Due to the Coronavirus pandemic hitting restaurants hard, owners had to adapt to survive.
To ensure you sell food and make a profit in these trying times, you need to update your restaurant marketing strategy to fit the current climate. Below, you will find actionable tips that you can use to hit refresh on your marketing efforts.
10 Restaurant Marketing Tips to Use During COVID19
1. Keep in constant touch with your customers
One of the worst things about this pandemic is that it has put a wedge between restaurants and their clients by limiting face-to-face interactions. That’s why you need to capitalize on online communication. Use your website and social media profiles to keep customers informed about any changes to your menu, opening hours, cleaning routine, and more.
Don’t forget to also update your restaurant profiles on third-party websites like Google My Business and TripAdvisor. Wherever customers may stumble upon your restaurant, they should have enough information to make an informed decision. Can they dine in-restaurant or order food online? This brings us to the next point.
2. Start selling your food online
If you’re not offering delivery yet, it’s time to start. First, find a restaurant ordering system that best fits your needs. Then, enable customers to place food orders on your website, which is preferable to using a third-party delivery app because you keep all the profits. You can also take orders on your Facebook page by using Facebook’s ‘Start Order’ button.
If you don’t have a website for your restaurant yet, it’s mandatory that you create one since most of your customers will come from online marketing efforts. And don’t worry if you don’t have any IT knowledge. You can use a restaurant website builder to generate a sales-optimized website without spending a fortune.
3. Revamp your menu to make it more delivery-friendly
The next step in setting up your food delivery business is to look at your current menu and see if every item is suitable for delivery. Some dishes don’t travel well. Instead of sacrificing customer experience, it’s best that you remove them from the delivery menu and replace them with more suitable items.
For example, many restaurants are now selling meal kits and family bundles. These are great for two reasons. They travel well, and they provide enough food to feed an entire family while also giving them a fun activity to do.
4. Sell alcohol to-go
If your local regulations allow it, you can also start delivering alcohol with your meals. That can be beer and wine or cocktail kits that customers can put together at home. People miss going out for drinks as much as they miss a meal at their favorite restaurant, so be there for them.
5. Organize contests and giveaways on social media
Use your social media platforms to bring some excitement into your customers’ lives. And what better way to do that than by organizing contests and giveaways where they can win prizes? Whether that’s a free meal at your restaurant or a gift card they can share with a friend, you will raise engagement and interest without too much hassle.
Not to mention these types of contests can also provide you with free, user-generated content for your social media channels. Ask customers to recreate one of your recipes and tag you on Instagram. Then, you can share the results on your stories.
6. Add a thank you card to every delivery bag
Ever since the pandemic started, customers have stepped up and supported their favorite local business through thick and thin. The least you can do, as a restaurant owner, is to show them their support is appreciated. There are many ways you can do that, from offering constant promotions and discounts to simpler things that won’t cost you anything.
One of these things can be a hand-written thank you note placed in every delivery bag. These personalized tokens of appreciation can go a long way in securing customer loyalty and creating repeat business.
7. Offer customers something more than food
When people are sick of ordering takeout, come to their aid by sharing a few recipes of your most popular menu items that they can try to recreate at home. This won’t hurt your sales in any way, and it will bring you appreciation and gratitude from your customers.
Similarly, take a more personal approach on social media by sharing behind-the-scenes clips of your chef preparing a meal while offering professional advice. You can even ask your bartender to mix some cocktails for your viewers’ entertainment.
8. Provide no-contact delivery options
A great added benefit of any online ordering system like JotForm or GloriaFood is the ability to offer zero-contact order fulfillment options to your customers. That can be curbside pickup or no-contact delivery where the driver leaves the order at their doorstep. These options will make customers feel safer and better-taken care of by their favorite restaurant.
9. Partner up with local influencers
Food and restaurant influencers are also affected by the COVID19 pandemic. Reach out to influencers in your area and propose mutually beneficial partnerships. Depending on your budget, you might be able to promote your food to their followers and expose your restaurant to a broader audience.
If you don’t know any influencers in your area at the top of your head, the easiest solution is to use an influencer finding tool from the many that exist online.
10. Offer timely discounts and promotions
This is also a time to be creative with your restaurant promotions. Offers and discounts that speak to the current situation will naturally attract customers to your restaurant. Create themed evenings like “Lockdown Date Night,” “Friday Family Fiesta,” or “Zoom Movie Night.”
Pair them up with unique promotions like two desserts on the house, a serving of nachos for free with any order, or 20% off your pizza menu, plus a free drink. The choices are endless; you just have to think about what would most appeal to your customers.
If there’s one thing the Coronavirus pandemic has taught restaurant owners worldwide, they have to be ready for anything and learn to adapt fast. All that’s left for you to do now is make the most of a challenging situation. How? By learning how to promote your restaurant on a budget, with limited resources.
The tips and tricks above will help you stand out from the crown of restaurants fighting for the same thing: the attention of foodies and increased profits through customer loyalty.
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash