With more than a million restaurants in the U.S., the culinary industry is extremely competitive, and research shows that about 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first 12 months. To avoid being one of them, below are some restaurant marketing tips that you should strongly consider.

Launch A Company Website

While lots of restaurants have an official website, there are many that still don’t. Failing to build a strong online presence will put you at a severe disadvantage because millions of people are now using the web to search for everything from clothes to food and electronics. When someone uses a search engine to look for the type of food you serve in your geographic area, your website should come up in the top ten results. If it doesn’t, you’re losing tons of money to your competition.

Don’t Serve The Same Cuisine As Everyone Else

There are thousands of recipes and dishes that come from different cultures, some of which are modern, and others which are historical. The last thing you want to do is open another Chinese or Italian restaurant in a major city such as New York or Los Angeles that already has a bunch of them. Unless your restaurant stands out in a major way, it will be too difficult to compete. Instead, you want to launch a restaurant with cuisine that no one else is offering, with food that is palatable to local tastes. If you can do that, then you’re on to something.

Unleash The Power of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the reason Amazon has become one of the world’s largest companies and its founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man: because he understood the power of affiliate marketing. While Amazon may not be a restaurant, the same rules apply. Once you launch your official website, you can create an affiliate program similar to Amazon where foodies and bloggers can use hyperlinks to refer visitors to your site and make recommendations.

For each person they send that places an online order, you can reward the affiliate who referred them by giving them a small percent of your earnings. For instance, if an affiliate running a popular food blog refers someone to your site that makes their reservations online and spends money on a meal, you could pay the affiliate a percentage of the profits. The more affiliates you have, the more money you make with minimal marketing effort on your part.

Build A Social Media Presence

Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are some of the best places to promote your business, but you have to know how to use them. Since many restaurateurs don’t, you can hire either hire a social media expert who can help promote your brand online or you can combine social media with your affiliate program to drive traffic to your official site where they can make online reservations.

Be Sure to Use Loyalty Programs

Food apps have become popular with smartphone users, and some of the most popular are Kitchenbowl, Tender and Off The Menu. A loyalty program is important because combined with point of sale software such as Shogo, it is designed to build a stronger connection with customers who you would reward for bringing repeat business.

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