As a restaurateur, you need to think about your business in a creative way. You are not only running a restaurant, you need to think of ways to draw people in and keep them engaged with your brand. Restaurants can engage their customers in more ways than just an order, number and meal. By thinking outside of the restaurant box, you can generate new ideas on how to market to your guests to help create more revenue for your business.
We gathered these handful of tips for improving your customer experience and leveraging technology to make your restaurant more successful. Check them out.
Create a signature menu item
Create a menu item that pushes the boundaries of creativity, using unique ingredients and flavors.
A signature dish is any one of the restaurant's more notable dishes. It might be one of the chef's favorite recipes or a featured seasonal selection. The best part about having a signature item on your menu is that it helps define the overall brand and style of your restaurant. Use a custom pick to seal the deal on your signature item. This will create a unique touch that will help your guests identify and remember it. It also gives it a wow factor that they crave.
Invite local food bloggers and vloggers
Invite your local food bloggers and vloggers to sample your cuisine. Each blogger or vlogger will write about and photograph your menu, which is ideal for additional advertising. Incentivize them with a complimentary meal, or offer to give them an exclusive discount card that they can share with their social media friends.
Check out this article from Toast on how to start: CLICK HERE
Use holidays and national food days to your advantage
Restaurants never need to run out of content ideas and inspiration with this complete list of annual food holidays! There is a holiday for almost any item on your menu. Scroll through the list and make note of the ones relevant to your restaurant.
Here is the link to a food holiday calendar. CLICK HERE
Create International Food Vacation experiences for your guests without them leaving their seats!
Introduce your guests to the world's food and cultures through appetizers served with a unique twist.
For example, try featuring appetizers from around the world. Exciting International Food Vacations are sure to give your guests an experience they’ll never forget. Print out special cards that walk your guests through each appetizer highlighting unique facts about the dish and country it hails from.
You can take this different ways with other travel themes, such as cuisine from another time and/or a specific place.
Create a menu item that will blow their minds
Think of a menu item that will make your guests’ jaws drop. Something your guests will remember for years to come. It may even go viral among your followers. For example, French fry a la mode, gold leaf truffle taco, a food sculpture, to name a few. Create a menu item with an all time favorite snack food. Maybe use organic food dyes, edible flowers, herbs, spices, or trending foods with your own twist. As of today, mushrooms, mocktails, tequila, and pistachios are the most popular. What will be next? Just google "foods trending now" and be prepared for an array of inspiration.
Offer social media fans (& your SMS/text list) an offer they just can't refuse
Give your social media & SMS/text fans a special deal that only they will receive. Offering exclusive offers on your fan's favorite products is a great way of keeping them coming back, while also adding excitement to their experience with your brand!
Be active on your social pages
Share lots of photos of your menu items and team in action. Post (with permission) photos of happy guests enjoying your tasty creations. Get your team to do tik toks and reels on downtime. Have fun with it. Don't forget to update your online profiles and leverage reviews.
Pop up a tent!
Set up a booth at local events, such as farmers markets and Food Festivals, for patrons to sample your amazing flavors. Serve a bite of your signature pasta or small sips of your signature cocktail. This will help build your community network and bring more brand awareness and future opportunities.
Think “inside” the box with take out charcuterie boxes. Create a box of small bites that your guests will absolutely drool over. Have a standard box with meats, cheeses, and crackers. Have a deluxe box with everything in a standard box along with fruits and veggies. Create specialty boxes with a variety of mini sliders or desserts.
Collaborate with other brands
Have a beverage brand host a tasting in your bar or restaurant. You could partner with them to create a custom cocktail menu item, or have them make an appearance at your establishment for example as a part of their national tour.
Look around and see what items you use on a regular basis, reach out to them, ask if they want to go in on a photographer and split the cost. When you know the right people, opportunities will come to you.
Have a mobile app with loyalty rewards, menus, reservations, happy hour games, etc.
Work on SEO
You can work on SEO by understanding your customers, keywords and the benefits of a great search engine. Understanding these three things is important to stand out in search results, which will help grow your business. Make sure your content is relevant and up-to-date, using keywords in your site's meta description and title tags, optimizing the headings on each page.
Digital ads are all the rage
Think about running google and facebook ads. Running Google and Facebook ads is a great way to promote your brand and get more customers.
Use food picks and skewers to engage your guests!Make your next big event an even bigger hit! Customized food picks, gourmet skewers and drink stirrers are an easy way to add some flare to any get-together or event. Skewer your garnishes, burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers for an outstanding memorable dining experience.
It’s an influencer's world
Using an influencer can help to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience. Additionally, it can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers, as well as create a more personal connection with your target market. Find someone who has a large social media following, whether that is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Meet with them to discuss what they are looking for and make sure they are willing to post about you. Offer cash or meals as payment.
People get inspired by others doing great things. Your talent is making great food. Why not write about it. Not only will it inspire the chef within the reader, it will provide you with free advertising.
Grow your email list and put out newsletters
Talk about all the great things you got going on. Email newsletters are the best way I know to help you grow your business. Use it to serve your readers new menu items, promotions, specials, events, contests, special hours, birthday coupons, and ask for feedback. Doing this will help drive traffic to your website and also get them in your door.
We hope this helps inspire you to have fun, think outside of the box and keep building your brand.