Earning a profit from a restaurant takes a lot of hard work. Trends and statistics tell us that having a website is vital, especially a mobile-friendly one, so you create a website and enable online ordering. You’ve followed the advice of marketing experts and set up social media profiles, and maybe you even have a blog and post regularly on it. However, the one place you’re hesitant to dive in is advertising. Maybe you don’t have the budget, or maybe you’re unsure where to start.
A marketing strategy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, if you already have a website set up, you can use your restaurant’s site to keep your costs down. As your restaurant’s digital storefront, your website is often the first interaction your potential customers have with your restaurant and menu offerings, so it’s a great place to introduce items, promote new items, and build your email and phone database for future marketing efforts.
By utilizing your online ordering system, your restaurant can increase revenue even if the in-house seats are full. Advertising within your online ordering system can help you experience a lucrative income stream.
Try Something New
A big challenge of adding a new item to your restaurant’s menu is getting people to try it. No matter how delicious it is, patrons often fear straying from what is familiar to them. Include mouth-watering photos of new menu items on your online ordering system to create a demand for them. Or, tease new items with a photo and an enticing description. You could hold a taste test with loyal patrons and get their reviews for new items, then include the rave reviews on your online ordering system to increase interest in the items. By enticing customers and creating interest and demand, you can promote new menu items without offering a discount.
Show Them What They Like
By using retargeting marketing, you can advertise food items that a customer has previously looked at or ordered. Show them something you know they like to entice them to order it. Or, show them something that goes great with what they are currently ordering as an upsell. For example, a side of fries for a sandwich, or a dessert for their dinner entree. Retargeting marketing does typically require code, so you may need someone to help you with this option.
Get Their Email
Don’t let someone order on your restaurant’s website without getting their email address. You can pose it as an exclusive email list that will give them first notice of specials, events, new menu items, and deals. Tips and tricks from your chef would make great email content, too. Make sure that when a customer gives you their email address, you give them something valuable in return, and this will help build customer loyalty.
In a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 87% of consumers would order from a restaurant’s website if they were given a savings offer. Email is one of the best and most cost effective ways to deliver special offers to your customers.
Get Their Phone Number
Text messages have high open rates, and over 90% of people read their messages within three minutes. Nearly 98% of smartphone users utilize their phones for texting. Based on these statistics, SMS marketing could be beneficial to your restaurant. Some ways to use SMS marketing are:
Send coupons or special offers
Promote special events
Create a loyalty program
In order to take advantage of this type of marketing, though, you need your customer’s phone numbers. Additionally, you need to have clear permission from your customers before using text messaging. Include text messaging sign ups in your online ordering system so customers have a chance to be on the list as they place their food order. You could include a check box during the checkout process that signifies they’d like to be on the list using the contact information they input for their order. Or, give them an incentive to sign up like a free drink with their order, or a discount on their next order.
While your in-house restaurant gets the foot traffic, and you may have a loyal customer base that revisits, your restaurant’s website and online ordering system is an excellent place to market to customers. Use your online ordering system to offer specials, promote new menu items, and sign up customers for your email and phone number lists. You should also include links to your social media platforms on your website.
By offering online ordering, you are already helping your restaurant. You can benefit your restaurant even more by including advertising within your online ordering system.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
About us and this blog
We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.