While your restaurant has a unique menu, serves delicious food, and provides top-notch service, you’re still struggling to gain traction and fill up your bookings.
What you need to do is boost your restaurant’s brand awareness. Your restaurant’s brand is essentially your restaurant’s soul, presented to the world: An all-in-one package with your food, service, ambiance, and customer experience.
In this article, we’ll introduce three marketing strategies that will increase your restaurant’s brand awareness.
Strategy 1: Flood the Internet with Your Restaurant’s Specialties
We understand, you already have a website, social media presence, and Google Maps integration. But these are just the basics. To boost your brand, you’ll need to leverage the full force of these potentially powerful online tools.
Let’s start with your website. You’ll need it to attract customers to your restaurant by giving them a reason to come to you. Think of your website as an interactive library that showcases your restaurant’s food, service, and experience.
Follow these two steps to get more people to your site and restaurant:
Step 1: Become a Creature of Content-Creating Habit
Do you remember that blog you posted to your website several quarters ago? You probably didn’t promote the article, and you didn’t follow up with any more content. It’s time to make article writing a regular thing to give people a reason to come to your restaurant.
If you create several written articles about your culinary philosophy, readers will come to see you as an expert in the food world. When people learn something new about what gives your food a unique flavor, they’ll most likely want to experience it themselves.
Here are just a few article topics:
- Walk readers through a special cooking skill you apply to some of the popular dishes on your menu.
- A review of the top culinary schools in your region. Write about what they specialize in teaching, and mention some notable alumni.
- Those new ovens you just put in your kitchen. Write about why you bought them and what separates them from average ovens.
- Bios of each of your sous chefs. Write about the unique skills they bring to your kitchen and how they have improved your menu.
- Special business partnerships you have. Do you sell unique wine from the winery just outside of town? Write articles about why you work with this winery and what pairs best with their wines.
It’s critical that you publish content at least once a month. This keeps content consistent, and your customers will see that you’re serious about sharing your knowledge.
Step 2: Become a Force On Social Media
You’ll need to take your presence onto the top social media platforms. Post to your feed several times a day. Here are some things you’ll want to post:
- A link to your newest article.
- A short video clip of your cooks preparing tonight’s special.
- Pictures of customers enjoying their meals and experience.
- A picture of that frothy new oatmeal stout.
- Pictures and videos promoting your happy hour.
Use your social media account to show the world daily tidbits that make your restaurant special - aka, your brand - to the world. Encourage people to follow your social media accounts by offering limited-time discounts for checking in, following you, or posting a picture at your restaurant.
These strategies will help increase your followers on social media. It seems obvious, but it’s true: The more people you have following you on social media, the more brand awareness you’ll achieve.
Seek out local influencers to really give your restaurant’s brand a boost. We’re not suggesting you attempt to track down New York’s top influencers like the paparazzi attempts to track down Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Find influencers based in your area.
Local influencers, or micro-influencers, might have a smaller following, but they have something in common with you. These local influencers are looking for opportunities to build their brand. They want to find the next top-notch spot in the area and share it with their followers. Take advantage of this similarity and invite them to your restaurant.
Offer them a solid discount, or even a free meal, in exchange for a review and a share on their socials. Doing this will get your restaurant in front of quite a few more eyes. Don’t forget to keep a relationship with influencers and invite them into your restaurant whenever you have something new for them to try.
*Protip: For a limited time, offer influencers’ followers a buy-one-get-one-free type of discount when they visit your restaurant. Deals like this will help grow your brand awareness and get people in the door to your restaurant.
Strategy 2: Create an App For Your Restaurant
Add a tech-savvy edge to your restaurant’s brand by building out your very own app for your restaurant with an app builder like Adalo. With Adalo, you don’t have to be tech-savvy at all to build a professional-looking app.
Leveraging the power of a codeless drag-and-drop interface, you can build your restaurant’s app catered to your own unique tastes and needs without writing a single line of code.
Here are just some of the tools and components you can build into your Adalo app:
- Take-Out Ordering: Build a feature that lets your customers order take-out from your app on their phones so that it’s ready for them as soon as they walk through your doors.
- Delivery: Include a delivery option on your app if you have delivery drivers. When customers order delivery directly from your restaurant, they’ll pay less than they would on a 3rd party delivery app like Uber Eats or Grubhub. You can also create a separate delivery-only menu to take the pressure off of the kitchen.
- Reservation System: Call-in reservations are a thing of the past. Your customers will love the simplicity that comes with reserving a table in advance by pressing a few buttons.
- Push Notifications: Send your loyal customers push notifications about reward periods, new menu items, or special events. This can help you attract more people to your restaurant.
When you build an app with Adalo, you’ll be able to take advantage of over 5,500 integrations. For instance, include a convenient payment system with Adalo’s Square, Stripe, and PayPal integrations. Making your app payment capable will allow people ordering takeout and delivery to conveniently pay in advance.
After building, publish your app on the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, or your website. Because these two app stores have large audiences, many people will see your restaurant’s app. This can also help boost your branding.
Strategy 3: Hit the Streets with a Food Truck
Extend your restaurant’s reach with a food truck. A food truck brings attention to your restaurant’s brand outside of your restaurant’s area. Feature small portions of your menu to introduce your dishes to new audiences.
Depending on what kinds of cooking devices you equip your truck with, a brand-new food truck setup can cost up to $175,000, but you can get a used one with second-hand cooking gear for under $100,000.
Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before boosting your brand with a food truck:
- Legal requirements like obtaining permits, licenses, and anything else the government requires of food trucks.
- The equipment you’ll need. You’ll most likely need a refrigeration unit and some ovens and stoves. The food you cook ultimately determines the equipment you buy.
- Places that accept food trucks. Reach out to local colleges, universities, and even high schools to see if they’ll accept your food truck. Also, keep your eyes peeled for outdoor festivals and special events, and see if you can park your food truck nearby. Any place that has large numbers of people is a potential target for your food truck.
- A food truck-centered menu. Include your restaurant’s top items, but make sure they’re easy to cook and are exactly the same as the food cooked in your restaurant - consistent quality equals consistent brand.
This will give people way across town an idea of what kind of food you serve at your restaurant.
- Periodic maintenance trips. You’ll need to make sure your food truck is always in tip-top condition. It goes without saying, but missing out on the county fair because of a broken timing belt would be a major marketing fail.
You also don’t want to have the reputation of that restaurant that is always breaking down and not being able to serve the goods. So, keep your appointments with your mechanic!
You’ll always need to make sure that people who see your food truck know that it’s part of your restaurant. So, put your restaurant’s name and logo on your food truck in a place where anyone can see it.
Be sure to include a takeout function for your food truck in your app. This will make it easy for customers on a tight lunch break to order and pay for food without much waiting. Everyone loves not waiting for food.
Remember that consistency is key. Continually publish content, post to social media several times a day, and always be talking to food influencers.
When your restaurant brand grows, you might notice an uptick in revenue. Then, you can use that influx of cash to invest in a food truck and increase your restaurant’s brand awareness even more.