5 Must-Have Marketing Tools for Your Restaurant

Restaurants need more than good food and fast service to succeed. They need brand awareness and a high profile in their communities. If you’ve opened a new restaurant or are running an existing one, there are several marketing tools that are key to the success of your business. 

Here are some of the resources we recommend to promote your restaurant and build your business’s reputation online.

1.  Restaurant Digital Marketing Plan

In our online era, a restaurant digital marketing plan is a crucial tool. It covers key marketing strategies to be adopted by a restaurant, including search engine optimization, email marketing, Facebook advertising, and more. 

Customers are constantly looking for high-quality restaurants online. With an understanding of the importance of getting discovered online, restaurant owners should carefully consider digital marketing ideas to promote their business. 

A restaurant digital marketing plan comprises strategies to promote your restaurant. The goal is to ensure that your restaurant appears in search results and drives more customer traffic to your restaurant or online ordering site. A good digital marketing plan also allows you to reach customers who can have a real impact on your restaurant by posting positive reviews.

The Benefits of Digital Marketing 

Traditionally, restaurants used offline marketing strategies such as newspaper ads, radio mentions, and event hosting to promote their business. But now, with recent technological advancements, digital marketing strategies are more effective. They include tools like Facebook ads, Twitter ads, blog posts, and YouTube videos. Building and maintaining a quality website and enhancing your SEO also help improve your brand visibility and awareness. 

  1. Cheaper form of marketing: Online is a relatively inexpensive form of advertising, compared to conventional approaches. Depending on the goals of your digital marketing campaign, you can promote your restaurant with minimal expenses.
  2. Access to a wider audience: The online space — especially social media — gives you access to a wide and ready audience. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram put you in direct touch with both potential and present customers. Since digital marketing gives you a huge reach, your marketing campaigns tend to be more visible. 
  3. Access to your target audience: Online advertising is geo-targeted, which makes it easier for restaurants to reach their specific customers. 
  4. Boosts customer loyalty: Because your restaurant is engaging with customers, they will feel as though your business cares. They will choose to continue patronizing your establishment. You can also offer loyalty programs and coupon codes to retain even more customers.
  5. Helps you understand your customers’ needs: You can build customer loyalty by addressing their needs. Online marketing strategies allow you to collect customers’ opinions online and understand what they expect from your restaurant. You can also address grievances and complaints to improve the overall customer experience.

Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Once you understand the importance of digital marketing strategies, you need to identify the ones that will work for your restaurant. The online space is enormous, and not every strategy will work. It may also be challenging to determine which strategy will work because you may need to combine several. Among the most effective strategies are:

  • Social Media Marketing: Marketing through social media can take several forms, depending on the goals of your marketing campaign. For instance, customer engagement boosts customer trust and builds loyalty. Engaging the customer includes responding to their posts, tweets, and comments. The customer will feel valued and be more likely to support your business. You can also conduct campaigns and contests on your social media platforms. These are particularly useful for making your restaurant visible to more people.
  • Paid Social Media Ads: When you run paid ad campaigns, you can target your audience by age, income, preferences, gender, and other factors, and you can geo-target by location.
  • Email Marketing: An online ordering platform like MenuDrive allows you to collect email addresses and send emails at key moments in the customer life cycle, such as the first time a customer places an order.
  • Online Listing and Review Websites: Posting your restaurant on online listing and review sites can raise awareness of your business and reach customers who might be interested in it. To start off, you can post your restaurant on sites like TripAdvisor, Zomato, and EazyDiner. 
  • Google My Business Listing: Most people use Google to find restaurants in their area, so adding your restaurant makes it more discoverable. Make sure you provide a link to your online ordering site and photos of your food.

2.  Marketing Strategies Checklist

The success of any marketing effort depends on the quality of the strategy behind it. Without a proper marketing strategy to follow, you could easily end up with a failed campaign. Depending on the size of your restaurant business, you may choose either an extensive market research and segment approach or a detailed strategic marketing plan. 

A marketing strategy checklist will help you ensure that your strategy has the right elements in place, and the right plan for forging ahead.

What Is a Marketing Strategies Checklist?

A marketing strategies checklist is a tool you can use to determine the success of your restaurant’s marketing strategy. The checklist tool assesses everything from content creation to content promotion and the use of social media marketing.

Why You Need a Marketing Strategies Checklist

The purpose of a marketing strategies checklist is to make sure that your strategies are effective in meeting the goals of your business. Since your marketing strategy affects how you run your restaurant, you should have a clear plan and involve the right people in planning. You need a comprehensive planning tool that allows you to:

  • Describe the nature of your restaurant and its food and distinguishing characteristics
  • Profile your target audience and key competitors
  • Explain the position of your restaurant in the market and what makes it unique
  • Build a strong marketing plan and continuously measure its effectiveness
  • Identify the appropriate marketing initiatives to use
  • Specify the content marketing strategy appropriate for your business

Important Aspects of Preparing a Marketing Strategy

A well-developed marketing strategy will not only help your restaurant realize its goals; it will also help you build your brand and achieve a strong reputation for your food and dining experience. For a marketing strategy to work, it needs to create awareness and increase conversion rates from prospect to buying customer. Some of the components that you may need to consider are:

  1. Business Goals: You should define your goals for marketing to have a clear sense of where your business is headed. Some goals might entail increasing awareness of your menu or reaching a new customer segment.
  2. Market Description: You need to research your market and have a clear understanding of its unique features. Gather information about its size, demographics, social trends, and growth to make better marketing decisions.
  3. Target Audience Profile: Profiles of your potential customers should be clearly defined. Details gathered may include information on their buying habits and income levels.
  4. Strategies Supporting Marketing Goals: After listing your target markets, you should devise strategies to attract and retain them. This could involve increasing your social media presence, setting up email automation, or offering discounts to specific groups of customers, such as first-time visitors to your restaurant.

The process of preparing and implementing a marketing strategy can seem overwhelming. You have to consider everything that affects the operation of your restaurant, and you need to consider your customers’ perception and evaluation of your business. The importance of a marketing strategies checklist for a restaurant cannot be overlooked. With all the factors that need to be considered when marketing a product or service, you need a tool that helps you ensure you have considered everything. Use these tools to check every aspect of your marketing, so you know you’re targeting the right people, using the right channels, and communicating the right message. 

Get the Restaurant Marketing Strategies Checklist

3.  Restaurant Marketing Planning Calendar

To ensure that you cover every detail, you should establish a clear way to implement and manage your marketing efforts. Apart from the marketing strategies you use, you also need to have a team and clear marketing budget in place. Planning involves making sure that every aspect of your restaurant’s marketing is going as smoothly and effectively as possible. You need to be in a place where you’re getting the word out there, and customers are steadily flowing into your establishment or placing orders online. 

Creating a Marketing Calendar for Your Restaurant

The reason you need a marketing calendar for your restaurant is to have a clear path to follow in your promotional efforts. A calendar enables everyone involved to understand their roles in executing your marketing strategies. Our free restaurant marketing calendar provides a clear template for actions to take throughout the year. 

When preparing a calendar for your restaurant marketing, you need to think about several factors that affect your business and customers. Take time to develop your marketing goals, identify your target customers, and pinpoint the kinds of actions needed to achieve each goal. Once you have established your goals, try to understand your target customer. Then identify the strategies to use over a 12-month period. 

The Benefits of a Marketing Planning Calendar

The marketing calendar allows you to organize promotions every month. You can keep up with the progress of each promotion, assign tasks and due dates to designated personnel, and create multiple marketing teams. The key benefits of this calendar include: 

  1. Record the entire year’s marketing plan for your restaurant on a single worksheet with a 12-month planning schedule.
  2. Adjust your planning to a monthly view of your promotions. Determine how many promotions to complete in a month.
  3. Assign tasks to personnel depending on promotional goals.
  4. Add due dates to every task, for gradual progress in the marketing plan.
  5. Compare your budget with actual marketing expenses, allowing you to make better budgets for future marketing initiatives.

How the Restaurant Marketing Planning Calendar Template Helps

The marketing planning calendar template is ideal for restaurant owners growing their business in a single area. It’s also optimal for regional marketing managers of national chains, or franchisees managing several restaurants. Whether your restaurant is new or has existed for a while, a marketing planning calendar will provide you with a clear plan for all your strategies.

Get the Restaurant Marketing Planning Calendar

4.  Restaurant Opening Marketing Plan (for New Locations)

If you’re planning to open a restaurant, you should be thinking about how you’re going to market it. A detailed restaurant opening marketing plan is a necessary tool before opening the doors to your business. It might sound intimidating to start promoting your new restaurant, but it could mean the difference between your restaurant becoming an instant success and remaining stagnant. 

Why a Restaurant Opening Marketing Plan Is Important

Starting a restaurant business is not for the faint of heart. Most restaurant owners have to go the extra mile to make their businesses a success, and that extra mile often means additional marketing efforts. Whether you’re establishing a local business or running a franchise, you need to identify effective ways to promote it. 

While it may not seem like it at first, marketing campaigns are important for your new restaurant. After all, they let people know that your establishment exists! Word of mouth can play a critical role in promoting your new business, but a more detailed marketing plan will reach a wider group of people. Simple restaurant marketing practices such as sending an email to guests, posting on your restaurant’s social media feeds, and updating your business presence on Google can go a long way toward promoting your new business.

The restaurant opening marketing plan highlights recommended strategies to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience. It covers essential aspects of a marketing plan, including budget and market analysis.

Get the Restaurant Opening Marketing Plan

5.  Restaurant Guest Survey 

A guest satisfaction survey can play a critical role in understanding what your customers think about your restaurant. Not only will it tell you what your customers liked or disliked, but it will also give you valuable feedback on their overall impression of your establishment. You can then use this information to improve your menu, ambiance, and other key aspects of your restaurant. 

If you’re wondering how to go about this, a restaurant survey template is a good place to start. 

The Importance of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Every time restaurant customers place an order, they come with their own views and perception of your brand. They may judge everything from the food to your servers, cleanliness, online ordering experience, and the general appearance of your restaurant. If you want to run a successful business, it’s essential that you find out what your customers are thinking about it.

The way you approach your customers for feedback is critical. While it may be easier for your servers to ask customers for feedback about the food and service, you won’t necessarily get all the important details that way. Many restaurant customers aren’t comfortable sharing their views so openly. Additionally, it’s more difficult for restaurant staff to ask for feedback when customers are placing takeout or delivery orders.

Gather Key Data and Customer Feedback

A more accurate way to gather customer feedback is by using a restaurant guest survey. A feedback survey will provide you with key data about your customers’ restaurant experience. Since no face-to-face interaction is needed, customers will be more genuine in their responses. With a survey, you can also choose which aspects of your restaurant you want to get opinions on from your customers.

Your restaurant feedback survey questions can gather useful information to improve your business. A survey also gives your customers a platform to share their experience. They’ll appreciate having an opportunity to do so. If they had a bad experience, it’s better for them to tell you about it than to post about it on social media or a public review site.

How to Conduct a Restaurant Guest Survey

The purpose of a guest survey is to gather restaurant feedback on aspects such as food quality and speed of service. You can get feedback in different types of surveys. You can choose to hand out comment cards, communicate via email or text, or use technology like your handheld POS system.

Some online ordering platforms, such as MenuDrive, give customers the opportunity to provide valuable feedback when they place an order. You can then access all customer feedback in your Admin Control Panel.

When creating a survey for your restaurant business, make sure you ask questions that will truly help you improve your restaurant. Asking short yes-or-no questions is good practice because customers are more likely to provide answers. However, you may also wish to include multiple-choice and open-ended questions in your survey form. Ensure that you maximize the chances of getting customer insights that will provide long-term value for your restaurant.

Types of Questions to Include in a Restaurant Survey

When choosing the questions to include in your survey, make sure they are relevant and add value to your business. The two most important categories are: what did you like most about your visit to the restaurant, and what did you dislike most? Other categories of questions you may consider include:

  • General questions: These are questions about your customers, why they chose to visit your restaurant business, and how often they patronize your establishment.
  • Facilities questions: Ask questions that address issues related to the cleanliness, presentation, and accessibility of your restaurant. 
  • Food and drink questions: This category includes questions about the quality of food and drinks at your restaurant. 
  • Service questions: Service questions give you feedback on the impression your customers have of your servers.
  • Tech questions: You may wish to ask customers how they perceive your online ordering and POS technology, as well as the entire process of ordering and payment.

Getting the Most Out of Your Guest Feedback Survey

A survey does not end when the feedback is in. The whole point is to understand customers’ needs and make appropriate changes to your restaurant. Although it’s impossible to fix every issue every customer has ever had, you should address commonly mentioned and severe issues. 

Customer feedback is crucial to the success of any restaurant business. It allows you to understand and meet your customers’ needs. Using our sample template, you can create an effective feedback survey that works for your restaurant. The template includes all the essential elements of a good feedback survey. It makes the process of creating a survey easier and ensures that you don’t miss a thing.

Get the Restaurant Guest Survey Template

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