Top Marketing Tricks to Get Your Restaurant Back on Track

If there’s one industry that’s been hit the worst during the midst of COVID-19, it’s restaurants. With social distancing measures still in place and cases still on the rise in much of the country, the majority of stores have been forced to close their doors for good or only open at limited capacity.

While much of the nation is still in the first wave of the virus and cases not showing any real signs of a slow down as a whole, there is so much uncertainty among the restaurant community. For those restaurants who are struggling to keep their doors open, we have a few marketing tricks that can be executed in order to fill the seats and business that is up for grabs. 

Let’s take a look! 

New Menu Item Alert

If a restaurant has had its doors closed for a while, something new can help to bring a “wow” factor back upon reopening. This will give loyal and new guests the opportunity to find excitement in the reopening. 

One of the more simple ways to do just that is offering a new menu item. It doesn’t have to be filled with glamour, but the added layer of difference in the service will have those loyal customers coming out of their homes to try it. For instance, if it’s an ice cream shop then a new topping or flavor might be the perfect way of welcoming everyone back to your shop. It’s also a small way to show that you never stopped thinking about how you can improve, even in the midst of a pandemic. And that’s dedication!   

Form Partnerships   

Partnerships are an added layer of security and can even be a lifeline for some. Form a partnership with someone who can both benefit and show the support needed to keep your business thriving. 

Have an italian restaurant? Partner with a sauce brand to host their sauces in your store to ship out to guests. This will have them purchasing more in your business and giving exposure to another brand. 

PR Function

Public relations is one of the most trust-worthy marketing methods for guests. Press releases or PR functions are huge for telling publications about the function of your business, so it will be great exposure if it can get in front of at least one right journalist. 

For example, Bon Appetit has a way with words and their well-known expertise for food would be essential for your restaurant if featured. By releasing key info that can then be displayed to the public in a mass way will give your business the extra boost it needs in the time of COVID-19.  

Discounts Don’t Hurt 

Sometimes when owners of a business use a sale as a method for getting people to make the sale or get through the door, it’s a way to give in. This is not the case as long as these discounts are used in the right way. 

COVID-19 is a difficult time for anyone, so by offering a 10% discount off a dinner or dessert will go the extra mile in securing sales that were never going to be there before. This is also a great way to secure the loyalty of your guests, especially if they’re ordering delivery or coming out for dinner in the middle of the pandemic. 

Promotional Hour 

Speaking of sales, try concentrating the discounts all to one hour. This will create a sense of urgency and have more people coming out to make a purchase. Voice this sale a day or two in advance with social media marketing and email marketing to get the word out to a mass audience in a short period of time. 

This promotional hour could be a great happy hour where drinks are only $5 or a bogo hour where one dinner comes with a complimentary side. This will break up the work day into something fun and give guests something to look forward to. 

Make Social Media Your Best Friend 

Social media is one of the best ways to show the highlights of any business, especially a restaurant with cool and delicious food. Personalize what you do on there and share it with others. You can send out a cool cocktail recipe or showcase followers all trying your new meal. 

Ask yourself what makes your restaurant tick and then really hone in on it when it comes to social media use. 

Don’t be afraid to use all channels either. There will always be different followers on social channels like Twitter versus Instagram. 

Instigate SEO Best Practices

Now is the time to take a refreshed look at your SEO practices. With more people doing and enacting everything at the virtual level, more and more people are fighting to have a better SEO rate. SEO is particularly important for those who have a website or blog they want to boost. If selling products, it’s essentially important to get that link to purchase in front of their faces to increase sales. 

Looking at restaurants in particular, their website is essential for booking purposes and to create exposure of their menu items. So many people look up the restaurant before visiting to ensure the food they’ll be ordering and the environment is what they’re ultimately trying to achieve.  

Sell Gift Cards

The promotion of gift cards is essential for guaranteeing money for the restaurant. It’s a simple deposit of money that can be paid for in advance. Even if the restaurant isn’t open for business, gift cards can always be sold virtually. 

These can even be marketed as great gifts for a family member or a coworker for customers if this is a go-to spot for them. Gift cards are great for all year use too, especially the holidays. As COVID-19 continues to rage through the nation closer to the holidays, this is one great gift to give for a special treat after the pandemic is officially over.  

Live Streams are Beneficial

Mix up the way traditional marketing is done by instigating livestreams. These can be fun and informational for followers. The livestreams may consist of cook-alongs or ways to sell new restaurant products. 

Some establishments have even been known to host other virtual events such as bingo or trivia. Whatever it might be, it’s a great way to engage with customers at a safe social distance. It also helps to maintain the current relationship you have with them even before the pandemic first hit. 

Set a time and make it a routine so even more people can know and look forward to tuning into it. 

Communicate Vital Statements  

Since this is a serious situation that the nation is undergoing, it’s apparent that the restaurant is communicating the necessary information out to the public. This ensures safety and health for all even in the most uncertain of times. 

This can be achieved either with a press release as mentioned or on the business website/social media. As the pandemic is still very much active, the best action that can be made is creating the needed messaging so that everyone is on the same page with each other and take the right steps together.

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