As the majority of states have reopened, we are arriving in the post-COVID era. After nearly two years of restrictions, customers are excited to start dining out again, but after months away from their favorite restaurants, they might have trouble figuring out where to visit first.
A strong restaurant marketing strategy can help your business receive the visibility it deserves, while allowing you to build a deeper connection with your audience. The following restaurant marketing strategies can help make your restaurant the top choice the next time customers are looking to order in or eat out.
1. Use social media restaurant marketing
As social media use has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic, food photos are a great way to build your brand while enticing consumers to eat at your restaurant. Consider utilizing various platforms to get your message out to as many people as possible. Whether you’re just posting to your feed or running paid aids, pictures of your delicious dishes are the second best way -- behind eating -- to enjoy your food.
2. Share recipes
Cooking has become increasingly popular throughout the pandemic. Ever since restaurants closed down (and even as they reopen), many people have been looking for ways to enjoy their favorite restaurant food from home. Sharing recipes for home cooking can get customers thinking about your food and associate positive experiences with your brand. Plus, it’s not likely to take away from your actual sales, since your cooks have the knowledge and expertise to prepare your recipes the way you intended.
3. Emphasize eating local
Ironically, COVID has brought people together (not literally, of course). As restaurants and other businesses struggled to navigate the pandemic, communities came together to provide support. Now that restrictions have been lifted, there is a continued focus on supporting local, so don’t hesitate to adjust your messaging to turn the spotlight on your business or other businesses in your community. You can also try to work with local farms, artisans, and other producers to source your ingredients from nearby instead of wholesale distributors.
4. Promote safety
It’s no surprise that customers now care more about safety and sanitization when they go out to eat. As part of your digital marketing strategy, you can post information and pictures about your cleaning routines and the experience you plan to deliver. It can help customers get more comfortable visiting your restaurant if they already know what to expect. If you have a restaurant POS system that is capable, you might also want to advertise your ability to accept contactless payments.
5. Highlight value
With expenses on the rise and significant job losses over the course of the pandemic, customers care more about the value they receive when they eat out. As part of your restaurant marketing strategy, consider running promotions, posting pictures that highlight meal size, or otherwise demonstrating that your restaurant provides good value. Increasing portion size of low-cost ingredients (like fries, rice, or mashed potatoes) can help customers feel like they’re getting more value for their money.
6. Sell DIY home cooking kits
For customers who love to cook but still want to enjoy your food fresh, consider selling DIY home cooking kits with all of the ingredients and instructions required to bring your meals to life. It will allow them to enjoy the food they know and love at home, which can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and decrease labor costs in the process.
7. Optimize Your Online Presence
Now that more customers are going online before eating out, you’ll need to ensure that your digital presence is up to scratch. Make sure your website, social media pages, directory listings, and any other digital details are up to date and easy to access. But most importantly, you’ll need to ensure that customers can find your restaurant online. Restaurant SEO will increase your chances of getting discovered, and done properly, will drive more traffic to your website.
8. Streamline online ordering
Over the course of the pandemic, customers got accustomed to different ways of enjoying restaurant food. Takeout became more popular than ever, and curbside pickup surfaced as a safe option for both customers and staff. But most importantly, online ordering saw a drastic increase in usage. In order to keep up with shifting customer demands, you’ll need a strong online ordering system at the core of your restaurant marketing strategy.
The pandemic has changed the restaurant landscape for years to come, so in order to stay relevant, you’ll need to adapt. Your restaurant marketing strategy is a great way to stand out, but in order to make a lasting impact, you’ll need to rethink your entire operation. Download our free ebook for a comprehensive guide to navigating post-covid restaurant operations.