays. Lowering your prices, offering discounts and giveaways may seem like you’re losing your business integrity, but it’s worth the brand awareness it builds around your restaurant.

Don’t be afraid to skimp out on any step given here, and if you feel you’re digging too deep in your pockets, you can always take a financing option to help you out. And the key rule of Instagram? Don’t be afraid to show off and do so abundantly! You’re both your best cheerleader, and now the champion of the Instagram game.

The post How Your Restaurant Can Champion the Instagram Game (Festive Season Special) appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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People have always known they should eat healthy, but some people take it to the next level. Whether it’s because of health issues or they are just passionate about only putting the best into their bodies, eating healthy is more popular than ever.

It’s because of this popularity to eat healthy that many new fads, diets, and even foods, are being created. In generations past, nearly nobody ate things like kale or chard, but now many people are in love with it because of its health benefits.

This health food enthusiast’s market is one restaurants can’t ignore, especially as more and more people worry about what food they are putting in their bodies and hitting up the gym. As healthy lifestyles grow in popularity, your restaurant needs to market to those who are passionate about eating only the best foods.

Short-Term Fads Vs Long-Term Lifestyles

Health fads are a part of human culture. Whether it’s eating a specific kind of food regularly, dieting a specific way, or taking a pill to stop your late-night snacking, health fads are always coming and going.

There are different types of health fads though, mostly split between how long they are popular. A health fad is often a flash in the pan of popularity and quickly forgotten again in a few months to a year. Things like the “Purple Diet” where people only ate purple foods, or “Aerated Chocolates,” are all things that were popular for a short period, but are now either disproven or forgotten.

On the flip side, some health trends gain real lasting power, eventually becoming a lifestyle. Things like going gluten-free, Weight Watchers, the Atkins or paleo diet, IIFYM, or eating organic foods are all now lifestyles accepted by people everywhere.

It’s important to know the difference between a fad and a lifestyle before you start building menu items and marketing towards them. A quick fad could earn you a lot of money fast, but building a whole menu around it could lead to wasted money and effort once the fad is gone. On the flip side, if something is going to be a lifestyle, you should take your time and do it right.

What is Your Target Market Doing to Stay Healthy?

People of different generations, demographics, and even genders diet and eat healthy differently. Because of this, you need to understand what trends and lifestyles your main target market follows and which ones they don’t.

For example, the biggest group of people who use Weight Watchers are people over 65 years old, with no other major demographic using it more. So, if a lot of your customers are older, you might want to consider marketing certain menu items and Weight Watcher friendly.

Why Buyer Personas are Essential Restaurant Marketing Tools - YouTube

For a good way to better understand your current customer base and how they eat, talk to your employees (especially your servers and chefs) and your customers. Ask your employees what kind of items are requested the most, such as vegan, gluten-free, or food without certain ingredients, and how it compares to your current menu. Interview guests to see where they would like to see the menu grow and what healthier options they would actually order.

Being Actually Healthy and Highlighting Healthier Alternatives

Many people don’t actually want to eat healthy, they just want to think they are eating healthy while still enjoying tasty foods.

A prime example of this is people buying salads and soups from fast food restaurants. Many customers think that soups and salads are a much healthier alternative to other menu items, even when they are only slightly better than other menu items. Yet, people will willingly believe that the soup or salad option is incredibly healthy, even when it isn’t. This is more because of ignorance from the consumer and less on misleading by the restaurant.

When it comes to your menu, you might not find success putting truly healthy options in front of your guests, but highlighting your healthier options might help. This can be accomplished with a symbol bringing extra attention to it, creating a healthy options section in the menu, selling a smaller dish version of a popular meal, or simply pointing out a dish is vegan or vegetarian. Just be careful not to outright lie to customers about health benefits or ingredients.

Providing Health Info to Those That Want It

Being healthy is not easy. It requires exercise, control, and research, especially counting how many calories you eat and how many you burn off. Yet, nobody wants to look at a menu full of facts and figures, and nothing dissuades a big appetite from ordering the steak than a massive number of calories next to it.

Yet, you should still disclose health info like the number of calories somewhere, and your website is a great place for that. That way, it’s not ruining the dining experience of those not concerned about calories, but still easily found for dieters. Everything, from alcoholic drink nutritional labels, to a detailed breakdown of your most popular dishes, should be listed on your website for those who want it. This info doesn’t need to be front and center, but still easily found for health-conscious customers.

You may also want to look into putting that info on popular food databases and apps, like MyFitnessPal, that your guests use to track what they’re eating.

Getting Approved by an Organization or Spokespeople

Behind most healthy lifestyles or fads is an organization or spokespeople giving it validity. This includes celebrities, television doctors, businesses, even social media influencers.

Gaining approval or acceptance by a health group or individual can do a lot to grow your reputation as a healthy establishment. You could even partner with them for further attention and mutual growth. Some restaurants partner up with Weight Watchers in order to list certain items as “Weight Watcher friendly” and get listed on their website. Or, you could ask a health-focused influencer to review your food and list you on their website in exchange for a free meal or monetary compensation.

When it comes to marketing to health-focused people, be sure to provide the right information and understand what they look for from you as a restaurant. Then, put out marketing materials and info that will bring them in. If lots of people want gluten-free meals, vegan meals, and so on, provide them and then get the word out. That can be listing them on your website, putting up banners, reaching out to health sources and websites, and making it a key part of your menu.

The post How to Market Your Healthy Food to Attract Health Enthusiasts appeared first on Creative Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas.

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