It has been proven that the food business has always been the most profitable, with lesser risks than others. People always eat, right? People also eat the food that tastes great, over and over again. But wait, that’s not why you’re here! You don’t need a blog post to validate your food. You’re here because, you know you sell delicious grub, but the people are missing, at least in frequency and numbers.
Read on, to know how to translate that epicurean dazzle onto the world of online research and critique.
Salmon fillets with asparagus served on vintage pewter plates on dark blue background, editorial food styling
Research shows, people almost always do a Google search on a new restaurant that they wish to try. This includes looking at the locality, pictures of the establishment, pictures of food served, online menu and prices and any other special amenities. More often than not, apart from word-of-mouth marketing from previous clients, the appeal of a restaurant is rather visual. It’s what catches the eye that gives them that necessary push to actually try you out.
In the world of technology and Internet, the food industry is not just about the taste of things, it’s your brand identity, the distinguishing factor and your modus operandi. You want to establish yourself as apart from your competition. And the best way to do that is to have extreme clarity on what your establishment stands for. In days reaching back a few decades, the ideal marketing for restaurants was done at the hands of critiques, which could make or break a restaurant’s future prospects. However, in the current era, the amount of digitally available information makes it rather easy to put yourself at the right place.
- Food Porn: If you’re aware of the colloquial term ‘food-porn’, you’d know how fast it is taking the world of Instagram by storm. Having an Instagram page for your restaurant will do wonders for you. Indulge in taking drool-worthy pictures of food that is served at your restaurant and make sure to boost your posts with quirky captions and hashtags. When food looks delicious, it sends receptors in the brain into a frenzy to eat that food. That’s how you twist this into your favour. Look at this NYC restaurant’s Instagram page, for reference.
Alternatively, have your customers take nice pictures of the food they order; make it interactive by calling for a food photography competition or just something that you might feature on your own page, if the content is good enough. Ask your customers to use hastags and tag your location. This type of User Generated Content (UGC) will increase your online presence, driving more traffic towards you, through geo-tagging and hashtags.
- Social Media isn’t limited: Establish yourself on other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ etc. Post short videos and time-lapse of in-house kitchen activities, the cooking process; show your staff in action etc. Checkout BuzzFeedTasty on Instagram to get a better idea about how you could go about recording the cooking process. This type of video content engages user far beyond the motions of a plate of food and them eating it.
Apart from visual content, use Twitter and Pinterest for photos and witty written content (could be industry puns or nutritional value of your food, anything works as long as it is credible). Start writing a blog for your restaurant; use it to share success stories, struggles in the business, funny stories with the staff and customers, etc. Feature signature dishes and commend your chef. This will humanize your venture to a point where people can relate to it.
- Email marketing through your blog by gaining subscribers is also a beneficial way to create brand presence.
- Google+: Google really is everyone’s saviour. There exists a tool with which you can have information about your property featured on the Google Knowledge Graph. Sign up for your restaurant on Google+, along with all the relevant details about it, and that’s all, you’ll be visible (look at the right bar on the image below) on the very top; don’t forget to add pictures! This elongated literature on your restaurant will feature location and contact details; hours of operation; rating and reviews along with your menu and website details. This is a consolidated way to have your brand on the search engine. Make sure to triple-verify your online details, such as phone number, address and business hours, because nothing gives bad reputation than incomplete or wrong information.
5. Another online advertising feature by Google is the Google Adwords, which uses geo-tagging to feature restaurants on the search engine according to the user’s location. Use Google Analytics to set up alerts for whenever your restaurant’s name is used online.
6. Your online presence can also be boosted with the help of influential food bloggers, with a huge set of audience. These are the modern day food critics, that you must feed the good stuff, which also includes those discounts and complementary food and drinks. Have them feature you on their platform, complete with information about your brand, what it stands for and insider information; along with a documented review for your food, service and collection on the menu. Giving permission for aesthetic pictures always draws the eye, quite literally.
7. Create a loyalty programme or membership for your restaurant. Give members special discounts and offers; complementary food or drinks would never be refused (such is human nature!). This will in turn give them incentive to return for more hospitality.
Sushi Restaurant Loyalty Card Template – Brandpacks throughout Restaurant Business Card Template – Template Idea
8. Since we’re on the subject of programmes, give yourself the option to provide booking services, tie-up with food apps like Zomato, FoodPanda, Burrp!. Delivery apps such as UberEats, Swiggy etc. will help to open up your dine-in to people who do not feel like getting out of the house to eat. These applications will also enable customers to leave easy feedback, which serves your purpose, entirely.
Overall strategies will work, if you employ them in the right fashion. Do not get discouraged by a negative feedback, instead respond to it, by asking the reviewer about ways you could improve. Collect your positive business reviews and press, and flaunt them on your website. Have a user-friendly and mobile friendly website, which connects all your platforms under one place. It is a no brainer for you to provide a booking/reservation feature on your website.
Keep calm and let everyone get their grub on!