STEP 1: BUILD A RECOGNIZABLE BRAND
Branding is your restaurant’s personality — it’s how you’ll showcase who you are to the world.
Create a restaurant concept: What are you offering, and how do you want to be perceived by your target audience?
Build your restaurant’s personality: If your restaurant were a celebrity, who would they be? If your restaurant were a person, what would they wear? What would they drive? What are their favorite colors? Favorite food?
Find your restaurant’s place in the market: Are there many restaurants in your area with the same price point and offerings? Even better, do a full competitive analysis.
Design a look and feel: Create your logo, color and font choices, website, and menu layout based on your restaurant’s personality.
Do this in phases to keep the workload and budget manageable. Start with signboards and menus, then gradually expand based on need and traffic to use your time and budget wisely. For instance, branded takeout packaging, a visual identity for social media, photography guidelines for your menu items.
You will want to consider who on your team will be responsible for marketing and branding efforts. Marketing your business is as important to it as the food you cook, and you may want to even pay someone extra to handle this side of the business.
STEP 2: MARKET YOURSELF
The possibilities for restaurant advertising are endless — here are some of the best ways we’ve found:
Get on social media and stay active: Show off your food, host events like trivia or live music, interact with the community, repost customers’ photos of your restaurant, and hit up partners and influencers.
Keep your Google Business Profile accurate: 87% of diners use Google before choosing a restaurant¹. See our best tips for running your profile.
Promote seasonally: Offer deals and promos for holidays or seasons, with special menus, events, and discounts.
Run ads: Push ads online through social media² or Google Ads³.
Update your online menu: Up to 77% of customers check the menu before visiting a restaurant⁴.
Optimize high-traffic touchpoints: Respond to online reviews. Add QR codes on bills or packaging to get customer feedback or offer discounts for future orders.
Create a loyalty program: It can be as simple as a loyalty card or giving them a free appetizer, dessert, or a discount to reward regular visits.
STEP 3: SET GOALS TO MEASURE SUCCESS
Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your brand and your initiatives, you can set specific goals for each. For example:
Being active on social media:
Track engagement and number of followers so you know your reach and how much they interact with your content. Assess your progress and optimize accordingly.
Starting an email or newsletter campaign:
Email metrics tell you which messages land best with customers. For reference, the average open rate for restaurants is 19.77%, with a click-through rate of 1.34%⁵.
Sending out promo codes or discount offers:
Keep a close eye on which deals are used the most so you know which ones are the most enticing.
Utilizing various ordering channels:
Monitor performance growth for each, like takeout versus dining in, so you know where to spend your budget (such as exclusive online deals to encourage more orders or special in-restaurant events).
Your strategies and goals will likely evolve as your restaurant does. Getting a firm grasp on the marketing basics can help you pivot quickly.