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Guide to Successful Restaurant Marketing

School Marketing Can Pay Big Dividends

Summer is coming to an end so it is a perfect time to start your school marketing plans. Marketing to schools is a fun way for schools to make a little money while helping your restaurant at the same time. Just don’t make it sound like a sales pitch. School marketing is one of the best forms of advertising and it is fun to be involved with the schools. You want to  build trust and eventually, relationships, with everyone from principals to room moms. This also allows you the opportunity to identify who your most common customers are -- i.e. families. Marketing in a school offers exposure to you and your business. It helps build a presence within the school. How these individuals perceive you and your business will ultimately boil down to how well you present yourself.
Improve your school presence by providing the school with  options. For example, cater lunch for the students one day a week. If that idea seems challenging, try scaling -- cater lunch for teachers and the administration for a professional work day or for Teacher Appreciation Week. These individuals are the decision makers and their opinion of you and your restaurant can either encourage or deter them from visiting your establishment. Another idea would be to host a fundraiser within your business. Offer a school night where a portion of the proceeds are funneled back to the school. 
Still wondering where to start? Pay attention to school calendars and events. In doing so, it will provide you with a lot of opportunities to insert yourself into the school community. In addition to this, try stopping by the school. Bring an item from the restaurant for the front office staff. These individuals are often overlooked. Any bit of appreciation that is thrown their way, they are likely to remember. Your name will be in their mind when the time comes to plan lunches for Teacher Appreciation Week and professional inservice days.
Pupils raising hand in classroom at the elementary school
So when making your marketing plans, take small steps toward building trust and relationships within those heavily involved within the school. It will drive business to your restaurant -- paying big dividends in the long run.

Fundraisers: Another Form of Advertising

Fundraising can be one of the best  forms of advertising for your restaurant. Using fundraisers is a creative and fun way of advertising your restaurant. It is a more indirect way of acquiring customers. Not only does fundraising earn money for your business but it also helps build a relationship with the community. 

Gives Restaurants Better Ties with the Community

Fundraising increases your business’ exposure. It can also be used to give back to the community. By fundraising, you are showing the community that you care and that you hope to make positive changes within the community. In doing so, you build a relationship with those around you. This can increase your authority and help to gain respect from those in your community. Both of these can lead to an increase in profit down the road. 
Happy volunteer family separating donations stuffs on a sunny day-2

Supports Other Businesses

Giving back to your community is great. It helps establish your authority within the community and to increase your brand awareness and exposure. Additionally, it  doubles to support other local businesses and organizations. Fundraising doesn’t just have to support your business. Establish a fundraising night that is open to the community. In doing so, it will open the door to many businesses -- and help you build a stronger tie to the community. 

Improves Your Image

Everyone wants to see themselves in a positive light. Being known as the business that consistently gives back and offers opportunities for other businesses and organizations to grow, you will be seen as charitable among your customers. This perspective can go a long way in terms of your revenue. If customers view you as generous they will more than likely choose to visit your establishment over another that might not be as open to fundraising or giving back to the community. 

Increases Brand Awareness

Do you want the name of your restaurant to be in the forefront of your customers’ minds? Then increase the amount of times that they hear about you. Get your name out in the community. To do this, simply increase the number of times that you offer fundraising opportunities to either local groups or organizations or other businesses. By doing this, you are constantly informing your potential customers about who you are.

Boost Sales

Not only is it a great opportunity for other businesses and organizations to gain access to additional funds, but it can drive more business to your establishment both in the immediate and in the long run.

 

Why Operational Marketing Should Be at the Heart of Your Business

What is operational marketing? Why would I need to worry about having an effective operational marketing team? Well, in short, operational marketing is marketing to operate efficiently. It is the business of marketing, the thinking and implementation of marketing techniques in order to have a successful business. 

Having a proficient operational marketing team ensures that your business’ marketing campaigns are running smoothly. The operational marketing team primarily focuses on: 
  • Data management: managing customer relationships, primarily done through a CRM. This entails ensuring customers are enrolled in workflows and sequences, depending upon where they are in the funnel. 
  • Reporting: Do you know if you are making any money? What about how many people visited your website or if there were any demos scheduled for the month? These numbers and many more are accounted for in the monthly marketing reports. Operational marketers develop these reports and present them so that you are able to determine the overall effectiveness of a marketing campaign.  
  • Market research: Do you have any ideas Business team analyzing market research dataas to what your competitors are up to? What about if you wanted to release a new flavor for a product but had no real idea what the flavor profile consisted of? Market research is just as the name implies, researching about what is going on within your target market. What are your competitors doing that you should be doing, but better? 
  • Campaign operations: This is on the back-end of the reporting. Operational marketers ensure that marketing campaigns are running smoothly -- tweaking as needed in order to meet the specific goal or outcome that was established in the campaign planning stage. 
  • Strategic planning: Marketing strategy -- how and what will you produce during the campaign to effectively increase the growth of your business? Operational marketers take care of the planning, allowing you to focus on the growing. 
  • Process improvement: If something is not working with the campaigns or something needs to be fixed, operational marketers make sure that this is done in a timely manner. They are constantly improving upon processes.
  • Budgets: They make sure that you are not overspending on campaigns -- primarily advertising campaigns. 
  • Lead sourcing: Finding and discovering prospective customers
Each of these areas have one goal: become a more accountable, efficient, profitable, and competitive business. They use a variety of tools such as your products, price points, promotions, advertising, and customer service in order to make this happen.Young man using a laptop building online business making dollar bills cash falling down. Beginner IT entrepreneur under money rain. Success economy concept Operational marketers are in charge of the long-term goals and branding of a business. These individuals essentially develop an operational marketing plan which serves as a “road map” for all marketing activities for the year. All of which is included in what was outlined above.  All the while you are on the front lines, focusing on developing and growing your business. 

Why You Should Use Review Sites to Market Your Restaurants

Imagine you just had the most amazing dining experience of your life. You’re out at a restaurant with your significant other or friends and everything was just perfect. The service was excellent, the servers were attentive and eager to provide you with whatever you needed. The food was delicious and worth every penny. You had such a wonderful time that all you want to do is tell the world about your experience. As soon as you walk out of the restaurant doors you pull out your phone and scour the internet for the perfect place to post about your meal. You come to find that there are so many different websites that the idea of trying to pick the perfect one becomes overwhelming. So, instead of selecting one of the many different websites you decide to head on over to social media. Closeup of hands of young man in checkered shirt using mobile phone while his partners arguing
Your Facebook news feed illuminates your phone screen. You place your cursor in the search bar and type in the name of the restaurant. Luckily, they have a newly updated Facebook page. You select the “Reviews” tab and begin to type out your review. Once you have crafted your masterpiece you hit the little blue “Post” button and poof! Your thoughts are posted for the world to see. You feel good about yourself because your review will most likely be seen by many people and ultimately they might decide to visit the establishment because of your raving review. 
Review sites are detrimental to restaurants and businesses. Feedback from customers is always encouraged. That is how restaurants and businesses are able to grow and evolve. Gone is the age that websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable were the only places to publish reviews. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow users to post about their experiences, tagging the restaurant in their post, which is the most popular form on Instagram,  or they are able to post their feedback directly to their Facebook page. These posts are eventually seen by thousands of people everyday, because if the restaurant or business finds their feedback beneficial they are able to showcase it in either their Facebook or Instagram stories. 
This isn’t to say that social media is the only platform used to publish reviews. Review sites, like those mentioned above, are still incredibly popular. They are a few of the bigger websites in terms of their users and prestige. Not only should you be aware of how your restaurant or business compares to those in your community, you should be actively engaged with the reviewers. Responding or communication technology mobile phone high tech concept. Happy man using texting on smartphone social media application icons flying out of cellphone isolated grey wall background. 4g data planreplying to both positive and negative reviews. In doing so you are seen as one who is appreciative or eager to remedy a situation. Review websites, including social media, are powerful tools that your restaurant or business must utilize in terms of marketing in order to be recognized and trusted by past and potential customers. 

The Future of Restaurant Marketing: Serving an Experience

You can choose to roll with the punches or fight against them. Either way, the world is getting faster and if you choose to not keep up, you will likely lose out on potential customers than you would if you chose to adapt and change how you market your business. 
For the last ten years there has been a drastic increase in global technology usage. Advertising in the yellow pages at the back of the phonebook used to be the best way to attract new customers. However, in recent times you are now able to take advantage of Google and social media platforms to do the same thing but much better. 
How often do you walk into a restaurant or business and a pop-up appears on your phone screen asking if you’d like to connect to the establishment’s WIFI? If you haven’t, expect to soon. At this point in time, most people are glued to their phone screens, anticipating for that little message to appear while waiting in line. 
You might think that this whole notion of constantly looking at a phone or computer screen is ridiculous. Some might agree. However, the future is gradually moving towards virtual space. So instead of fighting against the future, offer free WIFI for your customers. Free WIFI might seem a cheap commodity but it can really impact the perspective of a prospective customer. They will take notice and choose to flock to your establishment over another that might not offer it. 
Friends using mobile phone and digital tablet while having cup of coffee in cafx92xA9Social media also plays an important role in restaurant marketing -- more so than it did in the internet’s infancy at the turn of the millennium. Use these platforms to your advantage. Create brand awareness and loyalty among your customers. You won’t regret doing so. 
While we are on the topic of social media and technology, consider signing up for one of the many food delivery applications. UberEats, DoorDash, and BiteSquad are just a few of the food delivery companies that you can partner with to increase the reach of your restaurant. 
The new method of advertising and marketing has shied away from the physical, becoming more in tune with cyberspace and the internet. If in fact times are changing, why not change with them? Adapt, grow and create a business that you want to last for years to come. 
 

Implementing Loyalty Programs to Market Your Restaurant

There are a few customers that you see almost daily. Sometimes they stay and chat with you, but oftentimes they come for what they came for and then head home. You start thinking about how these  loyal customers are really helping spread the word of your business. They are frequently bringing in their friends, family, and even co-workers. How can you reward them for remaining a loyal customer? 
Loyal customers might enjoy the overall experience of visiting your establishment, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like being rewarded every now and then. They chose to spend their time and money with you, instead of your competitors. Hipster friends using their phones on a summers dayEstablishing a loyalty program can increase the value of your restaurant in several ways. One way is that it increases revenue. Everyone wants to boost sales. Implementing a loyalty program has shown to do just that. Loyalty programs increase retention which leads to the increase in revenue. Saving money is also another great benefit of implementing a loyalty program. Customer retention strategies could often cost more money -- using a loyalty program is cost effective. 
Are you ready to boost sales, measure loyalty through customer engagement, attract new customers AND be able to communicate more effectively with customers? Well, loyalty programs ensure all of those things. By saving money on customer retention strategies, it gives your business the ability to focus solely on sales and fostering a community of loyal, engaged customers. You are able to gather shopping data about your customers through loyalty programs. Therefore, you are able to make better suggestions to the customers when they return to your restaurant, and ultimately increase the likelihood of those customers spending more money.
You are also afforded the opportunity to track important information regarding the engagement of your customers within the loyalty program. Important metrics such as program engagement (how often your customers are using the loyalty program), repeat customer rate (how many of your customers are frequent visitors), and purchase frequency (how often are your customers purchasing within your business). Closeup portrait anxious young girl looking at phone seeing bad news or photos with disgusting emotion on her face isolated outside city background. Human emotion, reaction, expressionAll the while, you are able to efficiently communicate with your customers through the loyalty program. As most loyalty programs require either a phone number or email to sign up for a loyalty program, customers are then able to receive email or text messages with updates about your restaurant. Thereby increasing communication frequency and efficiency. 
As mentioned, you are also able to attract new customers through your loyalty program. Offer bonus points or a special in-app loyalty program promotion if a customer enrolls on the spot. As you continue to enroll new customers into your loyalty program, you are also adding more customers to your mailing list because people want to take advantage of any discounts or promotions. Additionally, if a customer sees a loyalty program where rewards are attainable and within reach, they are more likely to invest in your brand because of the accessibility of the rewards. 
Reporting LogsLoyalty programs offer a lot of advantages over your competitors, if you choose to implement one. They give you measurable data, more interaction with your loyal customers, and most importantly, they increase the value of your restaurant. Learn more about the most frequently used loyalty program providers in our blog, Top 5 Loyalty Program Providers You Should Use to Market Your Restaurant. 

Marketing Your Restaurant to Your Community

Are you looking to engage members of your community? What about increasing your brand exposure? Marketing within your community might just be the answer to both of those questions. Connecting with those that are local can give you an edge over your competitors in several ways. One being that you have the chance to interact and build a relationship with your potential customers.

Take youth sports teams for example.team-2444978_1920 These teams are constantly looking for ways to attend out of town

tournaments or purchase new uniforms and or equipment. By reaching out to the coach and offering to sponsor the team and help anyway you can, you are building a relationship. The coach, the members of the team and their families are unlikely to forget your good will. 

Another way to interact with your community is through good old fashion conversation. By getting out and just talking to members of your community, you are able to spread the word about you and your business. The best part about this option is that it’s absolutely free. Building trust within a relationship is extremely important. Especially if you want these people to eventually become loyal customers of your establishment. Connect with the owners of other local businesses, bring them an item from your menu to enjoy during your meeting. 

Churches hold a position of great power within the community. By connecting with the youth ministers, pastors, priests, and other members of the clergy, you are essentially meeting with the heart of the community. These individuals are influential and can often sway the opinions of their congregations. What they have to say is important and taken into consideration. They have the ability to take what you have to offer and broadcast it to a larger audience. 

Ultimately, when looking to marketing to your community, think about your reputation. Are you known for being charitable or well-liked? Are you an active member of the community? If you can’t seem to answer either of these questions, you have some work to do. Being an active member of the community is only one piece of the puzzle. Having a good reputation can go a long way. And, it can be the difference between increasing both your brand awareness and business.

Why You Should Implement a Social Media Strategy to Market Your Restaurant

Social media has grown increasingly popular over the last 15 years. At the end of 2006, Facebook was made public. This kick started the social media craze that we all now experience in our daily lives. twitter-292994_1920We were suddenly given access to information that we thought we could live without. However, within a few years of Facebook’s public launch, it had grossed over 150 million users. That was 150 MILLION individuals that you had access to at once. Now, that number is 1.69 billion and counting. 
Twitter was released not long after Facebook. It’s number grew steadily since its introduction to the world. Unlike Facebook, Twitter’s primary uses are for “following” experts in their field, such as doctors or scientists, or for catching up on the news or trending events. You can still “follow” your friends and comment on what they “tweet”, however, it is primarily used as a news hub. 
Finally, we come to Instagram and LinkedIn. Both platforms are unique in their own right. Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook. It boasts 1 billion users. This media friendly social platform allows users to post photos and videos. They are able to interact with each other through direct messaging otherwise known as “DMs”. 
LinkedIn is commonly referred to as Facebook for businesses. Which is only partially true. It launched in the early 2000’s, predating Facebook by over a year. Its primary goal is to allow professionals to connect with each other via social networking. People often use this platform to promote either themselves or their businesses or both. 
 
Now, why should you implement any of these social networking platforms into your restaurant marketing strategy? Well, in short, these platforms allow you to reach more people than you would without social media. People who might not even live in your same city or state. Another great reason to use these platforms is because it is the way of the future. 
More and more people each day are using social media. Whether that be to just scroll through while waiting in line at a restaurant or because they are using social media to reconnect with loved ones. The average time someone spends staring at their technology screens are up. Why not take advantage of this and showcase your amazing restaurant or business for the whole world to see? 

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