Welcome back to our summer series on beating the slump that can often impact restaurants during this time of year. We’ve covered quite a bit of ground over the last month or so, and as a provider of mobile food ordering systems we’ve been able to put our wealth of experience interacting with restaurants to good use.

In our last post, we took the opportunity to provide our readers with some quickfire marketing ideas and tips for implementing them. As vague as it sounds, we are confident that at least one or two of the ideas provided will serve to be an effective starting point for restaurants looking for ideas to improve in this area.

Now, there is a wide variety of advertising and marketing methods you need to consider. Some are more effective than others, just like some are riskier than others. There is no singular solution to good restaurant marketing, as each restaurant and location presents its own set of challenges. At the end of the day, you know your market, your competition, and what you do well better than we ever could. However, we do want to continue with our habit of offering up some advice to help restaurants get pointed in the right direction, if not double check that they are doing everything in their power to improve the viability of their business.

That said, keep reading if you are interested in gleaning some practical marketing tips for restaurants!

Set Up And Optimize Your Google+ Account

We ended part one with an involved discussion of setting up a Yelp account along with what you should do with negative reviews as a business owner. In the same vein, you need to set up, optimize, and monitor your Google+, or Google My Business, profile. It helps you be both seen and seen as a quality establishment if you have an account with appropriate restaurant information. These fields include address, phone number, hours, a link to your menu (or your menu itself, if you want to get fancy), and a brief description of your offerings.

The more reviews you can get on Google, you will see your rankings improve dramatically on the search engine. Google wants their users to find what they are looking for — and to be pleased with their ultimate solution, so they keep using Google and not a competitor. That’s why gaining a host of positive reviews will not only make you attractive to your prospective customers, but it will help you get found in the first place. That’s why it’s vital to encourage your visitors to review you on Google+. Consider offering them a free beverage or a similar offer if they do so — there’s ROI involved!

Be Active On Instagram

We’ve worked with a fair share of restaurants since Instagram’s inception almost a decade ago, and in the social media’s app’s progress we’ve seen a new kind of marketing channel develop. Instagram is amazing because it allows users who are looking for high-quality imagery to find exactly that — something that seems tailor-made for restaurants. Restaurants need to take advantage of the opportunity to promote their menu items by showing off how delicious their food looks!

In our last post, we discussed reaching out to a local social influencer or “foodie blogger” to promote your place of business, but it doesn’t have to be that formal. Consider running a special promotion where you’ll give any customer a free beverage (or dessert, or appetizer — whatever you want) if they take a picture of their dish with a branded hashtag of your choosing. The thing about this promotion is, you had better make sure your chefs care about presentation, otherwise it will have the opposite of your intended effect!

The Human Element

People don’t just come to your restaurant for great food, they come so that they can get out of the house and be treated well at a high-quality establishment. It may seem like a simple point, but hiring the right people — and making sure your current staff aligns with your vision and intended culture — will pay dividends with regard to your patron’s overall experience. Smiling faces, laughter, and genuine interaction will leave customers feeling happy about their night out. They may not even be aware of it, but they’ll be much more likely to return if they are treated well.

Plus, this is a great way to set your brand apart from your competition, as it’s an area that often gets overlooked by restaurants!

Start Blogging

Remember a few posts ago, when we talked about organic search listings, AKA Search Engine Optimization, AKA “SEO”? If not, browse through our last month or two of posts — there is a lot of content in there worth mulling over.

More to the point, starting a blog is a great way to improve your organic rankings. Google and their little indexing crawlers will scan websites that pump out consistent content, taking it as a sign that they are active and authorities in their given industry. Read up on a few blogs that give you some basics as to how to target appropriate keywords and help you get your blog space “SEO optimized,” and go from there.

What will you write about? Your business of course; and all it has to offer. Talk about special promotions, new menu items, your history, your passion, your sourcing, and more. This leads us to our next point about blogs and how they aren’t just “love letters to search engines,” as some have coined them. It’s a great means of interacting with your community and engaging with your customers. Don’t be afraid to share positive reviews, recipes, funny anecdotes, or whatever else you think your target market might enjoy. Show some personality and have some fun with it!

Make Sure Your Website Is Up-To-Date

Sure, we have a horse in this race, and we’ll readily admit it. But having a modern website that is mobile-optimized (meaning people can view it on their phones or tablets without having to squint and zoom and generally hate their experience) isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s one of necessity.

We’ve made the following comparison before: In today’s fast-evolving digital marketplace, having an outdated website is akin to driving down the Autobahn in a two-bit pickup truck from the 50s that’s wheezing to make it to 65 mph. The thing is, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get a Porsche — your website just needs to be sleek, straightforward, and fast. Online Orders Now offers custom websites that include the following features:

  • Image slider – watch several of your favorite images rotate as visitors view your site. Highlight your appetizing menu items, friendly staff, or classy dining room.
  • Social networking links – We’ll make sure your visitors can find links to your social media profile pages by embedding prominent, easy-to-see links.
  • Contact form – An essential element of any business that interacts with consumers, we include a contact form on your site so you can interact with anyone who would like to do the same with you!
  • Google Map – People need to be able to find your restaurant’s location easily. We’ll include an integrated Google Map — a far superior option than the archaic and simple address listing. It’s not 1995 here, people.
  • Embedded videos – do you have videos on Youtube or Vimeo? We’ll embed them onsite. Not only do customers like to see footage of your food and dining room, but it will improve your page’s SEO value by including dynamic content such as this.
  • Search Engine Optimization – Speaking of SEO, your website is only a useful tool if it is able to be found by people looking for local restaurants of your kind. We have a team of SEO experts who will optimize your site with the latest SEO strategies in order to push your site to the top of the search engine listings page!

Learn More About Online Orders Now

Believe it or not, we have much more to say on the matter of marketing for restaurants! That means we will include a part three of this series to round it off. So keep an eye out for that in the very near future. In the meantime, we’d love to have you reach out to us so we can learn more about your business. Learn more about our online ordering software and its many features today!