The restaurant business is more competitive than ever. Between Instagram food porn and popular Pinterest boards, restaurants must work harder than ever to reach customers and stay relevant, especially online. If you’re looking for tips on how to take your restaurant chain to the next level, you’ve come to the right place.
Since most people use their smartphones to find restaurants nowadays, we’re going to focus mostly on online marketing strategies that’ll get your business in front of thousands-if not millions- of eyeballs online. Read on for more.
1. Leverage Yelp
Yelp is one of the most powerful online tools for restaurants, and it’s one of the best platforms you can use to elevate your business. Basically, the higher your Yelp rating, the more likely you are to attract new customers and great reviews.
Keep in mind that people will write Yelp reviews about your restaurant whether you like it or not. Your job is to make sure they write positive reviews that reflect well on your establishment.
Your best bet is to take a proactive approach and setup a well-detailed Yelp account. That way, you get to control the narrative to a degree. Some of the most important data to have in your account includes:
- Lots of high quality photos of your restaurant and your best dishes.
- Your location
- Your menu
- Price range
- Store hours
- Amenities. i.e. parking, al fresco dining, WiFi
Another important prerequisite to participating in Yelp is replying to feedback in a friendly, timely and helpful manner. This goes for positive and negative feedback alike. Showing this type of consideration for your customers’ opinion shows that you value your patrons and it’ll help you create a positive perception about your restaurant on Yelp.
2. Expanding Your Restaurant Chain Globally
If you really want to expand the reach of your restaurant business, doing so through the help of a business franchise model would be a great idea. There may be certain challenges of doing so but your efforts will surely be worth. Plus, they are also some business solutions such as international PEO services that you can take advantage of so that you won’t have to deal with everything on your own when you’re operating the business.
3. Foodie Photos
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed the ever-growing #foodporn trend on Instagram. This trend is so popular that it’s even spawned a TV show which is loved by foodies all over the world.
Not only that, but millions of ‘foodie photos’ get posted on this platform every day by food bloggers, regular people and restaurants as well.
Posting drool-worthy photos of your signature dishes on Instagram and other social networks is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to promote your restaurant. People value visual content more than anything else, so make sure you post high-quality photos. You don’t have to spring for an expensive camera for this, as you can easily get great pictures with your smartphone ad the right filters.
4. Have an email newsletter
Another great way to keep in touch with patrons and stay at the forefront of their minds is to send them a newsletter at least once per month. Take this opportunity to share the latest menu items, specials and exclusive deals. You could also use your email newsletter as a channel to show off your successes and reviews.
5. Create customer loyalty programs
Creating a customer loyalty program in collaboration with popular food apps is another great way to attract visitors to your restaurants. These foodie apps allow you to offer discounts and other promotions that’ll help you garner customer loyalty.
Some of the most prominent and highly recommended loyalty program apps include:
- Loyal Blocks
6. Create geo—targeted ads
Aside from international PEO, running geo-targeted ads allows you to access and reach local customers or anyone that’s searching for the best restaurants in your area. As the name implies, geo-targeting ensures that your ads only reach users in a specific radius. This method will save you a ton in online advertising costs by eliminating irrelevant clicks.
The best part is most online platforms offer geo-targeting ads, including Facebook, Twitter and Google.