When do you start marketing for your new restaurant?
Restaurant marketing starts too late is one of the common mistakes made by new restaurant owners. They normally wait until they open their physical restaurants before they start to think how to market their new restaurants. After all, who would ever think of restaurant marketing when one has thousands of things to complete before the restaurant officially launch. New restaurant owner generally believe things will start to pick up when the restaurant opens.
Unfortunately, restaurant businesses are extremely competitive in Singapore, it might be a little too late to think of how to attract customers when the restaurant starts operation. Every day, there will be a lot of challenges that need the restaurant owner’s attention and hence restaurant marketing will normally be the last in the to-do list.
If you are one of the new restaurant owners, do not make the same mistake and start to do your restaurant promotions as early as possible to increase the success rate of your restaurant.
In this post, we are going to look at some marketing tactics on how to market a new restaurant before it even open its door.
- Start Building Brand Awareness
- Build Up Customer Database
- Build Up and Secure Your Online Assets Early
- Know Your Target Customer Beforehand
- Get Media Attention
The above marketing tactics are essential to build the foundation of your restaurant before opening so invest some time doing them well rather than leaving them to the last.
Here are the details.
You can start creating your brand early and develop brand awareness even before your restaurant open. It’s good to set up your restaurant’s Facebook business page as soon as you confirm your restaurant location.
Use the Facebook page to provide interesting story about your restaurant to attract Facebook followers. For example, update your Facebook followers with news such as the-behind-the-scene of your restaurant renovation, recruitment and team development. Turn your Facebook followers into fans so that when the restaurant opens, they can help to spread the news to their friends and families. Word of mouth is more effective than advertising as people trust the recommendation from their friends and family than a commercial advertising.
As mentioned above, when you start to build your own list of customers by using the email marketing for restaurants, you are more in control of your own restaurant marketing and promotion. It will save you massive advertising cost which can cost from few hundred to thousand dollars per ad campaign. In contrast, email marketing only cost less than $30 per month for basic plan.
By using the auto-scheduling and mass email blasting feature in email marketing, you can grow your customer database further with the following marketing tactics:
- By offering discount on special occasion e.g. birthday, anniversary or job promotion.
- Invite friends and family members as a group to enjoy table discount.
- Excusive invitation for your subscribers.
What is your online assets? They are your website, blog and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. These online assets help to place your restaurant on the online space and allow your potential customers to find and reach your restaurant easily.
It is important to develop and secure your online assets early, for example the domain name of your website. You may come out with an impressive restaurant name but the domain name could have been already taken by some other restaurants. This will both cause confusion to your potential customers and affect your brand identity.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Website
Many new restaurant owners do not think a website is a must since they can have a free Facebook page or other social media platform to promote their new restaurants. You are missing a lot if you think this way as you are not leveraging the power of a website.
Having a well-designed website not only help in your brand image but also helps to improve your search result ranking in different search engines. If your restaurant website is well optimized for certain keywords, it will be listed top in the search result amid other competitors. For example, if your restaurant is offering “Traditional Japanese Dining” and your website appear on the first position of the search result when customers are searching for it, congratulation! Your restaurant will get more chance to be visited than your competitors.
In addition, the website is an excellent lead generator and can be used to collect your potential customers’ email address. Once you have a database of customers’ email address, you are already half a battle won. This will help to manage your restaurant seating capacity in future.
You must know what type of customers you want to attract to your restaurant and know what they want so that you can customize the restaurant menu, serving and marketing messages specifically for them. Every restaurants attract different type of customers such as the family, dating couples, office workers, corporate diners and casual diners.
In each group of customers you can further segment them so that you can further target them as your niche market. For example, for the “Office Workers” segment, you can break them down into different diners as follow:
New Restaurant Customers Segmentation
From the above chart, you can see that there are many ways to sub-segment your customers. For instance, if you are targeting “Health-Conscious Diner” market, you can come out with a Vegetarian menu or a Low Carb menu.
When you have your own database of customers, you can easily survey them to get even more details such as their demographics, preferences and even their special dietary requirement. The surveying can be done either by a survey software or email marketing software which has the automatic capability to segment customers based on their preferences. As a result, you can gain insights of your customers and personalise menu and dining experience for them.
The restaurant website and social media channel are good places to showcase your restaurant décor, crews and menu. Each restaurant will have an interesting story to share especially when the restaurant owner who is passionate about food and cooking will have a lot to share with the social media followers. Let them feel your passion and love of food and they are more willing to help to spread your love too.
All these information you put on social media platforms will be indexed permanently in the search engines and they will be found on the online space if you have placed the right keywords or unique Hastag e.g. #lowcarbmenu in your posts. Engaging posts will be liked and shared virally on social media platform; they can help you to earn media attention which is another good publicity to your restaurant so it’s worth to plan early than later.
In order to survive in this competitive F&B industry, one has to be creative and need to move fast. New restaurant owner must be able to think ahead and try out marketing strategy that other restaurants might have overlooked. The above marketing tactics are surprisingly simple and yet easy to implement. They can help to develop your competitive advantage earlier and set your restaurant apart from the rest of competitors.
What’s your thought on this, feel free to leave a comment below.