4 Ways to Boost Your Restaurant Marketing ROI

Restaurant Marketing ROI
Restaurant Marketing ROI
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Customer habits influence a vast majority of restaurant operations. For operators, attracting new customers and ensuring they stay loyal is key to success—and that’s never been more important than in today’s post-pandemic landscape, when consumer dollars are up for grabs, but consumers’ needs are different than they used to be.

Ryan Gromfin, author, speaker, chef, restaurateur and founder of The Restaurant Boss, has helped hundreds of operators grow and scale their businesses. Recently, Gromfin offered innovative marketing strategies to help operators grow their customer bases in the webinar “Reach New Customers and Maximize Marketing,” hosted by the National Restaurant Association Show.

Here’s a look at 4 of the best restaurant marketing practices for ROI that he shared in the session.

Identify the ideal customer

The reality of any customer base is that it’s ever-changing, even for the most loyal customers. For instance, a family’s child could change schools, and the family would no longer pass a certain restaurant on the way home. This natural shift in customer loyalty is referred to as attrition—the natural loss of some customers. The idea, Gromfin says, is to ensure that more customers start and keep coming in than abandon the restaurant.

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Gromfin notes that identifying ideal guests is the first step to attracting them. Operators should imagine the demographic of their ideal customer, including their age, gender, income, marital status and education level, as well as more specific factors such as what magazines they read, what their favorite social media platform is and what TV shows they watch. By identifying the ideal guest, operators can identify the best type of marketing to attract that demographic—for instance, the marketing used to attract young families is going to be different than the marketing used to attract business executives.

By identifying who the ideal customer is, operators can better strategize their marketing efforts and appeal to those guests—building a lasting relationship with them.

Understand customers and optimize marketing efforts

The next step is honing the restaurant’s brand. After the ideal customer has been identified, operators should think about what their brand stands for and what the brand’s competitive advantage is—why should the ideal guest eat at that specific restaurant? Is it in a great location? Are the prices lower than other restaurants? Is the food different than what other places are offering?

Next, operators should identify 10 places that their ideal customers are hanging out; this will help the restaurant determine who to partner with, where to advertise and more. For instance, are customers hanging out at the nearby gym, or do they work at the office building across the street? Whatever the case may be, the more operators can pinpoint about their ideal customer base, the better.

Meet consumer needs

Beyond identifying consumers’ interests, it’s essential for restaurants to meet customers where they are at. For example, customers may not have considered the importance of curbside pickup a year ago, but nowadays, they may only patronize places that offer it. Likewise, operators need to consider what their menus look like online—with the increase in online ordering since the onset of the pandemic, consumers increasingly order with their eyes. Be sure to load photos of the menu items that look spectacular; food styling and professional photography is a must. Customers now search for specific items—best cheeseburger, for instance—rather than simply searching for burgers.

And online reviews influence where customers order from, too, so be sure to stay on top of what customers are saying about the restaurant, and encourage diners to leave a review if they had a good experience. In other words, optimize everything—from the menu to the pictures of menu items to the website and online ordering forms. Removing roadblocks means fewer chances for customers to get frustrated and click away.

Strategize, don’t advertise

Ensuring current processes are meeting consumers where they are is crucial. Making sure amenities such as delivery, curbside pickup and even alcohol delivery are available where possible is a great way to ensure that customers have a good experience with a brand—exceeding diner expectations is paramount when working on building a loyal consumer base. Rather than simply advertising, operators need to strategize their marketing plans and create a funnel. With this method, operators create awareness of the brand, attract new customers and “automatically ascend”—that is, highly target those potential new customers to ensure they become actual customers. Unless the marketing campaign has a clearly defined goal—such as to get new customers in the door—it won’t work.

What’s next?

To truly enhance the experience for customers, operators should first identify who their ideal guest is, then exceed that guest’s expectations with every interaction. Finally, restaurants should craft strategic marketing campaigns rather than one-off advertisements in order to more mindfully attract and retain customers.

Want to learn more?

You can find more free, expert-led education sessions to view at your convenience and connect with close to 1,400 supplies in The Show to Gocreate your profile today!

  • RAK Porcelain
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Inline Plastics
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Epiq Global Payment Card Settlement
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Atosa USA
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Imperial Dade
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