I recently had a conversation with a restaurant owner who believes that marketing is unnecessary for his establishment. According to him, their food speaks for itself, and marketing is a luxury only affordable for those with excess funds.
However, in the next blog post, I will explain why it is impossible for a restaurant to function without marketing. Spoiler: every restaurant, whether the owner acknowledges it or not, engages in marketing. The real question is who is in control: does the restaurant manage its marketing, or does marketing manage the restaurant? And believe me, thinking through this topic and providing a transparent answer to this question can yield great insights.
Today, let’s focus on the importance of marketing for restaurants and the benefits it can bring to your establishment.
1. Attracting new customers
By implementing effective marketing strategies, you can attract new customers who have the potential to become loyal guests of your restaurant. It’s crucial to focus on this rather than trying to appeal to everyone. Your goal should be to cultivate a loyal fan base for the restaurant, not just go through the motions of marketing. So, how can you achieve this? This brings us to the second point.
2. Understanding customer needs
It is crucial to understand your customers’ needs so that your products, such as new menu items, special offers, and events, can satisfy them. By doing so, you can successfully attract your target audience. Needs act as a filter through which guests can determine if a particular establishment is suitable for them.
3. Staying ahead of the competition
This point builds on the previous one. What is the competition in our case? It is the process by which a person chooses between different restaurants. They make the choice based on important criteria for them. Imagine what would happen if your restaurant best meets all the criteria important to a particular person. To do this, you just need to understand the needs of YOUR customers (see Paragraph 2).
4. Building customer loyalty
To build customer loyalty, marketing is essential. This goes beyond just having repeat customers; it involves factors like word of mouth, user-generated content, and how your restaurant is perceived. Once your restaurant becomes a part of a person’s life, they will not consider your competitors.
5. Creating a consistent message
Consistency is key when it comes to building a powerful brand. You can create a cohesive brand by delivering a clear message across every platform and channel.
6. Adapting to changing trends
Adapting to trends is vital in today’s ever-evolving landscape. You can rely on marketing as a valuable tool to keep your offerings current and irresistible to consumers. This will help you stay ahead of industry trends and meet customer preferences.
7. Increasing profitability
Marketing is not only about advertising and promotion. A strategic approach to marketing can help you achieve higher profitability by highlighting high-margin items, introducing upsell products, and minimizing food waste through menu planning.
8. Boosting sales
Marketing will help you understand which menu items will be best for YOUR audience, which events THESE people will visit, and what special offers THEY will find interesting. When you start working not for people in general but for your specific audience, your focus changes, and people notice it, resulting in a positive impact on sales.
9. Demonstrating your expertise
A successful restaurant is, first and foremost, an expert. You should show that you are not just good at making burgers, for example, but that it is your passion, and you know every detail about it. Make sure that this information is correctly conveyed to your target audience.
10. Highlighting social responsibility
Today, in order to be successful, a restaurant needs to go beyond the perception of being just a “place to eat out” and become a “platform for a community.” A community is usually united by some theme, feeling, or involvement in something (in my book “More Than a Restaurant: Turn Customers into Fans”, I analyzed this topic in detail). One of the ways to engage with a community is to participate in charitable activities and thus establish an image of a socially responsible company. Guests of your restaurant participate in charity events organized by your establishment. By doing so, they not only contribute to a good cause but also experience a sense of pride, which they associate with your restaurant. This forms a personal connection between the guest and the restaurant.
I hope you find these reasons valuable for starting to think about your restaurant’s marketing today and creating the right perception of your restaurant in customers’ minds.