Whether you are the latest business on the block wondering how to market your restaurant locally or are already well established but need to get even more people at your tables, there are a variety of methods for luring hungry locals to your seats and menu.
Every restaurant owner wants their business, food, and hospitality to be the talk of the town – and these days, there are more ways than ever to get mouths watering.
If you don’t have a marketing strategy to get locals at your door or your strategy hasn’t yielded the hoped-for results, here are some tips for how to market your restaurant locally, generate buzz in the community and increase the chances of diners opting to eat from your kitchen.
While digital marketing has taken over the world, offline and local restaurant marketing ideas can help you grow your business from its roots. So, what are you waiting for? Go through the following ideas and boost your local restaurant business.
How to Market Your Restaurant Locally: Tips & Tricks
Interact with locals old-school
As effective as social media and email marketing campaigns are, you still cannot beat old-school interaction with the community you want to serve.
You can still use social media as part of the advertising campaign but also put out advertisements in local papers, distribute flyers, and put them up around town where allowed.
If you want to promote your delivery menu around the neighborhood, download our online ordering flyer template advertising new menu items and customize it as you wish.
If the budget allows for it, use local TV and radio too. Advertising in this way not only enhances your restaurant’s visibility. It also integrates it into the community and it’s more likely to get people talking.
Host a themed night with a special menu – perhaps to celebrate a public holiday or another local event. A more hands-on approach will give your business a friendlier face. It will make it more attractive and approachable compared to advertising solely online from a distance.
Collaborate with other businesses
Another sure-fire way to generate interest and amp up the buzz is if you can join forces with another local company for a campaign or special event – even a fundraiser.
Collaboration with other local businesses will increase the sense of community and give your own business a friendly face. That is true of the general public but of other business owners too, all of which gives people a bigger incentive to come in through your doors.
Market your restaurant locally online
Social media can still play a massive part when it comes to ways in which to market your restaurant locally.
For example, geotagging is a must if you use platforms such as Twitter. Localized hashtags will go a long way to making you seen in the area. And if you don’t have a Google business profile yet, you need one.
Google can generate a huge uplift for businesses. Any local searches for food services will display your business, so make sure to keep your information accurate and up to date.
If you make changes to your menu, be sure to amend your profile. Plus, add photos of your mouth-watering house specialties to get people drooling.
If you have searched for anything on Google – who hasn’t? – then you are well aware of the “near me” option when searching.
This feature bumps anything relevant with positive reviews to the surface. So don’t be shy when it comes to making polite requests for your customers to give feedback on their lunch or night out at your restaurant.
Continue reading: 4 Tips That Can Boost Your Local SEO for Restaurants
Your restaurant’s Facebook page must also always be up-to-date: opening times, menus, reservation details, take-out, and delivery stipulations if you provide that service.
Keeping social media platforms up-to-date is paramount. If you don’t, you are only leading your customers to potential disappointment. Consequently, they will avoid your business in the future.
You can also add an online ordering button to your Facebook page using Facebook’s Start Order CTA button and our ordering link.
Your restaurant website
You have a restaurant – then, there is little doubt that you also have a website for your business. It may (or may not) seem obvious, but ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly can help you market your restaurant locally.
More often than not, people use their phones when it comes to finding somewhere to eat. That’s usually because they happen to be on the move already or have decided to suddenly plan a night out.
Ensuring your webpage is optimized for viewing on mobile phones is essential – but it’s a detail that can be easily overlooked or not even considered at all. Having a restaurant website will allow you to use promotional tools, which will help generate leads and increase sales.
Start to invest in SEO, PPC, and even exit popups to make the website attractive for your target audience. Doing so will make your website easier for your old and new customers to navigate.
With all the necessary information right there in front of them, without having to scroll around all over the place, your potential clients will remain engaged and not click out and look for somewhere else to eat.
Do local networking in the community
Just because your business peers are also your competitors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know them. You’re in the same trade so there’s no reason not to get to know each other. It’s possible that one of these local restaurants inspired you to start your own.
Some friendly competition never hurt anyone, and by interacting with and getting to know other local eateries you simultaneously make yours a part of the community.
There’s an immediate unspoken camaraderie when, for example, one nurse meets another nurse, or an accountant meets another accountant. Restaurants are no different, so don’t be afraid of getting to know the competition.
As for local businesses unrelated to the food industry – these are potentially some of your best customers in waiting.
People in offices or working in local shops have lunch breaks. Additionally, those local shops and business offices have staff events – even if it is just once a year at Christmas.
Get to know the managers, owners, and the staff at the registers. This way, you are more likely to get a booking for the office Christmas party at your restaurant, and therefore, more likely to get attendees coming back to eat your food in the new year.
Get involved in local activities
Another way to interact and become a friendly face to the community, enhancing the likelihood of people wanting to eat at your restaurant, is to get involved in local activities put on by other entities.
Does a nearby school have a fundraiser? Then get involved and offer to cook for them. If there is a hospital nearby, why not have discounts for Emergency Room staff?
Alternatively, fundraise for a local cause yourself with an event night. Weaving your way through the local community is one of the most powerful ways in which to market your restaurant locally.
Instill a sense of teamwork in your staff
As with any other business operation, ultimately, no company is a success without great employees. Friendly reception staff and accommodating waiters and waitresses serving the food are all elements that will naturally go a long way to ensuring the return of your customers.
Your team members can not only build relationships with returning customers but can themselves spread the word amongst their families and friends, maintaining the buzz around your restaurant.
You might also like: 12 Restaurant Management Tips for Happy Employees & a Successful Business
There is much to learn in terms of how to market your restaurant locally, from old-school tactics to new ones. Luckily, there is no reason why the old tried and tested methods can’t be complemented by digital marketing across social media.
Alone or combined, these methods can be very effective at drawing the neighborhood to your menu and getting your restaurant’s reputation sealed as an important part of the community. Arguably though, the best tool you can use to promote your business is word-of-mouth – so get people talking.
Dmytro Sokhach is an entrepreneur and a 6-Figure Flipper Club member. Founded Admix Global (web agency) that builds websites, makes them profitable, and sells them as a business.