The restaurant business is ruthless, especially in Ballito. Not only is competition fierce, a restaurant loses an opportunity they cannot regain every time there’s an empty table during a service. So how does one limit these missed opportunities? Through implementing effective restaurant marketing tips.
1. Professionally photograph your dishes
One of the most important things you can do is take professional, drool-worthy photos of your menu items. Online visual content is king, especially appetizing food to hungry eyes.
2. Welcome online reviews
Next is to make sure you have set up a TripAdvisor and Zomato account and have someone constantly manning these. Include as much detail on your restaurant as possible on these platforms, including your location, store hours and menu. Make sure that when reviews start coming in that they are appropriately handled. Always answer politely to negative feedback and promise future improvement. It may even be worth contacting the reviewer privately based on the nature of the complaint and possibly offering them a complimentary meal. Reviewers appreciate this interaction as they then feel like their opinions are valued by your restaurant.
3. Become discoverable on Google
Reviews can also be done on Google. Make sure you open a Google + and Google Business account. Having both these accounts increases your search ranking immediately as Google has more access to information about your restaurant. Once set up, when your business name is ‘Googled’ it will not only come up in the search results, but appear in a block on the side of the search results with your location on Google Maps, your trading hours and Google reviews – all for free. If you are unsure, get someone to set it up for you.
4. Set a Google Alert for your restaurant name
When you activate Google Alerts, it notifies you of any online content which speaks of your restaurant. This makes it a lot easier to stay on top of what is being said about your business online.
5. Create geo-targeted ads
The key to great restaurant marketing is to target local. More often than not, someone is looking to eat out somewhere that’s fairly close to home. For example, try targeting your adverts to the Ballito region instead of a broader, KZN reach. Investing in local geo-targeted adverts is more likely to result in a return on investment opposed to ads targeting large regions. This form of advertising is available on Google and various social media platforms.
6. Use social media and monitor it
Another tip for restaurant marketing is to use social media – and use it a lot. Use those mouth-watering images to draw customers in, but also post content which will be of interest to your target market. Use it to advertise any specials you may have, or to run a competition for more exposure. It is restaurants with a strong social media presence which often fair best in the industry.
7. Food blogger outreach
A strategic way to get your restaurant’s name out there is to invite press to come and dine at your restaurant. Ask whether they would share their experience as this cannot be assumed. You also cannot guarantee that the review will be positive – this is up to them. The only way to have any control over this is to ensure your food, ambiance and service are all top notch. ‘Unpaid’ advertising such as press reviews and articles are always more trustworthy sources of information to customers than paid advertising.
8. Share positive press
If and when your restaurant is positively mentioned by the press – share it! Show it off on your website and on social media. This will help the positive reviews reach more of your current customers and potential customers and will encourage word of mouth. More people are likely to visit your restaurant if trusted sources are giving it praise.
9. Promote user-generated content
This is one of the best ways to engage with your customers online. Encourage customers to share their personal photographs of their experience at your restaurant with the possibility of featuring on your social media platforms. Another way to gain user-generated content is to host a photo-sharing competition.
10. Have the ability to reserve a table online
One last restaurant marketing idea is to consider getting an online reservation tool set up on your restaurant’s website. The more convenient it is for your customers to book, the more likely they will.
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