Today, the restaurant field is perhaps the one with the most vicious competition. According to the renowned Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, in Italy alone there are around 164,500 restaurants, and 3,600 close down every year when they lose the battle with fierce competitors.
Worse still, 1 out of every 5 authentic Italian restaurants abroad goes bankrupt, where the big chains of frozen pizza dealers seem to have no rivals. Why does this happen? Do people prefer eating junk food, or do the big companies know a secret ingredient able to transform lab food into irresistible dishes?
Why does the McDonald’s continue opening branches around the world while the quality (and good value) burger restaurants around the corner struggle every day? The answer is very simple. Big chains have been using a powerful magic ingredient which lets them pile customers into their businesses with disarming ease. That secret ingredient is called marketing.
You certainly won’t have a large marketing department like McDonald’s or Burger King and $500,000 to invest in advertising, but there are 5 small and powerful things you can do straight away to improve your restaurant business without ruining yourself.
1. Make your business visible on Google Maps
One in three people uses Google to search for local businesses, especially restaurants. These prospects are often looking for practical information such as the business’s address and opening hours.
Or they want to eat something and glance at the restaurants around them. Not being present on Google Maps means losing potential customers to competitors.
Instead, a complete profile on Google My Business will encourage potential customers to choose your restaurant.
It features a description, representative photos, opening times and a link to your website. If you haven’t done it yet, create your own profile now. Don’t forget to have proper banners display on your physical restaurant to make it more attractive.
2. Get listed on TripAdvisor
Over 2,500,000 restaurants are on TripAdvisor, and this means that many entrepreneurs are generating revenue through this platform. The web platform features a feedback system that customers leave on a restaurant’s page once they’ve tried it.
Customers’ reviews can be seen by other people who would like to try that restaurant. The more positive reviews you get, the better your chances of getting new customers. Go to TripAdvisor, and get listed today!
3. Create a website
Would you step into a store with no windows, or worse still, a crappy and ugly-looking one? Today, not having an effective restaurant website equals having a shop with darkened windows. It’s pointless to seek solutions to improve your recipes if you’ve not yet thought of setting up your shop window.
Building a great website will not only boost your visibility but make you look more professional and reliable in the eyes of prospects. But keep in mind that a website, like any other window, needs to be taken care of and updated, as well as built by an expert.
Entrust the design of your site to an advertising agency or an experienced consultant in web marketing.
4. Create a business page on Facebook
I don’t know if you use Facebook, how often or if you like it or not. But when it comes to doing business, you’d better use it daily as it’s a powerful weapon able to knock on your customer’s door, take his or her hand and lead them to your restaurant.
Today, being on Facebook will give you the chance to establish a two-way relationship with your customers and increase the level of engagement more quickly than traditional media.
5. Enlist local food bloggers
Ask local food bloggers to write a review of your review in exchange for a free meal. The external links obtained from their article will help with positioning on search engines, as well as getting a positive review from an expert in the field.
Clearly, these suggestions represent only the tip of the iceberg. Marketing is a deep-seated process that requires a detailed plan designed by experts. Nonetheless, starting with these small actions, not only will you attract more customers, but will acquire greater awareness of the weapons available to lead your restaurant straight to success.