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Restaurant Business: Ideas for Promotion Online

[ BLOG ]

Table of contents of the article

The restaurant business is characterized by high competition. To stand out from other companies, you need to try different restaurant marketing strategies.

Restaurant Business - Where to Start

The first step towards successful restaurant promotion is to create a detailed marketing plan. In this article, we have gathered ideas for marketing your restaurant that will help you attract new customers and win over your target audience.


Create a Stunning Restaurant Website Just like any other business, a restaurant needs to have its own website. A website is a source of useful information where potential customers can view the menu, make a reservation, or order takeout. It also serves as the hub for the restaurant's marketing campaigns. Recommendations for creating a high-conversion restaurant website:

  • Tailor the website to your target audience.
  • Include the address and phone number.
  • Add the menu.
  • Post high-quality photos.
  • Share the story of your brand (more on this in the next point).
  • Focus on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
  • Add booking functionality.
  • Explain how to join the loyalty program.
Tell the Story of Your Brand’s Creation As mentioned earlier, the restaurant business is booming, and to succeed, you need to be a cut above the competition. Many establishments have similar USPs, so you need to find another way to stand out. Tell the unique story of your restaurant's creation to make your brand memorable. For example, consider Dishoom, an Indian cuisine restaurant in the UK. In the city where this restaurant is located, there is fierce competition among Indian cuisine establishments. Dishoom recently opened its seventh location, all thanks to a well-thought-out strategy: the venues are decorated in the style of old Bombay cafés called Irani. According to the information on their website, Iranis were places where people from various social strata gathered to sample dishes and discuss news.

Implement Table Reservation and Online Ordering Features. Many restaurant websites offer customers the ability to reserve tables. The simpler the reservation process, the more likely it is to be used. Automating reservations frees up restaurant staff for other tasks. Otherwise, they would be tied up on the phone confirming each booking manually. As for online orders, this area is becoming increasingly popular each year, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you're worried that you won't be able to handle an online ordering system, you can partner with well-known delivery services like Uber Eats.

Add an Appealing Menu. Going to a restaurant always involves making a purchasing decision (in this case, paying for the ordered food). To make a purchase decision, customers need as much information as possible. As part of the marketing plan, upload the menu to the website so customers can review it. Also, make it attractive. Add photos of dishes taken by a professional photographer and provide quality descriptions. Also list prices, dish ingredients, and allergen information.

Create an App for Customers. We understand how effective apps can be in implementing a restaurant's marketing strategy. There, you can post the menu, take orders, distribute coupons, and offer discounts. Apps help increase the average bill amount and the average number of orders per customer per month.
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How Else Can Apps Be Used?

Sending Push Notifications. Nearly everyone has a mobile phone, and push notifications are a great way to reach customers. According to research, push notifications have a 26% higher open rate than email. When are push notifications especially effective?

  • Send reminders about reserved tables to reduce the chance of no-shows.
  • Send notifications at times when customers are most likely to be thinking about food, such as Friday evenings.
  • Send geotargeted notifications to catch customers who are nearby. B) Coupons and Discounts, Loyalty Programs Loyalty programs offer gifts, motivating customers to make repeat purchases. The more they spend, the more rewards they receive. According to research, members of bonus programs spend more. It's not necessary to have your own app to start such a program. You can use traditional paper stamp cards. However, apps are convenient in that they allow you to track bonuses and stamps, they can't be lost (as can happen with paper cards), and they are more familiar to our digital generation. A higher bill amount is not the only advantage of such programs. Loyal customers are more likely to recommend interesting places to their friends and acquaintances. According to one study, nearly half of people turn to friends for recommendations of good restaurants.
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Social Media

Create an Instagram Profile Instagram marketing is ideal for the restaurant business, as this social platform was originally built on sharing visual content (photos), and photos play a crucial role in promoting such establishments. Take high-quality photos of your dishes, interior, and staff and use them to fill your profile feed. Try to ensure all photos are in a similar color scheme and consistent style, so the feed feels cohesive. Also, be sure to add hashtags (several, not just one) – hashtags can help potential customers find your establishment. If you're unsure which hashtags are popular, check out your competitors' pages.

Try Video Marketing Video is a type of content that engages users deeply, so it can significantly improve your restaurant’s performance. On Instagram, video formats are available in Stories, and videos can also be posted to the main feed. You can also go live to show, for example, how dishes are prepared behind the scenes.

Organize Contests and Giveaways Contests and giveaways increase brand recognition and expand your audience reach. The fewer the conditions for participation, the more participants you'll have. Prizes should be relevant to the interests of your target audience for a good response.

Leverage User-Generated Content User-generated content (UGC) is content created and distributed by users – your company’s customers. On social media, this usually includes posts that mention or link to the company, which users publish on their own pages. Like word-of-mouth, such posts are highly trusted by audiences because they are not paid advertisements by the establishment but rather the personal opinions of the users. Such content can attract new customers who aren't following your account. What are other examples of using user-generated content? You could organize a contest for the best photo with a hashtag of your establishment (e.g., a favorite dish).

Collaborate with Food Bloggers and Influencers You can reach out to well-known individuals with large audiences to mention your establishment. Since such people are trusted, collaborating with them can bring many new customers. Example: Invite such a person for a free meal in exchange for a review and post. Collaborating with local bloggers who have a smaller audience (so-called micro-influencers) can be particularly beneficial.

Run Paid Advertising (e.g., on Facebook) Advertising on Facebook is highly targeted: you can specify in the settings which categories of potential customers will see your ads. For example, you can set a radius within which the ad will be shown, or the age of people who will see it. If you have a contact list, you can create a similar audience on Facebook to whom the ads will be broadcast.
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Search engine optimization

If you already have a restaurant website ready, you need to ensure that users can see it in search engine results.

Optimize Your Google My Business Profile After launching a site, it's hard to appear on the first pages of Google. However, a Google My Business profile provides an opportunity to easily rank high for user queries in a specific region (local SEO optimization). Example of results for the query "Italian restaurant Moscow".

How to Improve Your My Business Profile?
  • Fill in basic information (name, address, contact details, etc.);
  • Add links to your website, menu, and reservation page;
  • Upload photos of dishes and the interior;
  • Promptly respond to customer reviews.
Run Paid Advertising on Google Search advertising for a restaurant is not very common, but it is viable. Ads are displayed above the search results, so they are more visible to users. Advertising on Google is relatively cheap, allowing you to experiment with various search queries that could lead people to find your establishment online.

Register on Popular Review Sites As previously mentioned, word-of-mouth and real people's reviews have the highest trust ratings among audiences, so to expand your reach, you definitely need to collect positive comments on specialized platforms, such as TripAdvisor. Another advantage of being present on these sites is that they appear higher than standard search results on Google, similar to advertisements. Do not neglect customer comments. Always thank them for positive reviews and constructively respond to negative ones. Also, be proactive: ask customers to leave a review on such platforms.
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Email and SMS marketing

Build a Subscriber Base and Send Email Newsletters Email is a great way to establish direct contact with customers. According to research, email marketing offers one of the highest ROI – almost $41 for every dollar spent. How to attract subscribers?

  • Add a subscription popup form on your website.
  • Implement table reservations with a condition for subscribing.
  • Collect contact details directly in the restaurant.
  • Ask customers to leave their email when connecting to Wi-Fi in the restaurant.
As for the content of the newsletters, these are primarily promotional campaigns to increase profits. However, it is important not to focus solely on advertising, otherwise, your emails will be perceived as spam. Alternate the themes of the newsletters: they could include interesting stories, recipes, upcoming events at the establishment, links to blog posts.

Send SMS Messages SMS marketing is an excellent channel for quick interaction with your audience. For example, you can inform about the launch of a promotion. This method of communication is perfect for time-sensitive messages, as your SMS notifications are seen by clients immediately. If desired, you can automate this process. An example of use: an automatic SMS message sent after a restaurant visit asking for a rating and review.
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