Marketing For Restaurants in the 2020’s and Beyond

Restaurants require a number of marketing actions to achieve success, besides food quality. Find some suggestions here

Why are restaurants so important in our society?

It is not only the need to eat food to reinvigorate the body. Restaurants usually play a role in our social life. We (as guests) gather there, celebrate and do a lot of personal sharing. When we take-out food, their food comforts us as we enjoy in other settings.

Restaurants are way more significant to its clients than the food itself that they provide.

Restaurant owners and operators have the tools and means to set the stage so that all of those social exchanges and interactions happen. As in every other aspect of life, personal connection is what ties life together.

If you are a restaurant owner / operator: How can you make your guests feel happy and loved at your place?

It is now the development of the 2020 pandemic. This is a year that will be remembered for years to come. Staying alive and well is everyone’s priority right now. This will go away eventually. Thinking about together now, might help you in the near and long future.

What do most consultants and marketers suggest

We know that marketers and consultants have been very much focused on social media and joining apps that can bring awareness to your restaurant. In our view, that narrow focus limits your chances of developing the restaurant in a way that is balanced and that will grow organically.

During this unfortunate time you can probably gage the impact that digital advertising has in your operation. By that we are encompassing email marketing, facebook ads, food directories, open table apps and and other advertising platforms that so many restaurants use. Nothing but digital advertising is available right now in most cities and states of our country.

You will be able to judge the pros and cons of those marketing actions.

Typical marketing recommendations

Most marketing companies, coaches and advisers will stress on the need to develop a social media strategy, to get a website, produce a blog, send emails, publish pictures of your food that make people want it. As said above, we think that restricting the practice to those concepts can limit your scope of growth.

A balanced and comprehensive marketing suggestion for restaurant owners in 2020’s

At ColorCopiesUSA we believe that the core of your marketing ideas should come from a more balanced set of actions that stresses on the overall experience that transforms clients into patrons. When you know who you are catering to, you will know exactly what each of the following look like for your specific operation.

We’ll introduce the concepts and then go in some level of depth.

"Think about the experience that your guests will have."

  1. Food: The food that you serve should be tasty, fresh and just captivate your guests.
  2. Team and Service: Your team must be nice, courteous and should know the food, the ingredients. Your guests must feel that the service team knows.
  3. It’s about the Experience: Create a space where guests enjoy and live an experience. It is not about a luxurious place. It’s about making the place friendly, clean. A place where hanging around feels good and safe.
  4. Advertise: Let society at large know what to expect from your restaurant

Food: This point is self explanatory. Tasteful and mouthwatering food, served at the right time and the right temperature are the stepping stone. Even if you get big thumbs up for flavor and taste, it is certainly not enough for successful operation.

Team : As individuals we tend to feel that we are doing a good job in servicing other people. Let’s look at some ways in which you can build a stronger team.

  • A first impression is difficult to change:
    • Have a team that looks happy and inspiring.
    • A team should look like ONE. The members should have a t-shirt, and an amicable appearance. T-shirts are inexpensive. They can be as simple as displaying a logo in one color or sophisticated as to depict a full color image. Here is a resource for t-shirts
  • The team should be well trained. Training and learning take time and effort from both trainer and student. Here are some of some tools to help in the training process:
    • We have seen restaurateurs use training manuals that include learning about safety, ingredients, table setting and timing. You don’t need to belong to a franchised business to have this tools handed to you. You can create them very easily. ColorCopiesUSA can help you organize your own ideas and transform them into documents that you will use to train employees for a long time.
    • Test-sheets: With the teaching comes the learning and the responsibility of the team member. In our experience, this interaction teach/test is the best combination.
  • Recognize your team members in your marketing. Have a group picture printed as a poster and displayed at your restaurant, or on your website. Team is a feeling as well.
  • Service should be anything but splendid.

"Once you reach people, you still need to connect with them, That's where the creativity comes in."

said Jeff Maerov, chief creative officer at Veritone One

Experience: #1 - The Overall Experience: There are many topics to cover under this section, and we chose to divide it into two areas.

  • It is about the restaurant and its service areas being clean. The dishes and silverware clean from every perspective
  • About loud ambient noise not preventing people from interacting
  • Atmosphere and decor can be inspiring and inviting to a relaxed meal. Create the right atmosphere!

Experience: #2 - The Small Details that Make-it or Break-it: Regardless of the type of clientele that your restaurant is catering to, whether it is for fast food, casual dining, family style or fine dining lovers, these aspects should work well for the comfort of your clients

  • Your offer should be clear: This means that your menus, whichever the format used at the restaurant, should be easy to understand and the products that your clients might be looking for, should be easy to find.
    • Static Menus for dine-in: Some restaurants might choose to offer hardcover menus, some will prefer laminated menus while others will use the same printed menus that are used as to-go-menus as disposable menus for each client. In every case, the menus should be kept clean and disinfected if they are going to be reusable. Printed plastic menus are a great option to keep hygiene and to have the menus look good overtime.

      image that shows a nicely designed menu on top of the dish and cutlery at a restaurant

    • Details are everything in the restaurant world. Providing customized menus for guests of restaurant-hosted or restaurant-catered events denotes how committed your restaurant is towards the success of an event.
    • Menus for take-out: These menus are effective as long as they are easy to read, there are nice images that help illustrate the products, and capture the attention of the clients. When the list of ingredients and description of the dishes is included, your clients are more likely to taste new options. The incentive of coupons built into the menu is always a plus at the time of attracting clients.
    • Digital Displays: Some fast food restaurants might offer menus on their digital-signage displays. Movement is fascinating that too much movement happening on the screens could be counterproductive. Your clients might have difficulty finding their choices.
  • What information should the menus contain?

    We have a separate article where we suggest effective ways to design a menu

    • The categories of food offered should be clear and well organized.
    • The options offered under each food category which include name and price
    • A description of the dish, ingredients and how spicy it is might help your clients select items that they would otherwise not choose
    • Pictures are worth more than 1000 words!

Advertise Your Restaurant: Let Your Community Know

  • Start your brand recognition campaign:
    • Brick and Mortar: We find that direct mail marketing is still a powerful tool for restaurants, when done with planning and consistency. The return on the investment is good and keeps your team busy. It could feel pricey but it is not. It is really not more expensive to print a well designed menu than a poorly crafted flyer. A well planned menu provides better response. Every time.
    • The mailbox is not as busy as it used to be before everything started migrating to digital. That is a big plus for marketers using it.

      guests choosing food from a large menu. I is clearly a menu that is easy to look from the distance and clear

    • Digital Advertising: The digital world is oversaturated. Our email inbox is inundated with email. Apps send us notifications all the time. And we as consumers, are unable and unwilling to follow them. The spam box of your email is probably cluttered with emails that nobody asked for and nobody reads.
      • Websites: Reinforce your brand recognition program by having a website. Your website should include your menu and maybe expand on the skills that your chef has, or elaborate on the specialties that on the menu might be represented by a single item line.

        representation of a website displayed in a computer monitor

      • Self-made website or professionally made?: We strongly believe that the same care that you put into the operation of your restaurant should be represented in every piece of communication that you put out. Therefore a professionally made website, where SEO is understood and taken care of is our recommendation.
      • Emails / Newsletters: It is a good practice to allow your clients to register sharing an email address to be part of offers, receive digital newsletters and more.
    • Apps: Join programs where your clients can share their experience at your restaurant
      • Yelp used to be the go-to. A free account with them allows you to customize the page that represents your restaurant, and is capable of collecting reviews.
      • Google - Local Business / Maps is probably a preferred tool these days to entice your clients to report on their experience at your place.
      • Our suggestion is that you let the same company work on the optimization of your website (SEO), Google Local search and email campaigns

If you’d like to consider ordering menus for your restaurant, check this product page Menus and Menus for Mailing. We can help you to find the right product for your printing project.

Call us at 1-877-421-0668 with any inquiries that you might have.