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The National Restaurant Association states that about 30% of restaurants in the United States fail, yep, you might thought more as many think about 80%, but in reality it’s closer to this number.

Even though that number may seem high, don’t let it discourage you from starting a restaurant.  To be successful, it will take a ton of energy, essential things like having the right concept for the right location, consistency in the quality of your food and  service.  In addition to these things and one of the most important factors is having the right plan to market your new restaurant.

There are many aspects of restaurant marketing to consider, and each one of them is important, especially in the digital world we live in. We are going to share with you the essentials of what you need to know about marketing a new restaurant.  Keep reading so you don’t forget anything when you’re putting your marketing plan in place. 

Develop an Identity

When you’re opening a new restaurant, you need to consider what you want your brand identity to be. Do you want it to be family-friendly, young and hip, romantic, or classic? What do you want your restaurant to be known for?  The right branding of your restaurant will play an important part how your are perceived, it will direct your messaging, tone of voice and influence the connection with your target audience. 

Once you decide on your brand identity, you’ll be able to start creating your marketing plan. This process will also help you understand your ideal customer and how to connect with them. You need to know what your customers like, understand their motivations, habits and preferences so you can use that information to create a cohesive strategy that speaks to them.

Build A Website

Having a website is absolutely essential. There needs to be a place where your customers can get information about your new restaurant; such as your menu, hours of operation, and location. It is very important that you ensure that your website is properly built for digital marketing, including the right information on the right place, include CTA’s to drive actions, build out the proper integrations with marketing software and optimize it for SEO. 

You should also include FAQs and a contact page. When you’re building your website, it’s important that it’s easy to navigate. People will click off, and they won’t return if the site is confusing and difficult to find information. 

Always pay attention to the font you’re using on your menu. It should be large and easy to read. A fancy cursive font might fit the aesthetic you’re going for, but it will be hard for your guest to read, which is the last thing you want. 

Create Social Media Pages

People take to social media when they need/want information. You can reach a larger audience if you’re on multiple platforms.

You’ll also be able to engage with more people.  Social media can be intimidating, but it’s not something you push off for later. It’s a must when you’re creating your marketing strategy.  

Get On Restaurant Apps 

Besides social media, people often use food and restaurant apps to find places to eat. People go to these apps with intent, which makes them different than social media.

Someone could be scrolling on Instagram or Tiktok and see your restaurant and save it for later, but they are more likely to go right away when they find it on a restaurant app. They make it easy for people to find exactly what type of food they want.

Many of these apps are free to use, so there’s no reason to avoid them. These apps and websites include TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Open Table. There are several more that you should look into as well. 

Focus On Online Reviews

Don’t underestimate the power of online reviews. Good reviews can go a long way, but people don’t always think about writing them.

It may seem weird, but asking your customers to write one is a great strategy. You can offer rewards for those who do. You should also set up a QR code for people to scan that takes them directly to the review site. You can even take to social media to ask for reviews. 

It’s also equally important that you respond to reviews, good or bad. Replying to good reviews will show your clients that you value their business and opinion. 

If you receive a negative review, be sure to respond quickly and professionally and try to win them back. Offer a solution and be open to change. Your responses are part of your marketing, and you want them to always reflect your values and mission. 

Send Out News Letters

Online newsletters can be effective, but there’s a fine line between too many emails and not enough. People don’t want to get bombarded with emails.

However, many people check their email multiple times a day, making it an easy way to get your information out there. Sending out information about events, promotions, new menu items, specials, and other relevant information by newsletter is affordable and doesn’t take up a lot of time.  

Offline Marketing Strategy 

Part of learning how to market a new restaurant is going offline. Even though a big part of marketing is online these days, offline strategies are still effective.

You can print menus and pass them out or leave them around town at local stores. Free samples are a great tactic too.

People love free stuff, especially good food. You can do holiday gift packages for locals and send out postcards. Even putting signs out around town that are eye-catching can be beneficial. 

Loyalty Programs

One of the best ways to encourage locals to come back to your restaurant is to create a loyalty program. There are several ways you can implement a program.  There are many platforms build for this that can help with this which include a messaging and CRM component to really be able be more effective with your marketing communication. 

As incentives, you can offer free desserts when customers spend a certain amount of money or allow them to earn points to have them come back to redeem them. Stamp cards are also an option, but people tend to lose them, so an online rewards system is your best option. 

How To Market A New Restaurant 

If you’re not an expert in marketing, don’t worry, you will be soon enough. These things will help you make your restaurant successful. Be patient with yourself when you’re figuring out how to market a new restaurant. 

If you’re still unsure or need a professional restaurant marketing agency, contact us here. We’ve been in your shoes before and know exactly what it takes and we will help you create an effective strategy that will keep your seats filled.