The introduction of digital technology has completely changed the landscape of the hospitality industry. Restaurant operators no longer rely on traditional word-of-mouth marketing to promote their establishments. As restaurants steer towards recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, overall sales and growth are on the rise again. As of July 2021, Statista reports that bar and restaurant sales climbed to an all-time high of $72.2 billion up from the pandemic low of 29.9 billion in April 2020.
With the industry on the up and up post-pandemic, it is critical that restaurant and bar owners implement a well-planned marketing strategy in 2022 to increase growth and awareness. Our team of digital marketing and branding experts gathered the top 5 marketing tactics and strategies that restaurants and bars should launch in order to succeed post-pandemic. Keep reading to unveil your restaurant’s next marketing moves…
1. Go Social
One of the most effective tools for any organization is social media marketing. Using social media to promote your business can expose it to thousands of potential clients. Beyond brand awareness, social media marketing can assist you in obtaining insight into your target demographic. Restaurants can also use social media marketing to solicit feedback from current customers.
We live in the era of foodies, which has led to the constant posting or tagging of everyday meals to social media. Take advantage of social media channels to market your business online if you want the orders to come in. There are many social media platforms available, but when it comes to food, Instagram reigns supreme, Facebook is second best, and the rest are not as important for restaurants and bars. Although we recommend starting with Instagram and Facebook, especially if you have little to no social presence at this time, TikTok is on the rise for restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage businesses in 2022. Lucky for you, we created a full blog post on the ins and outs of TikTik as a marketing tool for your business, check it out here.
If you’re asking yourself why would someone want to follow your restaurant on social media in 2022, according to Statista, 48% of consumers follow a social media account from a restaurant or food brand, and 21% have chosen a restaurant or fast food based on social media posts or photos.
2. Monitor Your Online Reputation
A poor review might not seem like a big deal for a restaurant, but for a small restaurant, it is everything. Who wants to go to a restaurant that has a review that says “bland meal” or “dead insect”? If you don’t have a solid online reputation management strategy in place, all of your efforts online could be for naught. In fact, according to Statista, a ginormous 94% of U.S. restaurant industry diners base their dining decisions on online reviews.
Responding to client inquiries promptly, as well as to both negative and positive reviews in a manner that portrays your business in a positive light would be all that is required to build an online reputation for a restaurant. If you don’t have any experience with online reputation management, follow these easy steps to polishing your online presence:
- Turn on notifications to ensure you do not miss a review
- Respond to all reviews (both positive and negative)
- Ask for reviews after in-person dining or online ordering experience
Want to know which channels you should prioritize when monitoring your online reputation? Our team of experts recommend you focus on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to begin with as these are the most common platforms for customer reviews. According to ReviewTrackers data, 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business location, with Yelp coming in second at 45.18%, followed by Facebook.
3. Get On Food Delivery Apps
Since on-demand meal delivery apps have gained popularity and re-energized the food industry, no restaurant or food establishment can afford to overlook the possibility they present. To have a better understanding of the significant possibility and boost in growth prospects that meal delivery apps can give for enterprises, check out the following benefits for both the end customer and the restaurant:
- No more waiting to place an order
- Increased transparency in pricing
- The convenience of ordering from any place at anytime
- Multiple ways to pay for the order
- Improved efficiency and lesser running costs
- It is easier to check the cash flow in the restaurant
- Restaurants can handle orders with more accuracy and increase their productivity
- Loyalty programs help restaurants to retain customers and do more repeat business
- Customers spend more when they order through an app as they have more time to make a decision
If the idea of having your own restaurant ordering app, like Dominos or Chick-Fil-A, 2022 would be the time to act on it. According to Statista, smartphone food delivery app users are expected to increase to 53.9 million by 2023. Additionally, 67% of consumers say they’d prefer to use a restaurant’s own app or website for food delivery.
4. Create An Email Marketing Strategy
Restaurant email marketing is another vital strategy to effectively market your restaurant. There are two ways to grow your email list; by getting customers to fill out forms in person and by getting them to fill out forms online. I would suggest you pay close attention to the latter because the world has gone digital-first.
Email marketing is an efficient way to “bait” your customers and keep them coming back. By using email marketing, you can showcase new additions to your menu and other exciting offers. However, email marketing can be tricky if not properly executed. So if you’re new to email marketing, don’t fail to consult an expert to find the best email marketing strategy for your restaurant. To get you in the right direction for the new year, follow these email marketing tips:
- Click worthy subject line (use emojis for bonus points!🍔🍺)
- Include photos of menu items to make customers hungry
- Send at the best times
- Don’t overdo it
- Implement subscriber-only promotions/deals
5. Add Text Marketing
Did you know that when customers are subscribed to your text campaigns, they are 44% more likley to become regulars? Based on the findings of the Mobivity 2021 Restaurant Text Marketing Benchmarks Report, text subscribers were on average valued at an additional $12.15 in incremental revenue, with some businesses seeing amounts as high as $16.59.
Still asking yourself why text message marketing? Think about it this way – everyone has a phone, but perhaps more essential, everyone has text message notifications set up. Open rates for text messaging are around 98 percent. When you consider that email open rates are just 20% and other phone notifications are only 5%, that’s a fairly respectable result. You can utilize text message marketing to nurture clients and get them to return more regularly with this type of power.
So take the leap towards increased revenue in 2022, and incorporate a text marketing campaign now! Need help selecting the best platform for your restaurant or bar? Some of the top SMS Marketing in services this year are:
Now that you’re equipped with the top 5 marketing tactics for restaurants and bars in 2022, it’s time to take your business’s online presence to the next level. If you’re looking for more marketing guidance for your restaurant now that the holidays are over, check out our free download, “From Survive to Thrive: The Definitive Guide to Help Your Restaurant Beat the Post-Holiday Slump.”
If you are looking for a marketing partner this year to help you achieve your restaurant’s goals, reach out to our team of experts today! We have worked with an array of beloved restaurants and bars over the past 20+ years and have the tools and resources to help you increase sales and brand awareness in 2022.