Whether you're running a boutique restaurant or string of successful eateries, relevant and effective marketing is vital for keeping your existing customers engaged, attracting new customers, and growing your business. There are many elements involved in successful marketing, here are six essential marketing tips that every restaurant needs to guarantee success...
1. Customer awareness
Get to know your customers and the type of people you want to attract to your restaurant. Build a bespoke database of clientele and people interested in your food. Engage with your customers on social media and keep up to date with what they want and expect when they go out for their meals. Build strong relationships with them by sharing insights into your restaurant, such as behind the scenes videos showing or even teaching the preparation of your signature dishes, and run competitions to encourage them to spread the word about your restaurant.
2. Firm foundations
Every restaurant needs certain systems in place to manage numerous aspects of the trade, from taking bookings, to stock control, ordering, shift patterns, payroll, bookkeeping, accounting, customer management and more. If you're just starting out, ensure the foundation you have in place for all these systems is as strong as possible. If you're an established restaurant, look at your existing systems and ask yourself, "Are they effective?", then go a step further and consider, "How could they be even better?". Continue to reassess your systems on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to upgrade them when your business demands it, change them if your needs shift, or simply try something different if you think it has the potential to be superior. Your reservation system should be perfectly tailored to your staff and the needs of your customers.
3. Laser focus
Maintaining a laser focus on your service and standards will ensure you are constantly pushing to improve the dining experience. Stay up to date and embrace advances in technology that will allow you to integrate new functions into your website and apps to enhance the dining experience and boost your marketing. Loyalty programmes, opportunities to write reviews, and interactive menus are all great options.
4. Direct marketing
Now that you're interacting with your clients online through your social media, and you have a database of contacts (both existing customers and people interested in your restaurant) use it. Email marketing, SMS marketing and even snail mail marketing are all excellent ways of promoting your business. Take full advantage of the ability to contact your customers and prospects directly. Use your messages to entice people in with offers and carefully designed promotions.
Where marketing is concerned, no amount of fancy sales tactics, offers or advertising can equal the power of simple diligence. Create meaningful, relevant content for your customers to keep them interested in what you're doing. Maintain your database so you are constantly growing the number of contacts you have. Analyse your data, and keep detailed notes on systems that work, promotions that are successful, and efforts that fail. Monitor your customer feedback and do everything possible to rectify any issues that are raised. Cultivate your relationship with your customers and create a dedicated base of repeat business that is constantly expanding as your most loyal customers happily bring their friends and family, and recommend you to others.
6. Class and consistency
The final piece of a successful marketing puzzle is ensuring consistency in every aspect of your business. Your online presence should match your in-house experience. Your front-of-house and back-of-house standards should be equally high. The branding and identity of your restaurant should be a solid, tangible aspect of the business that shines through in each and every thing you do. From your online profile to the journey customers take as they book, to the manner in which they are greeted upon arrival, the atmosphere as they are seated, and the quality of the food, beverages and service they receive. Everything should flow smoothly and evoke a consistent sense of style and quality. Paying attention to the small, seemingly insignificant details, such as whether or not the cutlery all matches, and the type of table linen you use makes all the difference. For example, in a world increasingly concerned with quality, not to mention sustainability, paper napkins are a thing of the past. Quality table linen is essential, both for ensuring your restaurant has perfect style and consistent decor, and demonstrating you are as dedicated to running a sustainable, eco-friendly business as you are to turning a tidy profit.