Digital Marketing for Restaurants in 2020

Digital Marketing For Restaurants

The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. The competition is fierce, and the demand for quality service is also very high. In order to be successful in the restaurant business, one has to be at the top of their game and offer the best customer service, best price, and above all tasty food. Yet, 60% of restaurants are forced to shut their business within five years due to a lack of profit. Like any business, marketing is very essential for the success of a restaurant. Word of mouth can bring you business, but to grow and thrive you need proper digital marketing for restaurants. 

With the advent of online food delivery apps, the need for digital marketing for restaurants is even higher. Customers research online before ordering food from their favorite restaurants. Implementing proper digital marketing strategies for restaurants will guarantee more orders and brand awareness for the restaurant.

Why Does Your Restaurant Need Digital Marketing?

We live in the digital era where we rely on the Internet for everything. Almost every one of us has at least 2 food delivery apps installed on our mobile devices. In this time and age, it is impossible for restaurants to grow their business without digital marketing. Digital marketing for restaurants is very important since it can bring in new customers and increase sales.

  • Digital Marketing for Restaurants can help reach a huge audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
  • Having an active social media presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, will gain you more exposure among potential consumers. Also, present customers can easily reach out to you on issues related to reservations, food delivery, etc.
  • Easily gain reviews from your customers which you can use on your social media profiles to showcase your brand to potential customers.
  • If you have engaging social media profiles, your customers will have a direct touch with you and it enables customer’s brand loyalty and there is a high chance they refer your restaurant to more of their friends & family.

Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants

The success of digital marketing for restaurants depends on the digital marketing strategies used. Here is a list of latest digital marketing strategies that if used properly will help you get more orders, gain new customers, and grow your restaurant business.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurant 2020

Focus on Reviews & Ratings

The majority of people these days decide where to have their next meal based on the online customer reviews they read on various reviews and rating sites. From where to eat to what to eat, they rely on these sites to make a decision. Having a profile on the popular food review and rating sites will help restaurants gain a lot of trust and credibility among customers. 

The influence these review websites have on users makes them a very important part of the restaurant’s digital marketing strategy. 

All restaurants must set up a profile on the most popular and widely used reviews and rating websites. This will create brand awareness about the restaurant and new consumers will also get to know about the restaurant. Once the profiles are set up it is very important to complete all information regarding the restaurant. 

Add important information such as:

  • Restaurant Hours
  • Price Range
  • Location
  • Menu
  • Photos

Monitor the profiles for customer feedback and reply promptly to build trust and credibility among customers. This will have a huge impact on the reputation of the restaurant online. 

List of Restaurant Review & Rating Sites

Set Up Google My Business for Your Restaurant

Having a Google My Business is one of the important things for every restaurant. Google My Business for Restaurant can have a high impact on brand awareness and credibility of a restaurant.

Benefits of Google My Business(GMB) for Restaurants

  • Google my business profile if properly optimized will display the restaurant profile on Google’s Local Pack which can have a high reach on local searches.
  • The restaurant can be easily located while searched on mobile and desktop using the “Directions” option.
  • Customers can directly call restaurants if the restaurants provide contact numbers on the GMB profile.
  • Restaurant owners can upload menu, photos of the food, restaurant, etc on the GMB. 
  • Customer’s positive reviews can have influential effects on potential customers.

Be Active on Social Media

If you are in the food business and ignore social media then no force can save your business. Social Media has become part and parcel of the society we live in. All restaurants must have social media accounts and also be as active as possible. Being active on social networks will create a direct bond between the brand and its consumers. Social Media is a must in digital marketing strategies for restaurants. 

  • Engaging with customers is one of the most important parts of being active on social media. Always respond to their comments, messages, etc. Sharing user-generated content(UGC) on social media profiles will motivate other customers also to share their experience with the restaurant and it is also a great way of gaining new customers to the restaurant.
  • Staying consistent on social media is essential to growing the presence of the restaurant on social networks and keeping the customers happy. People follow on social media for interesting content, offers, etc. Hence it is important to post images, videos, UGCs on social media networks on a regular basis. There are various tools to schedule posts beforehand to avoid last-minute delays.

Social Media Tools for Scheduling Posts

  1. Buffer
  2. Hootsuite
  3. Later
  4. Sprout Social
  5. CoSchedule
  • One of the best ways to utilize social media is running contests. Social Media Contests can help grow followers on social media, gain exposure, and lead to more orders and footfall. There are plenty of ways to run social media contests on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. 

 Tools for Social Media Contests

  1. ShortStack
  2. Wishpond
  3. Gleam
  4. Vyper
  5. Heyo

Take Advantage of Video

Video is the future and in the food and beverage industry video plays a major role in convincing potential customers to make a purchase decision. The majority of the users online give preference to videos than any other form of content. 

Videos are easy to share and users can easily share it among their friends and family. Creative video posts about the restaurant, kitchen, etc can have a viral effect. Post cooking videos, recipe tips, and health benefits of various food items. Using videos in the digital marketing strategies for restaurants is a sure-shot way of going viral provided the video is of high quality and informative.

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram & IGTV can be used to promote video content and create brand awareness and gain new customers and more orders.

Tools to Create Restaurant Promotional Videos

  1. Biteable
  2. Invideo
  3. MakeWebVideo
  4. Renderforest

Run Geo-targeted Ads

Restaurants need brand awareness in the locality they are located in. Growing the customer base and loyalty in the surroundings of the restaurant is very important for the growth and success of the restaurant. Everyone wants to eat good food near their homes. 

One of the best features of digital marketing for restaurants is the ability to run paid advertisements on several platforms with hyper-targeting. Google, Facebook, Instagram, allow targeting users in specific localities at specific times. This is very useful for restaurants that serve only at specific times within a certain locality. 

By targeting within a radius around the location of the restaurant, restaurants can save a lot of money on ads. Advantages of using platforms like Google Ads and Facebook are, one can easily target past customers by uploading their data and targeting them using ads right before lunch and dinner times. Though all major platforms have made it easy for anyone to run ads, only an experienced digital marketing agency can properly set geo-targeted ads and avoid unnecessary engagement from irrelevant users.

Collaborate with Food Bloggers & Influencers

Food bloggers and influencers have a great influence on the decision-making process of potential consumers. Collaborating with popular food bloggers and influencers in the city can have a high impact on the awareness and reputation of the restaurant. When the restaurant doesn’t have a mass following on social media platforms, influencers and bloggers with established credibility can help boost the trust and credibility of the restaurant. New restaurants can easily generate hype and positive reviews about them by reaching out to food bloggers. 

If you think reaching out to food bloggers and influencers is a complicated task, you can always hire an influencer marketing agency to do the work for you.

Leverage Email Marketing

Email is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing but it delivers without fail. In the digital era, every restaurant should collect the email id of the customers to use it for the purpose of email marketing. 

Customers might be wary to share their email ids, but they can be persuaded by giving a coupon code in return for subscribing to the restaurant email newsletters. It doesn’t end with collecting email ids. Once people start subscribing, an automated email marketing system must be set up to engage with users. Customers can be updated about upcoming events, important updates, weekly specials, discounts, and coupons, etc through email marketing campaigns.

Build a Stunning Website

Many restaurants fail to understand the importance of a website. We live an era where people judge a business by looking at their website. Every one researches online before ordering a meal or booking a table at the restaurant. Websites are a great way to generate leads for the restaurant and if used properly can be used to drive more orders online.

The restaurant website should resemble the theme of the website, should reflect what the restaurant stands for, and must be updated with all relevant information. It should be modern, responsive, and fast loading. 

Must-have Information on a Restaurant Website

  • A menu detailing all the food items served at the restaurant along with price and takeaway cost.
  • Gallery showcasing the restaurant interior and all the delicacies.
  • Customer review section and feedback form to receive customer experience
  • Online food ordering and table booking section.

Implement SEO

Search Engine Optimization is the most important tactic for not just the restaurant websites but every website. Only websites optimized for search engines like Google, Bing can be easily found by users. Restaurant websites optimized for search engines gain a lot of exposure online and it also has an impact on Local SEO. Adding Schema to location pages will boost position on local pack and maps.

Final Thoughts

Running a successful restaurant is becoming harder and harder due to high competition, changing buying patterns of the consumer, etc. To survive and thrive in this highly competitive industry one has to complement creative digital marketing strategies designed specifically for restaurants. I hope the above ideas give you a clear picture of what to do in order to promote a restaurant. If you are a restaurant owner and need help with digital marketing for a restaurant feel free to reach out to us.


Ramki Jeyam

Ramki Jeyam is a Serial Entrepreneur, Growth Marketer, Speaker, and a Trainer with over 8 years of experience in helping businesses, entrepreneurs, and solo-preneurs grow their business exponentially. He has created and executed marketing strategies for tech, financial, healthcare, and banking firms in the US, Canada, and Australia.

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