Restaurant marketing is changing and evolving with the times prompted by external forces like the recent pandemic and the surge in restaurant technology, and internal factors like restaurant owners’ desire to innovate.
New restaurant marketing strategies and ideas pop up all the time. It’s good to keep up to date with them so you can secure your place as one of the top restaurants in your area. Below, we’ll go through some of the newest restaurant marketing ideas for 2021 and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy.
10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas to Implement in 2021
1. Do influencer marketing
Influencers have become an integral part of many industries, including the restaurant industry. More and more establishments, particularly large chains, are partnering with influencers on Instagram and TikTok to attract new customers and increase their popularity among the teenager and young adult age group.
As a small restaurant owner, you can still take advantage of this trend by contacting local micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are people who have between 1,000 and 1 million followers, so a smaller audience than famous actors, athletes, and singers.
Instagram is the perfect place to get started as it’s such a visual-based platform where photos of food thrive.
2. Invest in an online ordering system
Online ordering is the leading force behind the surge of technology in the restaurant industry. As restaurants began to shut down due to the pandemic, and people preferred ordering at home instead of going out, many restaurant owners realized that food delivery and pickup are the only way they can survive.
Even as the pandemic is dying down, it has changed the way people enjoy food forever. Many customers will likely prefer ordering takeout over eating out even after the danger is obsolete.
As a restaurant owner, you need a reliable online ordering system that can help you provide customers with a seamless experience on any device. This will help you secure customer loyalty and attract new people to your restaurant.
3. Consider video marketing
Video marketing is another strategy making its way to the top of the restaurant marketing ideas list this year. People love to consume video content. Just look at the popularity of platforms like TikTok, and you’ll understand.
You can use restaurant video marketing to communicate menu changes, safety measures, show behind-the-scenes clips, and generally make customers feel closer to your brand.
Take short clips on your phone to post on Instagram stories, TikTok, and Snapchat, and create a YouTube channel where you can post longer videos. For example, film your chef recreating one of your most popular dishes so people can attempt it at home.
4. Give your website a makeover
Having a website for your restaurant is pretty much the norm in this day and age. If you don’t have one yet, don’t waste any more time and build a restaurant website that will help you attract even more customers to your restaurant.
If you already have it, inspect it closely to see whether you can improve it. Here are some of the main things you should check for:
• Online ordering and table reservation buttons
• Interactive map pinpointing your location
• Photos in menu
• Contact information
• Attractive restaurant promotions
• Social media links
5. Think local
One of your goals as a restaurant owner should be to become an integral part of the community. To that purpose, you have to embrace local marketing and its many aspects.
First, consider using local ingredients from family-owned farms in your area. Not only will this look good because you’re supporting other local businesses, but it will also provide you with fresh, seasonal ingredients for your dishes. Similarly, partner up with breweries in the area to sell their craft beer at your restaurant.
You have to think local even when promoting your restaurant. Use location-based advertising and local SEO to get more visibility in search engines for the people in your area.
6. Take advantage of user-generated content
User-generated content aims to help restaurants get content they can promote on their social media while engaging their followers. Challenge users to post their favorite meal on their Instagram profile and use a unique hashtag. That way, you can search for the hashtag to sift through the photos and pick and choose your favorite to share on your profile.
To up the stakes and get more people to contribute, turn it into a competition by rewarding the person whose photo gets the most likes with a voucher or a gift card. This will also expose you to a broader audience as people will probably ask their friends and family to like their photo.
The thing you need to remember about user-generated content is that you should always ask for the people’s permission before you share their posts.
7. Create a delivery-only menu
Another element that needs redesigning in 2021 is your restaurant menu. If you’re also delivering food (which you should), you need a dedicated delivery menu. Why? First of all, because not all dishes on your menu can be delivered without compromising their quality.
Second, it allows you to add unique things to the menu that will attract a larger audience. For instance, meal kits have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, as have cocktail kits.
Your online menu should also differ from your physical menu from an aesthetic point of view. While print menus usually look best without photos, an online menu sans pictures is bland, much like food without spices.
8. Consider getting a mobile app
People use their mobile devices for anything, including browsing for food. Whether they want to check out the menu before visiting a restaurant, book a table, or place an online order, the customer should be able to do so comfortably on any device.
And while optimizing your restaurant website for mobile devices is the first step, you can also take it a step further and create a mobile app. The browsing experience will improve enormously, and you will convert more.
Not to mention you can create in-app loyalty programs, use push notifications to promote special offers, and interact with customers more efficiently through the app.
9. Do social WiFi marketing
You’re probably already familiar with WiFi marketing in general, but have you ever considered social WiFi marketing? This practice entails using a social WiFi system to gather data from your customers’ mobile devices.
You will learn crucial information like how often customers visit you and how much time they spend there, without them having to log into your WiFi network.
However, when customers log in via their social media accounts, you learn about their demographics, name, email, and more. Depending on the privacy of their social media profiles, you might also get access to information like their birthday. This can help you surprise them with a birthday gift.
10. Be present on third-party review platforms
Popular review websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even Google My Business can make or break a restaurant. If you get consistently bad reviews, people will start to catch on and avoid your restaurant. That is why it’s crucial to monitor and reply to reviews on all third-party platforms.
Make sure you claim your business so you can control what people see about your restaurant and respond to reviews. Reply to all reviews but particularly negative ones to try to solve the problem and show people reading them that you care about customer satisfaction.
As technology progresses, so does marketing for restaurants. Take advantage of the innovations in restaurant technology to improve your operations and learn about popular trends that will shape the way you do restaurant marketing. The ideas above will help you revitalize your marketing efforts for 2021.
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