Are you the owner of a catering business and would you like to increase your level of awareness? Or simply increase the frequency and sales? To achieve this, well-thought-out gastronomy marketing is important.
Since we live in a connected and digital world today, part of your marketing strategy should definitely be online. This is how effective online marketing methods such as solo ads have thrived through the years.
However, offline advertising can also contribute to the desired success. Successful gastronomy marketing consists of several components, but the optimal marketing mix varies depending on the concept and budget. That’s why there is no ONE recipe for it.
Tip 1: Initial situation – Understanding the target group
A customer analysis is the starting point for any marketing strategy. If you don’t know your customers, how else will they connect with them and target them? There are the following parameters for customer analysis:
- Demography: Age, income, gender, education, religion, and location.
- Psychography: Your attitude, goals, and beliefs.
- Behavior: Their habits: how much money they spend, how much time they spend online, etc.
Why is this important? As a restaurateur, you need to know the demographics of your customers, which serves as the basis for any further marketing strategy. For example, if most of your customers are between 20 and 30 years old, running a newspaper ad may not be effective. Then, for example, it makes more sense to advertise on Instagram. The better you understand your target group and align your marketing ideas accordingly, the more likely it will be for your marketing and thus also for your company.
Tip 2: Create a website & webshop
As a catering business, it is advisable to have a website, as about 90% of all guests inform themselves online in advance. The numbers are higher than in any other industry. With a restaurant website, you can inform guests about changed opening hours, company holidays, or promotions. Also, the website is the right place to pick up potential guests and make the food in your restaurant tasty for them. However, it is also possible to integrate features that are particularly useful for out-of-home sales, such as an interactive menu.
Especially in times of Corona and the associated restrictions on public life, it makes sense to set up a restaurant webshop. Our webshop system with an ordering app is specially designed to meet the requirements of delivery services and restaurants. Thanks to our many years of know-how in the field of e-commerce, the webshop system contains all the functionalities required for a successful sales platform. We offer a variety of features such as banners with coupon promotions to boost sales on your webshop, so you can build your own customer base.
Tip 3: Maintain Google My Business
With a Google My Business account, you can make your restaurant visible on Google and Google Maps to attract even more potential guests. To get a good ranking, you certainly need to invest some time in Google My Business. Always try to keep all information (opening hours, contact details, etc.) up to date and use the free platform to present yourself optimally on the web. For example, upload atmospheric images of your restaurant to make you want to visit. Put in a menu so that potential guests can find out about the food and prices in advance. Also use the post function to prominently promote the lunch menu or promotions, for example. You can also integrate Google Food Ordering, so customers can order directly from Google online at your restaurant.
Very important: Potential new customers read online reviews in advance before deciding on a restaurant. Deal with positive as well as critical reviews, and respond promptly. This shows that you take the opinion of your guests seriously and appreciate them.
Tip 4: Social media marketing for more reach
Advertising via social media is very much in vogue. In particular, platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are suitable for social media marketing. They allow fast and uncomplicated online communication with your potential guests and put your business in the limelight for little to no money. The two biggest advantages of this marketing strategy are obvious: greater awareness and more potential new guests. Social media marketing offers the opportunity to draw the attention of a lot of people to your creative menu choices through attractively presented food and generates attention for restaurants, which appeals to foodies in particular.
You should follow certain rules in this strategy: For example, uniquely name your social media page(s) with the name of your restaurant and link to your website. Many guests also want to be able to view an online menu. This can be presented on your website, but also on Facebook or Instagram: For example, create a photo album with the current menu on Facebook or photograph the current daily offers for Instagram. With Instagram, image quality is very crucial. Also, use relevant hashtags for the posts that you want to be found with your restaurant. Also, use the story function on Instagram and inform your followers about short-term actions and news. Try to always make your social media posts interesting and create new content regularly.
Tip 5: SEO for a better ranking
SEO is the optimization of your own website in order to meet the current requirements of the search engines. An optimized website is preferably displayed in the Google search results (SERPs) and thus clicked more. Effective SEO can therefore help restaurants to improve the ranking of their own website in order to reach potential customers organically and increase sales. There are three key steps to search engine optimization for restaurants:
Optimize your website
Make sure your website is clearly designed. Users should be able to find their way around intuitively. A reader-friendly website is also important for search engines like Google. A clear website includes a logical structure of headings, internal links, user-friendliness, and good meta descriptions.
In order for your website to actually appear to users when they are looking for restaurants, keywords are essential. Use SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner to find out how people search for information. Look for keywords that best describe your restaurant to attract potential guests. Then, in turn, integrate these keywords meaningfully into your posts.
One of the most important steps in search engine optimization for restaurants is the presence in various listing portals. We have already gone into more detail on Google my Business, business listings in portals such as Yelp and TripAdvisor work on the same principle and allow a greater reach. Customers can also rate you on these portals. This creates trust and can further improve your ranking.
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Tip 6: E-mail marketing for existing customer care
Email marketing is a cost-effective and, above all, reliable way to attract new guests and bind existing customers closer to you. Creating a customer list can be beneficial for any business. Integrate a widget into your website. This is a small form that you can retrieve from your e-mail provider. Here your guests can register directly in the list. If you have an email list of your customers, you can contact them at any time.
You can also collect email addresses through your website or webshop by placing a form or check mark when placing an order. These forms can also collect valuable customer data such as name and date of birth. This allows you to inform guests about your latest discounts and promotions. For closer customer loyalty, you can congratulate your customers on their birthday, for example. With such measures, you ensure that your customers remember your restaurant.
Tip 7: Google Ads for new customer acquisition
Google Ads is an online advertising system from Google for placing advertisements in Google Search and other Google services, e.B.dem Google Display Network or YouTube.
Create different search ads and define the appropriate search terms that your ad matches. This allows you to reach potential customers at exactly the right moment when they are looking for a new restaurant online.
Your ads will be billed on a cost-per-click basis. This means that you don’t have to pay for the ads until a customer clicks on them. This advertising model is ideal for hospitality companies that are just getting started, as the website immediately appears in the top ranks without any long-term investment in search engine optimization.
Tip 8: Social Media Influencers
Social media marketing is already a must in gastronomy. In contrast, influencer marketing is still relatively young, but this type of marketing is already established and is becoming more and more important. In particular, advertising by influencers proves to be an extremely effective approach when it comes to the authentic positioning of brands with relevant target groups that are less accessible via traditional advertising channels or are skeptical about them.
Influencers are brand ambassadors who share their personal experiences and reports on social media, make recommendations and thus influence the opinions, purchasing decisions, and behaviors of their audience. Recommendations from influencers act as the new, medial “word-of-mouth”. In particular, working with regionally active micro- and nano-influencers can be exciting and, above all, cost-efficient for the catering industry.
A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that one in three has already become aware of a product through influencers, with 76% of 16- to 19-year-olds. Especially influencer contributions on topics such as food, travel, and fashion generate a lot of interest. Basically, influencer marketing is therefore particularly well suited to promote catering businesses and the associated services.
In addition to the entertainment value and recommendations, the topic of “discounts” is a crucial reason for following influencers. After all, 46% of 16- to 19-year-olds said they were looking for specially tailored offers, vouchers, and other benefits. This offers you as a host: a chance to market your business in an innovative way.
Tip 9: Experience marketing: Local events
Events like food festivals, sports games, and concerts are a great way to increase your business’s awareness and reputation, as well as increase your sales. Such events provide an entertaining (and in the case of a food festival, intimate) setting where restaurateurs and customers come together and have a shared experience.
The so-called “experiential marketing” offers your company the opportunity to present your best dishes, make contacts, and at the same time create an experience that can attract potential new customers or bind existing customers closer to you.
Tip 10: Engagement in the local community
Another offline marketing strategy to reach customers is to network as a catering entrepreneur with other business owners in the region, to volunteer or to offer locally based promotions.
For example, you can also ask other nearby restaurants to exchange promotions or menus, which should then be placed on the cash registers of the other restaurants. This is then a kind of barter deal with other catering establishments.
As we have shown in this post, there are numerous marketing strategies that differ depending on the target audience to be addressed. So there is not only a ready-made marketing concept. In advance, however, a customer analysis should be carried out in any case, which serves as the basis for all further marketing measures.
Nowadays, it is advantageous that a company on Google and on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram establish and expands an online presence. With SEO measures and Google Ads, you can also improve your visibility and reach.
Influencer marketing offers you an innovative way to attract new customers who are difficult to reach through traditional advertising channels. With local events like Food Festivals, you create unforgettable experiences for potential and existing customers – and it can also further improve your reputation. At the same time, networking with other companies in your area serves to promote you.