The restaurant business is tricky! There is a ton of competition for the attention of diners, and options abound for people to try new establishments on an ongoing basis. Attracting new customers and keeping regulars returning for more is the key to restaurant success. So your restaurant marketing strategies must be effective if you want to reach your goals.
Every restaurant’s goal is to ensure that at least 70% of new or frequent customers return at least once a month. And while keeping customers for the long term is the hard part, restaurants will never get to that point without a solid plan to continuously attract new customers. Aside from the basics, what are the best restaurant marketing strategies your restaurant can implement to keep driving new diners? Check out our five restaurant marketing strategies we think will be essential for your restaurant’s ongoing success.
Don’t Be a Linear Marketer.
Most restaurants will create a plan to advertise that looks something like this: We will run an ad in the local newspaper in January, then do a coupon insert via direct mail in February, then do a radio ad in March, etc.
Instead of taking this traditionally linear approach to marketing your restaurant, take an asymmetrical, swarming approach. What about engaging in more than one marketing channel at once? Think of how you can consistently and aggressively stay in front of prospective diners instead of engaging in one-off marketing efforts that individually may not have much success. But put together a full range of swarming tactics all at once, and you might hit the mark and exceed it when it comes to new diners coming through your door.
Identify Innovative Initiatives that Can Command the Attention of the Marketplace
Any restaurant can offer “buy a dinner, get a second half off” or a 20% discount for first-time customers through a coupon in the mail. But what if a restaurant had the local Community Bank make the offer to their customers instead? Or what if a restaurant offered 20% off the first-time customer’s bill for three months using a special member card to track user participation instead of a one-time coupon?
For the first restaurant, they are trading on the local Community Bank’s credibility. And the restaurant offering the 3-month 20% offer gave customers a reason to dine at this new restaurant often-they would get 20% off each time they did!
This kind of marketing is extreme and compelling. It is different and makes people pay attention. Make it an effort to create a marketing strategy for your restaurant that stands out from the crowd and gives prospective customers a reason to consider your establishment over the competition.
Jobs To Be Done Marketing
People “hire” your restaurant to do a specific job. One job could be to feed the family. Another could be to provide a space for social gathering, a place to have a drink after a long day at work, a place to grab a dessert after a long movie, or a place to be by oneself, relax, and get away from the busyness and distractions of home. Whatever the reason for going out to eat, there is a specific “job” that customers are looking to get done. It is your job to ensure that you meet those needs better than anyone else.
We recommend that your restaurant marketing strategies include:
- Segmenting all the potential customers for your restaurant.
- Crafting a targeted message and value proposition towards them.
- Go where they are to ensure your message is heard loud and clear.
For example, new moms are often at home caring for their newborns and probably not up and about handling things like cooking as much as they did before the arrival of their new baby. So many Dads have to ensure the family has dinner ready each night. Why not craft a message targeting these families with newborns and showcase how ordering from you can make things simple and give them an incentive to try you? With a great online ordering system, your restaurant can also get orders online, and parents can have dinner delivered in no time!
Focus on “jobs to be done” by your prospective diners, and you will be able to create restaurant marketing strategies that stand out from the crowd. The results will be more business than you ever imagined.
Good is the New Cool
At ChowNow, we are dedicated to providing our local restaurant partners with the solutions they need to get their food into the hands of hungry diners cost-effectively and quickly. We also want to impact local communities by allowing small, local restaurants to keep more of their profits and become and maintain an integral role in the communities they serve. We have a purpose that matters, and it drives every aspect of our business.
Your restaurant would be well served to become more than just a place for people to get food when they are hungry. Aligning your restaurant brand with a cause or being a place that is known for something other than food is a great way to stand out from the competition. Create restaurant marketing strategies that incorporate ways for your business to be good in the community on an ongoing basis. When it comes to Gen Z customers, they are 85% more likely to purchase from a brand that supports a social cause vs. one that doesn’t. Ensure you connect with these new customers on every level to grow your restaurant.
Don’t Half Do Your Online Ordering Strategy.
Restaurant marketing strategies that don’t focus on expanding online ordering for customers are missing a big opportunity. More people are heading back into dining rooms to socialize and enjoy themselves after being held up at home during the Covid years. However, the food delivery habits developed during this time aren’t going away.
Be sure to create a restaurant marketing strategy that includes implementing a quality online ordering system like ChowNow, that will allow you to manage the entire ordering process affordably, without the huge commissions often charged by other solutions on the market.
Then, it would help if you made a valiant effort to promote your online ordering to all your customers. When dining in, be sure to have your wait staff provide small cards with the check that promote your online ordering solutions so customers know that the restaurant can also deliver their favorite dishes to them at any time. Partner with local businesses and offer special offers for delivery to the workplace. Aggressively promote your online ordering options on your social media. Create special online ordering days or offers during the week to give customers who don’t have time or don’t want to prepare food at home an easy option to bring food to their front door.
Creating effective restaurant marketing strategies that don’t repeat the same concepts done by everyone else is essential to making your restaurant stand out. Drive more foot traffic, get more online orders, and increase your sales and profits with these restaurant marketing strategies sure to make your cash register smile.