Few sectors are as competitive as the restaurant business, and without a solid restaurant marketing plan, many end up closing for good. The pandemic hit this industry especially hard, but it finally bounced back. The changes you now see include more restaurants offering takeout, higher prices because of supply chain issues, and creative presentations.
Timeout gives some examples of restaurants with "outrageous themes" like a combination laundromat/craft beer bar/gourmet burger spot and an aquarium restaurant; these ideas can market themselves to a large degree. As for everyone else, effective digital restaurant marketing is a must.
SEO for Restaurants
When potential customers search online for restaurants, the highest-ranking results on the pages are the ones they will click on first. Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on getting those desirable rankings, and Touch Bistro explains the best practices for accomplishing this specifically for restaurant SEO.
Local search is crucial for success since someone living in Poughkeepsie won't look for sushi in Los Angeles unless they plan a trip there. People generally enter phrases like "best tacos near me," so you should use these sorts of phrases in your keyword planning.
Once you've set the keywords, you'll also want to create a listing on a Google Business Profile. This tool is free, and you can customize it with your hours, location, and photos. Users can add reviews, so you will want to check those regularly. Also, add your restaurant to other sites that have reviews, like Yelp and TripAdvisor. You can interact with reviewers, which is vital whether the review is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.
More Ideas for Marketing Your Restaurant
You can incorporate the keywords into your website content, but it should flow naturally. Audiences are more educated than ever before and can tell when you have shoehorned keywords in the body of the article. Provide them with helpful information that targets their needs.
If you have a small eatery specializing in inexpensive fast food, users will not want to read about how your cook curated Himalayan salt for the fries. A high-priced steakhouse might want to share this, though; when brainstorming restaurant marketing ideas, you’ll want to know who your audience is.
Share tempting pictures of your food and include closeups and wide angles. Potential customers also want to see photos and videos of dining spaces and views from outside restaurants. Not all restaurants include prices on their websites, but make sure that the menu is up there and easy to read. People also like to see what the seasonal and daily specials are.
It's All About Sharing
The restaurant business is all about online reviews, and you can take advantage of this with link building. When different websites link to your site, it shows a sign of trust, and this is something that the Google algorithm considers. Be sure to return the favor.
If your produce supplier links to your site, do the same for them. Share good reviews from professional restaurant reviewers and regular folks; audiences like to read this stuff. Restaurant websites also must be mobile-friendly, and an online ordering system can also help boost business.
Search Engine Journal adds that social media marketing complements SEO efforts, stressing the importance of posting unique content. Don't just share a photo of an entrée! Post a short video of your chef plating it, too. Encourage reviews, engage with your customers, and post those daily specials. Like your website, your social media content must be as fresh as your food; anything stale will turn people off.