6 Marketing Tips for Your Restaurant
Updated: Jul 14, 2021
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:
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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.