Thursday, March 7, 2024

Diving Deep Into Advertising and marketing for Eating places (My Takeaways)

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I’m lucky to stay in a metropolis that has a thriving restaurant scene (it’s most identified for its barbecue and Tex-Mex, if that offers you any trace). And whereas I don’t take into account myself a meals connoisseur by any means, I used to be a meals journalist in a previous life, so I proceed to remain on high of the newest tales and traits surrounding the restaurant trade.

To do that, I comply with lots of eating places on social media. I additionally subscribe to their newsletters, attend their particular occasions, enter their giveaways, and join their rewards packages.

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And since my advertising and marketing mind by no means shuts off, I can’t assist however be interested in these restaurant advertising and marketing methods. How nicely do they work? Which channels do these eating places carry out greatest on? How do established eating places preserve curiosity after the grand opening buzz wears down?

To determine the solutions to those questions, I’m digging deep into restaurant advertising and marketing concepts, methods, and real-life campaigns.

Restaurant Advertising and marketing Methods That Work

I needed to get extra perception into the world of restaurant advertising and marketing, so I spoke with Rachel Ayotte, the founder and CEO of Bread and Butter, a communications company that works with hospitality purchasers.

Why do eating places of all sizes want a advertising and marketing technique? What does an efficient marketing campaign appear like as of late?

“In New York Metropolis alone, there are over 25,000 eating places, which might take the typical individual 22 years to attempt,” shares Ayotte.

She provides, “With an enormous stock of choices and a comparatively quick time to succeed, folks should know your restaurant not solely exists however can be someplace they wish to go.”

That is why having a restaurant advertising and marketing technique is important.

If you wish to stand out on-line and convey extra folks into your restaurant, listed below are examples of profitable restaurant advertising and marketing methods and campaigns to take inspiration from.

Buyer-First Content material

A necessary restaurant advertising and marketing technique is to focus in your prospects. This is applicable not solely to the way in which you market your restaurant but in addition to the menu objects and merchandise you create.

One artistic instance of that is Chipotle’s restricted version Serviette Holder, which is impressed by its prospects.

Marketing strategy for restaurants examples: Chipotle’s car napkin holder in action.

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Right here’s the backstory: It’s widespread for Chipotle prospects to seize a stack of napkins to retailer of their automobiles on their method out of the restaurant.

As a substitute of reprimanding its prospects for stocking up on napkins, Chipotle created a possibility for elevated model loyalty by making a branded automotive serviette holder.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: Chipotle created a limited edition car napkin holder inspired by its customers.

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As a bonus, the marketing campaign launched across the holidays, making it an ideal gifting alternative. Every serviette holder additionally got here with a present card for a free entree to encourage prospects to go to a restaurant to “restock” their serviette provide.

Chipotle’s restricted version Serviette Holder was not solely a superb customer-inspired product, however the marketing campaign was additionally an ideal instance of social listening in motion.

By being attentive to their prospects’ behaviors and what they’re sharing on-line in regards to the restaurant, Chipotle was in a position to create a viral second out of it.

Chipotle’s purpose on social is to “meet [their] followers the place they’re,” in line with Candice Beck, the restaurant’s director of social, influencers, and Web3, and this marketing campaign fully aligns with that technique.

To make use of this technique, get to know your prospects on a deep degree. Immerse your self within the platforms they spend their time on, whether or not that’s Instagram or TikTok, and make notice of their pursuits, behaviors, and targets.

Nostalgic Advertising and marketing

To this present day, I can’t hear the phrases “child again ribs” and never consider Chili’s. That’s as a result of I, like many millennials, grew up listening to the enduring “I would like my child again ribs” jingle on TV and the radio.

Chili’s has tapped into its Y2K previous and created a number of nostalgic advertising and marketing campaigns this 12 months to focus on its now-adult millennial viewers.

The campaigns embrace a industrial that introduced again the restaurant’s well-known jingle, now sung by Boyz II Males (one other popular culture fixture of the 90s and 2000s).

Utilizing nostalgia in advertising and marketing has been a preferred technique lately as many companies’ goal audiences are rising up. In the event you’re a longtime restaurant, don’t be afraid to rehash the previous.

This might imply bringing again an previous menu merchandise, promoting merchandise with retro branding, and even sharing flashbacks from all through your restaurant’s historical past.

Nostalgic advertising and marketing works not solely as a result of it faucets into folks’s recollections and feelings but in addition as a result of it serves as a reminder of how lengthy you’ve been round.

Social-Pushed Content material

In my expertise, eating places that prioritize social media of their advertising and marketing technique are likely to generate lots of on-line buzz.

An instance of a restaurant that creates social-driven content material is Austin-based El Arroyo. Though El Arroyo is a Mexican restaurant, you gained’t discover any photos of meals on its Instagram.

With nearly 700K followers, the restaurant is as a substitute identified for its real-life marquee signal that shows cheeky jokes and ideas, usually submitted by followers.

The account shares an image of its signal with a brand new message daily on Instagram.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: Austin-based restaurant El Arroyo is famous for its marquee sign that displays cheeky sayings and jokes.

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El Arroyo has constructed a big following round its each day signal, giving its viewers one thing to look ahead to seeing — and sharing — daily.

The restaurant additionally makes use of its signal to tie in present occasions or make main bulletins. For instance, when the hit Netflix present, Queer Eye, was filming in Austin, El Arroyo partnered with the forged to generate buzz.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: The cast of Queer Eye poses in front of El Arroyo’s marquee sign to promote the show.

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If you wish to use social media to drive visitors to your restaurant, create one thing shareable. This might be a mural or an indication that individuals wish to take photos of or a novel menu merchandise that may stand out within the feed.

Signature Model

After I consider a restaurant with a signature, distinct, and memorable model, the primary place that involves thoughts is Taquero Mucho.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Austin-based Taquero Mucho infuses its signature pink into everything from its dining tables and chairs to its margaritas.

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The Austin-based restaurant is thought for utilizing the colour pink in every part — from its decor to its margaritas — even the tortillas are pink.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: A plate of Taquero Mucho’s signature pink tortilla tacos.

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Pink is splashed throughout its model imagery, making it unmissable on-line and in social media feeds. The colour pink usually evokes a sense of playfulness, optimism, and femininity, that are all phrases I’d use to explain Taquero Mucho.

Creating a robust model is a good way to make your restaurant memorable, as a signature model basically markets your restaurant for you.

Model Partnerships

“One in every of our favourite and handiest advertising and marketing concepts for eating places to maximise consciousness is a partnership with a like-minded model to faucet into their viewers,” shares Ayotte.

Ayotte says this can be a low-lift method to attract on what you have already got — an ideal restaurant and an ideal menu. You’ll be able to “leverage that by way of one other model that shares the same ethos and has entry to prospects the restaurant won’t,” she notes

An instance of a profitable partnership Ayotte’s staff developed and executed was between the dessert model, Woman M Confections, Netflix, and Pearl Studio prematurely of the discharge of the extremely anticipated musical Over the Moon.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Dessert brand Lady M created a limited edition mooncake lantern in partnership with Netflix.

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To have fun the discharge, Woman M created a mooncake lantern. As soon as the partnership was able to be introduced, Ayotte’s staff reached out to media and influencers to share the information, in addition to samples of the mooncake lanterns.

“The partnership was a powerful success,” Ayotte remembers. “It [resulted] in an enormous bump in gross sales for Woman M [and generated] over 1.7 million impressions and 19,804 whole social engagements.”

10 Restaurant Advertising and marketing Concepts for 2024

Primarily based on the methods above, together with extra perception from Rachel Ayotte and my private encounters with restaurant advertising and marketing that works, listed below are ten restaurant advertising and marketing concepts and greatest practices to do that 12 months and past.

1. Construct a easy but efficient web site.

Whether or not I’m trying to find a restaurant close to me on Google or I’ve found a brand new place by way of Instagram, my subsequent step is all the time to take a look at the restaurant’s web site. Having an internet site on your restaurant is a necessity.

“Even when a restaurant has the most effective service and greatest meals on the earth, visitors want a option to discover out info and join indirectly,” states Ayotte. “In our expertise designing web sites for eating places, we emphasize the necessity for frequently up to date, user-friendly codecs that make it simple for visitors to see the menu, hours, location, and the right way to make a reservation.”

Restaurant marketing ideas: A simple website for the restaurant Bodega in San Francisco. The web page includes contact information, hours, and a reservation link.

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What we like: The excellent news is you don’t must have web site improvement abilities to construct an efficient web site. “Eating places don’t want a vastly advanced web site to achieve success,” says Ayotte. “An internet site may be comparatively easy if designed nicely.”

2. Handle and replace your Google Enterprise Profile.

Along with their web site, one other factor I instantly check out when trying to find eating places is their Google Enterprise Profile.

Your Google Enterprise Profile is the profile that pops up on the suitable facet of the display screen when somebody searches for your corporation. This snapshot of your corporation creates a primary impression to searchers who wish to see what sort of meals to count on and what the environment is like.

It additionally shows info they’re probably in search of instantly, equivalent to hours, location, and evaluations.

It’s vital to maintain your profile up to date so prospects have probably the most correct and up-to-date info. Eating places that actively preserve this info get 89% extra calls, web site visits, and route requests, and 79% extra evaluations, in line with knowledge from

Right here’s an instance of a Google Enterprise Profile for a neighborhood pizza restaurant right here in Austin referred to as Through 313:

restaurant marketing ideas, via313

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The profile consists of the restaurant’s important info equivalent to location, hours, and telephone quantity. But it surely additionally consists of issues that may assist diners make their resolution, just like the menu, service choices, evaluations, and loads of photographs.

Professional tip: You’ll be able to add your individual photographs to your profile should you don’t need it to solely characteristic photos from buyer evaluations.

3. Observe on-line evaluations.

“Folks like to broadcast unfavourable experiences and evaluations,” Ayotte states. “This will hang-out a restaurant for years.”

When you can’t management what folks write of their evaluations, you may select the way you reply. Take the time to learn and reply to each constructive and unfavourable evaluations.

Right here’s one other instance from Through 313, the pizza store I discussed above. The restaurant takes the time to thoughtfully reply to each buyer evaluate on Google, even acknowledging their suggestions when prospects share it.

Restaurant marketing ideas: A five-star Google review for Via 313 that includes a response from the business owner.

Finest for: Monitoring your restaurant’s on-line evaluations isn’t solely so you may keep on high of unfavourable evaluations. You can too use buyer suggestions to enhance your restaurant service, get inspiration for brand new dishes, or acquire constructive evaluations as social proof in your web site and social media posts.

4. Share UGC (user-generated content material).

For me, seeing posts created by different accounts and prospects helps persuade me to attempt a restaurant. That is referred to as user-generated content material, or UGC.

UGC establishes social proof, which is the idea that prospects are influenced by different prospects’ experiences, conduct, and proposals.

For instance, the Reel under was created by a meals influencer sharing their expertise on the New Orleans-based restaurant Willa Jean (which, by the way in which, I can affirm is a good brunch spot within the metropolis!).

The restaurant shared the video by itself web page to amplify the influencer’s constructive advice.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: An influencer post that Willa Jean, a New Orleans restaurant, reshared on its Instagram page.

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What we like: Not solely does UGC present social proof on your restaurant, but it surely additionally offers you loads of content material to share, so that you by no means run out of issues to submit.

5. Be part of a reservation platform.

If you wish to get prospects within the door, it’s important to make it simple for them to come back. This usually means assembly them the place they’re, which, within the case of upscale eating, is on the reservation platforms.

Reservation platforms like Resy or Tock are nice channels for eating places to extend their discoverability and get in entrance of recent prospects.

On the shopper facet, these platforms are handy. Reserving platforms usually curate eating places for purchasers, organizing them into classes equivalent to “Prime Rated” or “Finest Brunches” so folks can navigate their choices higher.

Resy, as an example, even has a class referred to as “Guide Tonight” that shows openings for last-minute reservations.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Reservation platform Resy displays restaurant availability for quick and convenient booking.

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Professional tip: In the event you provide reservations or group eating, make it simple on your prospects to ebook a desk by including a reservation web page or plugin in your web site.

6. Have interaction prospects immediately with electronic mail advertising and marketing.

In 2023, I had one in all my most memorable eating experiences at Bar Marilou in New Orleans. From the library-inspired inside design to the mouth-watering bites and flavorful drinks, the expertise has caught with me for almost a 12 months.

So, after all, anytime I see the title “Bar Marilou” pop up in my inbox, I instantly open the e-mail simply to be reminded of my magical expertise.

Restaurant marketing ideas: An email newsletter from New Orleans-based restaurant Bar Marilou. The email includes a high-quality photo of plated dishes, CTA buttons to see the menu or make a reservation, and information about two upcoming events.

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That is the ability of electronic mail advertising and marketing. When finished proper, emails can be utilized to extend buyer loyalty and function a reminder of your story, your menu, or your occasions. E mail is a option to attain your prospects immediately, whereas social media posts can get misplaced in a sea of content material.

Bar Marilou solely sends out emails as soon as a month (generally much less) to share upcoming occasions or updates. This cadence is sufficient for me since I don’t even stay in the identical metropolis and may’t simply drop in at any time when I would like.

Nonetheless, in case you have sufficient knowledge in your prospects, you could possibly ship extra customized emails relying on their areas, demographic, and eating historical past with you. As an illustration, if your prospects’ birthdays, you may ship them rewards to redeem on their particular days.

Finest for: If you wish to talk vital info or share upcoming occasions along with your prospects, electronic mail advertising and marketing could be a extra direct channel than social media.

7. Create shareable moments.

Shareable content material is essential to succeeding on social media. If you create content material that pulls and resonates with folks, they’re extra prone to share it and enable you to enhance your restaurant’s on-line attain.

There are just a few methods to create moments or content material that individuals wish to share. A method is to make your dishes Instagram-worthy so prospects are compelled to take photos and share them.

Right here’s one other instance from the pink restaurant, Taquero Mucho, I discussed earlier. The restaurant creates a enjoyable new drink each month and shares it on Instagram. This one aligned with the Barbie film that premiered final summer season.

Creative marketing ideas: A pink Barbie-themed drink from Taquero Mucho Austin.

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One other method is to design your restaurant in a method that’s share-worthy by creating an Instagrammable spot inside or outdoors of your area, like a mural.

8. Begin a loyalty or rewards program.

Everybody loves free stuff. A rewards program could be a enjoyable option to encourage prospects to change into frequent guests to earn free meals and drinks.

McDonald’s presents an ideal instance of the right way to execute a rewards program. To encourage folks to make use of its app, McDonald’s presents prospects free massive fries after they make a purchase order.

The extra orders you make within the app, the extra factors you get and may use in the direction of future orders.

Restaurant marketing ideas: McDonald’s

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However you don’t must have a flowery app or be a big restaurant chain like McDonald’s to begin a loyalty program.

My native espresso store, Sorrento’s Espresso, presents a rewards program that’s arrange by way of its POS system, Sq..

Each time you purchase a drink, you get factors. 140 factors get you one free drink. (Which jogs my memory — seems like I’ve a free espresso or two ready for me!).

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: An overview of my local coffee shop’s customer loyalty program which involves earning points for free drinks.

Finest for: Loyalty packages are supposed to reward frequent prospects. In my expertise, the rewards packages I’ve been probably to take part in are locations that I already frequent.

These packages work nice with espresso retailers or lunch spots in a busy workplace space — anyplace the place you’re prone to see the identical prospects frequently.

9. Create branded merchandise.

Creating bodily merchandise or branded merchandise is a good way to let your prospects do your advertising and marketing for you.

Just like the Chipotle marketing campaign I shared above, branded merchandise is a good advertising and marketing concept for eating places with a loyal buyer base. The important thing to creating branded merchandise is to create a product that not solely displays your model however can be one thing your prospects would get pleasure from.

For instance, El Arroyo, the restaurant with the well-known marquee signal, additionally presents a full line of merchandise that’s synonymous with its signal. The cheeky nature of the signal lends itself nicely to different gift-type objects like doormats, coasters, and taking part in playing cards, just like the merchandise under.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: El Arroyo sells products like doormats and coasters with its signature messages on them.

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What we like: Branded merchandise is a good way to encourage prospects to advertise your model for you and enhance word-of-mouth.

10. Associate with related manufacturers.

As Ayotte talked about earlier when speaking about restaurant advertising and marketing methods, model partnerships are an efficient option to amplify your model by getting it in entrance of recent audiences.

To get probably the most out of your model partnership, associate with a model that has a special but like-minded viewers. It doesn’t even have to be one other restaurant or meals model. The purpose is to be launched to a brand new viewers that may profit from or get pleasure from your product.

As an illustration, should you’re a small native restaurant that simply opened in your city’s essential road, you could possibly associate with different small companies on the block for an in-person occasion or a social media giveaway.

Professional tip: Model partnerships must be mutually helpful. Think about what the opposite social gathering will obtain in return for partnering with you while you make your pitch.

What I Realized About Restaurant Advertising and marketing

The most important factor I’ve discovered from digging into completely different restaurant campaigns and methods is that there’s a ton of room to be artistic with restaurant advertising and marketing.

There’s no proper or improper method. Eating places can incorporate traits of their social posts or follow publishing high-quality photos of their dishes. They will attempt to get in entrance of recent audiences by partnering with related manufacturers, or they’ll construct loyalty with present prospects by way of electronic mail advertising and marketing.

The important factor your restaurant must succeed is an internet site with the next key info:

  • Menu
  • Hours
  • Location
  • Telephone quantity
  • E mail
  • Reservations (if relevant)

One of the best restaurant advertising and marketing technique is to know your model and your prospects. From there, you may experiment with completely different on-line and in-person channels to execute your imaginative and prescient and convey extra folks into your restaurant for years to come back.

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