20 Restaurant Promotion Ideas 2019 – Ideas That Work
Our restaurant promotion ideas 2019 list is a complete guide to your restaurant promotional needs. If you own a restaurant you know how competitive it is out there. To survive and flourish you need to be up-to-date with how to drive people to your restaurant.
The list will be split into three parts and can be looked at in order. You should perfect the early ideas in the list before spending any time or money on the latter ones:
- Before You Spend
- Be Everywhere
- Start Pushing
So we start our restaurant promotion ideas 2019 list with ‘Before You Spend’. This is referring to spending on marketing or restaurant promotion as before you do any of that you need to perfect your restaurant. This brings us to number one on the list:
BEFORE YOU SPEND
1. Word of Mouth
If your restaurant’s food is average or the service is poor then it doesn’t matter how well you implement this list or how much you spend, you are going to struggle. Or you might end up spending an unnecessary amount on marketing. The better your restaurant is, the more likely word of mouth will work in your favour. It’s still one of the most powerful marketing mediums there is. So with that in mind, spend on your restaurant first and get it perfect, you won’t regret it in the long run. It will also mean other ideas in this list will work much, much better.
2. Review Sites
Monitoring review sites is incredibly important for discovering whether you have taken onboard point 1 in this list. If you’re getting lots of good reviews this means customers are far more likely to recommend your restaurant and be repeat business. If you’re getting bad reviews on the other hand then you know you have work to do. You should be tweaking your restaurant and perfecting it from day one when you launch.
There are lots of review sites but the main ones are TripAdvisor, Google and Yelp. Invest your time into analysing the reviews and make changes where necessary. You should also be continuously checking these reviews as it’s easy to take your foot off the gas when everything is going well.
Your website is the hub of all your online marketing efforts. You should invest in creating a perfect website as the return-on-investment will pay dividends. Customers are now turning to mobile and the internet for finding and booking restaurants so you need to get this right. Here are our top tips:
1. Keep it simple
2. Make sure it’s friendly on every single device (there are many)
3. Have a simple booking platform implemented
4. Use lead magnets to capture data
5. Have a digital menu on your site
6. Use a reliable agency as you might need to make changes often
Now you have invested in the basics and hopefully have an amazing restaurant and website it’s time to look at the next section of the restaurant promotion ideas 2019 list:
4. Online Listings
What’s the point in having an A grade website if no one can find it. There are loads websites and apps that will list your website for free. Think Google Local, DesignMyNight and TripAdvisor. A good trick is to go on the App Stores and search by category for food and drink. You’ll find all the top apps there and most will be apps that can list restaurants like yours.
5. Social Media (Free)
Our restaurant promotion ideas 2019 list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning social media. It’s become one the most powerful tools available for building a brand and retaining loyal customers.
Food photography is one of the biggest ways to draw customers. The fact that everyone eats, it’s no surprise you can’t scroll more than 3 seconds to find another picture of food or drink on your newsfeeds. When you enhance food photography with pretty food or unique food, it becomes something new. This is another reason food photography is so popular.
For your own social media you should showcase your restaurant’s food with high quality photos, show happy customers and give your customers a sneak peak of what happens behind the scenes so they can feel apart of it.
The biggest trick for utilising social media for free isn’t actually on your handles, but actually making sure your customers and snapping away and sharing their experience. Make sure your food is ‘Instagrammable’ and you can reach thousands of potential customers for free.
Each customer can be become a free social influencer, you just need to make it easy for them to be one.
6. SEO (Restaurant Blog)
A blog is a great way to organically start appearing at the top of search engine results like Google. This can be a huge competitive advantage over your competitors because it’s unlikely they’ll be doing it properly. It does take time, commitment and knowledge but if you’re willing you can get many free customers so it’ll pay dividends in the long run. There’s a lot of credibility that comes with being ranked well by Google, so your potential customers will land on your website wanting to book from the off.
SEO is a science and we’ll be covering it in further detail in another post. Watch this space.
7. Online Food Ordering Mediums
The world is being re-built for convenience. Millennial’s especially are turning to apps and online mediums to order their food and get it delivered. This isn’t only for the pizza joints or Chinese restaurants either. Pretty much every single cuisine can be ordered online now and it’s an excellent extra revenue stream for your restaurant business.
We’ve seen some quite fancy restaurants have an option for delivery. You can keep the experience high-end by keeping it exclusive to certain apps like UberEats or Deliveroo. These apps have a good reputation and fast delivery infrastructure which means you won’t lose quality in your service.
8. Social Media (Paid)
Facebook and Instagram marketing is a way for you to reach a highly targeted audience but it is difficult to know if someone actually attends your venue. You pay for clicks and impressions to your ad, and it is quite expensive. Bloc differs as you only pay if someone actually attends your venue (using geo-location).
It works best for brand awareness but this is quite tricky to quantify in terms of results.
We recommend paying Facebook directly for advertising only if there is a clear purpose to your campaign. There’s a lot of noise on these platforms so it’s results can vary. Give it a try with a small budget but don’t commit unless the results are booked out tables.
9. Influencer Marketing
Referring back to point 5, influencers can cause an influx of new customers as their reach can be in the thousands. The clue is in the name, they are influential and their followers will pay attention far more to what their posting than any of your paid ads.
You should be finding and inviting social influencers to try your restaurant for free and make an agreement with them to post photos on their feeds. They say someone will buy something if they see something 7 times so we recommend you don’t just agree to one post. Agree to get a couple of posts, a story of the night, some Tweets and a plug on Snapchat too. Influencers are usually on mulitple platforms so make sure you get on all of them.
You can make every customer an influencer by offering an ‘Instagrammable’ amuse-bouche or welcome cocktail. If it’s picture worthy, and it’s posted, those customers are plugging your restaurant.
Bloggers are similar to social influencers, except they write articles either reviewing or suggesting your restaurant. They can make or break restaurants so you need to make sure you nail their experience if they do cover you.
‘Foodies’ are your best influencers, and they follow food bloggers. If you can get the food bloggers onside then you can build an army of foodie social influencers and this creates results.
Bloggers are easy to find, simply go on Instagram and use hashtags to find them. Most of them have their emails in their profiles so you can build a database and reach out.
11. Loyalty Programs
Repeat business is one of the biggest challenges for restaurants. A lot of people like to try restaurants and are reluctant to come back. Loyalty programs are a great way to increase your chance of repeat customers.
Nandos loyalty program is one of the best we’ve seen. It’s completely digital, easy to follow and the rewards are worth it. You can trial a loyalty program with stamps first to see what works and then go digital once you’re ready.
You can also have a seperate loyalty program for influencers. The more they post the more you can reward them, this is a good way to get repeat plugs from your army.
12. SMS Marketing
SMS marketing can get amazing results because it infiltrates a potential customers life (as who doesn’t check their texts) so you are sure to be seen. It works best if it’s perfectly timed and does depend on your restaurant. If you have a delivery service you could text on a Sunday night (the most popular nights for takeaways).
Be careful not to text too much though because if you come across as spam it will impact you negatively.
13. Email Marketing
Email marketing is still an effective way to reach your old customers for repeat business. The two best ways to build an email database are:
1. Lead magnet on your website. This is an enticing pop-up or button on your website that asks for their email address in exchange for a reward. For example, you could offer 10% off the bill if they attend within a week.
2. A lot of customers will want to connect to your WiFi (you should offer this for free), but if they want to get on they will have to submit their email.
Once you have their email address you can send (the occasion) promotion to entice them back to your restaurant. Always include a hook so your email adds value otherwise you will find your restaurant unsubscribed and your hard work will be undone.
14. Google Adwords
As mentioned in point 8 Google can be a powerful way to drive customers to your venue because they are searching for restaurants to attend. As well as SEO, Google Adwords is a way to be included at the top of the search engine, the only difference is you pay Google directly to be displayed there.
Use Google Keyword Planner to find the keywords that are relevant to your restaurant. Relevance is key, there’s no point in your restaurant appearing for ‘Chinese restaurant in x’ if you’re an Indian restaurant in the same place.
15. Host Events
You should be a restaurant worthy of hosting different events such a charity events, product launches and birthdays. Events such as charity events and launch parties could be extremely beneficial to your restaurant promotional efforts because of the potential reach on social media. A lot of photos are likely to be taken and plugged by lots of different people and these events could even attract celebrities and influencers for free.
Partnering with different brands, sports team and clubs could seal a constant stream of business for your restaurant. Offering a % discount to these organisations results in a win-win. And you could even arrange it so it’s valid when you’re quiet, so it fills empty seats when nothing else is working.
17. Offer Freebies
People love freebies. If your restaurant is positioned on a road with a lot of foot traffic, you could offer free samples to lure people in. Mcdonald’s recently did a campaign at Reading Festival where they offered free nuggets to festival goers if they took a picture with a giant chicken nugget. They could then use these snaps on their social media.
There are lots of events nowadays like food festivals where established restaurants with permanent addresses are popping up. Offering a few staples from the menu means you can reach different people in different locations and is great for brand awareness.
Everyone who owns a business aspires to getting free press and restaurant owners are no different. Getting in CN Traveller or Culture Trip can go a long way for your restaurant. Influencers and celebrities could be readers and it goes a long way for SEO (getting reputable backlinks).
20. Go Mobile
Although not relevant for a lot of different types of restaurants, going mobile with a food truck is big business.
20 RESTAURANT PROMOTION IDEAS 2019 LIST SUMMARY:
- Word of Mouth
- Review Sites
- Online Listings
- Social Media (Free)
- SEO (Restaurant Blog)
- Online Food Ordering Mediums
- Social Media (Paid)
- Influencer Marketing
- Loyalty Programs
- SMS Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Google Adwords
- Host Events
- Offer Freebies
- Go Mobile