Now that restaurants have started to open their doors for diners, they face a new challenge of keeping up with the new normal. Business strategies and marketing need a spin that taps into the changing customer behaviour and caters to that. Living in the digital age, social media and the web seems to be a fast and effective solution to market any business. We do not deny that fact; instead, we are the advocates of it. With heavy competition and easy access to social media, any business can mark its presence there. But to truly make a mark and get recognized by the right set of audience is a game you need to win and stand out in the crowd of the #Foodgasm gang on the internet.
Let’s understand what marketing strategies a restaurant needs to adopt in the current scenario:
1. Incentivise COVID-Safety Guidelines & getting vaccinated
Seems a little bizarre to incentivise such a basic need? Here’s what we are talking about in examples:
- You can run a vaccination drive for your staff. Once all your staff is vaccinated, you must inform your customers about the same. You can have T-shirts printed for them which say – Hi! I am vaccinated! Are you?? Or a more cost-effective solution can be displaying the vaccination status of your staff on your website or digital menu. Not sure how? Know more here.
- You can run discounts and offers based on the vaccination status of the diners. If the diner is vaccinated, he gets a free beer! How attractive is that?
While you already follow all safety guidelines and take extra care over sanitisation and social distancing, you need to incorporate that in your marketing strategies. Your diners must be aware so that they are able to trust you and visit you with a peaceful mind.
2. Up Your Social Media Game
It appears that the success of businesses like the food business depends a whole lot on social media following and reach. But while you’re showing yourself in the best light, make sure not to come across as tone-deaf and ignore reality. You can position your restaurant as a safe place to come together after the lockdown. It is also a great place for you to stay connected with your diners. Keep them engaged with fun posts and contests.
Spreading foodgasms on Instagram is like Christmas cheer. You can spread that all year long with your yummy food & exciting events.
3. Run a Facebook & Instagram Promotion
If you want to keep the diners coming in, running an ad campaign on Social Media will bring people to your tables who would otherwise never have known about your existence – or had no idea you were operational again.
Running ads is not as simple as just throwing money and seeing results. You have to be a little strategic. Targeting local audiences and retargeting your loyal customers and customers with similar interests is important to get good results. Creating the right kind of content that your target audience finds engaging is another important aspect.
4. Digital Solutions to the Rescue
As safety remains the priority, it is advised that restaurants & hotels run with a 50% diner capacity, and there are limitations on party sizes. Online reservation software like Guest & Reserve is coming to the rescue, helping you organise your restaurant better and manage waitlists.
Many more new technologies have come in and are changing the ways in which people dine. A great example: Food menus that use QR codes and contactless payments.
When it comes to the digital world, having your own website or online ordering platform can market your services well and persuade the customers to directly order from the website to avoid hefty aggregator commissions. An expert Search Engine Optimisation can increase your website’s discoverability on Google.
Tips from a marketer for a great website:
- Make sure that your main page says all the essential information e.g. ‘Now Open for dine-in from 12 pm – 9 pm
- Add a short description explaining your new offering (new menu, service, discounts, or any add ons)
- A link to your online ordering menu
- Add your address with a direct link to Google Maps
- Make it visually appealing
5. Photoshoots & Listing Banners
The food & beverage industry is one such industry where photography plays a major role when it comes to Advertising and marketing. A tempting food image can lure hundreds of people to buy the product, the same goes for any restaurant. You can get professional photoshoots done for your restaurant to showcase over the web.
Diners use apps like Dineout to check reviews and ratings before deciding a restaurant for dining out. Restaurants get their listing banners on the homepage of the app in order to gain more visibility.
COVID-19 is transforming hospitality as we know it. The new normal has changed customer behaviour. This creates the need to stay flexible and keep adapting.
Innovative technologies and marketing tools will fundamentally help in adapting to the new normal. Click here to learn more about social media marketing, creating your own online ordering platform, or other marketing solutions.