With one-third of restaurant owners and operators saying they spend less than an hour on marketing each week, it’s clear that many restaurateurs think they don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing their business. This idea that marketing has to be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive is a myth that we’re here to debunk—along with a few other common marketing misconceptions. In this article, we shed some light on the reality of marketing in the restaurant industry and prove that getting started promoting your business doesn’t have to be so daunting.
Myth #1 – Marketing a restaurant is too complicated and time-consuming
Even less-than-tech-savvy restaurant owners and general managers can market their restaurants with the right tools and simple, yet effective strategies.
- Marketing automation tools—like the ones included with Popmenu—can send communications to guests based on different scenarios and behaviors (think a happy birthday message or a reminder to leave a review) without any attention required from you or your team.
- Integrations with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook make it easy to plan and schedule content ahead of time so you can set it and forget it.
- Design tools like Canva make it easy to design creative marketing content for your website, social media, emails, and more.
There are also plenty of ways you can gather valuable insights into effective strategies for marketing your restaurant. Platforms like Popmenu, Restaurant Dive, and Restaurant Business Magazine share thought leadership, simple tips and tricks, and best practices for restaurant marketing across various channels.
Myth #2 – Driving results is too expensive
You don’t have to spend big dollars on advertising platforms like Google or Facebook to see results. Organic communications are free and allow you to share thoughtful, genuine content from the floor of your restaurant while consistently engaging with your customers. In addition, it’s a great way to share your brand’s personality and build awareness. Check out The Chori Man’s Instagram to see how this large restaurant chain uses organic content to showcase their brand.
While sponsored or paid social content can help you expand your reach, target new audiences, and increase engagement, there is no guarantee you will get a solid return on investment. The same goes for paid advertising on Google.
Consistently updating your site with content like blog articles, events, and press pieces can go a long way, and it’s free. A website that is user-friendly and built to rank highly on search engines can generate excellent results by putting your website above your competitors. Popmenu client Winking Lizard is a great example of how a little intention behind your website can make a big difference.
Meaningful and consistent organic content will drive results, capturing the interest of loyal guests and potential new customers over time. If it’s in your budget and you’re interested in exploring paid content, start with a small spend to see how you can leverage this to expand your reach. Don’t stress about spending big bucks to drive results when free content strategies can get the job done just as well.
Myth #3 – Email marketing does not work
Email marketing is an incredibly effective way to connect with customers—especially in restaurants. Email remains a top marketing channel for delivering the highest ROI, with an average of $42 earned for every dollar spent. Not to mention, the average open rate for restaurant emails is 20%.
Email is an incredibly viable way to remind guests about business operations, new menus, events, and specials; and with the right marketing tools, you can easily create customized branded emails that drive orders and build awareness around your restaurant.
Myth #4: Offers are tacky and not useful
Deals and offers can have a significant impact on where diners decide to eat; 54% of consumers say that coupons and discounts encourage them to try a new restaurant. Offers are an effective way to remind guests about your restaurant and incentivize them to make another visit—and with 65% of consumers want to receive special promotions from restaurants at least once a week, you can be certain that guests will be happy to hear from you.
If you’re worried about your margins, utilize offers lightly and with a purpose and look for ways that you can earn value as well: like a 10% introductory offer that incentivizes customers to sign up for your email list. The key to successful offers is tying them to your needs; when done well, offers can help to deepen guest relationships and drive transactions and revenue.
Myth #5 – PDFs are sufficient for online menus
93 percent of customers check a restaurant’s online menu before visiting a restaurant, so it’s important to make sure your menus are best designed to entice guests to visit or place an order.
While uploading PDF feels like the easiest go-to for online menus, they provide a poor user experience for guests—especially on a mobile device. In fact, 30% of guests said they will automatically move on if they see a PDF menu on a mobile device.
Another downfall of the online PDF? It can’t be read by search engines—meaning your website misses out on crucial rankings. By using an interactive menu with unique URLs for each dish, search engines like Google can connect those pages with related search queries like chicken sandwich near me or best pizza in Cleveland.
Interactive menus also provide diners with the information they need to make a dining decision–including dish photos and reviews. What’s more? Every menu interaction yields an opportunity to collect guest contact info that can be used to build loyalty through marketing emails, offers, texts, and more!
Myth #6 – Marketing isn’t necessary to be successful
With over 3.96 billion users on social media and 5.6 billion searches on Google per day, there are countless opportunities to connect with new and current customers. Any opportunity missed is a chance for a competitor to grab a diner’s attention, so taking advantage of every avenue is crucial to growing your restaurant.
Using simple, yet effective marketing strategies will guarantee your restaurant remains top-of-mind, even amongst the competition. Marketing tactics like email, loyalty programs, offers, and more can help you communicate with long-time guests, drive more revenue, and increase foot traffic on slower days. Even a little bit of marketing can go a long way.
Looking to get started with your “little bit of marketing”? Popmenu can help! Our platform is built to make it as easy as possible for restaurateurs to market their business with websites built for SEO and a full suite of marketing tools to help you connect with guests. From SMS and email marketing to social media and Google Business Profile integrations, everything you need to keep your restaurant top of mind with guests is available under one login. Schedule a demo to learn more.