It’s not uncommon for restaurant marketers to reach out to BIGEYE for tips on how to effectively market their concepts. It would be great if the key to successful restaurant marketing meant there was a to-do list of items that, upon completion, would cause a genie to pop out of a bottle, and your wish for guaranteed success be granted. But unfortunately, the ideal strategy is much more complicated than that…
There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing plan that will work for every restaurant. A high-end restaurant that caters to tourists won’t necessarily have the same marketing strategy as a diner where all the locals hang out on the weekends. It’s important to identify your target audience, industry challenges, and what your potential customers want. Only then can you identify the right ways to reach them.
Often times, if the number of people coming to your restaurant drops off drastically, it could mean there is something about the experience that’s causing you to lose out to competitors. In some cases, it might just need a little bit of refining, while in others it could mean spell the need to make a major pivot (for instance, offering healthier options, as fast food restaurants have done in the past.)
If you want to know what your customers want, there’s no better way to do this than by talking to them. Personally, I feel flattered when a chef comes out of the back just to say hello and ask me about my dining experience. A place that does something like that makes me feel appreciated, and is sure to keep me coming back again. But beyond that, keep the conversation going. [quote]Identify your regulars, follow them on Twitter, and engage with them to hear their thoughts and suggestions.[/quote] Sometimes, it’s less about doing the PR-worthy stunts to get people in the door, and more about listening to the feedback to perfect the restaurant experience as a whole.
One great place to find out what people are saying about your business is Yelp. If you haven’t been on Yelp lately and are wondering if there might be something keeping people from your restaurant, the team at our Florida advertising agency advises you to look at the Yelp reviews. Admittedly, people are not afraid to say why they didn’t enjoy an experience, especially when they’re on the Internet, under the dark veil of pseudo-anonymity. With that said, you may want to take the reviews with a grain of salt (after all, reviewers aren’t typically food experts but just average people who may not know much about your cuisine). On the other hand, if 100 people have rated your restaurant with a single star, it may be time to rethink the experience.
In switching the question from “What can we do to get customers?” to “What do our customers want?” you shift the focus to the needs of the people who are going to support your business. Understanding your target audience can help you find new ways to reach them. Maybe the reason they’re not going crazy for “all-you-can-eat wing night” is because they’re more interested in getting a perfect gluten-free veggie burger. Your potential customers won’t respond when you try to tell them what to do, but they will take action when you make a concentrated effort to give them the experience they deserve.
Have a few restaurant marketing questions of your own? Contact us today to speak with our team of experts – we’ll ensure your strategy is menu-ready!