Customer experience plays a major role in creating the perfect guest experience in a restaurant. The restaurant business is a risky investment and a study by Ohio State University shows that about 60% of the restaurant businesses do not cross the first year, and 80% or more restaurant businesses fold down in 5 years. Customers expect the best service and hospitality from the restaurant, and customer retention is something every restaurant strives hard to maintain. It’s not just with the cuisines or the ambience. It takes a lot more to establish a successful business.
So, how do restaurants build customer loyalty and engagement to keep the juices flowing for them? The answer is simple, by fuelling some marketing strategies to retain their customers and keep them happy. But, simply having a restaurant marketing strategy will not bring success or increase the revenue. It’s important how effective the strategy is that makes your business successful. Marketing gone wrong can waste your time and business opportunities, and put a bad face on your customers. Here are a few mistakes that you must avoid:
Not having a restaurant website or having one that is poorly maintained is the first marketing mistake. Most restaurants fail to update their website with the latest information. In most cases, they don't even bother to update the home page banners with new offers and new launches. Along with updating the website with new content, it also important to ensure that you add the basic information like Address, Contact Details, Social Media links, online food ordering link, and a menu. Get your restaurant business listed on Google My Business. Make sure your website is device responsive, especially for handheld devices.
Some restaurants have the best websites but miserably fail by not having the “Online Ordering” option. Someone visiting your restaurant website is, in fact, looking to order from your website or make a reservation. Adding the option of making an online order doubles the chances of getting your customer. If it’s not feasible to maintain a dedicated online ordering system, register your restaurant with food portals like Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats, etc., and give a link from your website.
Lastly, integrate a feedback system into your website and receive feedback for your service. Customers get the feeling of satisfaction and you get an opportunity to rectify if something is not right.
If you not leveraging the power of social media marketing, you're losing a big chunk of customers. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook let you target your customers locally, enabling your business to get more visibility on search terms like "restaurant near me". You can upload the images of your delicious food, share behind the scenes, introduce your chef or share customer testimonial videos. All these strategies work wonders for a food business, tempting people to order from your restaurant. For a restaurant business, Facebook and Instagram are considered to be one of the best channels for digital marketing.
Create a monthly social content calendar and post regularly to build engagement with your followers. Remember to follow the social media best practices for improved results. Don’t hand over your social media to inexperienced marketing folks to save cost! Work with an experienced marketing agency if you want to run paid ad campaigns to boost your online presence.
The reason most marketers value email marketing is that it's an easy way to start reaching customers without investing a lot in new technology or software. Segment your customers into different categories and send them relevant emails/SMS messages based on their behaviour. Make sure you don’t send too many promotional emails/messages. Customers will get annoyed and chances are high for them to mark your business as “Spam” and eventually take a hit on your domain rankings. Place an option on your website for subscribers to manage their email/SMS preferences.
While marketing is important for a restaurant business, it’s more important to get it done right. Dedicate time and effort on your marketing strategy to get the best results. Leave some space for tweaks and modifications to accommodate the frequently changing digital marketing world.