The Do’s and Don’ts of Restaurant Marketing

The restaurant industry is a highly competitive one. So if you want to be successful in this landscape, restaurant marketing is a must. 

With so many restaurants vying for attention, it’s not enough to simply advertise your establishment on billboards or even T.V. commercials. Restaurant owners must hone their skills to develop comprehensive marketing campaigns that target multiple channels to make their restaurant stand out.

Effective restaurant marketing is essential for attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and ultimately achieving business success. In this article, we will discuss the do’s and don’ts of restaurant marketing, including how to market a restaurant on social media, create a strong brand identity, and leverage multiple restaurant marketing strategies to your advantage to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign that delivers results.

The Do’s of Restaurant Marketing

Many restaurants have failed within their first couple years of business because they did not properly market their restaurants. In the restaurant business, marketing and restaurant advertising can make or break your business. Franchise restaurants know this, which is one reason why they are so successful. These restaurants invest heavily in their marketing plans and develop comprehensive franchise marketing campaigns to ensure each location’s success. 

With the right marketing strategy and tools (and a delicious menu), your restaurant can become a huge hit. But what exactly are the right restaurant marketing strategies to use and how do you market a restaurant successfully? In this section, we will explore some of the do’s of restaurant marketing so you can successfully pull off your restaurant marketing plans.

Do: Define your target audience

One of the first things you need to do when crafting your restaurant marketing plans is to define your target audience. Knowing your audience is the first step towards a successful marketing campaign. 

You need to understand who your customers are, what they like, what they dislike, what they need, and what they want. This will help you craft restaurant marketing strategies that resonate with and appeal to your target audience. Once you identify your target audience, you will be better able to tailor your restaurant marketing strategies to meet their needs and wants.

For example, if you run a family-friendly restaurant, your target audience will be families with young children. Your restaurant advertising should place a strong focus on the importance of family and show how your restaurant contributes to the family experience in order to appeal to this audience.

Do: Create a strong brand identity

A strong brand identity is essential for any successful restaurant marketing plan. Restaurant branding makes your restaurant immediately recognizable to customers. It helps them identify your restaurant simply by the name, logo, or other visual elements, which can end up being a compelling marketing tactic in and of itself.

In order to develop a strong brand identity that is immediately recognizable, your brand identity should reflect your restaurant’s values, mission, and personality. These elements must be present in your restaurant’s logo, website, social media profiles, and other marketing materials. Your brand must be consistent across all platforms to create a strong brand identity that is clear, unique, and immediately discernible.

Do: Develop Comprehensive Restaurant Marketing Plans

A comprehensive restaurant marketing plan is essential for any successful marketing campaign. A good marketing plan involves target audience research to understand what appeals to your audience, competition analysis, setting goals and objectives, creating budgets, and determining the restaurant marketing tactics you will use to achieve your goals. 

A well-developed marketing plan is a roadmap of sorts for your restaurant’s marketing efforts, guiding decision-making and providing a clear focus on how to market a restaurant so as to deliver the best results.

Do: Use social media to your advantage

The world of restaurant advertising has come a long way since the days of radio and television advertisements. Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to restaurant owners today. 

Since social media is such an incredibly powerful tool, it should be included in any restaurant marketing plans you make. Using it will allow you to connect and engage with your customers, build brand awareness, and promote your restaurant. 

Create accounts on popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok for people to follow. But don’t just create an account and then neglect it. Maintain an active online presence. Regularly post updates and promotions and share high-quality photos of your food to keep your followers engaged. Use it to run contests, giveaways, or special promotions to incentivize customers to visit your restaurant.

Do: Offer promotions and specials

While restaurant marketing strategies have undergone massive changes in recent years, the good old-fashioned marketing methods still work. The key to a successful marketing campaign is to use a multi-faceted approach.  

Offering promotions and specials is a great way to attract new customers and keep your regulars coming back. Providing discounts on slow days of the week, running limited-time specials, or creating loyalty programs are all great restaurant marketing strategies that draw in more customers. But be sure that your promotions are visible on your website, social media, and other marketing materials to reach as many potential customers as possible.

Do: Partner with other businesses

Partnering with other local businesses is an excellent way to gain exposure for your restaurant. Consider partnering with local hotels, event venues, or other restaurants. This can help you reach new customers and create a sense of community.

You can also participate in community events, sponsor a local sports team, or collaborate with local non-profit organizations to increase brand awareness and expose your business to new audiences. These are more subtle ways to go about restaurant advertising while simultaneously garnering customer loyalty by giving back to the community. 

The Don’ts of Restaurant Marketing

While there are many restaurant marketing strategies you can include in your restaurant marketing plans and there are vast amounts of information available on how to market a restaurant, there are also things that you should absolutely not do when it comes to restaurant marketing. In this section you will learn about some of the don’ts of restaurant marketing.

Don’t: Neglect Your Online Presence

As we mentioned, in today’s digital age a strong online presence is crucial for any business, including restaurants. Neglecting your online presence can be profoundly detrimental to your restaurant’s success. 

Customers often search for restaurants online, read reviews, and view menus before deciding where to dine. Your website is often the first point of contact for some diners, so it’s essential that you leave them with a positive impression. If your website hasn’t been updated in months, is missing crucial information, has inaccurate or outdated content, or worse, doesn’t even exist, then you will lose a significant amount of website traffic and potential customers.

Ensure your website and all social media accounts are up-to-date, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate. Update your social media profiles and websites regularly with relevant information, high-quality photos, menus, promotions, and any other important information your customers should know. Also, claim your business on popular review platforms such as Yelp or Google My Business and actively monitor and respond to customer reviews or comments.

Don’t: Ignore negative reviews

Negative reviews can be challenging to deal with, but ignoring them is definitely not the solution. Respond to negative reviews promptly and professionally. Address any concerns or issues and offer to make things right. This shows that you value your customers’ feedback and are committed to providing excellent service. People are more likely to give your restaurant another chance and visit you again if you address negative reviews promptly and professionally.

Along the same lines, you don’t want to take too long to respond to negative reviews. A delayed response might cost you potential customers. People don’t like when responses are either delayed or unanswered, so not only have you lost the opportunity to respond to the customer who posted the negative feedback, but you may have also lost potential customers who read the negative review and did not see any response, leaving them with a negative impression of your establishment. 

Don’t: Ignore Email Marketing

While email marketing may seem outdated and ineffectual, it is a tried-and-true form of restaurant marketing. Email marketing is still an effective way to reach potential customers and keep them up to date on the types of things going on with your establishment.

It also allows you to reach an audience that may not be active on social media. Although social media use has skyrocketed over the last few decades, there are still many who either do not have or do not use social media but still regularly check their emails. Email marketing will allow you to reach this group of people. 

And it’s relatively easy to do: all you do is set up an email list and send out regular newsletters with promotions, special offers, news, and more. But take care not to spam people with too many emails; otherwise, you will end up annoying customers (and may even drive them away). 

Make sure that your newsletters are interesting, informative, and relevant. Don’t just send emails for the sake of sending emails. Bombarding people with emails might have the opposite effect that you want it to have: making customers not want to visit your restaurant. 

Comprehensive restaurant marketing plans are required to run a successful business. There are many different restaurant marketing strategies you can implement as part of your marketing campaign. In this article we have covered some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to restaurant marketing. 

There are many more things to consider when it comes to marketing your restaurant. Restaurant marketing is no longer as simple as it once was and pulling off a successful marketing campaign can be quite difficult to do. However, if you franchise with Mary Brown’s you gain access to our time-tested franchising system and a team of individuals who will help you market your franchise branch. 

With over 50 years of experience building successful stores, Mary Brown’s has perfected its methodologies and systems. And we’re always innovating, staying ahead of trends, and employing technology to the fullest to ensure our success. 

When you join Mary Brown’s, you are joining one of the fastest growing fast food restaurant franchises in Canada. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Mary Brown’s in your area or to inquire about the Mary Brown’s franchise experience, please visit our franchise inquiry webpage.

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