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Decoding Restaurant Marketing: 7 Trending Strategies in 2023

In today's digital age, the restaurant landscape has evolved significantly, and so has its marketing techniques. As dining establishments strive to stand out in a sea of choices, they employ a combination of traditional and innovative strategies. But what type of marketing do restaurants use today? Let's delve into seven of the most favored and effective forms currently in vogue.


1. Online Reservation Platforms


Unlocking Digital Convenience

The immediate convenience of reserving a table with just a few clicks has made online reservation platforms a necessity rather than a luxury. Platforms like OpenTable, Resy, and Bookatable cater to tech-savvy diners who value spontaneity and efficiency. Beyond just reservations, these platforms can personalize dining experiences. They remember past preferences, favorite dishes, or even seating choices. This personalized touch, fueled by data, turns a simple meal into an experience, ensuring repeat visits. Moreover, integrated loyalty programs and feedback systems within these platforms enable restaurants to gather valuable insights. Understanding customer behavior, peak reservation times, and diner feedback helps in refining the service, menu, and overall operations.



2. Optimized Google Business


Being Easily Discoverable

An optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing is like having a beacon on the world's largest search engine. It ensures that when potential customers are searching for a place to dine, your restaurant is visible and enticing. A well-maintained GMB listing provides essential details - operating hours, menu links, contact information, and even current wait times. High-quality photos can showcase the ambiance, and customer reviews can build trust even before they step through the door. The Q&A section, along with timely responses to reviews, exhibits proactive engagement, addressing concerns, appreciating compliments, and showcasing your brand’s dedication to customer experience.


3. Instagram-able Presentation


The Visual Appeal

Instagram has transformed the way diners engage with food. An Instagram-able dish doesn't just satisfy taste buds, but also the visual aesthetic, leading to organic shares, tags, and free marketing. Every shared photo is an endorsement, a testimonial of a delightful dining experience. It brings authenticity to your brand, influencing the diner's peers and expanding your restaurant's reach. By encouraging diners to use specific hashtags or by hosting photo contests, restaurants can foster a community feeling, keeping the audience engaged and continually drawing them back.


4. An Awesome Online Menu


First Impressions Matter

Before stepping into a restaurant, many customers scrutinize the menu online. A well-crafted, engaging, and easy-to-navigate digital menu can set the stage for the dining experience. Digital menus have the flexibility to be more than just static lists. Incorporating videos, pairing suggestions, or even customer reviews for specific dishes enhances engagement and intrigue. The digital format allows for real-time updates, showcasing daily specials, seasonal dishes, or promoting discounted items, ensuring customers always have the latest information.


5. Restaurant Marketing 101: Branding


Telling Your Story

Every restaurant has a story - the origins, the inspiration, the journey. Sharing this narrative can foster a deeper connection with diners, making them stakeholders in your journey. From the logo to the menu design, from staff uniforms to the decor, consistent branding ensures recall and reinforces the brand's essence at every juncture. Blogs, videos, or podcasts that delve into behind-the-scenes action, chef interviews, or sourcing adventures can keep the audience engaged, providing them with more reasons to visit and revisit.


6. Special Events


Creating a Buzz

Hosting theme nights, chef's tables, or workshops can differentiate a restaurant from its competitors, offering more than just food but an event to look forward to. Regular events, like trivia nights or music evenings, can foster a community, ensuring repeat customers who come in not just for the food but for the experience and camaraderie. Teaming up with local businesses, artists, or even influencers for special events can bring in their audience, expanding your reach and diversifying your clientele.



7. "Secret Menu" & Influencer Marketing


The Intrigue of Exclusivity

A 'secret menu', known only to a few, brings with it a sense of exclusivity and intrigue. It makes diners feel they're in on a special secret, enhancing their dining experience. Additionally, it reduces the likelihood that you'll lose business due to "menu boredom" because they'll always feel like there could be something new that they don't know about. A word of caution: By letting influencers in on this secret, and allowing them to share it with their audience, restaurants can amplify the buzz manifold, combining the allure of the 'secret menu' with the reach and authenticity influencers bring. Influencers can also be invaluable in garnering feedback. Their engagement with their audience can provide insights into what works and what might need tweaking.


Conclusion


In the vibrant and ever-evolving world of restaurant marketing, keeping up with the trends and continuously innovating is the key. As dining establishments blend traditional marketing wisdom with modern digital strategies, they create unique and memorable experiences for their patrons. And while navigating this dynamic landscape might seem daunting, with the right partners and tools, any restaurant can carve its niche and rise above the competition. It's all about knowing your story, leveraging the right platforms, and continually evolving to serve and delight your clientele.

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