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How to Market Your Restaurant in 2022

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Staying top of your game in the hospitality industry is an ongoing battle, even more so after the past 2 years and the ever-changing COVID landscape affecting customer behaviour. Looking for ways to avoid a mid-Q1 slump? Read on for a handful of easy everyday marketing tips you can use to keep driving business.

Tip 1: Google is the first port of call for customers

The first thing potential customers do is search for your venue on Google. Competing for a top rank on Google or other search engines can feel next to impossible. However, there are a few straightforward ways you can boost your business’s ranking and help people find your business online.

Create or claim your Business Profile on Google

Business Profiles are information boxes that show up in search results when you search for a specific business. These are quick visual snapshots of information Google grabs from the web automatically. Think of them as miniature billboards. They’re especially useful for businesses because they make it easy for customers to find relevant information such as websites, directions, hours, and contact details.

Learn how to get started with your Google Business Profile

Tip 2: Tell your story on your website

Think of your website as a digital version of your store signage. It’s the first impression many customers will have of your business. A strong web presence equals more customers and thereby more revenue. Below you’ll find a couple of pointers to take your website game to the next level.

Use your digital real estate to tell your story

Your website is more than a place to post your menu and hours. People naturally connect with other people’s stories—certainly faster than they do with just basic info about your business. So, sharing your personal story can have a real impact on developing relationships with prospective customers online, even before they experience your restaurant first-hand.

Telling your story and sharing your passion for what you do is a valuable marketing tool. It will help you not only stand out, but also build a connection with your customers using minimal effort. Here are a few thought starters:

  • What sparked your love and passion for your restaurant?
  • When and how did you open your restaurant?
  • What are your values (such as your approach to cuisine, use of fresh ingredients, or culinary experience)?
  • Why did you choose to operate in your neighbourhood?
  • What do you love most about your community?

Bring your story to life with photography

Visual storytelling matters, too. The adage that “we first feast with our eyes” is especially true for restaurants. Bring your business to life with high-quality photos that show off your delicious food, your inviting dining experience, and the passionate team that makes it all happen.

  • Showcasing what makes your restaurant special entices customers to order, dine-in, or keep coming back for more.
  • Consider having your dishes professionally photographed or investing in a camera for the job.

Tip 3: Keep your online menus up to date

Updating your web-based menu regularly will keep your customers informed and avoid any confusion caused by outdated offerings. It’s important to also remember that menus are not one-size-fits-all. In fact, writing several purpose-built menus can create a better customer experience.

A few possible variations to consider

  • By meal type: Such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, weekend, holiday, etc.
  • By location: If you operate multiple restaurants whose menus vary.
  • By occasion: Like weekend brunches, holidays, and other special events.
  • By delivery-only items: Chosen for ease of travel, complexity, and time to make, or being offered exclusively on a third-party app, like Uber Eats.

Creating a menu only for online ordering platforms such as Cinch – powered by Impos is an easy way to ramp up business without adding pressure to your kitchen’s workflow. Limiting your takeaway menu to items that are easier to cook and that travel well will streamline the process and bring in more revenue. This is also an opportunity to highlight specials customers can only get when they order from your website or through a delivery partner.

Tip 4: Communicate up-to-date contact information and safety protocols

It goes without saying that it’s important to keep your business hours and contact information up to date on your website. And keep in mind, it’s not just your website that needs to be updated with current phone numbers, email addresses, directions, hours, and similar information. Make sure you’re also staying current across other websites, too.

  • Review websites such as Yelp
  • Business listings on search engines like Google
  • Business pages and accounts on social media
  • Map apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps
  • Restaurant blogs like Eater and The Infatuation
  • Other online business directories

Safety also remains a key priority. Help customers feel more comfortable by sharing your COVID requirements, cleaning protocols, and any other steps you’re taking to ensure the safety of your customers and staff. It’s a small inclusion on your website that can have a big impact.

Tip 5: Make your website SEO friendly

SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of those terms you’ve probably seen pop up in marketing contexts. In a nutshell, it’s a handful of best practices that make it easier for Google to identify and rank your business in search results. Some of it can get quite technical, but we’ll share a few of the easier steps you can take right away.

  • Keywords: Build an easily navigable website with keywords you associate with your business featured prominently in headlines and content. Keywords are phrases people typically enter into search engines to discover companies and information. For example, if you’re a pizza place in New York City, including a variation of that “keyword” throughout your website will help Google identify you.
  • Directories: As mentioned above, adding your business to local restaurant directories can make an impact. Using the “pizza parlor in New York City” example, Google will peruse directories and websites using that term and push up their search rankings. The highest ranking results can appear in the carousel feature on Google Maps showing searchers a map snippet with pizza parlors in New York City that are closeby.
  • Reviews: Your reviews on review sites such as Yelp and others are indicators of your business’s relevance. Encourage customers to share their positive experiences by writing reviews about your food, service, or anything else that makes you stand out. This will push up your rankings not only on the review sites themselves but also in Google’s search results.
  • Mobile: Make sure your website is mobile friendly. We’ve all struggled to navigate a website on our mobile devices that’s meant for a desktop browser. It can be especially frustrating when you’re trying to place an order from that business. A mobile-friendly website makes it easier for customers to find what they want efficiently. Since Google favors mobile-friendly sites in their rankings, it will also improve your searchability.

Tip 6: Stay on top of your social media presence

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been on the scene for a while. Most restaurant owners understand the basics of these platforms, but the landscape is always changing. Newer social platforms —like TikTok— are potential opportunities to promote your business.

A few things to try

  • Get familiar with TikTok. See what other restaurants are doing or take it for a test drive yourself. This will give you a general sense of the type of content other businesses are creating for the platform/channel.
  • Once you’re ready to dive in, keeping content fresh for your followers is key. TikTok is a dynamic platform, so adding new content regularly will keep your business top of mind and your audience engaged.
  • Spotlight promotions, deals for dining in or out, what makes your food special, or any other attention-grabbing detail you can create content around.
  • Cross-promote between channels. You can integrate Instagram with your TikTok account to automatically post your stories onto both. This is a quick and easy solution to avoid doubling up work if you’re still getting the hang of producing TikTok-specific content.