Hint: Restaurant marketing is more than good food photos.
We’ve already touched on the importance of telling the story of a dish, the onslaught of #FoodPornFatigue, and the benefits of long-form video content for restaurants. Your audience is smart — by now you know blatant advertising only goes so far. But, not to fear. You can use this guide to market your restaurant in clever ways that stay true to your brand and resonate with your audience.
Humanizing Your Brand
Although love for good food is probably the reason restaurants are started in the first place, most recognize they’re so much more than that. The people on the ground, working those long hours both BOH and FOH, are often at the centre of a restaurant’s success.
Your history, your community, and your team all play a role in just who your restaurant is. When your marketing strategy involves all of these things, instead of just beautiful food photography, people have a reason to trust your brand, and believe us, they’ll notice the transparency.
Connecting with your customers
There’s nothing that breeds loyalty to a brand quite like showing the people behind it. Your audience wants to know who you are.
The BC brand White Spot, for example, had long been committed to their relationship with local farmers, especially the ones who supplied their potatoes.
The Canadian chain restaurant has been operating for over 90 years, so the relationship between them and the farmers has existed for generations. Our agency, AntiSocial Solutions, runs White Spot’s marketing campaigns and our team noticed this bond centred around a seemingly afterthought of an ingredient.
Influencers: People Trust Other People
Influencer marketing is the new normal for things like beauty products and fashion. Also, it’s made its way into restaurant marketing. Geotags and cute captions @’ing the restaurant’s handle are very prevalent on the social media landscape.
Therefore, sometimes audiences don’t even notice their favourite account to follow is being paid to eat at and post from that restaurant.
Now, if you’ve never engaged with an influencer before it can seem a bit mysterious. Guess what? You shouldn’t slide into their DM’s with a “Sup, come get this bread”, offering them a free side of ciabatta when they tag you on Insta.
There’s a certain etiquette to establishing a relationship with quality influencers and, yeah, it involves a bit of work. But don’t be discouraged — the amount of time and effort you put into finding the perfect one to promote your restaurant will pay off in the end.
Community Engagement Connects You to Your People
Look at your comment section as a direct line to your customers. When you start to engage with people, they’ll feel like they know your restaurant — even if they’ve never been to it. Don’t sell community engagement short, done right you can create repeat customers and future regulars.
Comments and Human Connections
People eat out because they want to have human interaction. There’s something about your restaurant, besides the incredible food, that people are connecting with. Let that connection be felt online, too. When you respond to your followers online, stay true to your restaurants brand voice.
“When it comes to building engagement for restaurants, communities are built in the comments: Generally, if people are following a page, it is because, in some way, they have a common interest or appreciation for that restaurant and the experience it provides.
This makes it an ideal opportunity to create meaningful conversations in the comments to further connect those people. It also allows the restaurant itself to add a human element to their brand.
It makes people feel as though they are speaking with the restaurant itself and that, in turn, builds incredible brand equity.”
– Andrew Tatton, Social Strategist, AntiSocial Media Solutions
Real-time Feedback For Your Restaurant
Community engagement also gives you the opportunity to hear what your customers want. People don’t hold back online with criticism and it can be useful to pay attention to the haters.
Ask yourself, is feedback always negative for one specific thing? Is there something, a seasonal dish or drink, that people keep asking about?
“From a tactical standpoint, it is important to engage with comments because it
a) gives you as a restaurant an opportunity to learn about what people are thinking about your restaurant, the experience and the food itself and
b) allows you to get quick and valuable feedback on how you can be better and the type of content you should create to meet your audiences questions, needs, and concerns.
Essentially, the comments section is an invaluable data tool for your restaurant. Kind of like a real-time survey.”
— Andrew Tatton, Social Strategist
Market Your Restaurant & Turn Social Followers into Hungry Customers
To sum up, with the right marketing plan in place, your restaurant will turn online followers into real-life customers. Remember to focus on what makes your space special or unique, which isn’t limited to the great food.