Are you passionate about cooking, more gourmet than gourmet, an entrepreneur at heart, and interested in starting your own restaurant business? Congratulations!
We will not claim here to help you develop your recipes or show originality in your menus, but we support you in setting up your restaurant's marketing plan. To build your customer group and retain them, it is indeed necessary to make your restaurant known and to forge a link with your potential customers.
Follow the guide: without further ado, here are our 17 ways to promote your restaurant!
Distributing flyers around the restaurant is undoubtedly the most obvious way to make yourself known.
Depending on the distribution times, it will allow you to get to know people working in the neighborhood (at lunchtime, for example) or people living near your new structure (early in the morning or in the evening).
It's also a very economical way to get people talking about you because restaurant flyers aren't very expensive.
There are now many sites that allow you to book your table online or obtain discount coupons (La Fourchette, Groupon, etc.), as well as several take-out platforms (Deliveroo, AlloRestau, Foodora, UberEats).
These platforms certainly have a cost, but they will bring you high visibility. You must not only be present but not hesitate either, at the time of the launch, to promote your restaurant by offering additional discounts or by participating in premium programs to be featured on these different sites.
The creation of a Facebook page in the name of your restaurant will allow you in particular to explain your concept (the authentic New York deli, the new Japanese canteen of the Marais, the 100% organic salad, etc.) but also to communicate on the restaurant news: menu change, daily menu, special offers, the announcement of places of passage for a food truck, notification of special opening night event, January 31, etc.
The Facebook page also makes it possible to collect customer opinions, comments, and messages from interested persons or customers and forge links with your community.
Therefore, it is a real promotional, complete, interactive, and free showcase, not to be overlooked.
In addition to the pharaonic number of people connected to Facebook, the social network is exciting because it allows you to define your target customer group precisely. Considering the geographical area, age, centers of interest (for example, people aged 27 to 49 who like the pages of other restaurants in your city).
You can also choose to reach out to friends of people who have "liked" your page first for a "word of mouth" effect that works well in terms of exit ideas. You can also launch a promotional campaign announcing your opening hours and setting up exceptional Happy Hours. Or just promote your latest blog post.
The targeting possibilities and the relatively affordable cost of this platform make it a very suitable means of communication for promoting small restaurants.
In addition to your Facebook page, you can create an actual website that will bring together all the information you need to know about your restaurant: address, opening hours, concept, menu and menus, contact form, customer reviews, etc.
Also, consider adding an online reservation page and possibly a space for take-out orders.
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Google My Business is your restaurant's showcase for all Internet users who have searched for you on the Internet using the famous search engine.
Your file allows you in particular to enter your location (with a photo of the window via Google Street View), the opening hours, and to present the restaurant in a few lines. You will then automatically be present on Google Map in the famous search for "nearby restaurants."
Google My Business also makes it possible to collect many online opinions, crucial elements when choosing a restaurant via Google Map. Indeed, only 5% of consumers say they do not look at reviews left by other buyers, and in 91% of cases, the reviews were the first reason for taking action.
In addition, Google My Business is free, so it would be a shame to do without it!
By advertising on Google Adwords, you will promote your restaurant on Google Search and many other Google services and subsidiaries such as YouTube, Gmail, and all the sites managing their advertising space via the Google Display Network.
Take the opportunity to publicize your new culinary specialty or the quick menu for the end-of-the-year celebrations.
Be careful though, Google's platform is compelling but extremely difficult to learn. It is essential to be accompanied by a specialist at the risk of creating campaigns that are not very profitable.
Also note: Bing and Yahoo search engines offer similar options. However, Google's strike force is far superior to its competition. Still, the services of the American search engine giant are more expensive because the competition between advertisers is fierce.
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Before seeing your restaurant win its first Michelin star, you can first work hard to make it appear in a few guides and directories of the best restaurants: Yelp, the Lonely Planet, the Guide du Routard, but also the Fooding are all places where it is good to be mentioned.
A pledge of seriousness, flavor, and coolness attracts both locals and tourists eager to share a gourmet and friendly moment. An essential step in a restaurant's marketing plan!
To promote your restaurant and ensure a regular flow of customers, consider setting up partnerships with various structures linked to tourism, such as the local tourist office and one or more hotel (s), possibly guest rooms. 'hosts, or even travel agencies.
In some cases, you will have to offer a discount to the customer or pay a percentage of the bill to your partner, in exchange for which he will recommend you to his clients.
To ensure good publicity for your restaurant, you can, during the launch, inform the local media and bloggers about the opening of your structure, specializing in ideas for outings or gastronomy and cooking, or the art of living in a way. More general.
You can contact an agency specializing in press relations or write and distribute your press release yourself.
Do not hesitate, in addition to a press campaign, to use advertising inserts in local newspapers. Also think of local TV, radio or even displays.
All channels are good to use to market yourself!
To retain customers, what could be better than setting up a loyalty program that will offer gifts and discounts to your customers after a certain number of visits to your establishment.
In the form of a card or dematerialized, a loyalty program also allows you to have the contact details of your customers to remind you of their excellent memory!
For example, you can take advantage of knowing their email addresses to set up a newsletter that will inform them of the latest news and current promotional offers.
Be careful to find the right balance: few or too many Newsletters and your customers will lose interest in your activities. Also, consider alternating between informative/entertaining content and promotional content.
To advertise your restaurant and ensure a clientele made up of as many workers as residents, rely on partnerships with businesses located nearby.
You can offer your services both for private events organized by a particular company: Christmas party, seminar, etc., or offer reductions to the works council to attract employees to their lunch break, business lunches, or dinners with colleagues.
In the same vein, you can establish partnerships with all the local actors of the associative life.
Sponsor the city's handball tournament, run a booth at the garden festival. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors and give your food a taste.
Even if this is not your core business, do not rule out the idea of taking out or home delivery. It is often an excellent way to introduce your kitchen to your nearest neighbors. You can always give up this activity when you have made your "hole."
Heated terrace, free wi-fi, service around the clock, happy hours, offer one or more differentiating elements that will make people push your door and not the restaurant next door. Especially when launching your restaurant, insist on friendliness and service. But don't forget that to retain customers, all attentions count!
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I know, we promised you 17 ways to promote your restaurant, but we couldn't help but put an 18th!
An excellent way to start word of mouth is to set up a sponsorship system. For example, you can give a personal code to each customer giving the right to a complimentary aperitif or coffee or a reduction on the menu.
It's a simple, cost-effective way to get people to recommend your restaurant.
That's it for this time. We hope this article has given you lots of ideas to promote your restaurant. If you have more, feel free to share them in the comments.