Next Restaurants | Free Digital Marketing Ideas for Restaurants
Next Restaurants is the only source for innovative restaurant marketing ideas and intros to new restaurant tech tools. Here you will find free updates on next-generation tools, tactics, and trends for digital restaurant marketing.
If you follow any major influencers or celebrities on social media, you might have noticed a new social platform called Vero. That’s right, alongside Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and a handful of other platforms, people still have time for another one.
With its quick spike in attention and users, it might feel necessary to get involved at the ground floor with Vero. But does your restaurant need Vero? Before you run to the app and get your restaurant registered, there are a few things you need to know about Vero and whether it will be around for the long haul.
It’s Like Instagram with Chronological Posting
The biggest feature people talk about with Vero is that it’s like Instagram but with a chronological posting feed. Often a major gripe for Instagram users is the inability to just scroll through the feed by what is most recent, instead having to rely on the platform’s algorithm for what it thinks you want to see.
But Vero is not just an Instagram clone. The best way to describe it is a mesh of every other major social media platform. There is definitely a heavy emphasis on visual media like pictures and videos, but users can do more than that. They can post what books they are reading, music they are listening to, movies they are watching, and more. Each of these posts can act like a mini review, letting users praise or bash on different media.
One dangerous aspect of Vero’s business model, though, is that it won’t always be free. The first million users get free accounts for life, but Vero plans on charging a subscription fee thereafter. There is no information on how much they will charge, and that extra cost no doubt will turn away many users. Younger users, like teenagers and younger, won’t even have Vero as an option without disposable income, and others will balk at the idea of paying for social media when the rest are free.
Vero is Still in Beta, and You Can Tell
Vero has been around since 2015, but has never had this kind of attention. Because of this quick spike, their servers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. Personally, it took over 30 minutes to sign up for the service, with it denying my authentication code multiple times before finally accepting it. Then, it’s been a one in six chance of actually getting back into the app.
This doesn’t bode well for the thousands of people trying it out off of the suggestions of influencers they follow. Many will likely sign up, feel the growing pains of the new service, and leave. Many features are not fully fleshed out and are done better by other platforms. First impressions are important, and right now many are frustrated with Vero.
One major feature that is missing, though, is connecting your Vero account to other social media to find friends easily. Basically, you have to start fresh finding people to follow; something nobody wants to do. For a business on the app, that means a lot of work self-promoting your Vero account on other social media platforms.
Not Really Business Friendly
It’s clear that Vero’s long-term plan is not to rely on ad revenue like most social media platforms. They’ve stated that only the first million users get free accounts and that everybody after that have to pay to be on Vero. They’re hoping that once they get a foothold in the social media business, they can gain revenue from users, not businesses.
That leaves restaurants two choices: either pay an influencer to promote your restaurant, or build a profile and following naturally. One major difference to Vero from other platforms though is being able to sell products directly on it. Instead of redirecting to new website, you can make purchases on the app, with Vero pocketing a small percentage.
For restaurants though, this feature isn’t helpful. Maybe in the future they’ll add a feature for delivering food to compete with UberEats or such, but as it stands now, not very useful.
Another downside is the lack of hard data for users and businesses. Outside of comments and likes, you have no idea how many people are actually seeing your post. In today’s world, businesses run on data and not giving businesses on Vero access to some analytics means many won’t even consider it.
A Visual Platform Requiring Visual Content
Vero is very much a visual social media platform. Currently, users can’t just write a text post; they must use a photo/video or link to a website. That means lots of photos and videos in Vero’s feed, with the occasional review and recommendation.
On the other hand, if your restaurant is on Instagram, but you’re finding barriers because of its algorithms, Vero might be worth a try. You could even post the same content on both Instagram and Vero and see which brings you more results. After a few months of work, you might see results in Vero because of their algorithmic differences you can’t achieve in Instagram. Just be sure to let your followers know you are on Vero so you can build an audience there quickly.
Time Will Tell on Vero
It’s clear that Vero has a long way to go and needs to do a lot to prove it’s worth your time. Don’t put all of your social media marketing eggs in the Vero basket just yet. Spend most of your effort and money into proven social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such.
As it is right now, Vero is not a required social media for restaurants. Because of its quick spark of popularity, it might be worth creating a free account while they are available and tinkering with, just in case it does grow more popular. Don’t expect it to overthrow Instagram overnight, or even in a year. While there are many nice features for the average user, there is little of value to most businesses, most of all restaurants.
Having a good social media presence can be one of the most invaluable free ways to market your restaurant. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are ways to speak directly to crowds of existing and soon to be guests young & old (but mostly young).
Here are five lessons we can learn from the best restaurant social media programs:
Share Guests’ Content
This is a key aspect of having a successful social media presence. To start, create a hashtag that your guests and follows can tag in their posts (ex: #WINGsdays, for a wing night), so you can find them easily. Pick your favorites and share. Never forget to tag your guests in the post. One, people take stealing content seriously and two, your guests will love being in the limelight for a few minutes.
Host Social Media Contests
A great way to drive engagement is to run little social media contests. A good old-fashioned “Best Caption on this Photo Wins a Giftcard” is a great way to build some online engagement and ensure someone comes to your restaurant and spends time and money at your establishment.
Use Video to Bring Your Brand to Life
Have a new menu item and the preparation of said item is cool and unique, or just looks particularly delicious? Showcase it! Your team doing something funny like dressing up for a holiday to be festive? Post that video; it shows that you have senses of humor and your restaurant is a fun place to visit. Maybe your bartender is exceptional. Film them creating a fancy cocktail with some fun bottle flourishes. The possibilities go as far as your imagination does!
Ask Questions to Engage Gollowers
Which is the superior chicken wing: Flats or Drums? With polarizing opinion-based questions like that your followers are sure to engage in your poll and most likely even debate or share their opinion in your comments. People love standing up for what they believe in, especially if it is something lighthearted like a food. You can run these very easily on Twitter, and Instagram recently added a poll option to their stories, so you can really play around and boost engagement.
Capitalize on Trending Topics
Did you notice that the most viral post on the web was a ‘Pizza Rat’ for a long while? If you run a pizzeria, you should’ve run with that news! Use those viral coincidences to capitalize on your restaurant fitting in with the trendy topic of the moment. This can be an easy way to draw people in to your account whom otherwise wouldn’t see it. Think Oreo during Super Bowl 47 when the power outage happened.
While the social media techniques do not end here, this is a solid base of skills to practice and perfect as you start to build your image on social.
It’s completely understandable when things fall to the wayside. You’ve got so many duties that it’s easy for things like marketing to become less important. After all, updating your website or posting to social media can always wait till tomorrow, right?
But now you are ready to get back into it and restart your restaurant’s marketing. It’s a great decision, but instead of jumping back into what you were previously doing, consider revamping and improving your marketing. Depending on how long you haven’t been actively marketing, the world might have changed. Tactics that worked a couple years ago might not be effective anymore. Luckily, we’ve got some stellar advice on how to go about restarting your marketing the right way.
Playing Catch-Up on Marketing
Before you jump back into marketing, you need to do some research on what’s working in the world of marketing today. Spend some time on industry-relevant marketing sites learning what is popular and effective right now. Learn more about digital marketing strategies alongside more traditional advertising methods.
Another good strategy is to analyze your competitors’ marketing and how it compares to yours. Check out their website, social media, traditional and online ads, anything they are doing to draw in new customers. This can give you a good idea how you currently stand and what you need to do to grow.
Analyze Your Current Marketing
Do you have a good basic understanding of the current state of marketing? Great. Now it’s time to critique your own work.
It’s important to identify what is still working and what isn’t in your restaurant’s marketing so you don’t have to start completely over. Maybe you feel your restaurant’s branding is really strong. It wouldn’t make sense then to rebrand your business going forward.
For other parts of your marketing, where data isn’t readily available, interview guests and those in your local area. Find out what they liked and disliked about the ads. Ask things about the design, the offer, the frequency, and the delivery method.
Build or Improve Your Website
If you don’t have a website, get one. It’s a terrible idea to only have your menu hosted on a site like Yelp or AllMenus. Buy a domain name that matches your business name and start building a site. It’s quite possible to build one yourself or pay for somebody else to do it.
If you already have a website, then it’s time to improve on it. Start by updating information on your site. Has your menu changed recently? Update it on the site. Opened a new location or have seasonal hours? Add it.
Then, consider ways to improve outside of maintenance. Content marketing is becoming increasingly important to businesses everywhere, and it might be an area you want to focus on. Consider starting a blog for your site and use it as a place to draw in new guests and gain more traffic to your site. There are tons of ways you can create unique content that can help you connect with your local audience.
As you try out new things, A/B test all changes. That way, you can find what works for your site and what doesn’t. Test out a new change, collect data for a specific period of time, and modify those changes based on the data.
Focus on Gaining Return Customers
Brand loyalty plays a huge part in today’s business world. It’s often the deciding factor when people are trying to decide where to go out to eat. A major focus point of your marketing needs to be creating brand loyalty.
Hopefully, your dining experience is already good enough that people aren’t dissuaded from coming back. Now, you need to work on getting them to return time and time again till your restaurant becomes a go-to choice. Consider creating a rewards club that gives discounts and coupons to returning customers. That way, they have more of an incentive to eat with you than your competitors.
Make a Plan, Create Habits
Marketing is not a one-time task where you spend on week every year doing it. It needs to become a regular part of your routine. Constantly working on new projects, fine tuning current strategies, and running experiments is how you find success.
A good way to start is to set aside a few hours every week dedicated to marketing. Shut off your phone, tell employees to leave you alone, lock your office, whatever it takes to get time to focus solely on your marketing. Put on your calendar and make it a priority.
Use that time effectively by having a plan on what you will work on. One week, plan out a month’s worth of social media posts and schedule them out. Next week, create a new piece of content for your website. Week after that, analyze your analytics and adjust pages accordingly.
Once you create this habit of working on marketing once a week, you’ll find that it becomes a higher priority as you find success. Try to spend more time every week working on your marketing to keep that traction going. If you find it hard to set aside time for marketing, consider hiring a marketing professional to help out.
Restarting your marketing is a wise decision, but make sure you do all you can to ensure it doesn’t lapse again. Consistent marketing is key to finding success, so make sure you have the time to do all of the above advice and more. Focus on strategies that produce success, make sure to consult your data, and set aside time on a regular basis to do the work.
Social Wi-Fi has the ability to transform the way you promote your restaurant by leveraging multi-channel marketing.
Restaurant marketing has become far more sophisticated in our digital world. It has been substantially transformed over the last few years and restaurateurs have had to become savvier than ever to develop and execute a successful marketing strategy.
No longer do guests rely on print media, but rather make choices via online reviews, social media channels like Facebook, information sent via email, or through digital ads viewed as they browse the web. All these channels must be at the center of your marketing strategy to run a successful restaurant.
Online marketing may be where e-commerce thrives best, but there is actually far more potential for restaurants to leverage it with social Wi-Fi. In fact, it can even be argued that restaurateurs may have an upper hand when it comes to marketing online than any e-commerce store ever could.
What Multi-Channel Marketing Is
Restaurants have a lot of variety with regards to marketing because they have both physical and digital marketing solutions available to them. This mix of different platforms is known as multi-channel marketing.
Restaurants can communicate with guests directly and indirectly through websites, direct mail, email, social media, table side marketing, and more. This gives you a greater chance of reaching new guests or have regulars return to your restaurant more frequently.
Why It Matters
For a business to grow, it is vital to foster communication and interaction between restaurants and guests. Because each of your guests will prefer different forms of communication your customers will be everywhere — so, you should be too.
Offering a Seamless Experience
Multi-channel marketing provides a seamless experience across both real-world and digital spaces. This includes everything from in-store advertisements and displays to social media advertisements and email marketing. Multi-channel marketing allows you to tailor and align your branding across multiple different platforms.
By being visible on various different platforms, the likelihood of a guests coming across your marketing material increases exponentially. This is of key importance as studies have shown that time and time again, frequency breeds familiarity — and familiarity breeds trust. No matter who or where your customers are, you want to be there too.
How it Works
This all sounds great in theory but keeping track of different social media, CRM, and digital advertising platforms also sounds incredibly time-consuming. Fortunately, there are platforms that provide one-stop social Wi-Fi solutions that easily integrate with your current wireless infrastructure.
Finding out what your customer behaviors are is of paramount importance. What drives a customer’s decision to visit your restaurant? What are they interested in? How old are they and what gender more frequently visits, if any? How much time do they spend at your restaurant? How many customers are repeat visitors?
Guessing the answers to these questions is generally not helpful and can sometimes be detrimental to your marketing efforts because you are operating on assumed or incorrect information.
Different platforms require different types of messaging. What works as a storefront display won’t work in an email message. What works as an email won’t work as a Facebook or Google advertisement. With so many channels available, multi-channel marketing solutions let you control all of the digital media communications from a single place. This cultivates a highly attentive audience that will respond to your marketing. With the collected demographic and behavioral information, you can create pin-point accurate incentives to different types of audiences who frequent your location.
Since you can control many different digital platforms from a single place, it makes creating a highly coordinated campaign simple and intuitive. Customers do not change their preferred communication platforms easily — and convincing them to do so is nearly impossible. Rather than trying to mold a visitor to your system, you can adapt your campaign to multiple platforms increasing your chances of getting a customer to react in a positive way to your marketing.
Calculating Return On Investment
Running a multi-channel campaign gives you more reach but it also makes quantifying the return on investment more difficult. Just because a customer opened an email with an incentive, for example, doesn’t mean they acted on it and returned to your restaurant. Having a system that works with both a physical space via Wi-Fi access points and digital platforms allows you to close the marketing loop. By comparing who triggered an action online and whether they returned to your restaurant or cafe, you get a real sense of what your return on investment is.
Easy Strategies to Use
There are different ways to act on all of the collected contact, behavioral, and demographic information for marketing purposes. There is a variety of different ways to promote and market your restaurant but here are just four easy-to-implement strategies that you can use.
Get More Online Reviews
Building solid reviews will go a long way to getting more business. The best part is that reviews tend to snowball into more reviews which then attracts new guests to your business creating a positive feedback loop. After a guest leaves your restaurant, you can automatically trigger communication prompting them to share their experience on popular review sites.
Persuade Customers to Return More Often
Studies indicate that if you can increase your repeat customers by just 5%, you can boost your sales anywhere from 25% to a whopping 95%! With the demographic and behavioral information you’ve collected, you can create specific incentives and hyper-target a particular set of customers on multiple platforms to have them return to your restaurant more often.
Run Digital Surveys
Easily solicit information from your customers regarding what they liked and didn’t like, the overall dining experience, rate their servers, the ambiance, your menu, wine/cocktail
list, and more with a simple emailed digital survey. This information will allow you to be more proactive and take corrective action or invest more on the positive aspects of your restaurant.
Cross Promote Your Restaurants
If you operate under a group or run numerous restaurant brands under a corporate umbrella, you can leverage multiple locations. Having a wealth of information on your customers at a particular location can be used to promote new locations or establish additional brands. It can bring your new brand or location to the center of your customers’ attention in a relatively inexpensive way. It is an effective, targeted marketing practice with fantastic results. Moreover, you can evaluate how successful such a cross-marketing campaign is and evaluate the precise number of customers it brings to your new venues as well as their behavioral and demographic information.
Marketing effectively to your guests and building a relationship with them is crucial to the success of any restaurant, bar or cafe.
About the Author Danny F. Santos is the content manager at Aislelabs, a provider of the most advanced Wi-Fi location marketing, advertising, and analytics platform in the market. He has over seven years of content management and technical writing experience.
To make your restaurants shine out like top brands, you need to master multiple skills. Culinary excellence, ambience, guest satisfaction, audience targeting, branding & advertising, expense management, competitive prices, etc. are just a few decisive components.
There are many restaurant owners, who in a rush to expand their business, spend fast and loose. As a result, most of the restaurants aren’t able to go beyond the break-even point.
Restaurant promotion is that one mishandled area that can bring down the whole process. Many people spend money without analysing or not at all. This is a development area in which one can acquire expertise only after extensive research and demography study.
Here’s a round-up to help you get better at restaurant promotions.
1. Set a Benchmark First & Break Your Own Records
Remember, rushing towards anything can make you miss some important.
Many people fail to take strong steps and overthink about outcomes. While it’s advisable to take time in thinking, procrastinating due to fear isn’t fruitful either. Have a specific target customer figure in mind.
Audience targeting will take you a long way ahead. If you supply to vegetarian customers, eliminating the audience who prefers non-veg food will be a wise decision. Identify your potential converts and promote your business for them.
Set a goal and earn trust of a specific number of guests. Take this as your benchmark. If it works, increase the marketing budget and promote in the same pattern.
2. Steadily Provide Offers
You might be excited and tempted to giveaway coupon codes, cashbacks, or discounts to lure guests. However, that cannot be your only agenda and you can’t even spend extravagantly on this.
3. Observe to Get the Best Out of Restaurant Promotions
The profit margin is usually lower in the initial stages. Investing heavily without any observation and judgement is worthy of nothing.
It’s easy to throw a particular amount of money and then sit disappointed about your decision.
Look for marketing agencies that provide services at the lowest possible price window.
4. Bring Your Social Media Strategies to Play
Most of the youth is all time active on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become an important part of their routine.
Creating Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts should be your first step to online marketing.
It will keep your guests connected to you all the time, but only if you keep the feed updated. Don’t be afraid of being creative with your posts. Follow the trends and twist them to fit your brand to create quirky posts.
5. Keep an Eye on your Competitors
An important part of business is tracking what your competing restaurants are doing, the strategies they are using, and how they’re excelling at them. Learn from their mistakes and strategies-gone-wrong.
Keep a check if they are copying you by offering similar coupons like yours. Keep your rivals closer than friends.
6. Be Consistent
Achieving a position is good, but maintaining that place is the best foot forward.
Similarly, getting new guests is always beneficial, but retaining them is what earns you extra cookie points. So what are you doing to maintain you loyal fanbase?
The biggest reason behind successful food chains is that they never miss out on entertaining customers and taking steps to retain them.
7. Regular Feedback Works like Wonders
Knowing your customer is always better to keep them connected.
“What do you think about us?” This simple question has potential of adding greater value to your business than what you’d ever imagine. The answer to this question gives an idea about what your customers think of you. Eventually, this will in streamlining and scheduling the promotional strategies for future.
Though, you will hear a lot of conflicting and confusing ideas from your friends, families, acquaintances, and others, it is your choice to follow the path you want.
All of the afore-mentioned pointers can miraculously amplify your restaurant’s market position.
Be a flamingo in the flock of pigeons – Burgeon!
About the Author
The article is brought to you by 9ightout. The round-up provides information about the best promotion strategies for restaurant businesses.
Phil comes home from a hard day’s work. He changes into his comfy clothes, checks his Facebook, then feels the sharp pain of hunger. He strolls over to the fridge and opens it, looking for his next meal. He’s disappointed. All that is in his fridge are a few frozen meals, some slightly mushy fruit, leftovers from who knows when, and some beverages. Not enough to satisfy his hunger.
So, Phil decides to order out, but what are his options? Pizza, Chinese, sandwiches, and that’s about it. What he really wants is a burrito. But, he’s already in his pajamas and doesn’t want to venture out in public. So, instead, he settles for something deliverable and eats it in the comfort of his home.
People everywhere are like Phil. Sometimes they just want to eat a nice burrito, steak, pasta, or lobster meal while watching Netflix and relaxing. The demand for delivery is higher than ever, and your restaurant should provide it. Then, you need to market your delivery services, so everybody knows you have it.
Creating a Plan for Delivery
If your restaurant doesn’t already offer delivery, it’s time to look at the possibility. Whether you serve the fastest of foods or the fanciest of meals, look for ways to deliver your food.
A good place to start is gauge interest in delivery options. If you have a good following on social media, or a healthy email list, send out a survey. Give your customers the chance to tell you what they want. Find out where people interested in delivery live. That way, you can see if you would have enough demand within a reasonable delivery radius.
Then, figure out how you would do delivery. Would you hire your own delivery employees or partner with a third-party delivery company, like GrubHub or UberEats? Having your own employees means pocketing more of the money, but also requires you to have enough demand to pay for the delivery employee. Then, if you choose to hire employees, do you have them use their own vehicles, or get a company car — maybe one with a built-in heating tool to keep the food warm?
Launching Your Service
So you figured out all of the details of your delivery service; now it’s time to launch it. You’ll want to make sure to get the word out to everybody you can and push to have a strong start. The more people who experience your delivery and find it useful, the more long-term customers you’ll create.
So throw a massive event around the launch of your delivery service. Shout it from the rooftops that your restaurant is offering delivery. Put a massive banner at the top of your website. Pay for ad space in your local community. Have commercials on local radio and TV stations. Post about it on social media. Go big announcing it to everybody you can.
It might even be worth giving customers extra deals when ordering online during the launch week or month. Have discounts on your most popular items, offer free delivery, or do some sort of sweepstakes for people who use your delivery service.
Targeting Why They Are Ordering
People order delivery for different reasons, such as: looking to feed a massive party, having a hassle-free family dinner, needing a quick lunch, or just wanting to eat delicious food in their pajamas while watching Netflix.
After that initial launch time where you are shooting to get everybody to try your delivery service, look at the data you’ve received. That includes order size, what time of day orders are made and delivered, where the food was delivered, and how often people order.
From that information, alongside your website’s data, you can piece together your delivery target markets. Maybe your food isn’t very viable for large parties like pizza is, so it wouldn’t make sense to target that market. On the flip side, maybe a lot of people are ordering singular meals at odd hours, meaning that maybe you have a strong market for people who like to eat your food alone in the comfort of their home. Do market research to identify ideal and new customers.
Once you’ve created an understanding of who is using your service, you start planning your marketing around that market. Finding that a lot of people order massive amounts of food for parties on Friday nights? Have promotions and advertising about using your delivery service to throw a great event.
Just like with customers who eat inside your restaurant, part of keeping long-time customers with your delivery business is your service. One bad experience and they will never come back. One batch of cold food, one rude delivery man, one wrong order — if anything goes wrong, people won’t risk delivery again.
A big part of the delivery experience is what to expect if something does go wrong. A prime example of this are the days when pizza companies had the “Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” promise. This is typically no longer the case, but that big marketing push gave customers a feeling that, no matter the result, they win by ordering delivery. Either they get their food extremely quickly or they get it for free.
While you don’t need to copy the “delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” model, you need to do something to impress. A good example to look at is Jimmy Johns. A major portion of their delivery business is that they have “freaky fast delivery.” Find something comparable to your business that will leave customers satisfied from ordering delivery.
Keeping your delivery service profitable is to include it in your marketing permanently. It’s not enough to simply have the option on your site. Keep people informed that you offer delivery for their convenience. Doing that will lead to long-term success and constantly creating returning customers.
This kind of health scandal ruins restaurants. Whether it’s a scarlet F on the window or tons of negative reviews on Yelp, if people are afraid of eating at your restaurant, your business will plummet.
But getting that bad reputation isn’t the end. You don’t have to close your door permanently when faced with a health scandal. Recovering from these failures are possible with focused marketing and clever public relations (PR) work.
Be Transparent While Fixing the Mistakes
Fear is a very powerful emotion. You could have guests who come to your restaurant every week and never have a problem suddenly become too scared to come because of a group of people got food poisoning at your place. Similarly, getting a bad score on a health inspection, especially if it shuts down your restaurant for a period of time, can put fear into your regulars and newcomers.
As you investigate what happened and start fixing mistakes, tell the public what is going on. Keep them in the loop of what efforts you are taking to improve your restaurant and fix what went wrong. A great place to do this is on social media.
If a large group of customers got food poisoning, it is important to make it up to them. If guests feel betrayed after you get a low grade from the health department, you need to earn that trust back.
Figure out the best way to make reparations to anybody you hurt because of your mistakes. A great place to start is to give them their money back and offer them a free meal after everything is fixed. This alone could transform a hateful customer into a big promoter. If they put up a nasty review, it’s likely they will revise it in some way.
If your mistake has much larger impact, you can’t reasonably offer refunds to everybody, but you can still make things right. You could do stuff like have a grand re-opening or event night where meals are half price, happy hour all day, or similar promotions. You could also give back to the community by holding a fundraising night or sponsoring a local charity for some PR work. Not only does this build good will with the community, it can go a long way with reaching new customers.
The Power of Re-Branding
If you’ve had a major incident at your restaurant that tons of people know about, it’s likely damaged the brand of your business. People have learned to associate the name and branding of your business to something negative. Even if you do everything right and fix everything, your brand will remain damaged.
Re-branding, though, can be like a fresh beginning for your business. Where you failed in the past, you can in the future make your strength. If you’ve lost the trust of your old regulars, rebranding can get you a whole new set of customers.
Rebranding is expensive though, especially if you want to become something completely different. This can include a new logo, style, menu, even your restaurant’s interior and location impacts your brand. Rebranding though can help you create a new first impression and hopefully help people move on.
Make Marketing a Priority Once the Dust Clears
When a business first starts up, marketing is a huge priority. You have to get the word out about your business to everybody you can. Yet, as your restaurants survives longer and longer, marketing becomes less important. After all, you’ve hopefully created returning guests and a reputation in the community that brings people in the door.
After a major disaster though, there is no guarantee people will come back. You need to revamp the marketing efforts for a time until things get back to normal. It’s likely though you won’t have time to handle the marketing, so consider hiring an internal marketer or an external firm.
If you focus on getting the trust of the public back and take whatever steps needed, you can move past a major health incident. Customers want to feel safe when they come in, so do whatever it takes to encourage that trust. Give back to the community, communicate with them, take real steps to prove you are worthy of their trust and come back swinging with new marketing strategies.
In nearly every industry, Millennials are shaking up how business is done. According to studies & news reports, Millennials aren’t buying tons of stuff like napkins, motorcycles, and diamonds, and they’re also not shopping at department stores, gambling, etc.
It’s also possible you might be feeling the effects of an absent Millennial guests in your business. As more time passes, Millennials will have more and more influence as consumers, meaning that businesses that don’t adapt are destined to fail. If you want to stay open for the long run, here are some ways to stop Millennials from murdering your business.
Serve Unique Foods & Experiences
The food industry isn’t suffering because Millennials aren’t eating out; it’s that they prefer to eat out at different places than their parents did. No longer do they care to eat at casual dining chains like Applebee’s and Chili’s. Instead they look for more quality foods and exciting experiences. Instead of going to a restaurant that has a wide variety of decent food, they would rather go to a place that specializes in doing a few things really well.
Instead of going to chains that all look the same, Millennials are also looking to try out local restaurants that provide a new experience. Millennials don’t want to eat the same old tacos at Chili’s. They want to go try out a local gem that has amazing tacos with unique flavors.
Despite their reputation of being glued to their technology, Millennials enjoy going to places that are conducive to fun social experiences, whether with their friends or to meet strangers. A good tactic is deciding what you want people to do at your restaurant and plan accordingly. If they want to hang out with friends, that means quiet music so they can talk, lots of booths and tables so they can sit comfortably, and having food options that encourage sharing. To help them meet strangers — like at a bar or club — you’ll need lots of open space for mingling and ways to help people break the ice.
Having an ever-changing menu can be one way to find what items people want. Especially if you want to be viewed as a cool local place that provides an exciting experience, you need to always have fresh new foods for people to try, while keeping old favorites. Be flexible with your menu and see what sells and what doesn’t. If you are worried about having to print off new menus constantly, look at electronic menus or digital signage to promote new items. Not only will they stand out more than traditional menus and table toppers, they can bring in fresh visual elements to help sell new items. A picture of the new dish is good, but a video is even better.
While food delivery isn’t new, it has only been traditionally for specific types of food, specifically pizza and chinese food. This is no longer the case. Some chains like Jimmy Johns are offering new foods for delivery, while some apps let nearly any food get delivered to customers for an extra fee.
Being delivery (and take-out) friendly can go a long way to helping attract Millennial customers. While they might not be in your restaurant as often, being able to get their favorites from your restaurant in the comfort of their home can lead to them ordering your food more often.
To help encourage this, either create a delivery option within your own restaurant or partner with local food delivery services. That way, you can better control these orders and profit off of delivery charges instead of a third party stealing it away from you without your knowledge.
Look at Your Prices
Millennials have unique spending habits that don’t line up with previous generations. Part of this is because of the rising prices on nearly everything, ranging from education to food. Millennials are having to spend more money on expenses than previous generations.
If you provide high-quality meals, then yes, Millennials are going to be willing to pay for them. Millennials are more open to paying more for a really good meal instead of paying a lot of money for tons of food. They prefer quality over quantity. So don’t rely on just giving a bunch of food to pull in money, but make really good food. Focus on high quality ingredients and create dishes they will rave about.
If you don’t have that quality food, then avoid jacking up prices on menu items. Millennials are also willing to sacrifice quality for a good deal, so if your food is average, look to give your customers a deal. Not only will that lead to returning customers, where people will come to your restaurant just for an inexpensive meal, it can lead to your food becoming a regular part of their routine. Basically, either have higher prices for really good food, or low prices for mediocre or average food.
Social Media & a Strong Website
Millennials, and the generations to follow, will be constantly using the internet. Before they go to a restaurant, they are going to do research online. They’ll pore over your website, look up reviews, and check your social media pages — everything they can look at online, they will.
It’s important to have a strong online presence, and your website needs to look up-to-date. Their initial impression of your restaurant online can be the difference between eating at your restaurant or somewhere else. Have a clean, easy-to-use website, a menu with a strong user interface, and tons of information. Nothing sours that first impression than finding a restaurant has no website and having to go to a third-party site for your menu.
If you ever need further guidance on what to do, interview your target market. Reach out to some Millennials you know (current customers or not) and ask them for advice. What don’t they like about your restaurant, and what speaks to them? Is there something you can provide that is missing in your community? Avoid assumptions and generational tropes; instead, do research and compile data.
By focusing on what Millennials want in their dining experiences, you’ll be on the right track to attracting new guests. The more you learn and focus on them, the better your restaurant will become — and the more success you’ll have.
Live streaming is becoming a more normal part of our lives, with tools like Facebook Live and Twitch giving people their own 15 minutes of fame. Users can let people have a look into their lives and share important events with them.
Your restaurant can do the same type of thing in order to attract more customers, and make stronger connections with your followers. Here are some ways to implement Facebook Live into your social media strategies, so you can boost your restaurant’s Facebook reach and follower engagement.
Giving a Sneak Peek
Having a “behind the scenes” look is something people love. It’s interesting to see how food gets made. Entire television networks are built on cooking shows, and you can bring in a good social network by doing a similar thing.
If your restaurant is known for a special dish or has a revolving door of delicious specials, have a live stream all about how it’s prepared. Get your chef to explain how it’s made, what goes into it, and let people drool as it cooks. If you want to have regular streams of this nature, you could even get a local celebrity or social influencer to become a host of sorts, to be the one who tries to food.
This could also be a great way to introduce new meals and specials in your restaurant. That way, people can get a sense of what to expect, and will be more likely to come in to try it for themselves. It’s the same as with shows that feature restaurants across the nation like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; if people see delicious food on TV and they can visit where it came from, they will go.
If you do choose to have a local celebrity or social influencer to be your host, have them livestream it on their social media at the same time as it’s on yours. That way, more people see your food and can help broaden your awareness with new potential customers.
Streaming Big Events
Does your restaurant double as a dance club for special events? Do people hold bar mitzvahs, wedding receptions, and parties at your place on a pretty regular basis? Well, people want to be able to share those kinds of events with their loved ones and friends. The standard right now is to just share pictures on social media after the fact, but live streaming is slowly changing that. You can offer the option to live stream their events at your restaurant (for free or as part of the fee for reserving) either by hiring a person to film the event, or just by providing fast internet to let people live stream it themselves.
This option isn’t for every restaurant though. If you rarely or never have parties or events at your restaurant, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to live stream people eating.
Taking an active role in your restaurant’s local community can go a long way in making customers happy and increase your reach. As you participate in local events, if it makes sense, you could live stream parts of it to show your support. For example, if you are planning on hosting a fundraiser for a local soccer little league, then live stream a match for a bit or interview kids on the team like a professional sports channel.
Have fun, participate in local events, and do your part to help out. Promoting a good cause can result in some quality PR work for your business, which should lead to more people feeling good about eating at your restaurant.
One major difference between live streaming and simply posting videos is the ability to interact directly with your viewers. If they have a question or something to say, they can comment on the live stream for everybody to see — including you.
If you want, you can address or talk directly to your viewers, giving you the ability to answer questions or hold conversations with them. That direct interaction could help make connections to your business, and can help show people that your restaurant cares about their guests.
It’s also important to plan out a live stream, but allow yourself flexiblity. One major advantage to a live stream is that you can see how many people are watching and whether they like what they are seeing or not. If something is working, keep it up — but if it isn’t, change.
Finding What Works For You
Figuring out the best tactics for live streaming falls to you. You know your guests, your brand and your local area. Coming up with great content for a live stream requires creativity and dedication. Far too many businesses try out live streaming once, see a poor return, and never try again. Just like with any form of entertainment, it takes time to grow and improve.
As you come up with ideas and try them out, use the data you gather to reach new customers and become more effective. Maybe certain styles of live streams get a ton of viewers, but very little interaction. Other streams might have a high turnover rate, with people only watching for a minute, but you also have a bunch of people coming in. The way to create useful live streams is to take this kind of data and figuring out how to capitalize on it best.
Again, your social media strategies shouldn’t be in a bubble, and that includes figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Social listening is a tactic where you pay attention to what people are talking about online, especially your target customers or local area, and then contribute to the conversation.
Live streaming and interacting with customers on Facebook Live is still an emerging tactic when it comes to marketing, but one that is sure to grow. By coming up with unique ways to entertain and interact with your followers, you can find success and get ahead of your competitors. Just be sure to create compelling content and interact with those watching.
When you are the manager or owner of a restaurant, how you conduct your restaurant marketing is important. If you are not yet using SMS texting, QR codes, and mobile ads for your restaurant, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach your target demographics. With up to 95% of Americans owning a cellphone and 77% of restaurant owners having a smartphone, just about everyone can be reached today on a mobile device. You can connect with Customers instantly when they are on the go, just by implementing a simple text messaging service.
Here are four ways restaurants can improve the guest dining experience through text messaging:
Send Out Time Limited Deals to Patrons
On a slow night, try sending out a limited time deal to all of your subscribers. You can offer a time sensitive deal for the next couple hours in an attempt to fill the seats of your restaurant. Your guests will receive this message instantly, bringing them in the door and fill your seats. You can also send out a last-minute promotion on takeout to increase the amount of takeout orders you receive.
Use Text Messages to Receive Orders
To make your ordering process easier, allow guests to order from your restaurant through text messaging (like Domino’s). This is a fast, convenient way for customers to place an order and it will cut down on the time your staff spend on the phone processing orders. It’s hard to manage orders, but with texting your order process will flow smoothly, without clogging your phone lines.
Let Guests Know Their Table is Ready
Make it simple for guests to make a reservation in your restaurant. Once the table is ready, you can send a text to let the guest know that their table is ready. Texting guests when their table is ready frees them to go explore their surroundings without being limited by the normal table buzzer range.
Send Coupons to Your Valuable Guests
When you have loyal customers, it’s time to reward those customers with specialized coupons. While you can send out basic deals to attract new guests, you can also keep track of your loyal customers and send them better deals. You want to reward loyalty, and the best way to do that is send your loyal guests great deals every once in awhile.
Survey Your Guests
Guest feedback is essential to the success of any restaurant. When you want to know how your business is performing, send out a survey to your customers. You can ask just about anything regarding your customer service, the guest dining experience and the food that is served. Pay attention to the responses you receive and make changes accordingly.
When you are running a restaurant, text messaging is an effective way to reward guests and streamline the process of ordering for takeout. Guests can make reservations, and provide feedback through surveys. If you set up a text messaging platform to send out messages and receive them, you are opening up a useful line of communication between you and your customers.
To learn more about how implementing an SMS software can make managing your restaurant easier, click here!