More often than not, a potential customer will make their decision on whether to visit your restaurant before they even see it. ‘See’ in real life, that is, as they will have already made up their mind based on the photos on your website or the Google reviews from previous diners. A large part of a restaurant’s success comes courtesy of its online presence, which makes a strong digital marketing strategy nearly as important as what’s on your menu and whether or not you have a happy hour.
As many restaurants have started offering delivery services over the past year – in 2020, orders placed via smartphone and mobile accounts accounted for $38bn in revenue – the majority of customers will consume your product without once setting foot inside your business. Such is the nature of the hospitality sector during this pandemic, customers are increasingly reliant on the internet to satisfy their appetites.
How to get your restaurant noticed in real life is an important element of running your business, no doubt about it – but the fact is that digital marketing is not to be overlooked. If you want to stand out online, here are some of the strategies you need to generate more interest in your restaurant.
Create an attractive, easy-to-use website
This will be perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of your digital marketing strategy, but it is probably the most important. For many customers, their first impression of your business will be established with your website, so it needs to be as welcoming as the real thing. In lieu of a front-of-house manager to show them to a table, your website needs to invite customers to look around.
Key elements include a simple, attractive typeface (steer clear of overly ‘busy’ script that looks nice but is difficult to read), as well as a color scheme that not only reflects the design elements of your restaurant, but is also attractive. If your dining area’s wallpaper is sky blue, use a similar shade in your website – yet feel free to exercise some creativity in this digital space and pair it with other appropriate colors.
The most important details of your website will be situated above the fold, which means everything you want the customer to see must be visible as soon as they open it. Have your most important subheadings here – sides & starters menus, specialty dishes, your lunch menu, the desserts you have on offer – as well as an About section that's easy to find, with all of your most important contact details listed therein.
Make sure all the information you want to be seen can be located with the least physical effort, as a confusing or poorly laid out website will quickly erode customer patience – and interest.
Hire a photographer
Well-lit, high-resolution images are extremely important marketing tools, as they allow you to showcase your products in the best possible light – literally. If your business specializes in cuisine that can’t be found anywhere within a 30-mile radius, you need to secure this corner of the market with images that will make the customer want nothing more than to try some of these unique dishes. Eye-catching (and mouth-watering) photography can be achieved with a strong light source and a modern smartphone, but bold and captivating images will be the worthy return on your investment when you hire a professional photographer.
Utilize social media
An ideal platform for those gorgeous photos – as well as business updates telling customers about everything from seasonal menus to new furniture – will be social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. With its image-friendly format that presents multiple photos under one reasonably lengthy caption, there are plenty of ways to use Facebook to maximize business potential, but the best platform for generating word-of-mouth is via Instagram. As the saying goes, an image tells a thousand words, so regularly posting sharp, striking images of the items on your menu is a brilliant way of piquing interest within your consumer base.
Optimize the more unusual-looking or specialty dishes you have on offer, as you want to project the certain “X factor” of your restaurant, showing why you are set apart from any nearby competitors. You’ll know when one of your posts has really struck gold if it begins to be shared around users’ stories, so make sure you post regularly – once every two to three days is sufficient – but always practice quality control to ensure your content engages with its desired audience. Beautiful and relevant, that's what you're going for here.
Write a blog for your business
As much as customers appreciate the expertise that lets them know they’re in safe hands, it also pays to be passionate. If you are able to demonstrate a genuine love of what you do, this can be an extremely appealing quality of your business – and a fantastic way of doing that is with a blog. Not only does this platform allow your passion for food to really shine, but it also offers the opportunity to advertise new products in your lineup.
Say you have a new array of summer salads for your burger bar, you can use a blog to talk about some of the fresh heirloom tomatoes you’ve just ordered, as well as underline their nutritional benefits. Running a blog that advertises your product line-up lets you prove you’re a business owner worth their salt, knowledgeable on every aspect of their stocktake, providing only the very best ingredients for their customers.
Opening a restaurant is the result of so many different elements coming together – not unlike a recipe, in fact. It can be an exhausting, stressful experience in its early days, but also one of the most rewarding ventures imaginable for anyone truly passionate about food. To get started in your new business, you’ll need plenty of stock, so why not take a look at the high-quality, organic produce on offer at Buffalo Market?
With an inventory exceeding 2,600 items, we have just about anything you could ever need – and we even have a variety of flavorsome recipes to spark some culinary inspiration as you map out your first menu plan.