When it comes to restaurant marketing it surprises me how many establishments just don’t seem to understand the power of online reviews and what their customers are saying about them.
This past fall I found myself meeting with a local restaurant owner that had some serious issues with the bad reviews that one of his many restaurants was experiencing.
In this particular case the restaurant we met at was one that I had frequented since it first opened, and overall the food was pretty good. Certain items on the menu had become favorites and pricing was pretty reasonable. But when it came to service, this is where I felt the ball was being dropped. Sometimes the service was pretty decent and other times it just seemed mediocre.
The one big thing that stuck out in my mind was that I didn’t know who the manager was? In all of my visits to this restaurant I had never been able to pinpoint or determine who was actually overseeing the restaurant?
So I decided to contact the owner to see if he was interested in meeting to discuss my findings and he agreed to get together. Now this took a few times and ultimately a combination of a phone call & text message got the owner to sit down one Saturday afternoon.
It was a pretty short meeting and as we were wrapping up he said something to the affect of, “Usually when I get done with a marketing meeting I’m not excited, but this time I am really excited.”
The ‘exciting part’ was that this owner now understood that he had a problem and it could be fixed. The question remained as to whether he would take action in-house or hire us to do the clean up? More on this in a future article.
So let’s get back to How to Market your Restaurant Online.
I mean how does one go about promoting online and getting the word out about the great food, service and whatever else it is you bring to the table?
Here are my Five Tips you can put into use today:
1. Create and Setup Profiles on the top citation sites, search engines and social media outlets. Once the profile is created, make sure to continually optimize it so reviewers are kept up to speed about your establishment.
2. Monitor each and every one of these Citation Websites, search engines and social media outlets for reviews about your restaurant.
3. Promote Citation Sites that have credibility and your customers are posting to about your business. In other words, if your customers are mostly using Urbanspoon or Tripadvisor, make sure your profile is optimized(with video and pictures – where permitted), you are responding to reviews, and consider testing some advertising on mobile devices.
4. Utilize Social Media outlets to attract, create buzz, and connect with both prospects and existing customers. This is more than the occasional post or tweet. It takes daily effort, so consider having a few different people work on this. Plus you can
5. Get a Mobile App for your restaurant and promote it to your customers both on and offline. This will pay dividends if your app is developed correctly and you use the promotional features.
In closing, how do you market your restaurant online and really make it work?
Use the five suggestions above and then tap into as many online sources as you can afford to invest your time and money into. This way you can test each source and find out which ones drive the most traffic and bring the right kind of prospects to your table.
Until next time,
PS – Should you get stuck or need a little help with marketing your restaurant online, The Small Biz Mechanic has the latest recipes to help you get there.