Congratulations on opening a restaurant, cafe, or bar! The right team has been established, the space is fitted out, the food is excellent and the tables are waiting to be booked via ResDiary. The next step is bringing customers in.
Locals may gravitate towards a venue due to its proximity, but getting outsiders in – and converting one-time customers into regulars – can be a challenge. Figuring out how to sell the vision – in a way that is engaging and relevant to the target audience is often critical to the success of a hospitality venue. Here’s a few tips on marketing a restaurant:
Create a voice that stands out
There’s a lot to be learned from how other venues are marketing themselves. But, there’s so much value in finding one’s own particular identity that fits the dining experience. Within a busy industry – with new businesses popping up all the time – having a distinct voice and an authentic story can be crucial in helping the venue stand out among the crowd.
Have something to promote
Marketing can be a challenge when the venue doesn’t have something to tell diners. Even if it’s something relatively small, these adjustments and subsequent announcements can help to invigorate the venue, and keep it feeling fresh and exciting.
It might be a particular promotion (live music, cheese and wine, pizza night etc), discount (i.e. happy hour), changing layout (moving tables around, new plants or a fresh paint job), blog with stories about customers or staff, a meet-the-community night, the introduction of vouchers, new dish/es, a special menu or something entirely different. Having something to promote – and communicating this promotion effectively – may prove to be key to drawing new and returning diners.
Use relevant mediums
There’s so many avenues to be considered in getting the word out, and they may be effective in different ways, and to different people.
Being on-the-ground, and spreading the word via physical signs & posters on the street and in neighbouring shops – as well as approaching trader and precinct association groups – can be a great way to attract patrons who are looking to support-local.
Then there’s social media, email marketing and the business’s website, which provide staff with full control over the way they advertise, and can be effective in reaching clients who are familiar with the venue. They might be waiting for the right dish, message or promotion before they pull the trigger and make a booking.
Another option is approaching hospitality publications with a wide reach like DishCult, which spreads the word to people who may be otherwise unfamiliar with the venue (while simultaneously allowing patrons to book a table). When customers are searching for a name, location or cuisine, it might be your venue that pops up, and piques their interest.
A combination of different marketing methods might be the best approach in reaching a wide, and relevant audience.
Customer profiles & preference
Once a patron has attended the venue, use the bank of data that’s accessible via ResDiary reports, and consider customising the marketing approach in line with their preferences.
If they booked for a specific event, it might be worth contacting them regarding future events. If they enjoyed a particular dish, or bottle of wine, consider reaching out with a new offering which may appeal to that palate. If they return to the venue, there might be a table or time-slot that would suit them, based on past preferences. Record dietary requirements, birthdays, anniversaries and other special events, and market the venue accordingly.
Each patron is different, and tailoring the marketing approach in line with their needs and interests can be a powerful tool that helps the customer feel recognised and valued.
Effectively marketing a restaurant to diners is an evolving process, and reaching a wide audience – without being generic or non-targeted – can be challenging. But, playing to the venue’s strengths, identifying a voice that stands out, and figuring out where relevant customers will be accessing information about the venue, may prove to be pivotal in disseminating the good word about the venue.
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Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.