I’ve been working in the small business community for more than 30 years, and in all that time, one thing has remained constant: Opening a restaurant is always one of the most popular businesses new entrepreneurs dream of starting. Succeeding with a restaurant has never been easy, and in today’s economy, restaurateurs face some tough challenges. The National Restaurant Association recently released a study on what type of marketing works best for restaurant entrepreneurs. Here’s what they found:
Online marketing can boost a restaurant’s brand and attract new customers.
- Restaurants that use online marketing tools such as emails, daily deals or websites tend to be viewed by consumers as “modern” (67 percent emails, 59 percent daily deals, 65 percent websites) and “popular” (63 percent, 59 percent, 63 percent).
- Restaurant owners say the most effective ways of attracting new customers are websites (90 percent), TV ads (87 percent), social media (84 percent), restaurant emails (82 percent) and daily deals (77 percent).
Customized marketing messages tailored to the customer’s preferences lead to more sales.
- Some 87 percent of consumers would visit or order from a restaurant if they got a savings offer; 95 percent of restaurant owners believe savings offers are effective marketing tools.
- Consumers would go to or order from a restaurant if they received customized marketing messages that: referenced past visits (68 percent), allowed them to make reservations (66 percent), and identified them by name (64 percent).
Restaurant owners know what marketing tools work; they just need to implement them.
- 84 percent of restaurant owners think restaurant-specific marketing emails help increase revenue, and 78 percent of consumers say an email from a restaurant motivates them to visit that restaurant. Some 63 percent of restaurateurs say they plan to use such emails in the next year.
- 78 percent of restaurant owners say daily deals boost revenue for their restaurants, and 69 percent of consumers say getting a daily deal email motivates them to visit the featured restaurant. Forty percent of restaurant owners plan to use daily deals in the next year.
Online advertising and social media were less effective.
- I was surprised by this response, but consumers say the least effective ways to get them to visit a restaurant are online advertisements (58 percent), social media (56 percent) and radio ads (56 percent). Apparently, these methods still aren’t perceived as personalized or targeted enough.
Do you use these tactics in your restaurant? If you need help implementing a marketing plan for your restaurant, consider contacting a SCORE mentor for advice. Visit SCORE’s website to get matched with a mentor and receive free business advice 24/7.