A Practical Guide for Restaurants to Restart and Grow After the Covid-19 Pandemic

Increase Restaurant Sales in 2021 With These Digital Marketing Strategies

To understand better why restaurants around the world took a nasty hit during Covid-induced lockdowns, we need to look at the financials of an average restaurant.

Most restaurants work with about 10% to 15% of EBITDA and with around 3 months worth of cash flow. Restaurants contribute to about 3% of the nation’s GDP and employees 7.3 million people nationwide.

As the pandemic shows signs of ebbing, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 restaurants may never reopen and job losses are expected to go past 2 million. Overall, the pandemic cost restaurateurs INR 1 billion in losses.

With social and travel restrictions easing up, there is some uptick in food orders, both dine-in and takeout. However, the next 12 months will decide the outlook for restaurants.

A key channel that restaurants could tap into to get things going is digital marketing and advertising. No matter what stage of growth or popularity your restaurant is at, with digital marketing you can see a marked increase in awareness, orders and revenue.

Here are some statistics to back up the importance of digital marketing to increase restaurant sales.

  • 9 out of 10 guests read up on a restaurant before dining.
  • Close to 60% of patrons view restaurant websites and Google listings before deciding where to dine.
  • 1 in 3 guests goes over reviews to make up their mind.

Here are some restaurant digital marketing tactics you could use to increase online food sales and grow revenue.

1. Have an immersive website
It’s cheaper to make websites now than ever. You don’t have to be a web developer to do this because of the availability of web hosting platforms with ready web design templates.
While we stress on the importance of having a website, not every restaurant would like to have it and some just won’t have the resources to look into it. In that case, you can pass this up, but you must have a Google My Business account (read below). However, if you decide to get a website, make sure it’s informative, functional and usable. The latter is extremely important because you could turn your website into an online ordering platform by either integrating WhatsApp or a point of sale (POS) system. Typically, the website must include the menu, hours of operation, address, and pictures of the dining area.

Another option is to partner with online food delivery platforms to list your restaurant on their app. This can help you increase your online food delivery sales drastically. According to Statista, India’s online food delivery revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2024) of 7.9%.

Best Restaurant Digital Marketing Platform in 2021

 

2. Local search engine optimization (SEO)
Optimizing your website for search engines helps in getting found when searches like “Chinese restaurants near me” are made. Make sure your content tailors to the searches you would like to be found for.

  • Create a blog on your website full of engaging and relevant content.
  • Make sure every page of your website utilizes local keywords that are relevant to your business offerings.
  • Create a Google My Business Account and enrich it with information. This will help your business pop up when a search is made on Google maps.
  • Make sure your contact information and address is listed multiple times and is easy to find.
SEO and Facebook Advertising for Increasing Restaurant Sales

 

3. Embrace negative reviews
Use digital marketing to create a dialogue with your customers and improve your offering. Restaurants stay wary of negative reviews, but in reality, they are opportunities to listen and show how well you can manage a bad perception. It is also a great way to set off a conversation with your reviewers. This turns your business into a brand.
Lastly, negative reviews help you find gaps in your offering and present an opportunity to better it.

4. Email & Loyalty
Emailing is a nice way to stay in touch with your customers and inform them about special occasions and offers. If done right and repeatedly, this can build customer loyalty.
And you don’t necessarily have to set up a business email. You can do it using your personal email address.
However, if your clientele is large and you wish to measure how they react to your business emails, then setting up a domain and buying an emailing client is necessary.

5. Influencer marketing
If you wish to tap into a large base of users who are interested in a particular cuisine or just food, then partnering up with influencers should be the route. These are social media figures who are well known in their niche and have a loyal and engaged audience.
Having them vouch for your restaurant has a lot more credibility in the minds of their followers than an advertisement or a review.

6. Restaurant social media marketing
Rising in search results is just half the battle won. With 68 per cent of adults using Facebook and 35 per cent using Google regularly, having a presence on social media is important. Here are the five elements that you need to work on.

  • Searchability - It’s important to choose the right name for your business so that you are discoverable. Use a direct name and include keywords that are relevant to your offering.
  • Shareability - Every photo or video you post has the potential of reaching hundreds of thousands of social media users through sharing. Make sure your images are high quality, rich, well-composed and captioned.
  • Desirability - Make your content desirable. Add texture and tone to your food-based content. Most dishes can benefit from a little bit of lighting, garnish, glaze and colour pop. Keep the photo interesting by placing items in the lower third of the image.
    Take action-oriented photos and videos that include guests, chefs working hard in the kitchen, or bartenders mixing cocktails.
  • Exclusivity - Create a sense of exclusive community for your page followers by sharing promotions, coupons, contests, and secret menu items through your social media.
Do Social Media Advertising for Restaurants in a Few Clicks

 

7. Restaurant digital advertising
Restaurant digital advertising is a powerful and cost-effective way to get business. You can run digital ads for your restaurant on Google, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram. These paid ads are shown to a set of audiences that are interested in your offering or cuisine. You can choose a geographic area for targeting that’s right for your business - right from a large city (chain of restaurants) to a small area a few kilometres wide (hole in the wall eateries).
Digital advertising for restaurants can help you:

  • Raise awareness about your business
  • Get likes for your social media pages
  • Drive online food orders
Automated Google Advertising Platform for Restaurants in 2021

 

Conclusion

Building a successful digital marketing and advertising strategy for your restaurant can be time-consuming and daunting, but the payouts and business security is worth all the effort.

And if you wish to partner up with us to help you out with this, get in touch with us. Our digital marketing and advertising experts can help you build an effective restaurant marketing strategy that creates a sustainable business.