Let's talk about Marketing your restaurant from a consumer's point of view, I'm sure that the expert restaurateurs and marketing persons will have many different ways on how they market their restaurants.
I'll be focusing on Marketing your restuarant using a Website in this post.
1. Post your menus online, have high resolution images of your dishes on your websites. The mistake that most small restaurants make is choosing a design for their business that does not relate to what their business is about and leave it up to us to decide what they are really selling. The home page should have images relating what you offer.
2. Create theme nights, everybody loves going out on a restaurant theme night/day, I know I do,Happy hour Thursday , Seafood Sundays, finger food Fridays, Munch a lot Mondays, you name it, theme nights is one of the most popular ways for restaurants to drive traffic to their businesses, pictures can be posted to the website of the different theme nights happenings and this will get persons more excited in visiting.
3.Put a ratings widget on your website for different signature dishes that you create and encourage your customers to go online and rate it, this is similar to a comment box that you may place at the table. If you are famous for a certain meal, brag about it and dare us to prove you wrong. If you are right and your meal is scrumptious then we'll definitely tell our friends.
4.How about doing a meet the chef feature on your website? Give a little background on yourself (if you're the chef) or the chef. This helps us to relate with you on a personal level and may even create an emotional connection. This will also highlight your experience.
5.Online reservation? Make things a little bit easier for potential and existing customers that are on the go and online, have us place our reservations online and offer us a discount to do so, this will give us peace of mind about those bank fees for online transactions. You can also partner with a financial institution and offer rewards for using the credit card.
6. Have a social media challenge for your Facebook fans, I love participating in online competitions where I can actually win something, it's pretty exciting. You can offer a prize to the person/persons with the most check-ins at your restaurant that spans over a period of time that you create. E.g the person with the most check ins at your restaurant for a particular month (s) get to eat free for two one night and get to choose anything on the menu.
7.Give buddy passes, the best way to get more customers to your restaurant is to have friends take friends along. Figure out which is your slowest day of the week and set up buddy passes for it and have friends take friends along for a half off menu. Make this exclusively available through signing up online, or liking your Facebook page and then they have to come in to the restaurant to collect the pass.
8.Add real value to your promotions/specials, if you are offering a special price on a dish, don't offer it on dishes that persons are already able to afford, we find that very annoying, offer it on dishes that persons on a budget wouldn't normally buy, this is real value. Put this special on your website and watch us flock your restaurant.
9.Use Email Marketing sometimes we'll forget about your website, so why not send us emails reminding us of your specials, as long as its not too repetitive and annoying we'll appreciate it.
10. Update your website frequently nobody likes an outdated website, update it frequently so that we can find it relevant.
Do you have any restaurant marketing tips? Feel free to share.