Restaurant Marketing Checklist: How to Get and Keep the Best Customers
Are the seats in your restaurant full or empty? Is there a waiting list? Are you turning away reservations because you are full?
It doesn’t matter if your menu is tantalizing and your venue is chic – if you are not filling your seats your revenue stream is not where it should be. The answer is to create a solid restaurant marketing program.
The goal of any restaurant marketing program is to draw in new customers. In addition, once you have customers it is just as important to keep them coming back again and again. A successful restaurant marketing program is made up of several parts – an online presence, rewards programs, excellent customer service and communication with customers. Be sure that your marketing program has all the items on the checklist:
Website: In today’s competitive market, a website is a necessity not a luxury. Consumers want a preview before they visit a new eatery. Create a website that is inviting and that tells your story. Keep the content as fresh as your food with menu updates, specials, testimonials from satisfied customers and pictures of people having fun. Your website should be an invitation to come and visit your restaurant. Be sure to post your location, phone number and the hours of operation on as many pages as possible.
Social Media: People use social media as an avid form of communication. It doesn’t mean you have to utilize every media tool available, but a presence on the most popular sites will provide an online presence and a way to stay in touch with customers. Facebook continues to grow rapidly, so it is probably a good bet. The trick with social media, just like your website, is to keep the content fresh.
Mobile Marketing: Restaurant goers often make a choice while on the fly. Be sure your establishment comes up as a viable option for them. Foursquare and Yelp are two popular options. Incentivize them with a coupon or other reward for checking in with your eatery.
Invite the media: Restaurant reviews are free advertising. Invite food critics, food bloggers and newspaper writers to visit your restaurant and enjoy a meal on you. Prepare for their visit and be sure they have a great experience. A good review travels fast, especially if it goes viral.
Rewards Program: Give your customers a reason to come back again and again. Create a simple rewards program that offers discounts and rebates for frequent visitors. Tracking systems can be as simple as a punch card that tracks the number of visits. After a number of visits, reward them with a free meal or a percentage discount off their next check.
Face Time: Customers love a restaurant where they can interact with the owners. Spend time in the front of the house of your restaurant so you can meet and greet customers. Learn the names and favorite menu items of your regular customers. For those who dine frequently, acknowledge your appreciation of their patronage with a complimentary appetizer, dessert or drink. The owner can be the most valuable restaurant marketing tool in the entire program.
Customer Reviews: If a customer has a good experience at your eatery, ask them to write an online review. TripAdvisor is a popular site that accepts reviews and ranks you with your local competition. A successful campaign with your customers can skyrocket your ratings.
Be a Good Neighbor: A thriving neighborhood benefits everyone. Partner with other local businesses to entice their customers to your restaurant. In return, refer your customers to them.
Build a Database: When you gain a new customer, you want to work at keeping them. It is easy to gather contact information. Set up a fish bowl or decorative container where customers can drop in a business card for a chance to win a free meal. Run a contest and have customers fill out a coupon with contact information in order to enter. As you gather contact information, create a database. Emailing is a free and convenient way to stay in touch with your customers. Keep the emails short and don’t overload customers with too many in a short period of time. A once-a month promotion, coupon or news about your restaurant is enough to keep reminding people it’s time to come back for a visit.
One of the keys to an effective marketing plan is narrowing down your choices. When it comes to online marketing, the choices are endless. Hone in on those avenues that have a good track record and, more importantly, that work for you.
When you greet a new customer to your restaurant, ask them how they heard about you and make a note. Once you identify the trends, adjust your marketing plan to focus on those strategies that are working best. If they say they saw your website, devote more time to keeping it updated. If mobile marketing is drawing them in, consider expanding your presence in that area. Likewise, drop your efforts on marketing avenues not providing a return on your investment.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Zan_Situ/1196205
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