If you have mailed flyers, bought ads in the local newspapers, and used other traditional marketing methods but aren’t getting the traction you were hoping for, don’t give up just yet. In competitive industries, it’s best to zig when others zag. When you use marketing ideas for restaurants that depart from convention, the competition drops off quickly. People often don’t have the time or desire to think creatively about their marketing. Some may be aware of various non traditional methods but aren’t inclined to put forth the necessary effort. In any case, that means there is less competition for you. Here are three methods:
Engage in Recipe Branding
Good recipes help bring in repeat business from your patrons. However, did you know they’re also good for getting new customers? Many food related blogs and online magazines are hungry for new content to publish. This is an opportunity to get brand exposure by posting your recipes, complete with cooking instructions and tips. Contact the owners of these websites through their contact forms or their “writers wanted” links.
Your ownership of a restaurant makes you an expert and will convince them of your value as a contributor. If they have a large readership, then it won’t matter if they aren’t based in your locality because chances are good that many locals read them anyway. Also consider writing for local gazettes.
A variation to this strategy is creating your own YouTube channel and publishing “how to” cooking videos of your recipes. YouTube gets four billion video views per day.
Use the Host-Beneficiary Strategy
Imagine knowing a well-connected person who constantly sends customers your way. While this can happen by accident when such a person takes a liking to your restaurant, you (the beneficiary) can go out and make this happen by collaborating with other businesses (the hosts).
The host-beneficiary strategy involves setting up alliances with businesses who aren’t restaurants yet have customers who would benefit from your services. You might ask local hotels and motels to distribute your vouchers for discounted meals to their customers. One of the first things these customers will do after checking in, is look for a place to eat. Since they already have your voucher in hand, they won’t likely look any further for their food. If you serve health food, then you can target fitness centers and other businesses that serve the health and fitness niche.
Why would these businesses distribute your vouchers? Because your partners can use them as complimentary gifts to their customers. It’s a way for them to thank their customers for their patronage and to keep them coming back. Of course, it’s only a reward if the vouchers are for meal discounts.
Target Local Businesses
If your restaurant operates throughout the day, then employees of local businesses are potential customers. Visit and distribute flyers to them. Don’t forget industrial and business parks, which have large concentrations of businesses. By distributing your flyers personally, they won’t get thrown out as junk mail. If you have lots of businesses in your area, consider offering a take out service.
An efficient way of targeting businesses in your area is joining the local chamber of commerce. While networking at their events is an excellent way of getting the word out about your restaurant, you can also give presentations. These can center on problems common to all businesses, such as marketing methods, inventory management, and supply chain management. You might also cater your food directly to chamber events. If they allow businesses a space on their website, take advantage for yet more exposure. A chamber of commerce membership gives your business additional respectability.
Finally, don’t forget that colleges are businesses too. Their clients, the students, are a good source of customers. Distribute your flyers on their bulletin boards and get them posted in their newsletters.
For more marketing ideas for restaurants, and to learn about our services, contact us today.