Even though vaccines are now available, the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will indeed carry on for years to come. Now that the public has heightened awareness of the possible dangers lurking in the environment, the fear it has inflicted will be challenging to get over. As a result, it might take a couple of years more before we all feel comfortable dining in restaurants or hanging out in malls.
Thanks to technology, both entrepreneurs and consumers are able to adapt to the new normal. However, we cannot deny that not all industries have navigated through these new conditions. A good example of this is restaurant businesses.
With social distancing protocols in place and some areas still on lockdown, restaurants have struggled heavily for the past two years. Although some cities allow restaurants to reopen, they are only functioning at minimal seating capacity. As a result, most of them rely on patrons, but there’s still no guarantee that they’ll generate enough revenue even with that.
To make sure cash continues to flow to your restaurant business during these trying times, we’ve come up with a quick list of restaurant marketing strategies to help you attract new customers, fill your tables, and even boost your online delivery orders.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies
Here are six easy and affordable ways to market your restaurant business in 2021.
Be Active on Social Media
If you haven’t paid attention to your social media profiles back in the old normal, now’s the time to get back on track. Social media is a powerful tool to establish brand awareness, showcase your food, and engage with your customers.
Instagram or Facebook generally works best for restaurant businesses. These are great platforms to feature your food, announce deals and promos, run contests, or exhibit the beauty of your facility, especially on Instagram.
Uploading photos of your menu entices the appetite, while posts about your restaurant facilities give your customers something to look forward to visiting when the restrictions loosen up. There’s no need to fill up your calendar daily. What matters is consistency in your posts, mainly in terms of branding.
Coupons and Discounts
Everyone needs a helping hand right now. Offering coupons and discounts to your customers are a great display of empathy. It places your brand in a good light and leaves a lasting positive impression. You want to show your customers that you care about them and how you genuinely want to help them get a glimpse of normalcy even in the comfort of their own homes.
This will benefit your brand in the long run, especially when the pandemic is over.
Invest in Local Digital Ads
If you’re looking into digital ads, make sure it’s focused on a local scale. You want to attract customers who are ready to eat and are looking for the nearest one available.
Geo-targeting allows you to set specific areas where your ads are delivered. Generally, you’d want to set your ads to be shown in areas surrounding your restaurant. This makes your ads more effective as it filters out anyone unlikely to visit your store due to location.
Create a Business Website
Having a website provides your customers a reference point for your food products and to learn more about your brand. If you don’t have one yet but have invested massively in social media and traditional marketing, you can easily replicate your efforts to your new website.
In restaurant marketing, it’s your food that does all the talking. So when building your new website, make sure that you design it to display your best-selling food items, your staff, and your facilities. If you have photos of pre-pandemic events hosted in your restaurant, you can upload them too in your gallery.
Make Your Business Searchable
While having a profile on Facebook or Instagram gets you found by customers searching for recommendations on social media, it does not cover everything else. What if they’re searching on Google or Apple maps? You want to make it easy to search for your brand wherever your customers are online.
This is where having a Google My Business profile comes in handy. Google My Business helps you get found in local searches and easily provides customers with the most important information, such as your address, phone number, website URL, etc.
Offer Additional Services
If your restaurant stayed closed during the early days of COVID, you might want to look into including delivery services if you plan to reopen. Some customers may still be hesitant to dine in or drive by your location and prefer home delivery instead. You can join apps like DoorDash.com or Grubhub.com to handle online ordering for you.
This provides you with a great call to action. Embed these ordering systems on your website so your customers can order right then and there.
Since the pandemic, ghost kitchens and virtual brands have soared into popularity. Ghost kitchens are food prep operations with no waiters, dining room, or parking lot. They don’t have any physical presence, and yet they operate seamlessly through food delivery apps.
Ghost kitchens are physical spaces for operators catering to takeaway consumption. And on apps like DoorDash and GrubHub, listings for virtual restaurant brands usually don’t look any different than those with a physical store.
With customers adapting to this trend, ghost kitchens are likely here to stay.
Ready to Kickstart your Marketing?
These are just a few restaurant marketing strategies your business can adapt to the new normal. At Public Ad Agency, we’ve helped a handful of restaurants in the Murrieta, Temecula, and San Diego areas through our branding and marketing efforts. If you’re ready to get customers back in the door or hitting up your online ordering system, holler back at us!