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These days, there are hospitality venues from cafes, takeaway joints and restaurants popping up at every corner, promising the best of its cuisine and putting the pressure on already established shopfronts. And while you may not think the internet and your kitchen can work together, we have uncovered ways you can stay competitive while keeping your staff and increasing your bottom line, thanks to the digital marketing.
From an active website with an online ordering system to digital advertising and social media sharing; each component can help increase the exposure of your restaurant while setting you apart from the rest. So, say hello to the digital space with six easy steps.
Develop a website that is branded in the colours and logo for your restaurant. By having an active website, it provides your diners with a tool to browse your menu and any promotions you may have (but remember it needs to be regularly updated). Once they have visited your website, you gain knowledge on what they are interested in and can track and advertise to them directly through digital advertising. Another opportunity with a website is the ability to install an online reservation and ordering system. We now live in a world where individuals want everything to be as-easy-as-possible and that includes not needing to phone-up to save a seat or make an order.
Many of the big players in hospitality are now beginning to invest in systems as such, like online ordering systems to compete with digital delivery services, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Foodora – just to name a few. Businesses are implementing an easy-to-follow system within their already established websites to keep their customers and their valuable data. The concept, as well as the reservations tool, allows you to collect data about your customers that can be used for digital advertising. It also helps with building customer loyalty between the venue and the end-user.
Once you have your website in full-swing, invest some time in becoming a social media expert (and we use the term very lightly). Take some time to build your brand online by sharing images of your team, your dishes and unique promotions you may be offering. Invest some time and money in teaming up with a professional food stylist to showcase your tasty creations to your audience – because remember, they eat with their eyes.
It is also an opportunity to leverage platforms such as Instagram and Facebook for popular hashtags that can be added to your posts in an attempt to reach a larger audience. While using it as a platform to self-promote your work, venue and team, you can use your social media accounts as an advertising tool. Social advertising can provide in-depth targeting, meaning you can reach your ideal user in terms of demographic, interest and geographic.
Performing keyword research for your restaurant allows you to see exactly what your users are searching for. Once you develop this understanding, you can tailor your menu, create hyped-menu items and trends to fit with your customer’s needs and desires. This keeps you relevant amongst your diners and on-top of food trends within the industry that you may not have heard of yet.
You should then incorporate your keyword research within your website pages to help generate organic Search Engine Optimisation. This will then impact your restaurant’s website ranking on search engines – making it easier for your customers to find you when they search. Using this approach, you can also leverage Google AdWords to place advertisements for the particular keywords that have more relevance to your restaurant or for certain popular cuisines.
By having an active website that has an online ordering and reservation component, it presents an opportunity for you to build a valuable database with your customers’ details. Once a customer places an order you will collect their name, address and meal preference, as well as credit card details. Whereas, when they place a reservation, you will gain their name, phone number and email. The collection of this valuable information is important as it allows you to market to them directly, including sending them Electronic Direct Mail (eDM), with your latest menu ideas and promotions.
On top of direct marketing, it also gives you an opportunity to get to know your client base on a more personal level. For example, over time you will be able to know what their favourite dish at your restaurant is. This then allows you to present them with unique and exclusive offers, such as 10% discount off your next bill, a free favourite dish for their birthday, etc. Make sure you get creative and unique with your promotions, so you stand out from other venues who are playing the same game.
Digital advertising has become the new way of marketing, so if your business is not already doing it, we suggest you start. Within your website and your Google Plus profile, add as many details as possible. This includes your restaurant’s opening times, contact number, a sitemap, menu link, images and anything else you may think will add value to your restaurant. Also, utilise your social media platforms to advertise your restaurant or current offerings. Use a variety of dynamic advertising formats on your channels including live video, 360 videos, live photos, carousel ads, etc. in order to attract and stand out to your customers. Spending money on these platforms can seem daunting at first, but start with a small budget while you practise for cost efficiency and then adjust accordingly.
Across your website and social media channels, produce and share engaging content, such as behind the scenes images and videos to show your audience where the sweat and hard work is done or your latest menu creation. As suggested by Restaurant Engine, “tell a story about the people behind the food. Show off your notes and phones from your most loyal customers.” Engaging content like GIFS, videos, images and sometimes blogs, stand you out from a consumer standpoint and can have a huge impact on your business, as well as your digital presence.
Though these days, being digital means creating video. You can be as creative as you want with your content and if your video content is engaging, you have the potential to reach 15,000 users with $100 across your social platforms. If you can determine your audience in a geo-locked location, you can reach the entire audience with a limited budget and it’s all measureable. With video, can also market to users who have watched a portion of your video. For example, if they have watched your entire promotion video you know they are interested in your product, so you can send them offers such as ‘come into the shop and receive a free garlic bread’. This is a great way of bringing users into your restaurant without having to invest much time or money.