All businesses will have an aim to get their name out into the public domain — and this is no different for restaurants and cafes. From a marketing perspective, there are a lot of factors that you must consider to ensure a successful campaign and this can be achieved through utilising a range of different platforms.
With Nisbets, catering equipment supplier, Total Business gives you the perfect recipe for promoting your business. Unless you’re that community restaurant that can rely solely on word of mouth, it’s certain that you’ll need marketing to maintain and increase your customer base.
Your Brand’s Story
Marketing is all about selling an idea and conveying a certain image to your target audience. Are you a family business that prides itself on serving the local community? Do you value farm-to-fork and promoting a sustainable business? Or do you simply serve the best burger in your region?
Although the quality of your food does play a significant role in your customer base, so does the people behind the business — and people want to hear about them. On your website, you should create an ‘Our Story’ page which explains who you are, what you do and where you see yourself in the future. Consumers love this type of content, as it’s presenting them with a journey that they could be a part of.
Your front-of-house can also be themed around what your brand represents, such as hanging pictures of the farms you source your food from.
Social Media Marketing
More people are beginning to use online platforms as a way to find out more information about a business. While offline methods and traditional marketing are still a viable source; making using the internet — especially social media — crucial.
It can often be difficult to work out which platform would be best for your brand — from discovering the target demographic to what allows you to deliver the right kind of message. Below, we’ve listed the most popular social media platforms and showed how you could use them for your restaurant:
For both restaurants and cafés, Facebook is probably the most lucrative platform to be active on as it has multiple functions that can provide consumers with all of the information that they may need. The beauty of Facebook pages is that brands can upload images and videos, list their menu items, and enable a customer review feature. Not only that, businesses can enable online messaging which could be extremely useful for when customers want to book a table.
However, when it comes to customers leaving reviews (whether they are positive or negative); you should make it your duty to reply as quickly as possible in a professional manner. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring a negative review, because that’s simply ignoring a problem.
Sister-company to Facebook, Instagram is another platform that your business should be looking at using, as its core focus is visuals. You should even consider linking the two together to ensure greater reach and more synchronised posts.
Whether you plan to post images of each dish you serve or jump on the IGTV (Instagram Television) trend and create online shows of your chef in action; there are countless opportunities that your business could be taking advantage of. Make sure that you continue to remain active on the platform and this can be done by uploading Instagram Stories which take little effort and time.
If your brand isn’t on Twitter, it should be. Although Instagram is more for visual posts and Facebook can detail more information about your business, Twitter is the hub of all conversation. It’s important that you occupy some sort of space on the platform and interact with people who are already talking about your brand.
Twitter is known for the use of hashtags, and these can be used to help describe a situation. For example, if someone is at your pizza restaurant, they might use #pizza. Not only that, it will make your brand easy to find, too.
Benefits of social media for restaurants:
- Free marketing.
- Interact with customers.
- Humanise your brand.
- Get customer feedback.
You want to make sure that your brand isn’t missing out on the social media action otherwise your competitors will get ahead of you. The online world is only evolving, so let your online audience know who you are and what you can offer them.
Social Media Influencers
A newly explored area when it comes to marketing a business is working with influencers. Definitively, influencers are people who have a strong and engaging social following who could create hype around your business.
This could work particularly well if you were to throw a launch party where you would invite these bloggers, who would then document the experience across their channels. This will help improve your digital presence while offering the ability to grow your following significantly.
Updating Your Website
Your website will be your brand’s online hub. With the right SEO (search engine optimisation) knowledge, it’s easier to get websites to rank higher in search engines than it is social media pages.
Have you tried listing yourself on Google Maps to bring greater awareness to your business?
With more people leaving business reviews, monitoring review platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor has never been more important. You have one option: take ownership of the discussion.
Company pages on review websites can be created by anyone on behalf of your brand, so it’s important that you treat it as part of your social media campaign. Make them a one-stop shop for your brand: your location, your menu, a book-now feature, plus images of your food and front-of-house.
Everyone will receive bad reviews at some point, what matters is how you handle it. Is it unreasonable? If it is, explain why. Does the customer have a point? Apologise, accept the criticism and offer to make it right to the customer.
There are other benefits that can be received because of this. Firstly, the person who complained will be happy and more likely to visit again. Secondly, you’ll show readers that:
- Your business is run by genuine people who are just trying to do a good job.
- You care about your customers and are receptive to feedback.
- You’re less likely to make the mistake again.
The way your business responds to reviews can be the fine line between customers wanting to visit or staying away. As well as this, negative reviewers feel they’re venting to a faceless entity — there are numerous examples where reviewers have retroactively improved their review and star rating after getting a reply.