Restaurant success is notoriously, painfully difficult to realise. We probably don’t need to regurgitate the facts about two thirds of new restaurants failing in their first year, or of rising business rates and the increasing cost of ingredients causing an even greater financial squeeze. Yep, competition in the restaurant industry is crazy. And it’s only getting tougher; simply offering great food and service at competitive prices isn’t enough anymore. Restaurateurs also need to up their marketing game to stand out and get noticed. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to market your restaurant more effectively.

RANK WELL ON GOOGLE MAPS

If you want to drive hungry customers through the doors of your restaurant, then setting up Google Places, Google My Business (essential for local and mobile searches) and optimising your site for search engines is, in the modern age, an absolute necessity. 

Doing so will cause you to rank well on the Google maps. And you know how it is. You’re in a new town and looking for a restaurant; nine times out of ten it’s a cursory Google search and quick scan of those ‘red letter pins’ to find somewhere which will assuage your appetite. Make sure you’re matching the criteria to earn a much coveted pin. 

USE GOOGLE ADWORDS 

Speaking of the pervasive, essential Google, the company’s Adwords is a marketing tool you’ll want to capitalise on for improving your website’s SEO, too. Indeed, you can make your website rise to the top of Google Search Results just like a perfectly proofed sourdough bread if you know how to manipulate these adwords.  

With Google Adwords you can create engagement that’s localised and customised – geographic and demographic – which is exactly what you want with target marketing. These ads will be displayed in the search results page or in the Google Display Network, in other words, websites that your potential customers visit. To help get you started, use a specialist restaurant marketing agency that specialises in Adwords PPC for restaurants to make sure you get a return on investment.

ENCOURAGE GOOD ONLINE REVIEWS

According to research, 87% of diners in the UK will choose a restaurant based on online reviews. But,  how do you encourage good reviews online to stand out from the competition? Sure you can offer a mouthwateringly appetising menu, serve delicious food in an ambient environment and employ brilliant wait staff who all ooze that hospitality je ne sai quois…that should be enough, right? Indeed, we wouldn’t ever recommend incentivising positive reviews from customers. Instead, provide the very best food and service, truly make the experience memorable and unique, and those loyal, positive reviews will come naturally.

CONSIDER CUSTOMER LOYALTY SCHEMES 

Those regulars we were just talking about will be the bread and butter to your pudding, make no mistake. Indeed, common knowledge has it that repeat customers not only spend more money, they also act as your brand ambassador, whispering sweet nothings about your perfectly risen souffle to the rest of the world. Depending on the type of restaurant establishment you are, then consider a customer loyalty scheme offering points and discounts. Indeed, nothing entices repeat custom (apart from your delicious food) quite like a restaurant loyalty program. 

Should such a program not suit your restaurant’s vibe, reward loyalty with the warmest welcome, remembering customer’s names and their favourite drink, occasionally gifted on the house, for just as effective results.

NAIL YOUR PR CAMPAIGNS 

Every restaurant has a story to tell, from the food they source, to the chef’s come up, to the producers they value, or difference they make in the community. One of the best ways to communicate your story (ies) is through engaging and thoughtful PR campaigns and by building a trusted reputation with local news sites, journalists and bloggers. The general public trust the tastes of restaurant reviewers and bloggers blindly, so generate goodwill all round with such influential people (yep, we deliberately avoided saying ‘influencer’ there). 

Also make sure your restaurant has a charitable, caring soul. The media exposure you can get from good PR and the exponential word of mouth impact it can have is the best marketing your restaurant can ever get.