Tips For Marketing Your Restaurant

You are a Restaurateur and you’re good at it. You know how to create amazing dishes full of flavor and flair. You know how to create an incredible environment where people love to spend time. And you know how to treat customers like kings, offering service and hospitality like no one else. But are all those strengths enough to create a successful restaurant? There’s one critical area that’s missing.Marketing is often an afterthought. When sales are down and seats are empty, then marketing becomes important. But the reality is that marketing should be a part of the DNA of your restaurant, because marketing is so much more than advertising. Marketing is anything that comes in contact with your customer and leaves a lasting impression about your restaurant.Some of the areas of focus for your marketing efforts include:MENU – Your menu is not just piece of paper, it is your sales staff. This is the item in your customer’s hands when they’re deciding what they want to purchase from you. Guide them to the items you want them to order. Every menu has more profitable and less profitable items. The better you are at selling the higher-profit items, the larger your bank account will be.
MESSAGING – What makes you unique from other restaurants? Once you figure out what that difference is, make that the base of all your messaging. Drill it into your customers’ head so they will think of you first in that category. Whether you’re “the best BBQ in town” or “intimate dining,” you want to own your category. That message should be everywhere, from the front door to your napkins to your nametags to your media advertising. When you get tired of it and think it’s overkill, that’s when you are finally starting to reach your customers with it. There’s an old rule of thumb that people have to see or hear a message 3 times to notice it, and 7 times to remember it.
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – Your advertising can get a customer through the door the first time, but what they experience when they’re there will determine if they’ll ever be back. These are the basics of the restaurant business – hot food hot, cold food cold, clean restrooms, friendly staff, and fast service. This is where it pays to sweat the details – from shining the silverware to picking up trash in the parking lot. Everything a customer sees, hears, tastes, and smells will determine how good their customer experience is at your restaurant.
COMMUNITY – To build a strong business, you need to be a strong part of your community. This neighborhood bond is built when you’re a good corporate citizen. Choose a charity to support. Sponsor a program at your local school. Find ways to make your restaurant visible at local parades, events and civic activities. Community support has multiple benefits. It creates good feelings toward your business from customers and prospective customers. It builds visibility for your business throughout the community. And it often results in great public relations and positive press coverage.
ADVERTISING – The right advertising is an essential part of marketing, but it needs to be done with a plan. So often a restaurant owner will decide to advertise, then the next ad rep who walks in the door gets a nice contract. It’s much more important to follow a process. Decide who you need to be advertising to. This requires knowing who your customers are. When you have defined these demographic targets, then it’s easy to purchase the right media and methods to reach the right people.