Restaurant marketing is more important than ever. Restaurants today are successful largely due to the marketing initiatives taken to popularize them. There is a distinct target market that all restaurants seek to capture and the most successful marketing tactics help some of them create a niche for themselves.
Getting Started on Restaurant Marketing
1. Putting basics in place- Marketing initiatives can begin after putting the basics of the restaurant in place. For both new and existing restaurants, marketing efforts would have to be built on a good menu offering variety, well prepared recipes, good quality food and service, and a well trained take order/sale staff. The restaurant operations have to be efficient and attention to detail will impress customers.
2. Hygiene and Freshness - Extremely important. It is one of the first things customers will observe when they arrive at or walk past a restaurant. The marketing message must include that hygiene and freshness are your top priority - and include a 100% money back guarantee.3. Start small- Restaurants do not become money spinners overnight that can afford a huge marketing budget. Hence it is preferable to start small with simple marketing endeavors offer a FREE sample which are well thought out and executed.
4. Effective positioning- The restaurant has to be positioned right to be successful. It must fall into a niche segment and all that it offers must be in tandem with what it represents. It also helps to differentiate the restaurant from the others. Positioning is part of marketing but can be built up on and will reap results gradually.
5. Be different from others- Most restaurants spend large amounts on new getting new customers, little realizing that if they have quality product and service on their side, they will benefit far more from existing customers. Wooing them for repeat visits would be far easier, something most restaurants do not consider.
6. Brand building- Restaurants become powerful brands when they deliver what they promise and customers begin to expect high standards that are associated with their brand. Consistency becomes critical for brand sustenance.
7. Understanding competition- Restaurants need to know what they are up against, namely their competitors, the market and expectations of customers. Knowledge and awareness holds the key to effective planning and helps to formulate the right strategies.
8. Never sit back- Marketing efforts would come to nothing if after the initial steps, no follow up strategies are implemented. Every few months a revision in the menu, new additions, invite everyone you meet to try new additions for FREE or at 50% off the menu etc. will help to keep up the restaurant’s popularity.Tips for Effective Restaurant Marketing
Once the initial steps have been taken, it is time to consider various restaurant marketing tactics that will make your business a success.
1. Advertising- Advertising includes all the media related initiatives to market the restaurant. These include advertisements on television, in newspapers, flyers and brochures handed out at site and so on. Though expensive they help to create awareness about the restaurant.
2. Promotional activities- The restaurant can entice customers through discount vouchers, new product launches, loyalty programs and free trials. These help to rope in new customers who hold promise of becoming restaurant loyalists.
3. Use ‘Advertorials’ to increase response by up to 500% - Research clearly shows that ads that look like editorial articles get 500% more readership than ads that obviously look like ads. People don’t buy magazines or newspapers to read the ads, do they? Of course not! You, I and everybody else buys the papers and magazines or watches TV for the stories. By making your ads informative and looking like the stories in the publication, you’ll get more sales. When writing your ad, pretend you are the editor of the magazine writing about your company or product.
4. Email marketing- This is the least expensive but amongst the most effective marketing technique which helps to reach out to the target clientele with new promotions and discount coupons, newsletters and posts containing articles and content which would be informative for the readers, who are part of the customer base of the restaurant.
5. SMS to your existing customers daily/weekly special to get them in.
6. Use your ‘phone’ to work - Promote to surrounding business buildings.
7. Bounce backs- This is a highly successful marketing tactic whereby existing customers are encouraged to return. This can be accomplished through specially organized events, celebrations with some freebies thrown in. it helps to increase the frequency with which customers visit.
8. Affinity programs- Affinity marketing programs would help to tie the restaurant with other leading brands for combined promotions. Tying up with an already successful credit card brand, for example, would yield positive results.Successful restaurant marketing will reflect in higher sales through larger footfalls and a loyal clientele of repeat customers, and continuous profits would help in making the restaurant successful.