The value of the UK restaurant market is expected to hit a staggering £52 billion by next year. If you’re planning to be part of that colossal figure, you’re no doubt pouring over your business plan as I type.
But where to start? With so many great restaurants on the market, how can you stand out? What would make people want to book a table at your lovingly-crafted business over anywhere else?
If you’re staring at a blank page, fret not, for here are 6 marketing tips for new restaurants.
1. Get snapping
We live in a highly visual society. The rise of services such as Instagram have made everyone a keen amateur photographer. What’s more, photos perform incredibly well online, and in order to get noticed, you’ll need to take as many photos of your restaurant’s world as possible.
Food shots should be your main focus, but don’t forget friendly snaps of your staff and inviting photos of the restaurant itself. Build up a database of images and keep it up – you’ll use them constantly.
2. Allow online booking
As long ago as 2012, experts were suggesting that website-less, ‘hidden’ restaurants would be missing out on £31K of business per year. Fast-forward four years and we are now firmly in the world of the online restaurant booking. If potential diners can’t book via your website, they’ll go elsewhere, quickly.
3. Utilise social media
As a new restaurant owner, signing up to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is something you should do immediately. Set up the accounts as comprehensively as possible – use the best photos you took earlier and ensure all contact information is present and correct. Then, start working on a strategy. You’ll find great tips for that here.
4. Set up your Google+ presence
As a bricks-and-mortar business, setting up an accurate Google+ account is a must. Google’s Knowledge Graph relies on it to populate the right-hand side bar with information when people search for businesses and services in their area. It’ll take a bit of time to complete, but it is one of the best free marketing tactics out there for restaurants.
5. Start content marketing
Content marketing is the process by which you gradually build a loyal following of email newsletter subscribers by posting regular, useful blogs, videos or podcasts for them to digest. The aim isn’t to sell, rather to position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your sector. As your subscribers begin to trust you more, they’re likely to turn into paying customers. There’s a tonne of info to read up on here, but content marketing is the future and will reduce your reliance on pay-per-click advertising.
6. Use Google Alerts
You can set up a Google Alert to ensure you are notified whenever your restaurant is mentioned online. This will help you suss out who is talking about you and enable you to reach out to them. Thanking people for giving you coverage will usually result in – you guessed it – more coverage!
The good news? The marketing tips offered above are either completely free or require minimal funds to implement. The biggest investment you’ll need to make as a restaurant owner looking to market a new business is your own time, but it will be some of the best time you ever invest.