In the United States alone, more than a million restaurants serve tens of millions of customers. It’s not wrong to say that the restaurant industry is quite a competitive market. If you want to initiate a startup restaurant successfully, you need to do so with proper market research.
While it’s essential to get your restaurant location prepped, there’s no point to your business if nobody can find it. Here are seven marketing tips that restaurant startups can use to build visibility and gain the customers you need to get your business going.
1. Develop Your Brand Identity
Your brand is your “unique selling proposition,” making your restaurant stand out from the competition. It’s what your customers will remember you for, so you must choose your branding carefully.
Your identity should focus on what your brand represents: your menu, your culinary style, your atmosphere, etc. If you’re going for a premium dining experience, your logo, name, colors, and interior design should reflect that.
When designing your brand identity, there are a few things to remember. First, your logo design should be simple and easily recognizable. A complicated logo can be hard to translate into different mediums, which could cause your brand name to be lost in translation.
Choose a simple yet effective color palette. You want to choose colors that have visual appeal and will appeal to your target market. Specific color combinations have been proven to evoke certain emotions. For example, yellow and red have been shown to evoke feelings of hunger.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! can help put your restaurant in a prime position to be seen by your target audience. PPC advertising allows you to place advertisements on search engine results pages and social media platforms, so people searching for relevant terms to your industry will see your ad.
Another way to build up your patrons through paid ads is through social media advertising. Social media advertising is compelling and can help you reach your target audience in a way other channels can’t.
Try using Facebook ads to reach your customer base. Facebook lets you target your ads to specific audiences based on age, gender, interests, and behavior. This makes it easy to hone in on your ideal demographic.
Depending on your market, you could potentially reach millions of people through a search engine or social media platform advertising and only pay if someone clicks on the ad. Paid restaurant advertising does not even have to be online.
While making social media an afterthought can be tempting, your social media presence should be a top priority. Having a well-managed and active presence on social media is one of the best ways to gain visibility for your new business.
When you post content on your social media pages, your followers share that content with their followers, creating a domino effect. The more people see and share your posts, the more visible you are.
Before you launch your social media accounts, be sure to do your research. Figure out which social media channels are most popular with your audience and which ones can resolve potential social media mistakes. You don’t want to waste your time and efforts on platforms that have low engagement.
It’s also vital that you stay active on your social channels. Create a schedule for posting, and stick to it. If your followers know they have to check your account daily for a new update, they’re more likely to engage with your content.
Giving away promotional items is another great way to get people talking about your restaurant and enticing them to stop in. People love free things, so you’re bound to get at least a few new customers from discounts, stamp cards, or some other type of giveaway.
However, be careful not to give away too many freebies, as this can devalue your products. Instead, focus on giving away a few key branded items and telling your fans where they can find them.
You can also offer your existing customers special deals and discounts. Be careful not to overindulge, as this can deter people from returning to the business in the future.
Online reviews are essential for any business, and a restaurant, even more so. Customers rely on online reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, so positive reviews are essential for getting new and returning clients through your doors.
Ask satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your social media profiles and Google. You can encourage positive customer feedback by offering them incentives. Offer a free meal or a gift card for an honest review.
If customers are satisfied with their experience, they’ll be more than happy to share the good word. Don’t be afraid to ask your critics for feedback too. Show them you genuinely care about improving your business and are often willing to hear what they say.
Restaurant businesses rely heavily on foot traffic. Local search should be one of your top research priorities. The more customers know about your establishment, the more likely they will visit it.
You can improve your chances of being found through traditional search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, such as optimizing your website for local keywords and providing great content.
Another great way to improve your ranking in search results is by registering with Google My Business. This allows you to connect your store to Google Maps, which displays a phone number, address, and business hours.
These days, most people spend a lot of their time on apps. Most people own and use several mobile apps, which they use to find information about local restaurants and other businesses.
Getting your restaurant listed on popular apps that are popular with your target users is a great way to attract the attention of potential customers. Popular food-related apps like Yelp, Foursquare, and Postmates can be great ways to promote your offerings.
Most major cities have their own mobile app, so it should be easy for customers to find local restaurants through these platforms. Sign up to be listed in these apps so that people can see you and get deliveries straight to people’s doors.
The restaurant business is highly competitive, but with the proper knowledge and strategy, you can build a successful business that thrives. Take these tips to heart, and you’ll be able to build a successful marketing strategy for your upcoming business venture.