Introduction

Are you a proud owner of a restaurant that serves delicious food? Great! The future seems bright but success is not guaranteed in this business unless you work hard in a holistic way. A systematic plan is required so that your brand can reach out to more people.  

In recent years, restaurants have become more important and people dine more outside their homes. Restaurants compete towards providing the best customer service to retain existing customers and attract new ones. Thus, restaurant marketing is necessary for maintaining long-term growth. The initial step of restaurant marketing is to know the target audience as it helps you spend marketing resources tactfully.

In this digital era, running a restaurant can be an intimidating task because the target audience can criticize easily on social media. Now restaurant business is not only about amazing food and ambiance. You need to manage your online audience and cut through the noise so it does not affect your business. For this, a well-defined digital marketing strategy is necessary. 

Now when your dream has come true and you have opened a new restaurant, it is necessary to come up with new marketing ideas.  It can be challenging to run a restaurant business successfully but you need to be optimistic to achieve the best.  

In today’s fast-paced world, offering amazing food at an affordable cost is not enough to drag more customers to your restaurant. You need to market your brand effectively to reach out to as many people. Restaurant marketing can be daunting but it is necessary to push your business ahead.

Effective restaurant marketing tactics can enhance your visibility and help you shine in this competitive era. Without a clear understanding of restaurant marketing, you cannot develop strategies that can increase the chance of your success.

Restaurant Industry in North America

Over the past few years, United States has witnessed a spike in the restaurant industry. Since 2000, the sales of the restaurant industry have been more than doubled. Now restaurant business is a more crucial part of country’s development.

People are spending more money on dining than ever before. However, the nationwide restaurant closure due to the Coronavirus outbreak has severely affected the industry. Now people prefer home service rather than sit-down dining.

Quick-service restaurants are in a better position than full-service restaurants. In this tough condition, restaurants have increased their online presence. Takeaway and food delivery is thriving. The pandemic has bought drastic changes and the industry is adapting effectively.  Restaurants will take some time to reshape the business in the United States.

Key Restaurant Marketing Statistics

A tremendous spike is seen in online ordering and food delivery after COVID 19 pandemic. Restaurants have equipped their systems according to the trends to support online orders. Safety measures include a touch-less food menu, use of sanitizer, and much more. Restaurant industry statistics include data like people working in the restaurant industry, customers availing restaurant service per day, per month, and in a year, and the percentage of workers in this industry.

Restaurant industry sales were projected to be $899 billion in 2020 but then modified to $659 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The year 2020 was the worst time for the restaurant industry when restaurants captured only 45% of the food expenditure from consumers, which was 51% before the pandemic. Let us have a look at other data compiled from various online resources that give an idea about the challenges that the restaurant industry has to face after the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Approximately 50% of Americans have worked in a restaurant as a first job experience.
  • Nearly 60% of adults have worked in this industry once in their lifetime.
  • Because of a pandemic, the year-on-year decline in the percentage of consumers dining in was 65.91% (Jan 2021).
  • The restaurant industry has encountered a loss of $240 billion. The National Restaurant Association had initially projected sales of $899 billion but the industry generated $659 billion in 2020 resulting in a loss of $240 billion.
  • The share of the food dollar of the restaurant industry in the United States is 51%.
  • Between the years 2019-2020, the debt has increased to 8.1% for limited-service restaurants
  • COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior that severely affected limited-service restaurants. 50% of these restaurants have become distressed businesses.
  • As per NRA State of the Industry Factbook, 2020 the restaurant industry employment would reach 17.2 million by 2030 which is the addition of 1.6 million jobs over the coming ten years.
  • According to the National Restaurant Association, 83% of fine dining restaurants expected low sales in six months as compared to 17% quick-service restaurants in 2020.

Online Market Statistics

You cannot be successful unless people do not know about your brand. This is also applicable to the restaurant business. No matter how tasty food the chef prepares, it is useless unless no one knows about it.  There is tough competition in the restaurant industry and it is necessary to promote your business. There are various ways to do this task however online promotion is needed in this digital world.

The online business promotion helped a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apps or websites can help to connect with the masses and people can get detailed knowledge about the business in a single click.  

Below given statistics show the importance of online promotion.

  • 90% of guests research a restaurant and 33% look for online reviews, menu, and environment before dining.
  • Before making a selection of dining restaurant 57% of guests view restaurant websites
  • 33% of people do not prefer restaurants with an average of a 3-star review on review sites
  • Revenues boost by 5% to 9% when customer reviews are improved by half a star

Some Mind-Blowing Statistics about Restaurant Industry

  • Approximately 60% of consumers are willing to pay more for recyclable packaging
  • People trust online reviews and 84% of people take action according to the online reviews of any restaurant
  • CBD infused drinks are trending now a day’s according to 75% of surveyed chefs
  • When choosing a restaurant 72% of diners focus on food quality over all other things
  • Only 23% of restaurants revert to dissatisfied customers and left negative reviews online
  • In this digital world, 33% of restaurants are not paying for promotion on social media

Does Online Technology has Improved Restaurant Business?

Implementing online ordering in restaurants has improved efficiency and increased revenue. Moreover, it makes the ordering process easy and organized. Customers do not need to call and question the menu. Thus, restaurant staff gets enough time to serve in-house customers. 

What is Restaurant Marketing?

As per the National Restaurant Association, restaurants employ large percentage of population in the United States. Marketing is as necessary for any business as food for humans. No business can survive without marketing. Restaurant marketing is necessary to increase visibility and attract customers to increase revenue. In past years, restaurant marketing has reached a new level because a wide array of options is available for people to satisfy their taste buds. Generally marketing channels are divided into paid and organic that can help to make your brand popular.

Paid Ads

Search engine like Google is widely used by people all across the globe. Customers always look for the top results on the search page. Therefore, you should widely grasp keywords to reach more people when they are searching for a restaurant to satisfy their hunger.

Organic Social Media

Marketing your restaurant on social media is important to make your online presence strong and more people know about your business. Restaurants have to manage different social media platforms similar to their website. Regular updates, solving customer queries, and posting new offers help in reaching more people.

How Much Should You Spend On Restaurant Marketing?

You should spend a proportionate amount on restaurant marketing as per the sales volume per month. Do not make the mistake of not spending money on restaurant marketing when your business flourishes. However, it is necessary to understand that marketing can only influence the behavior rather than changing it.

The restaurant marketing budget should include a limited percentage for broadcast and print advertising for gaining new customers but remember not to spend a large percentage on it. Generally, most of the restaurants spend a huge amount to get new customers but it is least effective.

Human behavior is such that we are influenced by others and that is the same in the case of restaurant marketing too. Most restaurant owners are keen to do what others are doing rather than thinking about its effectiveness. Rather than copying others, you should pay attention to make your identity through public relations.

Calculating your Restaurant Marketing Budget

To calculate right budget for restaurant marketing, you must consider the following aspects:

  • Monthly revenue
  • Yearly revenue
  • Profit margin

A restaurant should have a minimum 10% profit margin. If your restaurant has less than a 10% profit margin then it is the time to recheck your expenses and make necessary changes to the menu. Calculating profit margin is simple.

Profit Margin= Gross Revenue-Annual Operating Costs

Also, consider the market share of your restaurant and the average customer acquisition cost i.e. the amount of money needed to attract new customers. Connecting with a State Restaurant Association is also useful.

Restaurant Market Share= Restaurant’s sale/ Local restaurant market’s sales

There are many ways to calculate customer acquisition costs. You can calculate it with the below-given equation.

CAC = Marketing Expenses / Total New Customers

You cannot know who are your new customers without a database. The customer database keeps information on new and existing customers.

Knowing all these matrices can help you in budget allocation for restaurant marketing. you can achieve the desired result by using the right strategies of marketing.

Key Performance Indicators for Restaurants?

It is tough to run a restaurant successfully in this competitive age. This is an ever-changing industry and thus restaurant owners must track their business performance consistently. KPI i.e. Key performance indicators assess business performance and point out operational problems that are hurdles in achieving business objectives.

KPIs help restaurant owners to take care of restaurant operations for consistent success. The data also aid in identifying excess time and cash spent on practice so that practices can be altered accordingly. Every business type has specific KPIs; it is necessary to choose those that apply to the restaurant business.

Channels for Restaurant Marketing

There are different channels for restaurant marketing to bring more people to your restaurant. Let us discuss them:

  • Branding Online
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Paid Advertising
  • Email and SMS Marketing
  • Be a Part of Different Events
  • Public Relations
  • Local Events

Online Branding

In this online world, it is necessary to maintain the online reputation of your restaurant. There are various ways of online branding:

Directories Websites and Reviews

Customers look for online reviews before dining out in a restaurant thus it is important to list your restaurant on famous websites. Feedback and positive reviews enhance visibility and helpful in decision-making for the potential customers. Handling negative reviews is also an important task and should be done elegantly.

 Business Website

A quality website gives mileage to your restaurant business and it is one of the effective digital advertising techniques. Any online activity is done by you automatically gets connected to your website. Thus, your priority should be to maintain a responsive and informative website. It is among the biggest marketing tool because all activities of your restaurant are regularly updated on the website.

Blog

Website blogs are also an effective promotion strategy. It increases your digital reputation by representing your different delicacies. You get publicity from review sites and media outlets if your website makes a strong impression. Posting different food content and tips can help to increase your audience.

Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms are a powerful tool for restaurant marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others easily drag customers. You can post about events and celebrations so that maximum guests can join. It is necessary to master the effective strategies of social media marketing for the best results.

Paid Advertising

Allocating some budget for marketing initiatives can help you to increase revenue. You can expect lot more customers if your restaurant is effectively advertised. Employing marketing techniques perfectly needs hard work and the right direction so you can also hire a coordinator for this purpose. This helps to boost bookings and thus overall profit.

Email and SMS

SMS and Emails are common ways to connect to your existing customers. For this, you need to update contact information in a database.  Emails can be creative and you can include images along with text whereas SMS has high visibility because smartphones are handy and make engagement easy.   Nurturing customers is simple with email marketing. You can add discounts and offer related information in Email, which drags customers more.

Be a Part of Different Events

You can boost your presence by participating in community celebrations and events. Be the part of fairs, celebrations for social aid or sponsor marathons, or provide funds. You can provide meeting space to plan sessions. Organize food festivals and showcase your best talent to the guests. This helps in creating direct contact with the potential customers. Create events during holidays or promote beer, wine, and food tasting to attract more customers. Host a party and run advertisements on different platforms.

Public Relations

Sharing as much information with people can help you gain success. You can repost positive feedback, awards, and honors to increase your reputation digitally. You can also take help from popular food bloggers and offer them an incentive to make your restaurant famous through their content. Blogging is a big hit now and engaging with food bloggers can help you expand your digital presence which can give viable results.

Local Events

Sponsoring community events is a great way of marketing your business. There is no fixed budget for sponsoring an event but you can give depending on the revenue of your restaurant, after all it will come back to you in the form of customers. Therefore, it is always a win-win situation.

Measuring Restaurant Marketing Efforts

Setting a goal is necessary for success in business as it becomes easy to measure necessary efforts to get desired results. For an effective marketing strategy, you must initially set objectives, which will further help to measure success. By knowing, what you need is the first step towards success. When it comes to restaurant, marketing KPIs indicate that your marketing strategy is perfect and you are going on the path of the best customer experience.

Key performance indicators to assess restaurant marketing efforts are:

Social Media Engagement

Engagement is the number of likes, shares, comments, re-tweets, or subscribers on social media. Social media connects people all around the globe but in the case of restaurants, you have a smaller audience specific to a city or of the nearby location. Low engagement is worthless even if you have a high reach. A small audience is better if they are engaged with your updates or content.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others view engagement as popularity and rank the website high on SERPs if there is high post engagement.

According to the social media platform, the restaurant marketing KPIs can vary but most commonly include:

Link Clicks

Most people click only when something is interesting. Use high quality and relevant stuff if you want more clicks.

Likes

More likes on pages or posts are associated with popularity. Restaurant pages with more likes grab the attention of new customers. Existing customers are also fond of offers and discounts that are updated on pages regularly. You can get more likes by creating a high quality page with quality content. Hosting Facebook contests and running ads are also helpful.

Comments

Comments on social media platforms are the way to interact. Comments on your posts mean people are paying attention to your posts and exchanging thoughts. More comments mean you are reaching more customers.

Shares

One of the important KPIs is Social media shares. These are important because Shares indicate user interest in your post. Sharing a post means that users are personally recommending it to other people.

Track Your Efforts

Reach tracks your efforts as it shows how fast and far your messages are traveling in the social media world. The KPIs included in this category are:

Followers 

More followers mean more reach. Social media followers indicate your brand reach.

Traffic

Google Analytics along with Social Media tools helps track your social media traffic. This is possible only when you work hard and invest specific amount of time on social media marketing.

Impressions

To boost your brand presence you need to reach more people. The number of impressions for your paid ads and organic posts are important. Using visually appealing images and high quality messages can increase impressions. You can bid for CPM i.e. Cost per one thousand impressions so that your ad is showed to maximum people.

Leads

Once you get to reach and engage on your social media account, you should think to make a profit from your online presence. For getting a high return from your hard work, you must focus on leads.  Google Analytics measures lead generation. If you are not making any leads, it means your content needs improvement or you are on the wrong platform.

Conversion

Converting leads into customers is the main objective of any business. Sales matter at the end so you should focus on the channel that gives you more customers and invest in that.

Customers Feedback

Customer feedback is necessary to determine how effectively your restaurant is performing.  Make sure to track all reviews on online sites. Try to get feedback offline too by leaving feedback forms on the table. You will get to know what customers like and what you need to improve for better results.  

Whether you are running a successful restaurant business or planning to start one, marketing is an important component for sustainability in a competitive market. Most restaurateurs aim at sales rather than attracting new customers. Restaurant operators have to provide quality food to customers for success but all efforts are wasted if people do not know about your restaurant.  Effective restaurant marketing strategies include offline and online platforms. You should understand the best channels for restaurant marketing and create plans accordingly. 

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