What if your restaurant was missing the “secret ingredient” to success?
Chances are that you have spent a lot of time, energy, and money on marketing your restaurant. But if that marketing isn’t concentrating on building your brand, your business will never reach its full potential.
Don’t believe it? Keep reading to discover how effective restaurant branding can help you attract more customers than ever before!
Are you still not sure what “restaurant branding” is all about? At the core, a brand is what your business is known for. And in this industry, it’s important that you are known for excellent customer service.
Mostly, this comes down to your staff being very attentive to guests. Those guests shouldn’t have to wait long for initial service or for refills, and the kitchen should make sure they don’t wait long for their food.
While it’s easier said than done, we recommend hiring natural conversationalists as waiters and waitresses. In addition to making their job easier, those conversational skills will create a pleasant experience for customers.
Finally, consider using loyalty cards and offering special rewards (like a free dessert on their tenth visit). This helps you establish “regulars” to your restaurant while making those customers feel valued and respected.
Obviously, customer service is a major part of restaurant marketing. But one of the best ways to build your brand is to continue the awesome service on social media.
There are two basic ways your restaurant can embrace social media marketing. The first is simply taking out ads on platforms your demographic is likely to use. For customers who use social media every day, this greatly increases their chance of hearing about your restaurant and wanting to check it out.
The other way, though, is to create your own business account or page that customers can follow. Use this account to post useful content, such as pictures of menus, food, and the restaurant exterior. And use your social media to announce contests and special promotions.
Doing that helps your restaurant build some much-needed hype. And when your biggest fans like and share your social media content, it turns them into brand ambassadors that will hype your business up to their friends and family members.
Creating a social media presence is one of the best ways to create brand ambassadors. But you can still do this the old-fashioned way by offering your in-restaurant customers your referral cards.
The idea of the referral card is simple: they get a card they can offer to someone, and the new person can get a special discount (usually 10% off their first meal). And when the referred person tells the restaurant who referred them, you can offer the original customer a more valuable deal (such as 50% off selected meals).
Customers love referrals because it’s a “win/win” where everyone saves money. And as for your business, this expands your brand to the local community in an organic way, and the cost of discounting a few meals is a small price to pay for bringing in new customers.
What do you think brings most first-time customers to your restaurant? The fact that they’re hungry, of course. But what will bring them back is the positive experience they have while they are there.
So in addition to focusing on crafting tasty food and drinks, we recommend you create special events. Live music is a great event because guests love the free entertainment while they eat. But guests also love to participate in interactive events, including trivia nights and karaoke contests.
You don’t have to overthink things when developing special events. Just think back to the events you have enjoyed at your favorite restaurants and try to recreate that vibe with your own ideas.
When you get right down to it, all restaurants have the same basic features. This includes hosts and waitstaff in the front, a busy kitchen in the back, and a small army of hungry customers to feed. But if all restaurants are essentially the same, what sets one apart from the others?
Aside from customer service, the best way to set your own restaurant apart is by creating a great ambiance. You can do this by thinking about what you really want your brand to be and working backward from there.
For example, if you want to have a hit spot for couples, you need dim lighting broken by intimate lighting at tables spaced far enough apart to give people a sense of privacy. If you want to be known as a family-friendly restaurant, you need bright lighting, distractions like a game room, and maybe even a play area for young children.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer for businesses around the world. And restaurants affected by the pandemic learned a hard lesson: your business must be “online-friendly” if you don’t want to be dead in the water.
What does online-friendly mean? At the bare minimum, customers should be able to order online and pick up orders to go. This helps busy customers but also helps customers who are worried about eating inside and getting sick.
You should also consider either delivering your own food or working with food delivery services like UberEats or GrubHub. While you won’t make nearly as much profit off of these orders, customers happy to have this option will be likelier to visit in person next time.
Finally, make sure you have a slick and professional website. It should be mobile-friendly and offer crisp images of food, a current menu, contact information for your store, and so on. And if you need help overhauling the site or building your brand, you can always work with a reliable marketing agency.
Now you know how effective restaurant branding can attract new customers. But do you know who can help you build your brand?
Here at The MRKT, we are storytellers who are here to help you tell your own story. No matter how long the journey will be, we are here to help you complete the journey of re-branding your restaurant. And to take the first step on that journey together, come contact us today!
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Together we’ll do our best work. Let’s get the conversation started and find out how we can create or strengthen your brand and grow your business.