While word of mouth is certainly a viable and well-proven way to build buzz for a restaurant, the buzz for your new restaurant has to start somewhere. So, just exactly where does it start?
You’ve got the unique selling point, a terrific menu with delicious food, a dynamite location and trained staff. Now all you need are excited customers filling your seats.
Restaurant owners across the United States have experimented with ways to start the whir of positive feedback for their restaurants. Today, we are going to talk about five of these ways to build buzz for your new restaurant and get your tables filled.
When starting your new restaurant promotions, you’ll find there are some free, or nearly-free, ways to get the word out, and there are some ways that cost a bit more. Your best option is to utilize the free options and plan for marketing dollars in your business plan. Set aside money to help create the buzz so you aren’t tempted to take more than you need.
Here’s how you build buzz for your new restaurant.
While newspaper advertising may be expensive, if you’re creative, you can find some free ways to promote your restaurant in your local newspaper. Let’s discuss a few of them:
Invite your local newspaper’s lifestyle editors and writers to lunch or dinner. Make sure to invite them personally, especially the food writers. Send personalized invitations and follow up with an in-person invite or phone call.
Think about holding a private tasting party for this clever group. Encourage them to take photos of their favorite dishes and write a food review for the Saturday edition. As an added bonus, suggest they write about their experience at your restaurant on their company blogs.
The great thing about newspapers these days is they are in print and online. Really appeal to this newspaper group, and you’re well on the way to creating buzz for your new restaurant.
Craft a creative press release. Send it over to your local newspaper with a sampler plate of some of your favorite items – appetizers and desserts work well for this. Since it can be difficult to get newspaper staff to pay attention to press releases, this is one way to really wow They’ll certainly remember how you went out of your way, and you just might earn some free buzz.
Your city probably has several specialty newspapers and/or locally-published magazines. You can recruit buzz from their staff in much the same you solicited it from your local newspaper.
You do have a few more options with a specialty newspaper or magazine especially if your town boasts ones that concentrate on food, dining out or eating healthy. Go to these folks and promote your unique selling point.
These writers and editors are always on the look-out for the newest restaurant on the scene. They derive great pleasure in announcing the-next-best-thing!
Consider advertising in your specialty newspaper or magazine. If they offer restaurant reviews and dining tips, this is a great place as you have a ready-made, willing audience. This readership wants to know about your new restaurant.
As with newspapers, local television stations are about more than just buying expensive advertising space.
Although, if your budget allows it, you can certainly explore rates for television commercials. If you go this route, make sure you place your ads during television shows that might bring your restaurant business. For example, if you are a vegetarian restaurant, don’t advertise during a hunting show.
Television stations often place digital ads called behavioral ads. These are the online ads that follow you around from site to site. Have you ever shopped for a pair of shoes online, only to find an ad for the same shoes in your Facebook newsfeed? This is behavioral targeting. Television stations can help you place this type of ad, too.
You can also explore free advertising on television. Consider the daily news programs. The morning shows are great places to talk about your restaurant. Again, use the personal touch. Get in contact with your local TV anchors. Bring some food and a press release. Tell them what’s great about your restaurant and why they should talk about you.
Let your food sell itself. Invite local TV news crews to dinner as you did the newspaper folks. The TV staff is armed with video cameras, so a little nudge is all they need to feature you on the nightly news.
Remember, you ARE the next big thing!
We talk a lot about blogs. Why? Because they are so important to your online marketing. They are a great place to create buzz, share videos and recipes, and post content that is interesting to potential diners.
Once you’ve created a blog post, make sure to link it to your social media pages and to different spots on your website. Add social share buttons to your posts and encourage comments and feedback.
In this day and age, you can’t avoid social media as it is perhaps one of the best ways to build buzz for your new restaurant. Sign you restaurant up for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Yelp. Start building a fan base – one easy tip is to start with people you already know.
Post beautiful, inviting photos of your food on social media. (tweet this) Take short videos of your restaurant in various stages before it opens and share them online.
Engage your audience. Throw in contests, quizzes, helpful tips and links to your blog posts. Intersperse these posts with coupons, but don’t do this too often. Remember – social media is about the conversation. Talk first, sell later.
Case study: A creative restaurant owner in Milwaukee increased his Sunday sales more than 110% using social media. How? He held a Foursquare Swarm Badge Party. He basically invited a flash mob to his restaurant, and they of course, ate.
So, when it comes to social media, creativity wins the day. Brainstorm ideas with your staff and put your plans in motion.
One thing we haven’t touched on is your brand. Before reaching out and starting your marketing, make sure you know exactly what your restaurant is – what’s unique about your restaurant? Develop your brand from your logo design to your website to your dining room décor.
Make sure your message is consistent across all platforms. (tweet this) Make a marketing plan. Don’t concentrate on just one platform. Explore several and see what works for you. Encourage friends and family to share about your new restaurant. Get out and network.
Take these steps, and you’ll no longer wonder how to build buzz for your restaurant. You’ll be busy serving food to eager diners who can’t wait to share the gem of a restaurant they just found.
Do you have a blog on your website? Is your website mobile friendly? If not, or you’d like a website tune-up and refresh, contact us for your free website consultation. We’ll make sure your brand is consistent, and your online message strong!