As we all know, the food and beverage industry is one of the most successful trades in the business world. In just the US alone, there is a mind-boggling one million-plus restaurants in operation, a number which continues to increase with each passing year. Due to this statistic, budding and experienced restaurateurs are expected to keep their respective businesses afloat in an unpredictable, rapidly changing sector and remain relevant amongst all the competition that independent and chain restaurants present. Not to mention that the competition between food businesses has gotten undeniably fiercer over recent years, that usually, only the most robust restaurants with the best marketing strategies survive.
Restaurateurs have been forced to become more creative and savvier with their marketing techniques, which social media, the internet and overall online presence have played a massive part in. Regardless of the industry, marketing plays a vital role in customer satisfaction, communication and ensuring that your business gets repeat custom.
Therefore, making the most of the marketing opportunities that the worldwide web provides business owners with is worthwhile to make your restaurant stand out and calibrate your marketing strategy. Hence, it appeals to your target demographic and attracts more customers of this nature. To assist you with this, we’ve created this article outlining several ways for you to promote your food business online so that you can optimize your existing marketing strategies and implement new ones for maximum success.
Update Your Website And Utilise Reservation Tools
Today, for a business to succeed, it must have a regularly updated website, no matter which industry it caters for. Solely relying on word-of-mouth communication is outdated, even if your restaurant is thriving, so creating and maintaining a website is a viable marketing idea. During non-operational hours, your website will be the first thing customers seek out and act as their first impression of the business. Whether potential diners are looking to peruse your menu, get contact information or reserve a table – your website will be the first place they look, so it’s crucial to keep the information updated.
Much about your business will change over time, as should your website. Ensure that maintenance checks are regularly carried out so that broken links are fixed, information remains relevant, make sure that the site is user-friendly and adjust your menu with any changes. Failure to do so will give customers a wrong impression and may affect the restaurant’s reputation, or, worst-case scenario, your business may lose custom.
Suppose that business just so happens to be in the culinary trade. In that case, it’s also beneficial for the website to have a restaurant reservation tool as it’s been proven that most consumers prefer making reservations directly through a restaurant’s website instead of visiting the restaurant or by phone. You could implement these tools by opting for a website builder with a built-in table reservation, or you could consider integrating one of them into your platform.
Utilize Restaurant Review Platforms
Another way that you can promote your food business online is by working in tandem with restaurant review platforms and engaging with or encouraging online reviews. We’re sure that your restaurant provides the best service possible for your customers. Providing that this is true, you should have no reason not to encourage customers to leave online reviews or to fear restaurant review platforms. Restaurant review platforms are often considered more reliable and trustworthy than adverts. It has also been suggested that customers are more likely to look at external review sites when they have not experienced a restaurant first-hand in hopes of swaying the decision-making process.
Alongside showing reviews, these platforms can also help customers refine their searches and display listings of restaurants with a score from highest to lowest, how cost-friendly the premises are and their overall scoring. Due to this, restaurateurs may find that customers’ opinions are usually swayed by the restaurants that are higher scoring, as they put more trust into the more positive reviews. This may result in them making a reservation out of curiosity or due to the online hype that the chosen restaurant has gotten through the review platform.
Therefore, as a restaurant owner, it is crucial to make your establishment look as attractive as possible online. You could do this by regularly updating the businesses’ information on relevant review sites, learning how to respond to online reviews, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, and asking customers to leave online feedback. Doing so will create a positive image of the business, show new and existing customers that their opinions are valued, and show that the restaurant is willing to take on board criticism and relevant feedback. Learn more about responding to online reviews using this guide from the restaurant reviewing platform Yelp, whose website is full of helpful resources for budding and seasoned restaurateurs.
Create A Social Media Presence
Social media’s impact on the world of business and marketing is undeniable, and modern-day companies would be wasteful not to use social media platforms to their advantage. Alongside presenting an excellent marketing opportunity, creating a social media presence for your business can boast many benefits such as getting repeat and new business, advertising any recent changes and communicating with your clientele. Not to mention, social media also presents link building opportunities so that you can link back to any other social media accounts that your business may have. This makes it easier to build a presence for your business and for customers to find your accounts.
To ensure social media success for your restaurant, ensure that you make the most of all social media platforms, especially trending ones. Don’t just limit yourself to the marketing facilities of Facebook and Instagram; explore other social media platforms such as TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter and many more. Based on your market research, use the social media platforms that your target demographic would use so that you reach a wider audience and stand out from similar, competing businesses. You could also consider running promotions or contests specific to social media alone, award first-time followers with a percentage off their next bill when they follow your social media accounts and many other perks/benefits.
Partner With A Food Delivery App
Another way that you could promote your food business online is by considering a partnership with a food delivery app such as Door Dash. Statistics from the previous year have shown that a record-breaking number of US people use food delivery apps, which is only expected to grow over the upcoming year. As well as helping your restaurant reach clientele outside your catchment area, food delivery apps can also boost your sales, improve loyalty and provide your business with helpful reviews.
Although food delivery apps will take a cut from your overall takings, it seems like a small price to pay when you think of the custom you might’ve missed had you not utilized one at all. Bear in mind that some of these food delivery and ordering platforms aren’t available in all areas, so you may find that you’ll have to conduct a bit of research before going into partnership with one and make sure that they cover your area. Alternatively, suppose no food delivery providers are available in your area. In that case, you could look at integrating order and pay technology into your website or social media accounts, which will allow customers to place orders directly and minimize the percentage of the sale.