Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Are you a restaurateur? Are you adapting to the changes in the marketing landscape? Every restaurant has its own set of unique challenges. From finding new customers to finding employees, no restaurant is immune to market instability. Is there a way to combat this or are you at the mercy of the market? No matter how the economy is doing, there is someone making money. Why should that not be you?

In today’s article, I will provide tips on how to improve your restaurant with easy marketing tasks you can implement right away and see a positive return on investment (ROI). Many businesses, including restaurants, view marketing as an expense too hefty to bare. I challenge you to shift this way of thinking and look at it for what it really is. Marketing is not an expense; it is an investment. Great Marketing Doesn’t Cost Money, It Makes Money! This is why marketing is an essential part of the growth and development of any business.


Online Ordering Versus Call-In Orders


Many restaurants have a “bare minimum” approach where customers call ahead to place an order. Let’s go back in time when telephones were gaining popularity. Many restaurant owners thought people would prefer to dine-in. These restaurants did not invest in phones and neglected their customers by not offering this new service to them. Unfortunately, restaurant owners got complacent and “stuck” in yesterday’s approach which, eventually, forced them to close their doors. If these owners had remained vigilant, they could have avoided this. Looking back, it is easy to see how foolish these owners were for no investing in call-in orders. The time has come again to evolve with technology, but many owners are refusing, which may force them to close similar to the owners who refused telephone orders. It is time to recognize that online ordering is more profitable than call-in orders.

In addition to better margins, online ordering results in fewer errors by eliminating the human factor. Every restaurant owner has experienced a customer saying “This isn’t what I order” or “I told you without mushrooms”. Online ordering allows customers to have full control and get exactly what they want. Errors will still happen, but many will be on the customer’s end. Customers will be more understanding when it was a mistake they had made, which could avoid bad reviews. If a customer makes a mistake with their order and a restaurant still accommodates them, the customer will view this as the restaurant going above and beyond leading to happy customers and good reviews.


Online ordering also helps with administrative and logistic errors. Has anyone ever had a long line of customers in the store and a customer on the phone? Online ordering solves this problem and it goes one step further. It allows the customer to shop at their pace, analyze your beautiful menu, and may even “trick” them into spending more. Don’t believe me? 34% of consumers spend at least $50 dollars when ordering food online. Online ordering does not only increase the average order size, but it increases order frequency. Once, a customer orders from you once, they are more likely to keep coming back if they are satisfied with the seamless and streamlined ordering process. 25% of consumers saying they spend more on off-premise orders than dine-in. That being said, online ordering is not going away. If your restaurant does not adapt, it will likely be the next one to go away.


The best way to offer online orders is by creating your own website. There are platforms out there that allow you to place orders commission-free. Not only does a website allow you to have online ordering, but it also helps with your SEO. Every time someone visits your website your SEO ranking improves. The great thing when your SEO ranking improves so does the number of views you get onto your website due to collecting hirer online traffic. This makes having a website a huge opportunity for your restaurant.


Why is SEO important for Restaurants?


Have you ever been indecisive about what you wanted to eat for dinner? If so, you probably found yourself typing the phrase, “restaurants near me” into your favorite search engine, for example, Google. Did you know the first 5 restaurants listed on Google receive the business of 75% of those indecisive customers? Google ranks restaurants based on several factors including, distance, ratings, user traffic, and so much more. The search engine ranks businesses that are most relevant to the user. It is the job of the restaurant to build its relevancy, ratings, traffic, and other things that Google looks for. One of the best ways to build SEO for restaurants is through online ordering. Every time customers place orders your traffic and relevancy go up, which means Google is likely to rank your business higher.


Content Marketing


So, you may be wondering outside of online ordering, how can you improve your restaurant’s SEO? Digital marketing is where your prime focus and the majority of the advertising budget should be. By 2021, 75% of marketing budgets will go towards digital marketing. It is 62% cheaper and leads to 3x times as many customer acquisitions compared to traditional marketing. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media. Content is king. You want to have a lot of it and post often. What is more important than quantity is quality. The best posts are ones where restaurants show a picture of food, video of behind the scenes, and charity campaigns. If you are a local restaurant owner, you should brand your restaurant as one who supports the local community. Consumers will be more willing to eat at your restaurant if you contribute to helping your community and local economy. These can all be shared via digital marketing and a social media presence. In the end, your restaurant will save money and gain customers, it is a win-win. I will leave off by saying this once again: Great Marketing Doesn’t Cost Money, It Makes Money!

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