Opening a new restaurant is a fun and exciting experience. Within a few months, you could have hundreds of customers streaming through your doors, all hoping to try out your food and enjoy your atmosphere. However, buzz doesn’t build itself. Many restaurant managers work with marketing agencies to get people excited about the new business.
Follow these tips to develop your marketing efforts and follow in the footsteps of other successful business owners.
Create a media blitz.
One of the best ways to drum up excitement around your restaurant is to turn to local media. Many newspapers and local TV stations love covering business owners and the new ventures they create. If you are considering hiring a marketing agency, ask if they have a public relations team. They can draft press releases and set up media interviews and live appearances.
There are multiple ways to promote your restaurant on local media. You can bring your food into the studio or invite reporters in for a tasting menu and tour. You can also provide behind-the-scenes experiences in your kitchen. If you need to get your back-of-house TV-ready, search for the phrase “commercial kitchen supply store near me” to find shiny new commercial kitchen appliances that work well, including refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and other essential food service equipment from The Restaurant Warehouse.
Get creative with social media.
Along with reaching out to media, consider which digital marketing strategies you want to use. Your marketing efforts should be diverse, ranging from SEO to social media promotion.
Small businesses do well on social media, as local residents want to learn what new businesses are new and exciting. Restaurants are also image-friendly businesses, as a few key photos can get customers excited about the types of menu items and cocktails you have. Make sure you develop a strong social presence on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Consider whether you want your social promotions handled by advertising in-house vs agency advertising. You will have access to a larger team of experienced content creators if you hire a marketing team. However, bringing in an internal social media manager can give you access to a full-time resource. A freelancer can also help you. The right decision is the one that matches your marketing budget and workflow.
Look into paid and organic promotions.
There are two types of tactics to build into your marketing strategy: paid and organic. Organic marketing refers to unpaid engagement or promotions (like online comments, SEO efforts, and newspaper reviews). Paid promotions involve sponsorships and PPC campaigns through Google Ads.
Both paid and organic elements should be part of your restaurant marketing strategy for a hybrid model of promotion. You can use paid ads when you are just starting out and then lean into organic promotions once you have a large audience. The digital agency you work with should be able to provide advice on how to balance the two.
Make sure customers can find you on Google.
Google and other search engines (like Bing and DuckDuckGo) are incredibly powerful tools for driving customers to your business. They might not search directly for your name but will use keywords like “Thai food” or “new restaurants near me.” You want your name to pop up first.
Working with a digital agency to boost your SEO will help with Google rankings, but you also want to keep your Google My Business profile updated. This involves responding to customer questions and updating your hours and information.
Additionally, don’t neglect other profiles. If you are located in a popular tourist destination, keep your TripAdvisor profile updated to attract out-of-town visitors. The creative agency you hire (unless you have an internal marketing person) should also be able to manage these pages.
As a restaurant owner, you don’t have time to wait for your business to become popular. You need a multifaceted strategy to promote your wares. Whether you are opening a vegan bakery or five-star steakhouse, keep these marketing ideas in mind so you can drum up business as soon as you open your doors.