We work with restaurants large and small, from individual eateries to large chains – we even work with a leading cookery school. Here are a few of our restaurant marketing tips:
- 1. Guest chef events
Run special events with well known guest chefs – so much the better If they have millions of social media followers.
Guest chefs can help you secure brilliant PR coverage – invite food bloggers and journos along for the occasion. It’s usually best if your guest chefs align with your brand, and your own menus.
- 2. Take the initiative
Stand out from the crowd with a new initiative – find an angle that sets you apart from your competitors.
Why sell any old scallops when you can source local hand-dived scallops? How about doing a green menu with Food For Life?
Or kick off a restaurant initiative that piggybacks on a topical issue such as staff tips – you could make a difference by topping up staff tips by 20%?
- 3. Create a “stand out” website
Create a website that stands out and is user friendly. Instead of following the crowd, create a website that’s remembered for all the right reasons.
Get a UX audit to ensure the site is user friendly, and consider featuring user generated content (UGC) on your website – it can work wonders for restaurants: http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/jr235/2015/06/01/what-effect-does-user-generated-content-have-on-the-restaurant-industry/.
- 4. Get found online
Website developers don’t tend to comprehend the SEO implications of their work, but don’t worry! We’re here to steer you through the SEO minefield.
Start off with a free overview of your restaurant’s website, from one of our SEO consultants – then you might like us to audit your website – we can show you how to get found online, and how to boost your restaurant’s online performance.
Local SEO is a crucially important aspect of restaurant SEO – what is Local SEO? When people search for local restaurants on Google, a map comes up that displays the top 3 options in the category – this is often called the “snack pack” by SEOs, and you will want your restaurant to appear right at the top.
- 5. Source memorable ingredients
Find ingredients that truly delight your customers – why source and serve any old beef when you can offer a native breed grass-fed organic beef, matured in a special way? Why do any old potatoes when you can source the ideal type of potato for your dish?
Tell your customers, and weave stories out of your sourcing efforts – It really will give your restaurant a boost, whether you have a steakhouse in Littlehampton or a Michelin starred restaurant in Lyon.
And don’t forget the importance of local sourcing.
- 6. Share your recipes
We understand you might not want to give away all your kitchen’s secrets, yet a few carefully placed recipes can do your restaurant the world of good – share them in foodie magazines, on culinary websites and on your own website.
Recipes are heavily searched for on the web, so show off your knowledge and your expertise, and share some delights from your kitchens – raising your restaurants’ profile and whetting the appetite of potential diners.
Sharing recipes should help keep your customers coming back.
- 7. Who are your chefs?
Who are your chefs, and what’s their story? What do they add to your restaurant’s offering? How might your chefs appeal to the diners? Your chefs usually need to be part of the dining experience.
I’ve forgotten the number of times I’ve visited restaurants who haven’t told me anything about their chefs! I want to know – it matters! What awards have they won? What do they like cooking? What’s their story? Tell me!
- 8. Meet diners’ dietary needs
Gone are the days when restaurants could get away with offering vegetarian lasagne to their non-carnivorous customers, and nothing else. Put some effort into your veggie offerings, otherwise you’ll attract unwelcome criticism.
And don’t forget those with food intolerances to gluten, dairy, and so on. Customers will appreciate your thought and flexibility if you make the effort.
You might even like to work with those who approve and promote specific offerings, such as vegetarian and coeliac member organisations.
- 9. Go local with your cuisine
Do you draw on your locality for inspiration. If people are holidaying in Wales, for example, then surely they’ll want to sample some delicious Welsh cuisine.
Yet how many Welsh restaurants draw on their local culinary traditions? Very few, and it’s a huge shame. Yet we’re glad to see so many Scottish, Irish and English restaurateurs rediscovering their national and regional cuisines.
- 10. Loyalty programs
Customers like loyalty perks, so partner up with food apps such as tastecard, bellycard or gourmetmiles – or simply start up your own loyalty scheme…
Offer in-restaurant incentives such as free meals, 2 for 1 deals, bottles of wine… Unleash your imagination and see what works, and what doesn’t.
- 11. Photos with the drool factor
I can’t count the times I’ve been confronted with terrible food photography – dark meat that looks overcooked, vegetables that look like they’ve been stewed for hours. You name it.
If you want to engage with your customers online, you need to invest in good photos. See who’s out there – check out the foodie media, and your competition, and track down the best photographers you can afford.
- 12. Don’t forget your interior design
We once worked for a very old-fashioned rural restaurant – their custom was falling off a cliff, yet the food was superb.
The main issue, it seemed to us, was the interior design. Stepping into the restaurant took you on a switchback ride to the 1980s.
So on our advice the restaurant took action, and their builders transformed the main dining area into a contemporary and stylish space.
Ever since, business has been on the up – proof that people are very sensitive to interiors in these design conscious times.
Your restaurant branding should inform your interior design – to get your branding right, you can work with either an experienced agency, or a freelance expert – we can advise you on where to look.
Contact us today to find out about our restaurant marketing services