You’ve got great food, wonderful ambiance, highly trained servers, and an excellent chef.
But where are the diners?
This is a common problem for both new and established restaurants, and it all comes down to marketing.
In this article, let’s look at 2020 restaurant marketing trends for your best year yet, and so you don’t have to ask, “Where are my diners?”
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to your restaurant marketing is to put someone in charge. This might mean hiring a marketing person for your restaurant, hiring an agency, or employing a freelance worker. (tweet this)
Whichever route you go, it’s trendy to put someone in charge. Why? Then you are assured it will be done and done right.
Dedicate part of your budget to a marketing position, and you’ll notice results very quickly.
First, your diners expect free Wi-Fi, and if it’s not available at your restaurant, they’re going to be extremely disappointed.
So, while you know you need to offer it, take advantage of another trend, and offer free Wi-Fi as an exchange.
Require customers to provide their email address or cell phone number to sign up. This way you can text and email them your marketing messages.
Wi-Fi is a perk, and to get the perk, they give you something in return. Your diners can always unsubscribe, but if you’re doing your marketing right, few will.
With their email addresses and phone numbers, you can send info about sales, events, promotions, tips, and more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the foreseeable future, your restaurant customers want delivery options.
Don’t let this be an afterthought. Your diners want convenience, and they want to be safe while ordering food from your restaurant.
You have a couple of options: you can offer the delivery on your own, or you can partner with a food delivery service.
The most important piece of the delivery option is making sure your food is still warm and delicious when it arrives. We encourage you to test out different packaging and time frames to see what it’s like when the customer gets it. (tweet this)
For example, if you are sending tacos, consider wrapping them separately in foil so they don’t get too mushy.
Finally, you don’t have to make your entire menu available for delivery if that doesn’t work for your restaurant. If you do offer your whole menu, make sure that it can all be sent out and received in an acceptable manner.
One of our favorite trends in restaurant marketing is the “family meal” or meal package.
This has been a fun trend for people and helps take the some of the mystery out of online ordering.
Many restaurants are putting together family meals in sizes of two, four, six, and eight people. These options make it easy for everyone to order.
This might include lasagna, salad, bread, and dessert package for six people. All your customer has to do is click one item and order.
Offering packages like this is also easier for you because you know what is on your delivery or carry out menu and can plan for it.
If your restaurant isn’t on Facebook and Instagram, it’s time to get there now.
Because you’ve hired a dedicated marketing person, you are better poised to create daily, valuable content for your customers.
Facebook is a must-have, and Instagram is a close second. Not only can you post on both platforms, but you can leverage their paid advertising options as well.
The costs for social media advertising aren’t too high and can provide you a great return on your investment.
Create a social media marketing strategy, create valuable content and professional photos, and use a scheduling tool to make sure you cover each day.
In addition, make sure you are responding to all the comments, both positive and negative. Your online reputation is vital to your success.
Everyone has to eat. And your customers like a good deal.
Consider advertising locally in the neighborhood around your restaurant.
Not only does this help with brand awareness, but if you offer a small special, you encourage would-be diners to become real customers.
Take flyers and coupons to all of the neighborhood businesses. This can help you catch the business lunch crowd.
You can even run promotions in the business arena by setting up a collection jar at a local business. Ask employees to drop in their business card. Pick a winner each week or each month.
This is a great way to build your email list, too.
Don’t forget your menus. Provide these to your neighborhood businesses and ask them to put the menus in their breakroom. Because, after all, everyone has to eat.
If there are local events around you, try to get involved in them. This is another way to get your restaurant out into the spotlight and on people’s minds.
Another trend is sending SMS messaging to people who’ve opted in to receive text messages.
It’s been rising in popularity for several years, and it has now come into its own.
Encourage your customers to join your text list. Put up signs on your tables. Hand out flyers with your take-out and delivery orders.
Your customer has to opt in to receive text messages, so you’ll have to provide them with the invitation.
The key thing here is not to bombard your customers. Otherwise they’ll opt out. Create a strategy that hits them at just the right amount.
Text messaging is great for announcing specials, events, and even new menu items.
According to one report, more than one third of restaurant owners said attracting and retaining customers is their number one challenge.
As the restaurant industry gets more crowded each year, and with the challenges presented by COVID-19, it’s never been more important to look at restaurant marketing trends.
The biggest overall trend we’re seeing in the restaurant industry is a large leap to digital offerings and an increased focus on marketing as we’ve looked at here.
You can use the restaurant marketing trends for 2020 in this article and use them to improve your overall reach to not only attract new diners but retain your current customer base.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog, and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!