How Restaurants Can Modernize Their Marketing Plan

Restaurant guests share photos on social media

Modern restaurant marketing is crucial to a restaurant’s success, but what does it mean? There’s never been more ways to advertise and market your restaurant, but what are the right options for your hard earned marketing budget?

The restaurant industry is a tough business. Margins are tight, competition is high and there are so many factors that go into being successful. Not only does your food have to be good, but so does your service. And — if anything is lacking — a first-time customer can turn into a one-time customer fast.

Restaurants can use an important tool to their advantage: social media.

Nearly 3 in 4 customers (72 percent) have used Facebook to make restaurant or retail decisions, according to The Social Media Monthly, based on comments and images that have been shared by other users. Your Instagram page is the modern-day version of posting a menu outside of your restaurant, but even more so, because now you need to have consistent, quality photos. Think of your Instagram as your portfolio.

In addition, if a guest has a grievance, guess where it’s going? Online. According to OpenTable, 1 in 8 diners will post a restaurant review after their meal. This is where an always-listening social media approach comes in handy. You have to be present, and ready, when customers are upset.

The bright side? Most guests aren’t angry at all. If you’re taking care of your customers in-house the way you should, they’ll hopefully share stories of satisfaction online. If you can get them to share their positive dining experiences with you, you can then share them with your followers — and potential guests in the future. This is the golden egg in restaurant marketing. Pure, consistent and unsolicited social media proof.

Social brands

have social fans.


Becoming a social media powerhouse won’t happen overnight. While you have to play the long game, in the end it’s worth it. When was the last time you saw a brand that’s popular on social media cease operations? These restaurants usually run like businesses, and when they need a boost, they have tens of thousands of fans to get the word out to.

Email Marketing

tampa social media influencer

Sure, email marketing is old school. But it’s still around for a reason. Capturing a customer’s email address is more valuable than gaining them as a social media follower. Follower counts are a vanity metric. They make you look cool yet can also disappear. App trends change, and people shift their attention to new apps (hello TikTok). You’re beholden to the app’s algorithm as well. You can do all the hard work to get new followers and the algorithm will still never show them your posts.

Email never goes away, and there’s no algorithm. When you get someone’s email, they’re giving you permission to contact them directly.

Facebook and Instagram Advertising

The most valuable way to reach potential customers continues to be through Facebook and Instagram advertising. It is a vital all modern restaurant marketing plans include some form of it. This includes targeted ads, A/B testing and sales funnels. This does not include “boosting” a post on either social media platform. We plan to write another blog about why boosting one of your posts is a waste of money. We know it’s an easy thing to do. Facebook designed it that way to funnel money from your wallet into theirs.

Real, effective Facebook advertising is highly tested and targeted. It’s essential to be consistent. Restaurants must target potential guests and lead them through a sales funnel to turn them into new customers. This means running, at a minimum, two ads simultaneously. One to get on the radar of potential customers, and a second to get them in the door.

We don’t write this to scare or intimidate you. It’s not as expensive as you think. The beauty of this kind of advertising method is that you can set your budget wherever you want. And if you want our help, we only charge based on a percentage of your advertising spend. Our pricing is designed specifically for independent restaurants, not for large corporations.

If you would like to learn more on how Crave Digital can help your small business with a modern restaurant marketing plan, reach out now. Chats are always free!

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