The competition within the restaurant industry is fierce. With potential diners having so many restaurant options to choose from, how do you ensure that your restaurant has the competitive edge on all the other restaurants in town?
Here are four restaurant marketing tips to enhance your restaurant business and to guarantee that your restaurant marketing stays on top of its game!
Go beyond food and experience. Besides the basic fundamentals of the restaurant industry, tasty food and exceptional customer service, today’s restaurants need to make sure that they are staying “digitally connected” to their customers. Now, to be fair, not all customers have the same marketing needs. But still, with 87% of US Americans owning cell phones, it’s about time that restaurants stop waiting for their customers to come to them and start meeting their customers where they are. It is absolutely essential that you start collecting the data of your restaurant customers. Why? Collecting the names, email addresses and phone numbers is like gold for a restaurant. Over time, the amount of accessible customer emails and phones numbers that a restaurant accumulates can increase to thousands. A restaurant is then able to reach out to this very large customer database with monthly specials, important announcements and special events at a moment’s notice. Collect customer data by integrating web forms on your restaurant’s website and Facebook page. You can also ask your restaurant patrons to fill out information cards when they come into your restaurant to dine.
It is absolutely essential that you start collecting the data of your restaurant customers. Why? Collecting the names, email addresses and phone numbers is like gold for a restaurant. Over time, the amount of accessible customer emails and phones numbers that a restaurant accumulates can increase to thousands. A restaurant is then able to reach out to this very large customer database with monthly specials, important announcements and special events at a moment’s notice.
Understand your customers. When it comes to targeting or promoting your customers in the right way, it’s important to know who your actual customers are first.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of crowd does your restaurant attract? Young, outgoing or older crowd?
- What age group does your average customer range fall into? Less than 25, 25-45, 50 and above?
- What are the top 5 menu items that are ordered the most? (This will help you identify your target customer.)
- What neighborhood is your restaurant located in? What major businesses or communities are near your restaurant?
Understanding who your target customer is, will help you better identify their needs. Based on the target age range of your customer, it may be best to target them one way or another. Just remember that what works for another restaurant, may not work for your restaurant because of these reasons. Also, remember to always look at results and adjust. If something works, do more of it! If something doesn’t work, do less of it. Over time, you will adjust to perfectly understand what your customers respond to. You can also use digital survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, in order to better understand your customer preferences.
Use digital tools to create loyalty. Your restaurant customers are immersed in a digital world. They are on the go, fast-paced and have begun utilizing their smartphones constantly for both business and social connection. If your restaurant is not digitally connected, it’s time to get going! How can your restaurant integrate with a digital loyalty program? There are a wide variety of options out there available for your restaurant to use besides Google places or review websites.
Digital loyalty programs – The most affordable digital loyalty marketing for restaurants is eateria. eateria is an easy-to-use tool that integrates email marketing, text message and social media all into one dashboard. The best part about eateria is that you get to accumulate and keep your own customer information and learn about your customers at the same time.
Point based systems – These digital systems allow a customer to accumulate points each time they visit. The points eventually turn into rewards for the customer. Customers will have their own swipe card and the system is built into the restaurant’s own POS system. Before doing any type of system, whatever you choose, make sure that you will be able to have access and keep your customer’s information.
Don’t hide from your customers. Given the statistic that 57% of mobile users will end up not recommending a website if they have trouble visiting it on their mobile device, a well designed, mobile enabled website is well worth the investment.
Make sure your customers can find you on their mobile devices. This means that making sure your online presence is up to date and top notch both on desktop and mobile devices as well. You don’t need to spend the money on a mobile website or mobile app. Just make sure your website is mobile enabled – that is enough. Given that your customers are also out there searching for reviews on your restaurant, make sure you set up review pages such as Yelp. Don’t be afraid of negative comments – all restaurants get them! Just always be sure to respond and be empathetic.