November 20, 2015
5 Essential Restaurant Marketing Ideas With Proven Success

Your restaurant could serve the best food in town, but if your marketing strategy fails the community may never taste it. Include these five essential restaurant marketing ideas and you’ll be well on your way to culinary fame.

1. Target millennials.
Millennials are the generation after Gen X-ers. They were born after 1980, reached adulthood in the early 2000’s, and have surpassed the Baby Boomers in numbers and spending power. Any business that interacts with the public must take the opinions and preferences of millennials into account. As a whole, millennials have been shaped by technology, value creativity, and invest in human capital. Whether your target market is young families or high rollers, you need to include this group in your thinking.

2. Have an active online presence.
Because millennials have been shaped by technology, restaurant marketing much reach out to them via technology.

* Your website should include images of the food you serve as well as a menu, so potential customers can make an informed decision.
* Follow review sites so you can follow up or respond to customer comments. You can use a Google notification to let you know when somebody mentions your restaurant online. As an added tip, reach out to local food critics and ask them to review your restaurant on their various platforms.
* Use social media to promote your restaurant through events, seasonal menu items, customer comments, and community involvement.
* Build a database on email addresses for email marketing. Automate a handful of responses to be sent to subscribers once they submit their contact information.
* Create a blog to showcase food preparation techniques, educational material, behind the scenes stories, and other information customers might find interesting.
* Remember that, unless you’re a restaurant chain, your targeted keywords should be local. For example, Portland seafood restaurant or Atlanta barbecue.

3. Make the most of event marketing opportunities.
Most marketers think of trade shows or expos when they hear the phrase “event marketing”. But for restaurants there is much more to it than that. Your event marketing might look like catering lunch for the city council, sending a food truck to the local craft fair, or making accommodations for groups in your restaurant who need a location for a business meeting. Millennials love startups and that often means doing business in local eating establishments. Make it easy for them.

4. Cooperate with other local eateries for collaborative restaurant marketing.
If you’re an Italian restaurant, your primary competition is not the ice cream shop down the street or the hamburger joint around the corner. Collaborate with other restaurants to do some cooperative marketing. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and to promote local businesses. Maybe you all sponsor a charitable event or have a similar promotion. In Fort Worth, Texas a group of local restaurants got together and had Christmas in July promotions for a week in July. Maximize your creativity and your resources.

5. Provide great customer service.
It’s easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new one. Provide great service to those who step foot into your restaurant. More often than not, the customers’ word of mouth is the best marketing you could ask for. Give them a reason to brag about you to their friends and they’ll help promote your restaurant for you.

Bonus tip: Use an iPad POS. Millennials value technology. If you take the order and send the order to the kitchen from their table by using an iPad POS, they’ll take notice. Additionally, the portability of this kind of point of sale system gives you the freedom to participate in community events without having two separate systems for receiving payments. Give it a test drive by starting your free trial today!

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