Your restaurant has great food, a killer vibe, and the best happy hour in town—but are you getting enough people walking through the door?
The restaurant scene is fierce, and the booming economy has people eating out more than they have in years. There are more than 1 million restaurants in the United States, reports Toast, and annual sales here are nearly $800 billion. What’s more, demand is high, with nearly 40 percent of adults saying they don’t eat out as much as they’d like, the National Restaurant Association found. The bottom line is that there are plenty of hungry diners out there, but getting them to order a meal is harder than ever. Here are some of 2018’s top restaurant marketing tips:
1 . Technology
Increasingly, your phone is doing double duty as your wallet, which means to stay ahead of the competition you need to strongly consider accepting mobile payments.
Restaurant visits paid by mobile app went up 50 percent in 2017, noted restaurant industry watchers QSR, who cited a study published by consultants NPD. Leading mobile payment apps, said Lifewire, include Google Wallet, PayPal, Intuit GoPayment, Square, and VeriFone SAIL.
“Although mobile payments has been a slow-burning technology, many young consumers are beginning to prefer the smartphone payment method,” said Business.com, adding that mobile payments are especially critical for outlets like food trucks.
2. Social Media
Nothing warms the heart of a chef like the sight of diners pulling out their phones and taking pictures of their just-served food. There’s an entire world of foodie hashtags floating around Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook: #foodie, #foodporn, #nomnomnom, and #[pizza emoji] are just a few And while it could be fun and games for those stuffing their faces, getting #eatingfortheinsta and #forkyeah geo-tagged at your restaurant is solid gold advertising.
Those pictures don’t take themselves, however. You need to get the ball going yourself by actively posting #instafood images from your restaurant, kitchen, and creations. Encourage diners to snap away, and share your images on other sites, suggests Restaurant Den. Finally, consider a contest for the best image online with a hashtag all your own. Crowdfire has offered a good list of social media tips to get you going.
3. Online, Mobile-Friendly Menus
With diners on the go and hundreds of restaurants to choose from, it’s imperative that you post a menu online and that it looks good on a phone. Sites like iMenuPro offer design options and online ordering giant Grubhub can get you on its huge site.
Time-tested and cost-efficient, coupons can draw in diners who would otherwise head elsewhere, and even get them to spend more once they are in the door. FitSmallBusiness.com suggests advertising on the back of grocery receipts and attaching coupon offers to your online listings.
“No matter what industry you’re in, starting a coupon campaign can be a major step towards building a loyal customer base,” the site said.
5. Local Advertising
Sure, there are some restaurants that fill their seats by purposefully shunning publicity, but those are few and far between. Unless you are an undercover speakeasy, you need local advertising.
Local advertising, like coupons, has a proven success track, explained Gourmet Marketing.
“Claim your listings in local directories and restaurant review sites,” the site said. “Join the local chamber of commerce and business organizations. Send out press releases to local newspapers, magazines, schools and nearby manufacturing facilities to let them know your restaurant is open for business.”
6.Host an Event
Have down time or days when you are closed? That’s’ the perfect opportunity to host a special event, suggests Restaurant Den. Open the kitchen to raise money for charity, have a special wine pairing dinner, treat your best customers to special VIP meals, bring in a guest chef, or teach cooking classes.
7. Off-Property Sampling
Big event going on downtown or festival season in full swing? Pick a handful of your best dishes which can transport easily and get staff to show off your restaurant in a meet-and-greet at off-property functions. “Tasting is believing,” said 39 Celsius, “and having customers sample your food can be a very effective restaurant marketing idea.”
Ready to Begin Register Tape Advertising?
Register Tape Network offers a unique form of advertising that is a cost-effective way for small businesses to reach a massive audience. RTN offers geographic targeting as well as demographic targeting. Whether it’s age group, income level, families with children or a certain home value, RTN allows you to reach the right people, multiple times a month by placing your full-colour message directly in their hands.
If you are interested in beginning cost-effective, high-return advertising, learn more about Register Tape Network’s proven solution. Contact us here for a free consultation and to build a custom marketing plan that works for your business.