Sales & Marketing
Methods for promoting a restaurant are as varied as the types of restaurants there are to promote. In any case, the main marketing objective is to attract new and returning customers.
Getting the Word Out
When marketing a restaurant, paid advertising obviously represents an effective tool. However, earned publicity also works to build an eatery’s name. Through press coverage and positive food reviews, a restaurant most likely will enhance its credibility and community standing.
One way to gain such media coverage is through community service. Many restaurants hold charity drives, donating a portion of their earnings to a local cause. Others contribute food to fundraisers, provide prepared meals to shelters and food banks, encourage employees to partake in volunteer work and sponsor special events in the parking lot of the restaurant.
Some of the most successful publicity campaigns take place over an extended period of time for maximum exposure. Sponsorship also presents a popular marketing technique used by restaurants. Many brand their services by providing promotional items like t-shirts, bumper stickers and other giveaways.
A Taste of the Business
Customers love to know what goes on beyond those large, swinging doors that lead to the kitchen. Offering a behind the scenes look not only educates the public but also might boost business sales as well. Restaurant tours are a popular way to draw curious diners.
Everything that occurs in a restaurant represents a potential walk through opportunity. From how decorators go about floral arrangements to food preparation, the intricacies of the operation can be used to sell the services.
The Daily Special
Sometimes something as simple as redesigning a menu can attract new customers. For this reason, there are a number of print and design companies devoted solely to menu creation. Graphic firms specializing in restaurant menus usually offer a wide variety of looks, paper styles and binders. These companies use placement strategies, pictures and written descriptions to direct customers to order specific items.
Convenient Cuisine Equals Sales
As the time for home meal preparation continues to shrink, the restaurant industry has seen an upsurge in the purchase of takeout. A wide-ranging to-go menu helps attract time-pressed customers while freeing up dining room space and boosting the bottom line.
Today, most restaurants treat takeout as an integral part of the operation rather than an afterthought. Many chains have even added a drive-through window, where customers pick up orders on the fly. In other instances, restaurants are making room near the entrance of the building for convenient parking, often designated as the takeout spot.
Traditionally, frequent diner programs have been used as a marketing tool to stir up repeat business. While they might be a bit dated, they still work today.
Some restaurants issue designated cards for customers to record points, while other establishments merely use the patron’s credit card to track the number of visits. Either way, these incentive programs build customer loyalty and keep folks coming back with friends.
A Virtual Feast
Dining websites have come a long way in the past few years. Design companies present an array of packages aimed at making the restaurant site experience more interactive for the visitor. Some techniques include online comment cards, email clubs, sections where consumers enter their personal food preferences, etc. A share of the latest restaurant websites also post calendars of promotional events, online gift certificate and card purchase options, employment applications and so forth.
Location is everything in the food business. However, getting folks to find that particular place is not always easy. Now instead of the customer calling for directions, certain sites link to navigational Web sources like MapQuest. Many patrons are also equipped with GPS through their smartphones, making navigation as simple and effortless as entering an address.
As many entrepreneurs will attest, strong business-to-client relations represent the best form of free marketing available. For this reason, a number of restaurateurs are including personal stories on their websites about their venture into the industry.
As an added perk for the visitor, many post links to other businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industry, like local movie theaters and hotels. Some restaurants even work with other local attractions to create online package deals such as dinner and a movie.
Along with entertainment value, today’s restaurant sites also provide important logistics.
They allow potential patrons to view the decor of the restaurant, the price range and hours of operation.