We need a different understanding of the term ‘marketing’ today. Back when there was a low amount of restaurant marketing or online ordering, there wasn’t a big marketplace filled with opportunities. No advertising tools. No buck ever made over it. But today, if you look at some brands that start from scratch without any funding, you’ll see that their success story is deeply entwined with having a successful marketing strategy -
The Future of Restaurant Tech
We — the aspiring, success-hungry millennial entrepreneurs — are fortunate because creativity, business, and technology have crossed paths. Very few licenses and permits are required to start an online business. Once the legal formality is out of the way, people who identify the unprecedented power of technology and its power to sell can be in sync with the food tech revolution.
In restaurant management, new brands often copy strategies from experienced and successful food startups that are ten or fifteen years older and replicate the same ‘so-called’ magic formula of marketing in the hope of earning the same reward. Online marketing is spiralling out of control. But don’t be disappointed. Rest assured, if you constantly try to distinguish yourself, no one can steal the limelight from you.
Current Trends in Restaurant Marketing
The food and beverage industry is one of the few industries that have particularly excelled at using social media. If you are looking for inspiration to boost your online presence, check out these six proven ways:
- Choose engagement over promotional content
- For engagement on social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram, the idea is to either include a branded hashtag or those commonly used by your target audience. The hashtag usage should be all about your love of the product, and 100% natural. Here’s a hashtag used by KFC: #NationalFriedChickenDay, which capitalised on the organic buzz created on social media, but had a strong product connect as well.
- To become the toast of the town, bland and promotional content won’t cut it. To quote Jenn Chen, a digital strategist, ‘approach social media like you would a group of strangers at a party’.
2. Be ‘social’
- You can learn a great deal online about how your restaurant business is doing by tracking the customer behaviour in the geographical area you are based in. You can find new customers directly, too, when you become socially active on different digital channels.
- Check out what customers are saying on online ordering and review platforms like Zomato, Yelp, and Swiggy. ‘Jump’ in on conversations and catch people off guard by replying literally within minutes.
- A key strategy in restaurant marketing is to make the customer feel special. Make it a habit to reply to all online reviews and queries—especially negative ones pertaining to your brand, with a positive, on-brand message to show that your team is listening to their customers’ issues.
3. Plan a long-term strategy
- You could ask your customers to give you an online review or to hashtag your restaurant. Think of it as an attitude booster exercise and not as ‘crunching for likes or approval’. People who take the effort to write a review online are ideal customers to target because they could make, or break your marketing efforts.
- Google focuses on metrics such as number of followers and number of likes to determine brand visibility. So in online marketing, you need to give your followers a proper nudge to like and share your posts. That is only possible when you invest in a long-term marketing strategy.
4. Leverage all the social media tools at your disposal
- All of the above strategies require a daily dialogue with your audience base, so you must commit to tracking your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other marketing posts by establishing a content calendar for your preferred social media channels.
- We highly recommend using online visibility analytics tools, which evaluate the quality and consistency of your branding and clarity of the content and provide a comprehensive view of how your brand is performing.
5. Google search and SEO ranking
- Consistency is key to building an organic following. Domain authority, page speed, number & quality of backlinks, and other factors play a key role in determining your SEO ranking. To grow faster, you can also choose to run paid campaigns such as paid Google Ads to improve website traffic.
- Higher visibility online almost guarantees better results nowadays. It is essential to consider your branded keywords, and ensure you get ranked for the same.
6. Take control of your online ordering channels
- Some brands choose to take control of their online ordering channels through self-branded websites and apps. This provides restaurants an opportunity to completely customize marketing & reach the right customers.
- UrbanPiper’s Meraki allows you to create your own websites & apps in a matter of clicks. A slick UI provides an easy-to-user interface. Choose from one of the predefined themes, customise the menu, enable multiple payment solutions and control the end-to-end experience.
- Meraki is trusted by various brands including Haldiram’s, Bikanervala, Chili’s, Chai Point, Meatigo, and others.
To grow from scratch and reshape the way a business functions, online marketing is the most viable solution. Organisations are using AI technologies to achieve specific goals to understand their customers, automate their conversations, and many more such use cases. In the battle of ‘share of mind’, and ‘share of voice’, every platform and every opportunity counts and brands must continuously think about their marketing strategy to find a place into people’s homes and plates.