The competition in the restaurant industry in most communities is ferocious. To stay on top of the heap, you have to take advantage of multiple marketing tools and add them to your arsenal.
Most communities have “best of” lists that often include best restaurant of the year or best menu items. How can you get on one of these elite, exclusive lists?
In this article, we’re going to tell you how to get your restaurant on more community “best of” lists. The bottom line is to stay top of mind in your community. If your restaurant is always front and center, then the judges of those “best of” lists will be more apt to consider your restaurant when it comes time to pick the list and ultimately the winner.
We’ve put together a list of ways you can help your restaurant stay top of mind to help ensure you’re on the “best of” lists.
Or breakfast or lunch. Be in the know in your community. Stay on top of the different “best of” lists. Perhaps they are done by your local newspaper, a local magazine or neighborhood publication. If you know when the lists come out, you can promote yourself to the decision makers.
Send over some samples with a menu and an invitation to join you for a full meal. While we don’t recommend trying to “bribe” the judges, we do recommend a bit of friendly conversation over one of your best meals. When they come to dinner, prepare your best food, making sure to include your most-ordered items.
The next day, send them a handwritten thank you note expressing your gratitude and noting how much you enjoyed their company. Be sure to invite them back to try something else another day.
Take this tactic, and you’ll be sure they’ll remember you when it comes time to create the “best of” list.
Sometimes the “best of” lists are voted on by residents in your community. They certainly can’t vote on your restaurant if they’ve never eaten there, or they can’t find you.
This is where Yelp comes in. Yelp is a powerful tool for restaurant owners. (tweet this) You want to concentrate on getting a lot of positive reviews on Yelp. People can leave you a review on Yelp even if you don’t have an account, and it’s for this reason that it’s vital you set up an account and fill it will details about your restaurant.
Be sure and add gorgeous photos of your restaurant inside and out as well as your menu items and a few staff members. Include your restaurant hours, location, menu and price range. Answer all the questions.
If you get positive feedback, thank the diner. If you receive negative feedback, it’s important to thank the diner and respond in a polite and respectful manner.
In the 21st century, what others think matters. Many people check out online reviews before making a decision to eat at your restaurant.
You can bet the designers of the “best of” lists will also visit Yelp before deciding to add your restaurant to the list.
Get your restaurant noticed. Hire a professional to take great looking photos of your menu items. Take a little extra time with these to make sure they capture the essence of your food.
The best way to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality, mouthwatering photos. (tweet this) Your website visitors and social media followers will be tempted to try your food when they see delectable photos online.
Once you’ve built a following by leveraging the power of your incredible photos, you’ll be well on your way to getting noticed by the “best of” community list folks.
Nurture current and potential customers through your blog. It’s a great way to build your community and engage with diners. This is your chance to show off what you know and share it with others. The goal here is to share stories, recipes, tips and more – basically anything that would interest your customer.
Set a goal for the amount of posts you’ll write. Aim for once a week, make a plan and stick to it.
Another way to get your restaurant in front of more people is to reach out to food bloggers in your community. Offer to write a guest post on their blog. Getting local food bloggers on your side will help you get on your community “best of” lists because the food bloggers are probably some of the decision makers.
You can also ask local food bloggers for a review. Invite them to dinner and ask them to write about you on their blog. Some food bloggers have huge followings, so it’s another great way to generate attention.
You can’t get on a list if people don’t know who you are. Participate in local festivals. Set up a booth and either offer samples or sell your menu items. Take your best staff with you – the ones who provide the best customer service. This will help generate good feeling for your restaurant in the community.
Consider hosting a non-profit event at your restaurant. The goal of getting out in the community is for brand recognition. This will help you get on more community “best of” lists.
Let everyone know what you offer. A great way to do this is with your online menu. This is usually the number one thing your website visitors are looking for. Ditch the pdf, and put a full menu online complete with mouth-watering photos.
This is another way to stay top of mind for those “best of” lists.
Get on the “eat local” bandwagon. Show up at the local area farmer’s markets. Buy your produce, cheese, eggs and meat. You can even purchase your flowers and candles if you use them.
This is a superb way to be seen in the community and recognized for your support of locals. It’s a great way to increase your positive reputation.
Getting your restaurant noticed on more community “best of lists” will take a little effort on your part, but it’s well worth it. And, once you start with some of the tactics listed here we bet you’ll start to see your restaurant’s customer base grow as well.
Ready to add an online menu to your restaurant website? We’d love to help. Just request your complimentary consultation today!