How to Do Marketing for Restaurants: The Secret Recipe for Success in 2019
When the economy is good (it is), businesses invest more in marketing. So, if you don't invest wisely, you'll lose ground to competitors.
You need to get the most from your marketing investment to make sure you gain market share in a robust economy, not give it up. There's no room for mistakes.
Restaurant owners and managers have a lot of marketing options to choose from, but which strategies actually work? Should you invest in mobile marketing, live events, loyalty programs, or contests? We'll show you how to do marketing for restaurants with some proven strategies that resonate with customers in 2019.
How to Do Marketing for Restaurants in 2019: 6 Proven Strategies
Consumer habits change over time. The marketing strategies which helped restaurants build a customer base in the early 2000s may not be the strategies that work today. With consumer habits and market shifts in mind, here are six proven strategies for restaurant marketing.
1. Plan an Events Calendar
Nearly two-thirds of marketers plan to increase spending on live events in 2019, according to a report by AdWeek. People are eager to meet their friends in person, rather than just interacting on social media all the time. Restaurants that throw holiday parties and get-togethers can help people scratch this itch.
Think about hosting a Celtic band on St. Patrick's Day or give away free quesadillas on Cinco de Mayo. Look at the holiday calendar, but don't stop there. Consider hosting parties around major sports events like the Super Bowl, March Madness, the World Series, or the World Cup.
2. Go Big With Promotions
Unless you're managing a high-end restaurant where customers are turned off by discounts, keep the deals going all year long.
That said, don't run offers indefinitely. Put a time limit or max number on the deal. You may even want to add a seasonal item to your menu for a limited time. Think of the success Starbucks has enjoyed with the Pumpkin Spice Latte or McDonald's Shamrock Shake.
Or look at your menu and pick an item or two to run Buy One Get One Free offers with. If you're introducing a new dish, promote it heavily in the first week or two with an irresistible discount to get your customers hooked.
3. Consider a Loyalty Program
More than ever, people want to be part of a community — especially a community with benefits.
Restaurant marketers use variety of communications channels to gain loyalty program members and communicate special offers to them. Mass text messaging is one of the best ways to get members to opt-in and deliver deals that will keep them coming back.
Payne's Restaurant offers a Beer Tap Text Alert program to deliver exclusive deals on craft beer.
Text "ONTAPPAYNES" to 313131 to sign up for our Beer Tap Text alert. You will be the first to know what beer we have tapped and exclusive deals on those beers when you show us your text. Your first reward for signing up is "Any 16oz Craft Beer Draft for $2.50!"
Similarly, Brian's Place restaurant has successfully leveraged text marketing to grow his VIP list and sell out his Catch of the Week on a regular basis. Read the full case study on Brian's Place here.
4. Invest in Technology
In late 2018, CNBC reported that marketers are spending more on technology and less on people. Whether you're trying to learn how to increase brand awareness for your restaurant or how to promote catering services to your loyal customers, the right technology can be a big help.
When paired with the right marketing channel, technology can automate many marketing processes. Invest in the leading email marketing software, social media management platforms, or text message marketing providers to get the most out of your time and monetary outlay.
Related Reading: 5 Ways to Make Text Message Marketing for Restaurants Sizzle
5. Solicit Positive Reviews
If you just sit back and wait for reviews of your restaurant to trickle in, your reputation might suffer. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than happy ones. So make sure that you ask your repeat customers to leave a review on Zagat, Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, etc.
If you've developed an opted-in loyalty VIP group, asking for reviews is a great place to start. Send out a message saying thanks and asking if they'd mind leaving a review to help other customers find a great restaurant. Make sure that you text or email these contacts at a time when they will be most likely to have time to leave the review.
6. Develop a Playbook
Restaurant owners, managers, and marketers are some of the busiest people on the planet. So when you find some campaigns that work, build your own customized marketing playbook, so you can deliver varied and effective campaigns again and again. When you build a playbook, you can delegate campaign management to other members of the team because you have everything documented.
We've helped over 165,000 customers win big with text message marketing over the last decade and we've developed a Restaurant Text Message Marketing Playbook with 18 campaigns from the best dining marketers. In this free resource which you can access right now, you'll find templates you can use to promote:
- Weekly Specials
- "Your Table Is Ready" Alerts
- New Staff Additions
- Referral Promotions
- And More