In the super-competitive restaurant industry, time isn’t on your side. You don’t have the luxury of waiting for customers to find your restaurant. You have to find them first and stay in front of them. It may sound like a tall order, but there are a number of things you can do to increase your restaurant’s visibility quickly.
- Get Social.
Identify which social media platforms your target customers are engaging with. This can vary depending on the type of restaurant and price point. Most likely, your customers are heavy users of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Each platform provides a different opportunity to interact with existing and new customers. For example, Instagram provides an easy way for you to showcase visually scrumptious meals, while Facebook has opportunities for more detailed menu information, events and specials.
Whatever you do, ensure that your message is unique to each social media platform. Delve into your analytics to quickly inform your social media strategy. Your analytics will divulge crucial data points, such as customer demographics, that are critical to crafting the right messaging that drives users to take action on each channel.
- Optimize Your Google My Business Listing.
Does your restaurant have a Google My Business listing? Is it complete and accurate? More and more customers are staying on Google to locate and interact with nearby businesses, including restaurants. How many times have you typed the query, ‘restaurants near me’ into your cell phone?
Use this to your advantage by highlighting your unique menu items, amenities, and identifying characteristics (outdoor patio, wheelchair accessible, veteran-led, women-led, etc.). Neglecting to complete this information could entice a potential customer to dine with a nearby competitor.
Interested in learning more about restaurant reputation management? Read our recent blog post, “How Can Restaurants Manage and Improve Their Reputation?”
- Gain Additional Online Reviews.
The more positive Google, Yelp, etc. reviews your restaurant garners, the more likely you are to outrank a competitor in the search engine results pages because reviews are a known ranking factor in Google. In addition, according to a 2019 survey performed by BrightLocal, “consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.” That’s two important reasons for implementing a consistent review strategy for your restaurant business.
- Maintain Your Website.
If you haven’t updated your website in a while, now is the time to do so. Customers often visit a restaurant’s website to view the full menu and weekly specials.
Here are a few items to check for when evaluating your website:
– Does your current website accurately reflect your brand?
– Is the information current and correct?
– Does your website load quickly?
– Is your website mobile-friendly?
– Is the messaging clear and concise?
– Does your website have a clear call-to-action (Make a Reservation, Call Now, etc.)?
- Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising.
Have you heard of geotargeting? If you’re looking to grow your local presence and customer base, consider pushing online ads within a specific radius of your restaurant. Stay top of mind and in front of nearby customers during peak times. Online advertising allows you to get very granular in your targeting. You can target people only within a 5-mile radius of your restaurant, during specific times of day or night, for specific keywords most relevant to your restaurant—optimizing your budget for maximum return-on-investment (ROI). Some of the most common advertising platforms include Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Bing.
- Monitor and Share Press Mentions.
At the bare minimum, set up Google Alerts to track press mentions for your restaurant and chefs. You can also track conversations on social media about your brand with social listening. This allows you to take a proactive approach to reputation management while also providing content gold to your followers. Your returning customers and followers are interested in hearing about your successes and recognitions.
- Offer Online Reservations.
Whether you have the option directly on your website or have partnered with OpenTable, your restaurant should have the ability to make online reservations. OpenTable can also integrate with your Google My Business listing, making it even easier for customers searching ‘restaurants near me’ to book a table quickly. Don’t leave money on the table—make it easy for customers to find and book you.
- Leverage Email Communication.
Invite customers to join your email list. This serves as an additional touchpoint to boost customer engagement and sales.
Ideas for increasing your email list:
- Fishbowl giveaways
- Offer 10% off the bill
- Offer first access to dining experiences
Remember, don’t inundate your customers with emails or repetitive content. Establish a normal frequency for emails to be sent out (bi-weekly, monthly). Take this opportunity to showcase new menu items, tastings, and special events coming down the pike.
Advertise Your Restaurant Strategically
You can’t be in two places at once. Having enough time to market your restaurant will always be a constraint. If you’re struggling to keep up, consider hiring an external digital marketing agency to assist you in strategy development and/or implementation. An outside agency can provide strategic expertise and guidance to not only save you time allowing you to focus on what you do best but can also generate more revenue for your restaurant business.
To learn more about how Society Insurance can help your business grow and mitigate risk, consult with a Society agent in your area.