ITS-Food explains best marketing practices

VANCOUVER – Before you even start promoting your restaurant, stop and think ‘What is my branding?” Failure to do that ‘Branding’ step first means you will likely have to redo a lot of promoting and marketing all over again which is a lot of time, money and effort!

Often the last thing owners and managers have time for once the restaurant opens is branding & marketing. More times than not, a smart business branding and marketing strategy is the best defence against empty seats and eventual failure.

1. Create a social media presence

The world is changing, people swarming social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to find you and share experiences. It is critical that your business connect with customers who use those platforms. If you don’t have an specialist on staff, hire one. Social media is key to connect with your customers and showcase your restaurant by reinforcing your ‘branding’.

2. Design a functional website

Having an online presence with an elegant and functional website is essential. Get professional help to design and build a website that reflects your branding.
Use only the best mouth-watering images. Use compelling content and share what’s unique. List the menu, provide a schedule with hours, a map and clear instructions on how to connect with you. It is imperative the site is mobile friendly. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical, customers need to find you easily.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When people search restaurants online, you want your name to come up first. Approximately 95% of web searches are Google and you need to be in the top ten! Update your business details in Google. Ensure your SEO includes Google Maps. Make sure your digital specialist can deliver on SEO and keep it up to date.

4. Create a customer rewards program

A customer rewards program is an excellent way for restaurants to keep satisfied customers returning for future visits. Offering customers rewards based on amounts spent, you’ll be able to maintain your most profitable customers. Incentives can include physical rewards, cash-backs, discounts, free appetizers — determine who your customer is. Ask yourself are my best customers male or female? Who makes the decision on where to eat? What age and income bracket make up my best customer? Collect the data. Utilize the incentives to direct customers to slow time slots, or more profitable products.
Connect with your customers in a more personal way. You could distribute customer feedback forms as a way to determine your service. You could use the database to send customers coupons on their birthdays and anniversaries or send out emails whenever there is a special offer or an event happening at your restaurant.

5. Advertise

you should be setting aside a budget for marketing and advertising. Obtaining new clients is critical. Often the number used is 5-10% of total sales in a competitive market. Decide on a balance or ratio between traditional and digital.Have a plan! and review it at least annually. Many of your customers may still prefer print, some will prefer digital. Can you use an app like groupon or something else?

6. Host events

Make sure this is consistent with your branding. it could be wine paring, a craft beer pairing. Your customers will look forward to the event and you could even give away gift coupons or free drinks or appetizers to the winners. Fine dining may be a guest photographer show with wine & cheese. A local pub could hold a community fundraiser for a sports team. You have probably experienced the old style open mic nights, happy hours, karaoke bar .

7. Offer Locally Sourced Food

It is the best way to build goodwill — promoting fresh ingredients you are supporting the local farmers who offer high-quality produce. Customers become more educated and conscious of the origins of their food. Topics that are hot in the foodie culture are sustainable, ethical and farm-to-table. Sourcing local means you’re supporting your community.


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