Top 10 Best Marketing Strategies for Restaurants

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“If I buy a cactus and paint a wall in pink in my coffee shop, Instagram influencers will think it’s cute and will want to come and take pictures of my business. Doesn’t that guarantee business success?” 

Well our answer, and the answer of most marketing consultants out there is: no!

This is a marketing strategy that many food businesses seem to follow nowadays, especially in Vancouver, but it has its ups and downs. 

For sure, influencers or aspiring influencers will want to take a picture of your business (we won’t lie, we would too), which will allow you to raise some brand awareness on social media, especially on Instagram. But, there is a difference between becoming the trendy coffee shop to visit once, and the coffee shop that will be successful for decades. How can you make THE difference? Through the right marketing strategy.

So, here are our top 10 best marketing strategies and tips for anyone owning a restaurant, coffee shop or bakery that our team of marketing consultants recommend you:

1. Website

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Firstly, A business without a website is invisible to your target. A website is the face of your business to potential customers, partners or even future employees. A poorly designed website could decrease your conversions, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated either, as long as you make sure to display a few things:

  • Who you are and what you do
  • How to find you and what your business hours are
  • Your competitive advantage (why customers should choose you, instead of your competition)
  • Photos of your business
  • Menu
  • Special deal
  • Online booking
  • Online ordering (if applicable to your business)

If your website is easy to navigate and has the right information for your customers, it’s a win! Not all business owners are experts in HTML. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be. You can actually build simple websites on platforms like WordPress or SquareSpace, but if you have a specific need, or if you don’t have the time, most digital marketing services in town should be able to help you. 

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2. Create profiles on the major review and delivery platforms 

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Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google reviews, Foodora, UberEats… When looking for a restaurant, customers want to make sure they will have a nice meal, that’s why they want to read reviews from past customers, and see photos as well. Two key platforms where you should have a profile are Yelp and Tripadvisor. 

The major benefits are: 

  1. Raising awareness of people who don’t know you yet, 
  2. Convert the ones that already know you

This is only, of course, as long as you have good reviews of course. This means that customer satisfaction should also be at the center of your marketing strategy. Lots of our clients are seeking for tips from our marketing consultants on how to improve their customer satisfaction. If that’s a big concern for your business as well, don’t hesitate to contact us.  

3. Sensorial marketing

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Sensorial marketing! You might not have heard that term yet, but trust us, you already experienced it. Sensorial marketing is marketing using your senses. Music, scents, visuals, textures, taste… Go inside a Saje or Lush shop, you will see that everything is made for your senses to be activated. 

The goal is for customers to spend more time in shops, try products and ultimately buy. So, studies have shown that sensorial marketing is increasing significantly conversions. 

How to use sensorial marketing in your food business?

Here, you have lots of options and ultimately, the choices that you make have to be consistent with your brand and what you offer to your clients, but here are some suggestions:

  • Music: A fast-tempo will push the customer to leave earlier. On the other hand, slow music played at low volume will increase the time and the money spent inside. Customers tend to eat faster and consume less with a loud volume and fast-tempo music. 
  • Texture and visuals: All renowned chefs will tell you, you need to have different texture in your plates as well as create plates that are nice to look at. Plus, they’re more likely to be #instagrammed! 
  • Scent: Did you know that some bakeries were using chemical diffusers to spread a good smell of fresh bread outside of their shops even though they are not even baking anything at their location? Although this particular example is not to be recommended, this is a great example of sensorial marketing.
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4. Social media

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You are probably cooking really great food, and your customers know that, but what about potential customers? If you want to raise awareness around your restaurant, make sure to be on social media and share pictures of your location, and the food you are serving. 

Lots of social media platforms exist, but as a business owner you have to focus on what will bring you the best ROI. That’s why you need to post regularly on Instagram! On this platform, everything is about photography. Make sure to take nice pictures of you, your restaurant, and your food. 

Furthermore, another great social media platform for food related content is Pinterest. Lots of people are looking for recipes ideas. As a restaurant owner, what can you share on this platform? Create a blog section on your website where you share recipes. They don’t have to be recipes from your menu, but try to share recipes that are coherent to your restaurant positioning. 

5. Influencer outreach

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A great way to increase your brand awareness among your potential clients is to work with bloggers and influencers. Identify who is sharing your brand values and could talk about your brand to your final customers. You don’t have to reach out to major influencers to see results. The key is to reach out to those who have high engagement.

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6. PR

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Dailyhive, VancouverIsAwesome, Dot604.com…. Reach out to the websites, journalists and experts that could talk about your brand. If they like what you do, they might talk about you on their website, social media or in their newsletter. Keep in mind that the outcomes and the budget involved might differ from one contact to another. 

7. Online reputation

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Potential customers are judging the quality of your services based on previous customers feedback. 

Make sure to monitor what people are saying about you on your Google My Business, Yelp, and Tripadvisor pages. Don’t leave a bad review unanswered. 

Monitor your competition, you might be able to identify recurring bad feedback your business is able to overcome. 

Are your customers not leaving reviews? With some easy marketing workflow you are might be able to.

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8. Loyalty program

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The cost of acquisition of new customers is much higher than it is for returning customers. Your current customers already know you, so why not give them an incentive to come back and buy again. This can be done through loyalty program for example. You can also implement marketing workflow allowing you to engage with your previous customers so that they can come back.

9. Create a referral network

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You are not alone in this! Did you know that you could get clients from other businesses? It’s what marketing consultants call referral marketing. Create a network of fellow business owners; go to associations, organizations and events that could be interesting for you. Determining which business is most likely to help you with this strategy will really depend on the products you are selling. As well as on the target you are aiming for, but the logic and ROI of referral marketing is proven.

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10. Define your brand properly

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The food industry is really competitive. How many restaurants or coffee shops are there around your business for example? Probably a lot. How different are you from them? If you are not sure how to answer this question, your customers won’t be either. This is where branding comes into play. The idea here is to define a few things for your business:

  • What is my vision?
  • What is my mission?
  • Who am I?
  • What is my positioning? 
  • Who is my target?
  • What are my strengths/weaknesses?
  • What are my values?

Once you have an answer to all of the above questions, your only job is to make sure your marketing strategy, communication strategy and retail space is going in that direction, so that both your employees and customers know your brand.

Are you already doing all the above but are not seeing the results you would have expected? 

It is one thing to know what to do, it is another thing to know how to do it or even have the time to do it. This is where digital marketing services like ours comes in handy. We will be able to see what you could improve in your current marketing strategy and what you should do to make sure you reach your business goals. Small changes could make a big impact on your business success. Contact our marketing consultants and ask for a business audit and marketing assessment.

By |2019-11-18T21:19:51+00:00October 25th, 2019|Marketing|