How to Create a Restaurant Marketing Plan?

Are you a restaurant owner, working night and day and don’t have enough time to take care of your online reputation? You definitely need to be finding the time!
Nowadays, a positive online visibility has become paramount for a restaurant. This is why we have prepared for you this step-by-step restaurant marketing plan to help you build an effective marketing strategy for your venue. From a good understanding of your customers to the secrets of a good online presence.


Following a common thread to remain coherent

You must avoid posting irrelevant content on the internet and set clear and realistic goals. This will also enable you to set the foundations of expectations from your online presence. So, take some time to meet with your team and brainstorm on the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience / customer? Who do I want to reach?
  • What are the values and the image of my restaurant?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What about my competition?
  • How am I different from them? What is my competitive advantage?

The answers to those questions are the guiding principles that will help you to boost the branding of your restaurant.

The implementation of these actions should be the result of a team effort where every member needs to be involved. Afterwards, you should repeat this process every year in order to stay up-to-date and relevant to online users. This is why you need to listen to their feedback and interactions, to ensure that you evolve as they do.

Customer Alliance offers a semantic analysis tool that gathers all the online reviews published either on your website or on external portals. This analysis clearly shows what topics regularly arise in a positive and negative way. You can also apply this to your competition, which will help you save your valuable time from looking at every single online portal. Thanks to this feature, you will have a clear understanding of what is being said about your venue which will enable you to achieve the first steps of your strategy.


How do I attract online users into my restaurant and keep them loyal?

If your goal is to gain lots of visits to your website, it must contain high quality, relevant information for your target audience.
Obviously, much of this information is already provided by other online portals and blogs. As such, your website has to be a source of even better quality information and also provide unique added-value to your potential customers. You can start by integrating these basics details:

  • The logo of your restaurant
  • Your opening times
  • High definition pictures of your restaurant and dishes
  • Your prices and services (e.g theme nights, brunch…)
  • Location of your restaurant

Those resources must be clear and easily discoverable on your website. This will ensure that your visitors will be more likely to stay on your website to finally book a table directly with you.

Pour augmenter vos réservations et attirer les internautes, il est préférable d’avoir un moteur de réservation intégré à votre site. Grâce à la réservation directe en ligne, vous faites gagner du temps à vos employés, et vous facilitez la prise de contact vers votre restaurant.

In order to increase your reservations and attract more online users, it is recommended to have your own Internet Booking Engine (IBE). Thanks to online bookings, you can save time and improve the reservation process by avoiding commission fees. Furthermore, you have a great opportunity to build a solid database that will allow you to use in the future for many purposes. For example, it could be used to generate email campaigns to communicate your new menu or simply launch seasonal promotions. Creating a newsletter is an effective way to enhance your guest loyalty.
Using emails is a key component of a successful restaurant marketing strategy.


Building a 360° online presence

Traditionally, the most successful restaurants are the ones who benefit from widespread word of mouth. Today, the concept remains the same but is now applied online, especially with the rise of computers and smartphone usage. It’s clear that you can’t neglect any relevant websites because the more customers talk about your venue on the Internet, the more visible this commentary will be. Without being proactively managed, it is likely that the majority of reviews will not be positive as customers are much more likely to leave a review after a negative experience unless prompted to leave a positive one by the restaurant.
Here you can find a list of the main online platforms that will help you to optimize your online visibility.

google pour restaurantLet’s start with Google, which should be your top priority as the majority of customers will start their research right here.Google is not only an online shop front where you can add all of the relevant information but also a online reviews portal. Information such as timetable, website, phone number and descriptive photos will give credibility to your venue for potential customers.Followed by:

  • Yelp : The key platform for restaurants, bars and cafes. Online reviews are also listed in the map of smartphones which can help you attracting local visitors.
  • Tripadvisor : The leader of online reviews. With more than 4 milion restaurants listed and countless reviews available in different languages, you have to ensure your page is always up-to-date (including recent reviews, pictures, responding to reviews, etc…) in order to attract international visitors. Reviews are also integrated in smartphones maps.
  • Facebook : We recommend to focus more seriously on this social network which far too many restaurateurs tend to underestimate. Facebook is no longer just a platform where users share updates and communicate with each others. Facebook has become a necessary tool for your business, with the ability to reach millions of potential customers. It is critical to regularly post interesting content, such as promotions, events or images reflecting your venue e.g dishes, personal creations or banqueting facilities.

Eventually, if you target young customers, do not hesitate to utilise Instagram and Snapchat which are two newer social networks particularly popular with customers under the age of 25.
The impact which a photo of your daily special published on those platforms can be impressive. Furthermore, add a geo-localisation tag of your venue will perfect your online visibility on these sites.In order to keep a simple and detailed overview of your presence on social media and therefore adapt your marketing strategy on these channels, Customer Alliance features an aggregation of your mentions (likes, comments, followers…) so you do not miss a word about your restaurant. Highlight your most precious marketing: your online reviews Alongside photos and basic informations about your venue, online reviews are an essential component to any marketing strategy for restaurants. Whether it is on your website, online reviews portals or even specialized blogs, every review matters.

Experiences from previous customers guide, reassure and make people want to eat at your restaurant. For hesitant visitors, a single review can make a difference between you and your competition! Consequently, you must proactively showcase your positive reviews to your potential customers, so they understand that you attract a lot of people and that most of them have a great dining experience.Additionally, online reviews can provide you with relevant and helpful feedback. Listening to your customers gives you the opportunity to improve your service, adapt to the last trends as well as customers expectations and needs. Embracing this mindset will present you with frequent opportunities to innovate and stay one step ahead of your competitors.Customer Alliance can integrate a customized widget on your website, to highlight your positive reviews and show them to any online user. You can set up notifications and be aware of every review your receive.

The next step is naturally to answer them in the right way. Responding to positive feedback is easy. However, responding to negative reviews can be a difficult task. For this purpose, check out our whitepaper about complaint management and become a master on how to handle criticism and hopefully turn bad experiences into future loyal customers.With our questionnaire, it is possible to personalize your questions to reflect the unique features of your restaurant and easily specify factors which you are wanting to get feedback on. It is undeniable that a brief review of a positive experience will not significantly help to improve your performance – though we do all love positive feedback!. On the other hand, a customer willing to go into more details by describing the taste of the sauce served with the fish will make you aware of your strengths with this menu item. In contrast, an unhappy customer bringing you a constructive and honest feedback gives you the possibility to anticipate and adapt your meals in order to keep a high level of satisfaction in the future. To summarize, building a consistent marketing strategy for your restaurant goes through very simple steps :

  • Ask yourself the right questions about your customers and your goals.
  • Assess the most relevant online platforms where you want to be visible.
  • Use the right tools to improve your online visibility (website, Online reservation System, emailing…).
  • Get the most of social media by posting original and helpful content.
  • Invite your customer to review your venue and showcase them.
  • Adapt and improve your performance according to those reviews.

Want to know more about the creation of a great marketing strategy for your restaurant and the management of your online reputation? Get in touch with one of our experts and receive a free demo of our online reputation management solution.

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