Business, Digital Marketing

How To Grow Your Restaurant Business Online

By Hugo Fernandez
How To Market a Restaurant Business Online

Your goal is to grow your restaurant business online through digital marketing. Easier said than done – but you can do it!

Running a restaurant business is far more hectic and tiring than most people think. Not only do you have to keep in mind the quality of service and food, the physical restaurant itself, and the customers, you also have to think about your competition. It’s a tough business to break into and it takes some serious effort to market a restaurant business. At least, it does if you’re going to get a leg up on your competition. In this post, we’ll walk you through some best practices for restaurant digital marketing and how to get more customers through your door (or increase your online orders if that’s your jam).

There are so many ways to market a restaurant business online, but we’ll talk about the ones you can’t afford to pass up. If you’re looking to take your restaurant’s marketing strategy to the next level, check out the following tips.

Serve Up an Amazing Website

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have your own website. It’s the best way to boost your online presence and get a chance to show up first when people in your area Google “restaurant near me.” For reference, Google saw a 500% increase in these types of searches between 2015 to 2017.

More than ever, before people purchase, they Google. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to bring in more customers – hire an agency to build you a website that is search engine optimized and shows off your incredible restaurant properly.

One of the things you want to keep in mind when strategizing for your website is including ALL relevant information. Make the important things overly easy to find. Location, business hours, and phone number definitely shouldn’t be more than a click away – better yet, display them on every page! Take care to keep these things updated, especially around holidays when people might be wondering if you’re open.

how to market a restaurant business online
American Prime Steakhouse uses high-res, full-width images to make your mouth water as soon as you land on their site (provided you’re not a vegetarian).

The content of the website is also important in increasing your online presence. Take note of the quality of your photos. Do they make your food look irresistible and your restaurant desirable? Or are they drab and uninspiring? There’s a reason mega food chains spend millions on a photoshoot of a burger. High-quality images are crucial for getting customers into your restaurant.

Aside from photos, you can try your hand at blogging about your restaurant to improve your website’s performance. Having great content with strategically placed keywords will increase your SEO ranking so you appear ahead of your competition on that all-important Google search.

Remember that your website is an online extension of your restaurant. It’s where most people will first encounter your establishment and create their first impression. Make sure you use it to put your restaurant’s best foot forward.

Grow Your Restaurant Business Online: Get a Piece of the Social Media Pie

market a restaurant business online
We created social media graphics to get Little Fluffy Head noticed before their cafe’s launch.

Everyone is on social media! It’s moved beyond a trend to the new norm for business, play, and life. Of course, that has resulted in businesses dedicating a ton of time to marketing on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The best part about social media marketing is that it’s mostly free!

People spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on social media, which means the better your social media marketing is, the greater the chance that more people will notice your restaurant.

There are plenty of social media platforms you can utilize to market your restaurant business. The best ones for food establishments to be on our Facebook and Instagram. It’s where most foodies are. Remember that consistently posting on these platforms is the best way to help you with organic growth, which is an increase in followers and engagement without spending money on advertising. Keep your restaurant relevant by posting high-quality photos of your restaurant or the food you serve. Daily mouth-watering food photos will constantly remind followers that they want to visit your restaurant!

Restaurant Digital Marketing: Promote through instagram
Seven does a great job of showcasing their restaurant on Instagram through high-quality images of people and food, plus reviews.

Another recipe for success on social media is sincere engagement with followers. Reply to their comments and ask them questions. Take advantage of user-generated content – when people take photos of your restaurant or food and post them online, share these posts and you’ll immediately get a better response. Social media engagement parallels your restaurant’s service. Don’t ignore your online customers.

Of course, you can’t overlook paid ads on Facebook and Instagram as a way to increase your social media presence. More and more, these sites’ algorithms are favoring businesses that spend money on ads. However, if you’re new to social advertising, it’s risky to pour money into ads when they’re a shot in the dark. Set aside a budget you’re comfortable with or hire a social media advertising agency to make sure you get the most out of your money.

Grow Your Restaurant Business Online: Sample Food Influencers

Online food blogs are quickly gaining followers – after all, food is something we all have in common! The people who post these are called food bloggers or influencers. A lot of influencers started blogging for fun and ended up earning a living from it. Their job is to visit restaurants, take good photos, and write reviews about the restaurant on their blogs.

New Fork City has over a million followers. They always have to post something new for their followers, they’re always looking for the next best thing. Why not take advantage and partner up with someone like New Fork City? You both get something from this deal.

Start by making connections with more accessible influencers before reaching out to really big influencers. Bigger influencers usually charge a marketing fee, so better to start small. Strike up a deal with them, give them a free meal and in return, they can post about their experience. You can even offer something to their followers, like a coupon or a discount if they follow your account or if they visited the restaurant through the influencer.

Don’t pass up the chance to get your restaurant in front of thousands of potential customers – make connections and let them help you grow. This is a crucial way to improve your restaurant digital marketing.

Hit the Spot with a Digital Menu

A restaurant’s website needs to be able to attract new customers, and what better way to do that than to show them what you have to offer? People nowadays check their phones to seek out new restaurants and the best places to eat. Having a digital copy of your menu on your website can immediately help potential consumers decide that they want to eat at your establishment. For example, check out the menu on The Protein Bar‘s site.

Always keep your digital menu updated. It may be time-consuming but it is undoubtedly worth it. If you don’t want to worry about doing this yourself, you can always get a web designer to do it for you. Include pictures of the food to make your digital menu even more enticing.

Video: The Low-Hanging Fruit

Videos are now proven to be one of the best ways to market a restaurant business. It’s a great marketing tool that ensures a return on investment. That alone should be enough of a reason for you to start rolling your camera. You can hire someone to create a professional video, like the one above, to showcase your food and give your restaurant’s online presence a modern flair.

However, that’s not the only type of video that works. The amateur-style video can actually be super effective because it looks less like you’re marketing to a customer. Feature your staff or go behind the scenes on a typical day. People will love the real connection with your business. Another great strategy is to partner up with a food vlogger, like the video below. Get creative with it and have fun!


Grow Your Restaurant Business Online: Get Cooking!

Yes, restaurant owners have a ton on their plate, but neglecting to market your business can have devastating results. Try out these strategies to get your restaurant in front of more eyes (and your food in more mouths)! Of course, if you think creating and executing a marketing strategy would be biting off more than you can chew, give us a call. We’re always ready to help restaurant owners have their cake and eat it too!

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