Opening up a new restaurant can take its toll on any entrepreneur. Coming up with a USP (burgers without buns? steaks in buns? vegan ribs?), planning a menu (your trademark dishes), hiring staff (you and your mates) can all be difficult and require a lot of energy. But these things are just the start. Once you’re ready to fling your restaurant’s doors or your pop-up’s kiosk, you’ll have to encourage people to eat there.
If you are more comfortable cooking up meals than cooking up slogans, we have the tips you need to become the princess of promotion.
1. Film your food
No matter how punny your restaurant name, or how stylish the decor, people won’t come into your restaurant unless they know the food is going to be delicious. One way to convey your culinary quality is to film some of your food and upload it to your restaurant’s Youtube channel.
Food videos are enduringly popular, and recipe videos even more so. Without giving too many of your secrets away, upload recipes from your kitchen, explained in helpful and fun videos. This way, anyone searching for the secret to a perfect vegan casserole can stumble upon your video, and an interest in your restaurant is piqued.
Whoever is preventing the video should come across as friendly and affable and of course your food needs to look appealing. So appealing that the viewer’s mouth starts watering, and it won’t be dry until they get a taste. These kitchen filming tips from Dephna can help you achieve this effect.
2. Put it out in print
Companies trying to be ‘down with the kids’ often focus on PR strategies that are social media-based and #emojinal. Thanks to this, the ‘traditional’ method of print marketing has become far more original. Printing out flyers or putting up posters is now a downright unorthodox approach from a new business. So why not give it a try?
The best part is, studies have shown that print advertising influences millennials far more than digital. Other studies have shown that millennials spend more money eating out than more millennials. Put all this research together and it is obvious that your new restaurant should be catering, literally, to millennials. And print is an effective way to do it. Try integrating your posters with your social media campaign to keep your print cutting edge.
3. Celebrate good times
Host a wine tasting; put on a launch night with your mate’s band; hold a pie-eating contest. Any of these events will have people rolling in. Even the smallest restaurant or stand can hold events on a smaller scale. Anyone who attends an exciting event at your restaurant will remember the place fondly, and they are sure to return.
Events such as tastings (wine or otherwise) can even help you increase revenue. If people taste your most expensive dish, and love it so much that they can’t live without it, they may ignore the price tag and order it on their next visit.
4. Go Local!
Every restaurant is local to somewhere. Most small new restaurants need to build a local clientele, and connections with other businesses in the local area. There are many benefits of making your restaurant truly local by buying local ingredients, and one of them is the free marketing it can do for you. (The others are: makes the food fresher, saves money, more eco-friendly, more unique recipes.)
By simply highlighting your use of foods from local farms and suppliers, you can encourage locally-minded customers to give the new restaurant on the corner a second glance. Research has proven that people prefer to eat local when they can, so you should give them the opportunity.
Also spare a thought to localising your restaurant’s design. There is considerable evidence from the world of retail and merchandising suggesting that localised store design has a significant positive impact on revenue. If you’re a chain, this could be particularly relevant. An increase in revenue for both Waterstones and M&S has been associated with a store design that’s made more locally relevant.
5. Have an online presence
You knew it was coming. Despite the effectiveness of the previous four tips, and particularly the strength of print marketing, it is difficult for a new business to succeed in this era if it does not have an online presence.
Using social media as a restaurant doesn’t have to be difficult; it can be as simple as using social media for yourself. All you have to do is define your restaurant’s personality, and post things that get that across. If this sounds daunting, remember that you don’t have to be on all the channels all the time. Identify the social platforms that are most appropriate to your brand and stick to those. Restaurant-specific social media tips include: sharing online-only deals, holding online contests, geo-targeting your ads, creating campaign hashtags, taking advantage of timing.
The most important thing to remember is to ‘Think Like Your Customers’. Basic audience profiling is easier than you may think and can be insightful and actually quite fun. With a bit of research you’ll be able to form a strong guiding image of your different customer archetypes that will help you really connect with your audience, and prevent you from posting anything embarrassing.