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How to Market Your Restaurant or Caff Business

images2The restaurant industry can be a tough market to crack. Competition is fierce and independent restaurant owners are likely to find themselves competing against established brands. In these financially insecure times, it can take more than mouth-watering food to entice customers through the door.
Your first challenge will be to make potential customers aware of your business and get your name out there. This can be a daunting prospect and can often fall by the wayside as you become involved in the preparation of opening your restaurant.
Make customers feel welcome
Ensure your establishment is warm and inviting, freshly decorated and spotlessly clean with comfortable seating. Displays menus in a prominent position outside, so customers can view them before they enter. Don’t forget those finishing touches, such as flowers on the table, soft lighting, tablecloths and menu holders for restaurants.
Website
Your website is a key ingredient when it comes to promoting your food establishment. It will give customers an idea of your menu and prices and provide details of location and opening times. Fresh content in the form of blogs, recipes and cooking tips will help your site to become visible.
Direct marketing
Gather contact details for customers by requesting they sign up to receive special offers, coupons and news, via your website or social media pages. Alternatively, distribute surveys for customers to complete when the visit your establishment. Offer an incentive for providing the information, such as a free drink, or a chance to win a meal for two. Once you have gathered this information, you will have a mailing list ready to receive direct marketing materials such as a newsletter.
Talk to the media
Make it your business to get to know the local media. Consider holding a reception for local editors, radio personalities and restaurant bloggers. If you are opening a sandwich bar, consider a free delivery of tasty sandwiches and cakes to the local newspaper offices, with a press release announcing your launch.
Get social
Spend a few minutes each day updating your face book page and sending tweets. You can comment on a news story that is relevant to your industry or send out details of a ‘daily special’, new menu item or other promotion. Ensure your social media communications are not overly sales orientated, for example rather than announcing a new addition to your menu, ask people for menu suggestions. Don’t be afraid to follow established brands and ‘like’ their pages to obtain ideas.
images1Owning and managing a restaurant or caff is not for the faint hearted. The hours can be brutal and you will be on your feet for most of the day. The reality is, in the current economy, many establishments don’t make it through the first year.
On the other hand, if you have the passion and determination to make it work, owning a food business can be both rewarding and lucrative. You will get to meet lots of people, be your own boss and work in an environment where no two days are ever the same.
Jennifer owns an online company that provides a wide range of wide range of menu holders for restaurants. Jennifer writes food related content for several websites and blogs.

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