Take a look at social media, and you’ll realize very quickly that everyone is becoming quite savvy about marketing and branding. And in the restaurant business, you can quickly find great examples of where others are building their brands there. Here are some suggestions for developing and marketing your brand.
If you can afford it, consider bringing in a professional photographer to take pictures of your popular and best food items, your location, storefront, patrons loving the food, all of it. You might consider forming a short-term partnership with a photographer, provide them lunches a couple of times a month for three months in exchange for a couple hours a month of their services. If you can’t do that, make sure you get a decent camera. With some of the smartphones now they are good. Take the picture with the screen facing you and the camera opening facing the food. That gets a higher resolution (better definition in your pictures). Then take a lot of photographs to choose from. The only ones you should use are ones that make your mouth water and leave you feeling that you must partake immediately. Anything less won’t pull people in to do just that.
Check Your Online Locations
You should have a website that does much the same as those photos. It NEEDS to be current. If you change menu items, that needs to be updated immediately. Some studies suggest as much as 75–90% of people research food choices online before heading to a restaurant. Tempt them into choosing you, but make sure they aren’t disappointed when they arrive because the foods they saw on your menu aren’t available anymore. You probably won’t get a second chance at their business. Also, make sure your location and contact information is up to date.
Time your Posts on Social Media
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday, breakfast specials, or early-bird dinners that you want to bring people to try, post pictures to remind them of what they can enjoy within an hour or two. Twitter and Instagram posts tend to show up right away, so these are a good place for this marketing strategy. Facebook is better for more generic posts where timing may not be as important.
There are a couple of types of partnerships you want to look into. The first are mobile-loyalty programs where your restaurant can be listed making it easy to find for the users of those apps. These include Belly, LevelUp, LoyalBlocks, and Perka. These provide a way for customers to save money and you to build your customer base. The other type of partnership are delivery services. These allow you to have your food delivered without having to keep staff for that purpose. Usually, the services list a smaller version of your menu at adjusted prices. Some of the popular ones include Favor, Eat24, GrubHub, Seamless, Delivery.com, and Foodler.
Customers and Brand
Make sure you know what your brand is, who is your customer, and what they want when they come to your eatery. Your marketing should be focused to keep your customers coming back. And while you do that, keep your eye open for any customers posting pictures and comments about their time at your restaurant. The good ones you want to share on your social media pages with a thank you. The bad ones, you want to reach out and make things right. For both, you might consider some kind of token appreciation. It might be a large wall in your place with print outs of customer posts, it might be a free dessert at their next visit, or something unique that fits what you offer at your place.
Have fun with it, and that will make it fun and memorable for those who come to visit … often!
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and founder of 5W Public Relations.