If you’re a small business owner running a restaurant, sometimes the last thing you feel like thinking about is your marketing plan. Especially if business is going well, customers are happy, and the kitchen is running smoothly. However, it may be time to dust off your current restaurant marketing plan and take a look at how you could improve. Think of your restaurants’ future and consider what steps you need to take in the next few years to remain successful.
As you plan ahead for the New Year, set your 2014 goals with these great restaurant marketing tips in mind:
1. Begin a social media strategy, join restaurant groups, or write blogs for any sort of foodie websites. Any online strategy is better than no online strategy. Social Media is a great way to get your name out there–for free. By creating a Facebook page, you can gain exposure and “likes” which can ultimately lead to sales. Encourage your customers to like your Facebook page for news on special deals, restaurant hours, and events.
2. Update your menu to incorporate current food trends– or put a twist on traditional menu items that most people consider just “ehh.” In case you haven’t heard, food trends are popping up all over the U.S. If you notice a few dishes on your menu seem to be lacking, spruce them up, add a new ingredient or prepare them a different way. If you want to take the easy route, you can even change their name. Instead of “a side of baked beans” you can offer “a side of sweet & smoky baked beans.”
3. Keep an eye on review sites–and not just Yelp. Periodically throughout the year, Google your restaurant to see what comes up. There may be restaurant review sites you haven’t been monitoring that have comments and reviews about your food and service. Be aware about what customers are saying about you online.
4. Begin email marketing. This way, customers and others who have signed up for your weekly or monthly newsletters will constantly be reminded and informed about your restaurant. Also include promotions like, buy one dinner get one half off, or 25% off lunch. By offering promotions you’ll be able to better capture your audience.
5. Ask a local food blogger to review your restaurant. This tip comes from Vision-advertising.com. They suggest to, “Ask local food bloggers to review your restaurant in return for a free meal. The outside link will help with rankings, and the positive review will help your reputation.” Most people trust a food bloggers opinion and word of mouth in general.