Restaurants have a unique online presence. Many of the digital strategies that work for other businesses just don’t make sense for restaurants or cafes. The problem is an obvious one – you can’t truly have an online restaurant. You can’t download, “ship,” or stream food. Even if you’re running a delivery service, you still need a kitchen, and at some point, there will be in-person contact with the customer. This also means that restaurants are far more intimately connected to their physical locations than other kinds of businesses. Below are a few marketing tips specifically for restaurant owners to use the digital marketing sphere in a way that’s best for your business.
Many of the customers eating at your restaurant probably stopped to take a picture of their meal for Instagram before tucking in. So why not do this yourself? The internet loves pictures of food, and so the more pictures you get on your site, the more eager people will be to eat at your establishment. In a similar fashion, if your restaurant has an Instagram, ask customers to tag the restaurant whenever they take pictures of their own food. This gives you visibility on your own site, as well as on your customers’ social media accounts.
If your restaurant doesn’t have an app, consider getting one. Loyalty programs that offer points, discounts, and promotions will not only entice new customers but will motivate them to come back to your restaurant over and over again. Point systems are particularly effective, as people will continue to come back to your restaurant in order to reach the prize. Apps are much better than conventional memberships because they’re more interactive. Customers can get notifications for new promotions, events, or discount days, and helps customers to feel like they are an active participant in the business.
Whether you love it or hate it, Yelp still has a great deal of influence when it comes to the food industry. Remember that people can and will review your restaurant whether you have a Yelp account or not. The best thing you can do is to bite the bullet and make an account, one that features high-quality photos of your business and its food. You also want to put as much information on your Yelp account as possible, including store hours, location(s), a link to the online menu, and price range. It’s also helpful to indicate any additional features or services that your restaurant offers customers, like free WiFi, outdoor seating, or parking.
While Yelp is still the first place most people go when looking for somewhere to eat, Google is giving Yelp some fierce competition. Many people, when looking for somewhere to eat, will simply Google “restaurants near me.” If your restaurant doesn’t have a Google business account, your name may still come up, but you’re likely to be passed over for other local establishments that do have their information on Google.