Tag Archives: restaurant marketing

3 Ways to Marketing a Restaurant Online

Online marketing for your restaurant should not be swept under a rug. It’s time to draft a plan and put it into action. Here are 3 easy tips to get you started:

1)      Have a functional website. Most people are using online resources, through their mobile devices, to search for someplace to eat. If your website is not functioning, then you could be missing out on new customers. Make your website great by putting your current menu, upcoming events, daily specials, and promoting your social media profiles.

2)      Use an online reservation tool. Someone found your website and wants to give it a try or a repeat customer knows how busy you get on Saturdays, but they must have their favorite sandwich this weekend. The hard work of getting them to notice your restaurant is done; Now make it easy for them to get a table with an online reservation tool, with sites likes OpenTable. Remember, you want to make your customers’ experience great before they even step in the door!

3)      Monitor web reviews. Feedback is very important – good or bad. Monitoring what people are saying about your restaurant will give you insight into what your customers love and what could be improved. Always make sure to respond to the negative comments in a professional manner. Let the customer know that you will address their concerns and invite them back with a coupon. Don’t forget to respond to the positive comments as well. Thank them for their visit, review, and express your excitement for their next return.

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Your digital footprint is important, so don’t neglect it. Simply keep up with these 3 items and you are well on your way to a great customer experience, digitally and in-person!

public relations for restaurant owners

Public Relations Tips For Restaurant Owners

Whether you run a fine dining establishment or a fast food restaurant, your business must present itself positively to your customers. Excellent food, good prices and decent customer service alone may not be enough to help you compete in a tight market with so many other food service choices available these days. Your restaurant can excel in public relations as a way to advance your business.

Definition

Public relations is different from advertising, but both do the same thing: promote your business. There is some overlap, but pubic relations seeks to present information about the company to the general public to cast the business in a positive light.

Promotional Efforts

Your restaurant’s public relations campaign can take a number of approaches. One way to reach customers and to have them come back is to create a loyalty program. For instance, you can develop a card that is stamped after each meal has been purchased. After the sixth meal you might offer one meal free or provide free desserts.

You can avoid the loyalty card by simply giving customers a discount on their next visit. Or you might ask your customers to sign an email registration sheet to receive follow up offers online. You’ll assemble a valuable mailing list that way too.

Sponsorships

Public relations also means offering something to the community with nothing expected in return. Or at least with no clearly defined expectancy of certain returns.

Your restaurant might partner with a nonprofit by providing food to support a special event. You might also sponsor a local little league or softball league team, with your company’s name displayed on the front or back of the players’ jerseys. Consider offering a college scholarship in your company’s name or sponsoring summer camp for children with disabilities.

Restaurants can also reach out to new members of the community by teaming up with other businesses to send out welcome packs. Provide coupons to reach new residents and get included in special mailings from the cable company or a phone provider.

Make a Story

Your restaurant’s public relations efforts can be extended by working with your media contacts to get your news out. The story you present should be unique, not self-serving and it should be interesting.

For instance, if you provide food for a nonprofit’s special event, that event could be held at your restaurant. Work with media to announce the event and invite reporters and photographers to stop by and share the news. Contact television and radio personalities, and don’t forget the influence that some bloggers can have on broadcasting an event while mentioning your restaurant’s involvement.

Social Media

Besides your restaurant’s website, you can engage socially with people online.  Facebook and Twitter are two social networking websites that are best used by small businesses.

Establish a Facebook page and provide information about your business. Instead of overtly promoting your restaurant, you might want to share tips with your customers. For instance, your chef might share the recipe for a beloved dessert. Or, your wine waiter might share pairing tips. Encourage your visitors to share your page and your updates.

On Twitter, your restaurant can list daily specials. Like Facebook, you can include photographs of some of your finest entrees. Get included in lists where foodies gather and promote each other.

Public Relations Ethics

When undertaking any public relations campaign, your restaurant must be diligent to follow prescribed ethics. This means providing only accurate information, pointing out and correcting false information, offering attribution when necessary, refraining from compensating media, and posting your ethics policy to your company’s website. If you hire a public relations firm to manage your affairs, make note of that relationship too.

email-marketing-for-your-restaurant

How To Plan Your Restaurant’s Email Newsletter

Restaurant marketers: Are you ready to join the email newsletter marketing trend? Plan and schedule emails ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to create valuable content for your email subscribers.

Frequency: The “Just Right” Dilemma

Remember Goldilocks and the three bears? The same thing can happen to email marketers. Too much contact and your customers feel burned and unsubscribe. Too little and customers forget who you are in between emails. But what is the “just right” target?

If you’re a popular family-style restaurant, weekly newsletters would probably be just right. If you’re a fancy five-star restaurant, bi-weekly or monthly might be better. Kid-focused establishments might even be able to email twice a week. Take a look around at your customers. How often do you have repeat visitors? Use this as a gauge for how often to send emails.

Departments: Structure Your Email Messages

Using departments simplifies email creation. Rotate weekly specials in one department, include a photo gallery in one, and insert a message from your chef or owner in another. These basic departments get you started, but you’ll need something more unique to capture customer interest on a continuing basis. Profile your regulars, whether they’re local celebrities or just ordinary folks. Everyone has a story to tell! Include information about upcoming community celebrations. Talk about the latest happenings at your local high school or college.
You could always choose the easy route and include a recipe based on your restaurant’s cuisine, but try to be more creative.

Cross-Marketing: Getting the Click

Keep departments short and offer the option to click to your website to read more. This strategy takes more planning and you must work closely with your webmaster so everything is in the right place at the right time. Some newsletter services (Constant Contact, for instance) allow you to upload PDF documents to your account, simplifying this process.Always have your “Like” and “Share” buttons at the top of email messages so customers can use social networking to share their opinions of you with friends.

The Final Touch: Coupons

Most people subscribe to restaurant emails so they can save money. Give customers what they want but do it in a strategic way. Some ideas:

  • Free first round of drinks for parties of six or more
  • Exclusive chef’s special only for email coupon holders
  • Free meals for grandkids, but only half off for kids
  • One percent off for every year diners have known each other (would work great for couples, families, and old friends)
  • Deals centered around weird holidays, such as 41 percent off for all customers wearing organic fabrics on the 41st annual Earth Day

  • Free appetizer for all customers who use their cell phones to “Like” you on Facebook while at the restaurant
  • Specials just for groups of coworkers

Wrap It Up: Get Those Newsletters Scheduled

With a little planning, you can get newsletters scheduled in advance so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute. At least get your departments in order, even if coupons change regularly. Email marketing is a powerful tool for restaurants—include it in your overall strategy.