Competition in the restaurant industry is fierce. A successful restaurateur knows this and uses all of the tools at their disposal to make sure their restaurant stands out among the crowd. One such tool is marketing. It’s how you define your restaurant’s brand and sell it to prospective customers. Here are 10 alternative ways for you to market your restaurant and drive food and beverage sales in the process.
- Foodie Photos
Instagram is one of the best marketing tools for a restaurateur. Users can compose high-quality, drool-inducing photos that can be shared among friends and followers and be used on company websites. Get on the app to engage with your customers and increase your following.
- User Generated Content (UGC)
User Generated Content is easy and affordable. It can be as simple as hosting a photo contest. Consider awarding the best photo with a free appetizer or a permanent place on the menu. This keeps customers engaged and, most importantly, coming back to eat your food.
- Show off your staff
Whether you send out email newsletters, or have a strong social media presence, showing off your staff is a great way to humanize your restaurant. Seeing a happy, smiling staff does wonders for your reputation because customers love being served by joyful workers.
- Start a blog
Blogs allow you to build a community and engage with your customers in a cost effective way. You can share your thoughts on new dishes, collect the opinions of your customers, and share positive press all at the same time.
- Utilize local food bloggers
New restaurants typically have a difficult time generating reliable reviews. Food bloggers are a great way to build press for your restaurant. Offer bloggers a free meal or appetizer in exchange for their review. Getting the attention of food bloggers can do wonders for generating new and sustainable business.
- Have a functional online menu
There is a wide world of shareable content that a restaurant can have, but having a functional online menu is the best way to showcase your restaurant to a new market. It allows new customers to see what you’re offering without taking the risk of walking into your restaurant.
- Source local ingredients
Sourcing local ingredients allows you to interact with and support businesses that can help market your restaurant for you. Customers love to know they’re eating ingredients that are locally sourced as well. If it’s not out of your budget, definitely consider this option.
- Publicity “stunts”
This doesn’t have to be like something you’d see on TMZ. Challenge your marketing staff to take you into the Guinness Book of World Records. Bake the largest pizza, or largest cookie and share it with your community. Give them something to remember!
- Host a business social
There’s no better way to get your name out among the local business crowd then to host a business social. Serve a special dish, or extend your happy hour. Make sure everyone has a good time and leaves with a few business cards as well.
10. Host a fundraiser event
Donating your restaurant's time or space to a non-profit organization or fundraiser can be a great way to build positive community relationships. You'll have new potential customers in your restaurant and generate positive buzz. If you can arrange it for off-peak hours it can be a real win-win.
For more ideas see our previous article 4 Restaurant Marketing Tips Beyond Social Media