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Restaurant Marketing: Ideas & Strategies

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Restaurant marketing presents many unique ideas and strategies. In this lesson, you'll learn more about marketing ideas for the places you get your favorite eats and drinks.

Food Selfie

We've all seen a post on social media from our friends or family members that looks like this:

Using food images to market your restaurant can be a mouth-watering tactic.
Using food images to market your restaurant can be a mouth-watering tactic.

It's a mouth-watering, tantalizing photo of their breakfast, lunch or dinner - either a masterpiece created at home or a favorite at a new restaurant. It's a social share with an intriguing hook: if individuals can post food pictures, shouldn't your favorite eateries do it too?

That's just one way restaurants can use a modern type of marketing to their benefit. Let's take a look at other ideas and strategies for getting people in your doors and at your tables.

Restaurant Marketing

The various tools available to restaurateurs looking to market their business and fill their tables are more vast and varied than ever before. While the traditional channels of newspaper, television, magazine and radio are still valuable restaurant marketing tactics, there is a host of new digital options to supplement your marketing strategy. Read on for a few ideas you might choose to incorporate into your marketing mix.

Ideas and Strategies

Blogs: Try creating a blog of your own for foodies, posting pictures, recipes and behind-the-scenes kitchen creations. Invite guest bloggers to write, and work to get your restaurant and food philosophy shared on popular food and beverage blogs that can drive traffic to your restaurant.

Social media: We already looked at a brief taste of social media marketing in the photo above. Individuals post about their meals and dining experiences on their social media channels; why shouldn't you? Use your social media channels to share happy hour details, photos of new dishes, special events or promotions and general news about your restaurant. Social media is also a great way to share your marketing messages from other channels including blogs, email, website updates and mobile text messaging sign-ups.

Quick Response Codes: You've probably seen the box-shaped black and white image in marketing materials around you, but QR codes can be a great tool to incorporate on table cards, menus or receipts to create extra touch points or engagements with customers. All customers have to do is scan the code and they are redirected to a link of your choosing, where you could feature a customer survey, special coupon or extended information about your restaurant.

Email: Email marketing is traditionally a low-cost, high-reward marketing investment because messages can be sent cheaply and quickly, and if the content is good and relevant, you can generate interest and buzz and, ultimately, dollars. Try an email newsletter or a weekly blast featuring a coupon or a featured appetizer or beverage.

Website: This includes not only your website, but other websites on which you are mentioned including customer review and food critic web pages. Keep an eye on what people are saying about your business and respond to comments, both positive and negative. Make certain your website is clean and easy to navigate, and include a menu and your restaurant locations and hours of operation. Design your site to be easily viewed and engaged with regardless of the platform - laptop, desktop, mobile phone or tablet.

Search Engine Optimization: What good is a website if nobody can find it? Search Engine Optimization concentrates on enhancing your website to make it appear higher in search engine results. The difference between appearing on page one of a search engine result and page two can be hundreds of customers and thousands of dollars.

Mobile: Utilize text messaging marketing to your benefit. By creating a keyword and obtaining a short code phone number, you can encourage customers to join your text club to receive the latest updates about your restaurant. Mobile marketing could also encompass an app you've designed for your business or even mobile ads that you pay to place on the internet. Another use for mobile is geo-targeted ads, advertisements served to mobile users within a certain radius of your location.

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