As a restaurateur, marketing your restaurant can sometimes be intimidating due to perceived expense and time. Your restaurant can sell the perfect barbecue, smoothie, or stack of pancakes in the city, but who’s going to know about it if you don’t tell people?
Below, we have six tips that you can use to either get started marketing your restaurant or to better refine your marketing practices. We’ll discuss company culture, social media, local partnerships, search engine optimization, automating your marketing, and finally how crowdfunding can also be used as a powerful marketing tool.
Short story short, the six tips are as follows:
Learn more about growing your restaurant concept with Honeycomb Credit's The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Restaurant in 2021!
Highlight your company culture
The great thing about having your own restaurant is that you define the company culture through your actions, your staff, and your core values. This is so important because the culture of a restaurant is just as important as the food you serve when it comes to having customers come back.
So, how do you represent your company culture to people outside the restaurant? Some restaurants express their culture through their employees, instilling the restaurant’s core values in them from onboarding on.
If you’ve got a strong company culture, you can utilize it for creating content. Make videos to post on social media of your employees answering a prompt about what they like about working at your restaurant, beyond saying “The tips are nice.”
Honeycomb alum Rolling Pepperoni collaborates locally with residents of Appalachia for the packaging of their pepperoni rolls. This also calls back to one of Rolling Pepperoni’s company values, which is promoting the stories of Appalachia to a wider audience.
Rolling Pepperoni is currently doing a series of #StopTheStation testimonies from people who live in Pittsburgh and are affected by over-policing. This connection between Rolling Pepperoni’s marketing and the stories they’re telling not only positively represents the business but shows a real connection between their value proposition and what they do.
For another example, if one of your restaurant’s core values is transparency about what’s in the food, make sure your employees know exactly where the ingredients are from, whether they’re organic, that sort of thing, and ensure that they’re able to communicate that to patrons.
You could even include this kind of messaging on signage around the restaurant or on the staff uniforms, such as how Chipotle has different slogans about their GMO and hormone-free foods on the t-shirts that their staff wear on the line.
Try out different social media platforms for different target audiences
The beauty of all the different social media platforms is that different ones can be used for various marketing purposes for your restaurant.
Facebook is good for promoting special events and deals for your restaurant, whereas on Instagram you really want to take advantage of mouthwatering photos of your food and quick ways of customer engagement such as polls and quizzes on your Instagram story.
When deciding on how you want to use social media for your restaurant, a good way of looking at it is to segment your customers, determine what social media platform is more used by them, and then target your marketing towards them through that platform.
Younger folks such as millennials and Gen-Z, for example, spend more time on Youtube and Instagram than they do Facebook, so it would make sense that you would spend time on those platforms creating attention-grabbing content.
Gen X and Baby Boomers, however, if they are on social media, gravitate towards Facebook. They’re most likely just looking for basic information about your restaurant, and maybe some deals, so a best practice for Facebook marketing is to keep an eye on engagement and promptly answer any questions or comments people leave on your restaurant’s Facebook page.
If you’re looking for more social media tips, check out this blog post about social media marketing for small businesses!
Collaborate locally for your marketing content!
One thing a lot of restaurants do is partner with local artists. Sometimes, the partnership is just allowing artists to display their art for sale in the restaurant. However, you can also work with local artists to make marketing materials for your restaurant itself!
Square Cafe, a Honeycomb alum in Pittsburgh, collaborated with local artist Steven Krall to create a calendar. Not only does the calendar have beautiful artwork, but it also has exclusive discounts and coupons attached throughout the year, giving customers more incentive to use the calendar and to go to Square Cafe more often!
Make your menu marketable
These days, more people than ever are opting to stay in and order food for takeout or delivery. In fact, 60% of consumers order takeout at least once a week!
However, the days of printed takeout menus stuffing people’s mail slots and taking up refrigerator space are more or less gone - most people look online when deciding what they want to order.
So, how can your restaurant stand out amidst all the other restaurants, ghost kitchens, food trucks, and so on in your city? Well, to start you need to make sure people can easily find your menu.
The first step is to make your menu searchable by including the text on your website. The way that Google and other search engines pick up information that they return to people making search queries is they crawl through the text on a website. So, if your menu is on your website but it’s a PDF or an image, the search engine isn’t going to pick it up!
Also, make sure that search-friendly words are on your menu. Tell your customers what it is you’re offering in the plainest terms possible. Make sure your menu is easy to access and is on all your online platforms, including Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable, and Facebook.
It’s not as flashy as making a cool Instagram post or TikTok, but making sure you’ve optimized your website for search engines will help get your restaurant and your menu out there to more people.
Think about automating your marketing plan
You don’t need us to tell you that the life of a restaurateur is a busy one. So, why not look into making things easy on yourself when it comes to marketing?
One way of delegating marketing skills is to just hire a marketing specialist for your restaurant. However, if you’re a smaller restaurant and don’t have the budget for a specialist, you can look into automating your marketing plan.
Toast, a popular POS system for restaurants, also has a plan for automating restaurant marketing. It can schedule and send out emails, create a rewards program, and boost customer returns. Also, it can integrate online ordering and allow you access to data such as what your customers are buying, how often, etc.
Crowdfund your next growth project
Hold on, what does crowdfunding have to do with marketing? Surprisingly quite a bit!
When you crowdfund your next business move, you basically have to sit down and figure out what the growth project is, how it fits into your business’s values and unique selling points, and why people should care enough to put money into it. Then, you have to get the word out about your crowdfunding project!
Honeycomb takes this one step further. Instead of a traditional crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe or Kickstarter, we allow your customers to crowdfund your project by investing in it. Meaning, instead of getting a thank-you for their contribution, they get their money back, plus interest!
How does this relate to marketing? Well, the customers who invest in your growth are now invested in your restaurant’s growth and well-being. This means they’re more likely to continue to come to your restaurant, to promote it to their friends through word of mouth, and so they transform from just a regular customer into a brand advocate for your restaurant.
Plus, you get to raise money for a project to help your restaurant grow! So, two birds, one stone.
Honeycomb campaigns are also great for marketing your restaurant as well. Our team works to promote your campaign to our network of investors who are passionate about small businesses. Campaigns also receive, on average, 7 press mentions and double the number of Yelp and Google reviews.
From company culture to your online menu to crowdfunding your growth, marketing your restaurant matters
You know your restaurant is special, now you just need to tell that to the world. One way you can do that is by crowdfunding your next growth project with Honeycomb Credit.
Learn more at www.honeycombcredit.com/restaurant and sign up below for more information!