I get asked a lot of questions and this was one of them:
“What are some of the most Clever marketing strategies used by restaurants?”
Clever? Hmmm, how about reliable?
So this was the answer
I’ll give you three that work in the restaurant world. I’ve owned restaurants and food businesses so this is not random marketing advice.
1 Build a mailing list. Comment cards, booking forms or from the website. Use this list well and often. Try not to sell too often. Offer recipes, ingredient tips and then recycle this onto your blog. If you get a chance to learn to write good copy, learn.
2 Social networking. Notice the lack of “media”. Talk with your community via platforms that you understand. Listen to your community through anything including those you don’t understand. If people write or post things about you, take action. You can share and like good things and defuse bad things by responding. Again, sell less, chat more. Share blog entries on here too. Get to know your local influencers and local press.
3 PR. Get other people to sing your praises. You can target happy diners with review cards in their receipt for Yelp or TripAdvisor (about the only good use of a QR code here). Enter awards and write press releases based on the possibility that you might win some of them. If you do, hit the local press, your mailing list, your blog and your social platforms. Get your name noticed in national awards and guides.
Sure, there are some clever, fly by night, apps out there, but they are shiny things designed to distract you from guarding your wallet. Some are good, most are not.
If you can master the above, it will make a difference. You have to be committed to writing to a schedule and constantly listening. On top of this you can share the same message in different channels (eg blog, email, social networks, press releases).
A final tip, test everything and keep learning.