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The Best Restaurant Marketing Practices
So, what are the best restaurant marketing practices for a modern food service business? The food service industry is not for the faint hearted. It’s a huge task trying to keep on top of this massively competitive industry.
Let’s find out, shall we?
With the rise of foodie culture in the UK, it’s fair to say that the food service industry has changed over the past few years. Gone are the days when a simple fish supper would suffice as a meal out for the majority of the people. Today our foodie consumers only want the best of the best. They want premium quality ingredients from all over the world and they want it to look incredible.
The general rule being the more “instagrammable” a dish is, the better.
After all, Instagram is in need of another image of smashed avocado on toast or a smoothie bowl topped with artfully placed fruit garnish. Right?
‘They want premium quality ingredients from all over the world and they want it to look incredible.’
But what caused this shift in attitude towards food? What has made thousands of Brits across the nation pine after only the very best the food industry can offer?
We’re blaming MasterChef for this one. Well, not entirely. A huge driver in Britain’s transformation into a fully fledged foodie culture is exposure on TV. Mostly through TV shows like Sunday Brunch, Saturday Kitchen, The F Word, The Great British Bake Off and of course, MasterChef.
Chefs are now certified celebrities and have help to inspire thousands of people to up their food game over the past few years. It is the televised narrative around food which has informed consumers’ online behaviour. Consumers are educated on all things food and use the vocabulary of the trade day to day. This has meant that for food service brands, the language and tone of voice which they use is even more important to their success. Most especially when it comes to their online presence both on their website and social media channels.
‘It is the televised narrative around food which has informed consumers’ online behaviour.’
It’s All About Meeting Expectations!
So, the expectations surrounding food consumption and dining out have massively accelerated. Not only do people want aesthetically pleasing and amazing tasting food, they very often want to enjoy this food in the comfort of their own home.
Whilst the average Brit claims to dine out twice per week, there is a rising demand for restaurants to provide a delivery service. Or at the very least, subscribe to one like Deliveroo or UberEats. Consumers today don’t want the usual greasy takeaway, they want to experience restaurant quality cuisine in their pyjamas in front of the TV. And can we really blame them? Who wouldn’t want their favourite meal arriving on their doorstep with the click on a button?
‘Who wouldn’t want their favourite meal arriving on their doorstep with the click on a button?’
This is a trend which is not going unnoticed by restaurateurs with Deliveroo & UberEats currently working with 10,000 restaurants each in the UK. In fact, UberEats has predicted that number to double by the end of this year. It seems that for restaurants today to remain relevant and at the top of their consumers’ minds, being mobile is becoming more important than ever.
‘Deliveroo & UberEats currently working with 10,000 restaurants each in the UK?’
We can’t discuss industry in the UK – or anywhere for that matter – without mentioning the economic downturn. It hit every sector to varying degrees, but amongst the most heavily impacted were those who are reliant upon consumers’ disposable incomes. If someone is short on cash, they are far less likely to spend what little they have on luxuries like eating out. Whilst the economy has recovered on the most part and the UK’s food service industry is worth a very comfortable £57bn. Consumers still maintain the mindset that they’re not going to part with their hard earned cash frivolously. They want to treat themselves to the best dining experience.
But how do you convince consumers that your food service brand is the best choice? How does the average food service business capture the attention of their target audience and begin to develop their market share?
We tell all below!
We Need To Talk About Online Reservations
Can your customers book a table at your restaurant online? Does your restaurant’s website fulfil the expectations of your target market?
If the answer is no, then you are likely to be losing out on substantial business.
Consumers today want to be organise their lives on the move. The majority of people booking a restaurant while they are at work do it online because they can’t make calls in the office. With smartphones and computers readily available, people can organise their social lives at the touch of a button. If you want to optimise profit, it’s time your restaurant got on board with that!
Make It Work!
Brands in every industry – from fashion to food, construction to care provision – need to have an effective online presence.
Every business needs to be no further than a quick Google away to generate leads, visits and ultimately sales. With both of these functions being made or broken by the quality and performance of their website.
Think about it. Who is going to persevere with an outdated, clumsy or just downright unattractive website to find the information they need? The answer is very few people.
For the vast majority of internet users they want to enter a website, find the information they are looking for and be taken to the point of conversion (booking or sale) as quickly as possible. Modern consumers want fluid, visual and responsive websites which are created with their needs in mind.
Brands who have these high quality websites create a positive brand experience which allows consumers to develop desirable brand associations. Associations which will drive customers back to your website or through your front door time and time again.
In the restaurant business, this means having attributes like options to view your menus and explore upcoming events. Making sure that each of these components are well designed not only in terms of appearance but functionality.
What’s So Good About Websites?
Brands who have high quality websites create a positive brand experience which allows consumers to develop desirable brand associations.
Associations which will drive customers back to your website or through your front door time and time again. In the restaurant business, this means having options to view your menus and explore upcoming events, reading blogs and buying gift vouchers. Making sure that each of these components are well designed not only in terms of appearance but functionality.
Now we know what you might be thinking. How does a website truly serve a restaurant when the point of service has to take place in person? It’s not like buying a product and waiting for it to be delivered like other brands.
Well, although point of service may be in person that doesn’t necessarily mean that the point of sale has to.
With a well designed and developed website your restaurant can incorporate reservation systems which enables customers to book ahead of time. Allowing your business to secure sales and most importantly, get those tables filled. The trick is to make it as easy as possible to book with you.
By providing a seamless process, you’re kick starting the overall brand experience which consumers have. And remember, it’s all about the experience!
What About Apps?
What’s more, many restaurants are now commissioning their own app. Allowing customers to engage with them directly and make bookings through one streamlined platform.
Customers are able to view menus, follow any updates and even provide your customers with access to loyalty programs. How many of you have used the Starbucks app to place an order in advance? Or got your Two For Tuesdays on the Domino’s app?
These apps provide your customers with quick access to your brand and the benefits of being a repeat customer with them. As well as providing you with marketing and promotional opportunities and a means of engaging with your customers directly.
It’s Time To Get Active!
New customers check your Instagram before making a choice to eat at your restaurant, FACT! You could be losing out on so many great new customers by not having the right content on your social media. Or – even worse – no social media presence at all.
So, the next step to marketing a restaurant in 2019 is to start to develop a strong social media presence. Brands need to be where their consumers are, and today consumers are online. Constantly. Marketing a restaurant is no longer just about good old word-of-mouth. Restaurants need to be posting online in order to remain relevant. To ensure that they are at the forefront of their consumers’ minds when they’re next thinking about where to go for a bite to eat.
Where Do You Start?
Having an effective social media strategy means utilising social media platforms. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and arguably most importantly for the food service industry, Instagram.
Making the most of the access these platforms provide to produce high quality, visual content which engages and entertains followers. For so many consumers today when they’re evaluating a place to go and eat out they will immediately go to their social media pages. They will browse to find evidence of great service, great food and an overall promising brand experience before visiting.
Not to mention social media is a great way of promoting offers, announcing new menu additions, sharing great reviews and generally building a relationship with your customers. Through replying to comments and messages sent to your social media platforms from your customers, you are helping to develop brand loyalty. It allows customers to feel valued and therefore, so much more likely to come back again.
Social media is the perfect opportunity to curate your brand’s voice online. Through consistent posting you can communicate your brand personality and engage directly with your customers using that tone of voice. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your expertise and skills in the food service industry. Show them what you’ve got to offer and dazzle them with your knowledge!
Google Is Your Best Friend
What’s a great website if no one can find it? You can have the most envied website design in the industry but if no one can find it then your investment can be a fruitless effort.
Well, we won’t let that happen…
The first thing we all do when we hear about a business we’re interested in is Google it. Google is a powerful tool that all businesses today – regardless of industry – should be incorporating into their digital marketing strategy.
When it comes to best restaurant marketing practices and standing out in this industry, search engine marketing is an incredible engagement boosting tool. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google AdWords increases your brand website’s visibility.
With these strategies in place it means that when someone googles a keyphrase which you have targeted. Such as “Italian Restaurant Glasgow.” Your website gets pushed up the search engine results page meaning your page is far more likely to be clicked upon. Resultantly increasing traffic to your website and therefore, the likelihood that these people will visit your restaurant. Exposure is key!
Print Isn’t Dead
Don’t make the mistake of having a fantastic digital marketing strategy and not follow this up with a comprehensive real-life brand experience.
The little things matter in this business and you can really make a difference to your repeat business with a little bit of tradition.
Just because we live in a digital world doesn’t meant that good old fashioned traditional marketing tools are defunct. Branding is not just a logo or a slogan, it’s the experience a customer encounters from their initial interaction with a company until their last. This means that all those little touches from the way your employees interact with customers to the design and quality of the menus they read at their tables have a part to play. They all contribute to the overall image and perception consumers have of your business. It’s these details that help to cement your brand in the mind of consumers as a quality business to return to again.
Again, it’s all about building that lasting, memorable experience which consumers actually want to spend money on. Create a welcoming environment that they want to stay in or visit again with these little touches thrown in. Something which our previous clients Babs and Genova both made the most of. They each invested in great menu design and production to provide the rounded, quality customer experience they aspired towards.
So what’s the answer to effective restaurant marketing we hear you ask? That would be variety.
It’s about analysing every avenue which your customers will come into contact with your brand. Then from that analysis taking the time to consider how you can ensure that each of these touch points is a positive encounter.
Restaurants should explore and utilise both traditional and digital marketing. Making the most of all the tools modern technology has provided us with. But never forgetting about the old tools which still serve a purpose, particularly within the service industry.