Nowadays, the restaurant industry is hugely competitive, with most towns having a wide range of outlets offering various cuisines and dishes. Staying relevant and popular in this market can take time and effort. Many businesses find that tactics they previously would have used to gain more customers are working less effectively than they used to.
We live in a very technology-heavy world, even more so since the pandemic hit in 2020. With more and more customers going online to review and select their food, ensuring your business is front and centre, where people spend most of their time, has never been more critical.
Digital marketing can seem like a minefield for many business owners, especially if it’s something they use outside their personal lives. However, with younger generations spending more and more time on their phones, it makes sense to look at your marketing strategy and how you can use the digital world to your advantage.
In this article, we’re looking at some of the best and most simple ways to promote your business online and make the most out of this exciting form of marketing.
Take advantage of social media.
The first and potentially most crucial way to promote your business is by using social media. Social platforms have grown massively in popularity since the MySpace days, with sites such as Facebook and Instagram introducing brilliant features for showing off your business and reaching new audiences.
The first thing you need to do when starting in the world of social media is to understand the best platform to use to advertise your business. Users of different age groups have specific preferences. Facebook is now mainly for slightly older audiences, usually around 30–60. Instagram is somewhat younger, with the majority between 20 and 40, and newer apps like Snapchat and TikTok appeal to even younger audiences.
Once you have decided which platform to use, you need to build an excellent content strategy, ensuring that the things you’re posting about are what your audience wants to see. It encourages them to engage more with your content and can help to improve your brand awareness. We recommend posting at least once per day, taking time to think about the images or video you use and writing captions that entice people to like, comment, and share.
Social media is a cost-effective and quick way to promote your business online and keep your audience updated with opening times, new product offerings, and any other changes that may affect them.
For restaurants in particular, the visual aspect of platforms such as Instagram means that you can take photos of different items on your menu and show-off your food, rather than just relying on descriptions on your website.
If you need help with where to start when it comes to setting up a social media page, at Foodhub, we offer all partners free guidance in setting up and managing a Facebook page with your very own Account Manager.
Take orders online through your website.
Customers need to be more informed regarding food ordering options in the modern world. The traditional method of calling a restaurant to put their order in is becoming less and less popular, whether due to a lack of time or poor experiences in the past where a restaurant has misheard and got their order wrong.
In recent years, the introduction of online ordering systems has changed how people expect to order their food, which shows no signs of changing any time soon.
For any restaurant offering a takeaway or delivery service, it’s vital that you can provide an online ordering option. It means showing your entire menu, with the ability to pick what they want, add notes for the kitchen (for example, if they’re going to add or remove a topping), and check out their order securely with an estimate of when they can expect to collect or have their food delivered.
While this can seem complicated for a business that has yet to offer this service previously, Foodhub makes this as simple as possible. When you sign up as a partner, we provide you with a personalised landing page for your business completely free, as well as access to an online ordering app for you to manage and your customers to place their orders through. We will provide you and your team with training on how to set this up properly, and then you can sit back and watch the orders come rolling in!
Collaborate with online ordering apps.
Many restaurant owners need more time, money, and flexibility to set up online ordering systems. It can also create additional work and stress for whoever is in charge of maintaining the software and making sure that it remains fit for purpose as technology moves forward.
Many online ordering apps are available for restaurants to partner with these days, including big names such as JustEat, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats. However, along with these well-known brands can come equally significant expenses. Often restaurants are charged a high commission for each order that goes through, meaning the more popular they become, the higher their overheads.
We have built our brand on the promise that we will never charge a high commission to our partners, meaning that the more orders you put through, the more you increase your bottom line. We have also created an easy-to-use, straightforward system for you and your customers, meaning that it’s easy for you to keep track of orders, costs, and revenues while providing a simple and pain-free way for your customers to take advantage of your special offerings.
The benefits of working with Foodhub are almost never-ending. Each of our partners gets access to their Account Manager, who can help set them up, advise on how to market themselves in the local area, help build the perfect website, and make suggestions on specials and offers to encourage customers to shop with you.
We are advocates for small businesses and want to share in your successes, meaning that we will do everything in our power to help you achieve your business goals and much more.
Post daily specials.
There is nothing worse for customers than a bland and outdated menu, and if you want to keep your audience excited by your food offerings, you need to keep your options fresh!
One of the great ways to do this is by offering daily specials. Whether ingredients that you’ve managed to get a great offer on from your suppliers lead you or perhaps an entirely new dish that you’ve wanted to try out for a while to see how popular it is, giving your customers something new to try is an almost guaranteed way to encourage them to make an order with you.
Through our free app(My Takeaway App), you can quickly upload new menu items and even send alerts to your loyal customer base to let them know what you’ve got on offer, perhaps even with an introductory discount to entice them to purchase.
It’s worth noting that it doesn’t always have to be new menu items used as specials; it can be for anything you want to promote. It may even be worth considering having different specials for different days, such as a Wednesday two-for-one offer or a Saturday collection discount.
The options are endless, and choosing to promote your menu offerings in this way can make a massive difference to your business, keeping you front of mind for your customers and even helping to bring in new customers that may otherwise have shopped elsewhere.
Take advantage of different communication channels.
It’s no secret that we’re living in an age of communication, and it’s something that many consumers have grown to expect from the different businesses in which they engage. The ability to collect and store customer data has been groundbreaking for many industries as it allows them to direct specific messages to different groups of people.
It would help if you took advantage of this ability to communicate, being a part of the restaurant industry. We highly recommend segregating your data into several different groups, for example, people who order with you regularly, those who order specific items, or even those who have started an order with you and then abandoned their cart.
Once you’ve got your different audience groups, you need to get your messaging right. You can email your customers about anything you like, but always ensure to include action; you want them to engage with the message and purchase from you! Some ideas could consist of alerting them to a new menu item, letting them know about a special offer, inviting them to take advantage of a discount, or asking them for feedback on your services.
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 means that there are specific guidelines that you need to adhere to when collecting, storing and using a customer’s data, however as long as someone has agreed to market communication in your chosen format, i.e., email or SMS, you will be able to send them alerts.
Our Foodhub partners are always encouraged to communicate with their customers, and we offer email, SMS, and alerts through the free app when you sign up with us. We take care of the sign-up process to ensure that you cannot gain access to customer data that you’re unable to use for marketing purposes, meaning that you can rest assured that whatever you send out is compliant.
How to get started?
Becoming a digital marketing expert can be overwhelming if you’re a small business owner. It’s an industry constantly changing, with the introduction of new platforms and technology almost daily, making it hard for people to keep up, especially if you’re also trying to run your own business.
It is why the team at Foodhub has put so much time and effort into building solutions that give you the helping hand you need. We know restaurants don’t have time to sit on Facebook all day and promote themselves. They need more money and resources to create online ordering systems specifically for their restaurant.
We have spent the time to develop these tools, keeping them up to date with the latest technology and conducting our research to ensure that everything we provide for you works well and makes life as easy as possible for your audience.
As mentioned above, your success is at the heart of everything we do, and we are here to answer any needs or questions you have about getting started and boosting your business to levels you never dreamed possible. If you’d like to find out more about how to become a partner, please visit our Partner Page.