restaurant marketing trends
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Restaurant marketing is becoming more and more popular (and challenging) in today’s world. First of all, the number of businesses going online is growing exponentially as people gain more trust in online reviews and orders.

Besides, restaurant owners have to come up with creative ways to gather data and attract new customers. And without studying restaurant marketing trends, you’re just taking shots in the dark.

Luckily for both parties, we are ready to delve into a set of marketing ideas that will leave you and the foodies visiting your place satisfied.

From hygiene to online presence, here are the 10 best restaurant digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2022.

Restaurant Marketing Trends Expected to Bloom in 2022

We’ll group trends and recommendations into categories for your convenience. We’ll cover:

  • Customer care (online and offline)
  • Online visibility
  • Reputation marketing
  • Personalization

Lately, it’s more about the customer than about the business. When the customer is happy, your revenue increases, and you can grow as a brand. Take this into account when creating restaurant advertisements.

Customer Care

One of the best marketing ideas for a restaurant involves looking into your customer care approaches and adjusting or improving them.

Online Ordering

Did you know that the food delivery market is expected to grow to over $190 billion by 2025? That’s 3x times more compared to 2017. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic also influenced this change.

One of the vital things every restaurant owner should have is an online ordering tool for their website. You can control the ordering process and grow brand recognition and customer loyalty.

The climate in the industry has changed dramatically in terms of customer expectations and demands. Provide your customers with a seamless ordering experience using the GloriaFood online ordering system.

Free Online Ordering System for Restaurants Installing it takes minutes - a piece of cake!

So, why is having an online ordering system important for marketing? Because the service industry has shifted more towards customer convenience and comfort.

Imagine two restaurant websites:

  • The first one has a vague description of their delivery service and a phone number
  • The second one has a detailed description of their delivery service and what it includes, with a visible order button. There’s also an easy order page where you browse the menu, add items to the cart, pay with your credit card, and receive delivery confirmation in real-time.

Which restaurant would you choose if both were new to you? We bet it’s the second one. That’s the connection between a flawless online ordering experience and restaurant marketing.

Order Processing Automation

Another one of the most prominent restaurant marketing trends for 2022 is automation. This is great for both restaurant owners and customers:

  • You’ll eliminate lots of manual actions, reducing the amount of work your employees have to do
  • Customer satisfaction will skyrocket due to minimal human error and the speed of processing orders

Nowadays, if you don’t automate, you won’t exist as a business. The software market is booming with demand, which means everyone has options. Decide on what you’re looking for (ambiance, design, customer-facing app, etc.) and pick a product that will:

  • Minimize or eliminate human error
  • Speed up the ordering process
  • Notify the kitchen about new orders

You can find all of these features and more with GloriaFood! It’s free, easy to use, and easy on the eyes – an essential tool for both restaurants and their customers.

Hygiene and Safety

Should we even mention how important hygiene and cleanliness are in places that make and/or serve food? Especially during a pandemic! Now, this topic is hotter than ever. And concerns go beyond sanitizers and masks.

90% of Americans consider hygiene one of the most crucial factors when deciding whether they will return to a place.

Some of the key trends in terms of hygiene mid-COVID19 are:

  • Embracing all expressions of cleanliness.
    Sanitation requirements are expanding and evolving. You can’t just wipe the dust off the counters several times during the day. UV sterilization and other kinds of air and surface cleaning are being introduced, taking hygiene to a whole new level.
  • Letting people witness the cleaning.
    Earlier, it was a rare occurrence to see restaurants cleaning unless you visited before closing. In the COVID19 era, many restaurant owners intentionally clean in front of their customers to show them how serious they are about hygiene and safety. A great marketing solution as well!
  • Introducing cleaning protocols at every corner.
    To further strengthen their reputation, many restaurants are introducing and using cleaning protocols everywhere, taking care of both their employees and consumers.
  • Automating everything possible.
    Another trend we have already addressed is automation. Online orders, wireless payments, and QR code menus should become your best friends. The less contact there is between personnel and customers, the better! As you get further in the automation process, you can use a semantic segmentation approach to make the data more precise for your AI model.

Watch the video below to learn how to create a free dine-in QR code menu for your restaurant.

After incorporating all these tips into your routine, it’s time to market them. This is where the almighty Internet enters the picture. Learn to broadcast your message about cleaning procedures on your website and social media, and you’ll get much more attention, respect, and customers.

A great example of broadcasting cleanliness online is Gordon Ramsay restaurants. They display their COVID19 measures on their website.

restaurant marketing trends: covid announcements

Here’s what you can do to relay your message to the online public:

  • Describe what you do to keep them safe
  • Notify them that you’re using digital menus if they don’t want to handle paper versions
  • Talk about how your employees follow all the rules of quarantine
  • Mention that you have cleaning protocols in place
  • Use social media to remind your audience about your cleaning procedures

If the topic resonates with you, NRN.com has a great collection of restaurants and/or chains that consumers consider the cleanest.

To summarize, hygiene is a fantastic restaurant marketing tool because it’s:

  • The essence of customer service these days;
  • A representation of the food safety of your establishment;
  • And it says a lot about your business and you as an owner.

Online Visibility

All marketing is digital marketing in this day and age. If you don’t have a website, most people won’t find out about your place unless they find it by chance.

With such a high demand for solutions, many online marketing strategies have emerged. Our job here is to guide you through the world of online visibility and explain its benefits for restaurant marketing.

We know that over 70% of people go online to check on the restaurants they may order from or visit.

Here’s what we’ll cover below:

  • Google My Business
  • NAP (name, address, phone number) optimization
  • On-site and off-site SEO
  • Reviews
  • Social media

Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the first platforms to make your establishment known. First of all, it provides the opportunity to be listed in Google Maps and local search results, making it easier for visitors to find your restaurant.

Additionally, on your page, you can use brand colors and mention essential information about your restaurant:

  • Location
  • Website
  • Ordering link
  • Social media links
  • Opening and closing times
  • Contact information

A link to your website will be listed as a backlink, another bonus of the service.

Learn more: How to Optimize Google My Business for Your Restaurant: Must-Know Tips

NAP Optimization

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number.

You see, Google only wants to supply users with trustworthy information. For this to happen, you have to be consistent with your data on your official website, Google My Business, and social media.

Moreover, the easier to find your contact information, the more likely visitors are to contact you to make a reservation. Check and update info regularly across platforms to remain in Google’s good graces.

On-Site and Off-Site SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is a set of actions you can do to get to a higher ranking in Google and other search engines, and it has many benefits, including brand awareness and more foot traffic.

SEO is the essence of digital marketing. Going deeper into the topic, there are two types of SEO:

  • On-site SEO.
    Everything concerning your website, including the keywords you optimize your content for and its quality, as well as tweaks that speed up your website, which contributes to the on-site metrics.
  • Off-site SEO.
    Everything concerning the rest of the Internet that is not your website or SNS is off-site SEO. The main players here are backlinks – links on other sites referring to your pages.

All this may sound confusing, but fortunately, there’s a whole set of tools you can use to analyze the condition of your website and brand visibility. Many effective digital solutions have been released to help you research and adjust both SEO directions.

One of the best multi-tool services is SE Ranking. SE Ranking has it all: competitor research, keyword search, analysis, backlink checker, etc. You can cover the needs of both on-page and off-page optimization with one tool and get improvement recommendations.

If you are undecided about which platform to choose, you can try most SEO services using the demo account the company offers to every user, and then decide.

More on this topic:

Reviews

84% of people trust online reviews, which makes them one of the biggest restaurant marketing trends of 2022. Usually, they find them on Google or social media. You have to be ready to do damage control and listen to your customers’ kind (or not so kind) words.

The better the reviews are, the bigger the possibility of getting to the top of the search engine rankings, as shown in the screenshot below.

restaurant marketing trends: local seo

Automation comes in handy when reacting to reviews. Consider arranging automatic replies that will assure every user that you’ll get back to them if there’s a problem.

Also, find the courage to respond to negative reviews. Because you never know, people may change their 2-star marks to at least 4 and use your services again if you work on it.

Social Media

No restaurant marketing trends list would be complete without social media. Around 82% of Americans have social media profiles, according to Statista. It’s one of the most important channels of communication with potential customers. While you can integrate UCaaS platforms or use email for customer communication, social media can still help you a lot.

Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Market events.
    You can market any restaurant event, bringing even more people to your restaurant. This can be anything from a New Year party to a charity collaboration with another company. Showing preparations and answering questions will draw attention to your events and create regular customers out of thin air!
  • Gather audience data.
    Simple polls on Instagram will help you understand the pain points of your target audience and adjust your offer in terms of target advertising.
  • Build and strengthen your brand.
    Look at the red and yellow colors. Immediately, you’ll think about McDonald’s. Look at green and white, and you’ll see a Starbucks logo.

mcdonalds logostarbucks logo

These colors are consistent on the companies’ sites, social media, etc. Add brand hues to your Insta, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and you’ll help customers remember your brand identity and build associations.

So, the next time they see you in the feed, users are more likely to place an order because it already looks familiar to them. The next step is to earn a reputation and a positive customer experience. Colors have a big effect on the perception of your brand, so whether you want a green logo, red logo, or white logo, take into account how they might project your brand in the future.

Learn more: 12 Restaurant Branding Ideas to Build a Memorable Presence

Reputation Marketing

Speaking of reputation, our next section is devoted to getting leads using the existing trust and authority that you have.

First, you build a reputation, working hard on it. Then, it works hard for you.

Your job is to build trust through:

  • Showcasing positive reviews
  • Cooperating with bloggers and influencers
  • Creating a community on social media.

How to do that:

  • Add testimonials and reviews to your website
  • Use ratings and reviews in ads – “A restaurant with 1,000 5-star reviews on Google” sounds better than “A good restaurant”
  • Use reviews (text and even profiles of people, if they have consented) on social media
  • Cooperate with influencers relevant to your industry and location

As you can see, social media is important in reputation marketing. If the website is your face, SNS is your soul.

78% of consumers make decisions influenced by social media. The same stats say that almost 55% use the media to look for products and compare and research businesses.

For example, The French Gourmet, a respected restaurant and caterer in San Diego, has a lot of heartfelt, personal testimonials on its website. After reading some of these, we want to visit them once we’re in town!

restaurant marketing trends: testimonials

Personalization

Being greeted in a restaurant or on its website as a regular is always pleasant. This is one of those timeless restaurant marketing trends.

According to Forbes, over 70% of shoppers react negatively to experiences that aren’t personalized. We suppose the situation is similar with restaurants. It’s always nice to feel special.

Personalization is an amazing tool in terms of restaurant marketing because you:

  • Learn the preferences of your audience
  • Improve customer experience, which inspires return visits
  • Predict trends among your regular customers
  • Get more positive reviews
  • Boost customer loyalty

Some ways to achieve top-notch personalization are:

  • Targeted content
  • Loyalty programs offering discounts and coupons
  • Review forms
  • Personalized support for regulars
  • Email marketing
  • Diverse menus

For example, Burger King and McDonald’s decided to make custom menus that change depending on the area (popular purchases in town), the temperature outside, time of day, etc.

So, if it’s freezing outside, you’ll be offered a cup of hot americano, and in sweltering hot weather, the suggestion will change to iced tea.

As another example, Not Your Average Joe’s welcomes you with an email stating you’re a member of a club, which already makes you feel special. This is basic personalization, and it looks so good!

Not Your Average Joe email club

Source: Not Your Average Joe’s Email Club

In email marketing, it’s not that difficult to refer to every subscriber by name if they mention it when applying for a restaurant newsletter. There’s even special software that allows you to modify the same image to suit different customers.

Technology allows for maximum personalization nowadays. Use it.

In Summary

The latest restaurant marketing trends encompass everything from hygiene to social media marketing. As a restaurant owner, you need to use every channel available to gain customers’ trust and build a reputation.

Adjust and automate online ordering, indulge in SEO to help foodies find out about you, keep your customers safe, and let them know you care about personalizing your services. Use image filters or effects to make your content and brand look professional.

Just one strategy won’t work on its own. You have to craft a system that will work best for your business. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of services and specialists that are ready to come to your rescue, even mid-pandemic!

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She delivers business-optimized content to help restaurants boost sales and grow their brand.

She wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.