Discounts and coupons are usually associated with Restaurant Promotion. Restaurant owners, such as yourself, are usually skeptical when working on their marketing and promotions since it means giving away something of value to entice consumers.
And because of this mindset, entrepreneurs in this industry are often not getting the results they want for their campaigns. They were molded by this industry to believe that it’s the only way to get customers to notice and try out their brand.
It should be said, however, that this does not always happen. Offering potential customers great discounts and gift coupons don’t always seal the deal. And if it does, there’s no assurance that they will choose your brand again.
This is why market research is always necessary. When you know what your target consumer wants, even without fancy promotional deals, you can keep them interested. Also, you may want to secure your bottom line while still recovering from the pandemic.
Your marketing may be an area of your operations and management where adjustments are most easily made. At the same time, you don’t want to compromise your brand. Would you believe we could mix the right strategies to help you achieve both?
Yes, there are methods that you can try out to put your brand out on the map without using flashy deals and discounts. We made sure to compile effective marketing tactics that will protect your restaurant’s financial well-being.
Restaurant Marketing and Promotion Ideas
With digital and online marketing, the challenge of promotion made it a little bit bearable for you. During the pandemic, however, the market shifted. You simply adapted to meet its new demands. It is the versatility of a restaurateur that sets him or her apart from other businessmen.
This shift in the market led to other business models in the foodservice industry being born. Ghost kitchens are suddenly a great place for investment and meal kits are the new takeaway. These changes apply to your marketing as well.
Consumers may find you intrusive if you keep on bombarding them with discounts and gift cards. They may also start to question why you can give such an amount for a discount. Customers are far more informed now, they know if you’re just trying to make them buy something.
That’s why you should take a hold of your discount ideas first and hear us out. But before that, you must know first what are the elements of an impactful restaurant advertising and marketing campaign.
Restaurant Marketing Campaigns – Elements
Your restaurant will have a different approach to the market compared to a competitor. There should be an aspect of your brand that is distinctive, even if you are selling the same products and targeting the same customers.
It will also vary depending on your business goals and needs, but you need to have these basic elements to ensure that your strategy will reach the proper audience.
Now, of course, this will depend on how much capital you have and how much revenue your restaurant is making. For small businesses, their budget plays around five to ten percent of their revenue.
For restaurants, anything outside three to six percent will appear questionable on papers and to your investors. Even if you entirely own your business, you may want to stick to your marketing budget rather than regretting it in the end.
Before you state a budget, research your market first. Back up your numbers with data and facts that can prove that it’s reasonable to use the said amount for your promotions and ads.
Whatever marketing channel and style you utilize, make sure that your branding will be consistent and present. You’re doing this to boost brand awareness and motivate loyalty for your brand, not for someone else’s. Your brand should be integrated strategically into every campaign you run.
Whether you’re ready or not, we’re already in the digital era. Restaurant discounts and coupons are already replaced by loyalty programs. And what’s good about this is that it can almost be done for free or with minimal charges.
Make sure you maximize what can be done online. Google has lots of programs that support small businesses. SEO, Maps, Listing, My Business, are just some of their programs that will help strengthen your online visibility for online consumers.
Consumers must know what you’re trying to promote. Every campaign should establish a headline that’s compelling enough to catch consumer’s attention and interest. It should also be clear enough for them to understand right away what the campaign is trying to say.
Make sure that it’s easy to remember and something most of your audience can connect with.
Most of the information transmitted to the brain comes from visual stimuli. Even if you don’t memorize how a human brain works, you know how visual marketing makes a difference.
It is always wise to include high-quality images on your campaigns as they can communicate your message a thousand times faster compared to using only text. Remember the famous adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Yes, it’s true.
Utilizing video marketing is also advantageous for your future initiatives, but let’s talk about that next time.
Marketing organizations have been integrating color psychology into their campaigns for quite some time now. Color became an essential tool for every promotional effort carried out as it stimulates senses and effectively influences the purchasing decision of a consumer.
If you want to stimulate hunger, then red is the right choice for you. Blue stimulates a sense of security, while orange evokes enthusiasm. You must know how to play the colors around your goals. Identify the hues that will help you achieve the results that you want.
Any promotional efforts should be relevant to its audience. Your customers will not pay attention to something that doesn’t have an impact on their daily lives. They will find it hard to connect with your brand if you continue to give them campaigns that are not suited for them.
If you’re a family restaurant trying to attract more families, then showing them your kids’ menu, family combo meals, or kid’s play area will benefit your brand. Promos such as happy hour might not appeal to them.
Although it’s not wise to focus on a single channel where you will run your marketing efforts, it surely is beneficial if you know which one to use. Research on what platforms are appealing to your customers and not just relying on what’s popular in the market.
You might be surprised that your target customer base is not using Facebook as much as you thought they would. This is a must to ensure that you’re investing on the proper platform and your customers are seeing what you’re trying to make them see.
Seeing your ads doesn’t necessarily lead to customers visiting or trying out your restaurant. If you want them to make something, let them know it. If you want them to use your online ordering service, then include a button that will lead them to that page.
If you want them to download your mobile app, then include the link leading to the download page. Your customer may understand the message on your campaigns, but if you won’t push them to do something, they won’t act on it and will just keep on scrolling.
Restaurant Marketing and Promotions – Guidelines
Before you develop your marketing plan and incorporate different styles and techniques, here are the rules of thumb in marketing your restaurant. Knowing these would help you produce various unique restaurant promotion ideas for your business.
Identify your target audience
To create a specific formula that will be tailored to your selected customer base, you have to know them first. You have to analyze their needs and demands, and understand what they’re expecting out of a restaurant brand.
If you run promotions aimlessly, then it’s just a waste of resources for your end. It won’t get you the results that you want as well. To know your audience, take a look around you. Observe intently and determine what are the factors that affect the buying decision of your target group.
Understand your current obstacles
Brand awareness and loyalty are just one facet of the promotion. Additionally, it helps you to resolve business-specific challenges. Ask your team what are the operational challenges they’re encountering and that’s a bit problematic for them.
You should also consider looking into your restaurant POS system and use its data and analytics to diagnose the root cause of the problem. Do you have a menu item that’s not selling as you’ve projected? Then create a promotional initiative using the said menu item as the start.
Be aware of your profit margins
Understanding how your margins apply to every menu item you have is crucial. It helps you bundle up different menu items that can boost each other’s potential. If your burgers are not selling well, you may want to create a meal-kit or combo meal, which includes your burgers, to increase sales.
On the whole, it makes sense to advertise products with high-profit margins as leads to the other products on your menu. Nevertheless, you should analyze your margins in-depth to determine what discounts you can offer, but also find ways to extend the life of your inventory.
Establish your goals
What is it that you want? Do you want to increase your sales or do you want to generate more awareness of your brand? While both can co-exist and can lead one thing to another, their approaches are a bit different from each other.
Businesses sometimes find that marketing initiatives designed to generate awareness are more effective than promotions designed to drive sales. Brand awareness far surpasses the cost of marketing campaigns alone.
Taking into account what we mentioned previously, a revenue-driven promotion where guests receive a discount on their food or bill for a limited amount of time is only relevant while the promotion lasts.
Depending on when people come across the coverage, the press can encourage more traffic for weeks or months after the original publication date. To help boost your business periodically throughout the year, arrange a few press opportunities with a local reporter.
10 Restaurant Promotion Ideas Without Discounts and Coupons
Here are marketing ideas that don’t require you to give out discounts and coupons. Build a longer and stronger relationship with your customers by trying out the following methods.
Trying out cross-promotions
Be it in a special event or just a chill weekend, consumers will always be lured by celebrations. And what’s good with cross-promotional events? It shows your customers you’re promoting camaraderie together with other local businesses.
It’s time to set the competition aside for a while and partner up with local restaurants, bars, and pubs. Create a collaborative activity that will market every business involved. You may want to organize game nights or bar crawls. These activities usually bring out large crowds.
Through cross-promotion, you’re also introducing and exposing your brand to a completely different set of audiences. That’s it, you’re already promoting your restaurant to a wider customer base.
Partner up with your local community and charity
Millennials, a huge part of the consumer population, are more eager to support local and small businesses. Especially during this pandemic, they became more committed to looking for local businesses that are trying to stay afloat.
They also see the value of businesses that support their local community and back up a movement or charity. This is a win-win situation for you, as a business owner, as it will not only reflect your will of giving back to your community but also exposes your brand to new customers.
You can establish the said partnership by offering to host some of their events at your establishment. If not possible, you can also provide sponsorship of any kind to show your dedication to their cause.
Join networking events
Or host one! Everyone’s trying to navigate their way to the new normal. Without the lockdown and many relaxed restrictions, it’s now time to maximize the excitement of consumers to socialize.
Networking events are a great way to cultivate awareness for your brand without appearing aggressive about it. Meet new people, exchange business cards, and subtly introduce your business.
Customers find it exciting and satisfying if they get to know the owner of a restaurant. The fact that they are being greeted by the owner gives them a sense of significance. It positively affects their view of your brand and their entire dining experience with you.
Being considered a friend by your employees can be a great indicator of your success. In your capacity as the owner, you have to make yourself visible in the dining area so that you can chat with guests in a friendly manner.
Taking care of the restaurant is not just about locking yourself in your office and only coming out to scold some waiter or employee occasionally. Your job is to represent the establishment as the top communications expert, not to lead a war effort.
Keep your staff in good spirit
Being a leader or a manager doesn’t mean that you have to be strict with your team. Creating a healthy working culture and environment helps your staff to stay motivated. And we tell you, motivated staff is the productive and efficient staff.
If your team is providing great customer service, then that means they’re being responsible representatives for your restaurant. Keep in mind that your staff is your main brand ambassadors, if they give good impressions, then they’re promoting your brand properly as well.
Google Maps and other location-focused platforms are a great way to reach out to a wider targeted customer base. Using the data saved on these channels, consumers will be able to associate you with your location.
Aside from reducing the hassle of finding your restaurant, consumers (especially those who are not locals) can benefit if you complete your listing with Google Maps. For instance, they will search “the best restaurant to go” in your area, most likely your website will be one of the top searches.
Just make sure you’ll work out your local SEO and complete every information asked on that listing.
This is the most cost-effective way of restaurant marketing up to date. Creating social media profiles for the leading platforms allows you to capture the interest of different demographic groups. They also have different useful tools and features that make it easier for you to understand your market.
Small business owners with tight budgets appreciate their unique targeting features and intuitive interfaces. Just be consistent in posting relevant content and engage well with your customers through this platform, then you’re good to go.
Utilize your menu
It is more than just a piece of paper that contains your menu items and other offerings. Your menu is an effective communication and marketing tool. Maximize its potential by using strategic design and menu engineering.
Consider including your restaurant’s complete and updated information in a key marketing area. The use of colors and typography should be aligned with your branding as well.
Create membership cards
This is a type of loyalty program that gives your customers (members) a sense of exclusivity. If it’s something exclusive, then how will it help your promotion? First, you may entice your customers (non-members) by offering combo meal deals that are exclusive for members.
Or you can just ask your existing members to promote and recruit other non-members to sign up for this program. Customers appreciate it when they see a business trying to take care of them by providing them an extra special experience (that’s different from others).
Create your event
Unleash your creativeness and create an event that’s unique for your restaurant. If you’re a Mexican restaurant, then maximize “Taco Tuesday nights”. You may also want to offer a free taco to your customers or to make it more exciting, you’ll pick one lucky customer and offer their bill to be on the house.
Make sure that the events you’ll create are still in line with your brand and are relevant to your customers.
Bring in entertainment
With all the lockdown and physical social distancing, consumers just want to celebrate a night with good food and drink with their friends. To make it more special (and inviting), provide them a live band. Entertainment is a fool-proof way to gather attention for your brand.
If you’re a family restaurant, then a magician or a mascot should be a great idea to establish that you’re a kid-friendly establishment.