INTRODUCTION:I have written this small restaurant online promotion book from my heart and I hope you will enjoy it. I update this online book every month. I am always learning and keep my eyes open for new ideas. I would like to dedicate this book to my father (Raj Chauhan) who gave me everything without saying anything. A father is like a shadow who is always with you.How much money do you have in your pocket? It will decide your next meal. Dates are significant for promotion as restaurants don’t realize the changes in a guest’s pocket power every month.Ask any restaurant owner, and you will learn that 2% of the capital goes into promoting the business. And that is how it should be done as per industry experts. Irrespective of the money invested, each country has a separate way of promoting the restaurant business. You cannot expect to publicize a venture in India the same way you would do in the USA. Why? Culture is the answer. Most Asian nations still rely more on word of mouth than market news. On the contrary, European and American markets leverage the power of the Internet, i.e., online reviews and testimonials. Hold on! Are you wondering why we are deliberating so much over promotion? It is simple, all you have to do is reach out to people. Here my friend, let me reveal the truth. Promotion is not as simple as it sounds given the humongous competition you have to encounter. It is the most important key to success, and you have to keep in mind how your target audience thinks while promoting your restaurant. Gone are the days when you could entice customers with beautiful words. Now, you have to touch the chords of their emotions to bring about sales. Resort to myriad options like print media, vehicle branding, electronic media, scratch card & lucky draw and bar games to bring in the crowds. One more thing, discuss your plans with your staff and take their ideas as well before implementing the plan in the business. Many businesses have gone down the drain because the marketing staff and the owner ignored the staff. These people are the front end; they are best endowed to assist you in the process.1. Old is Gold When a new guest arrives at your restaurant, there is a reason to celebrate. Being able to retain this new guest causes a bigger celebration. The value of a regular guest is Priceless.This should be the ultimate goal for every restaurant business in the world. How you can ensure one extra visit from the regular guests is always crucial. Restaurants waste a lot of money in bringing new guests instead of focusing on regular customers. No matter how aggressive marketing you do with the help of reviews, word of mouth is still a go-getter, whether you are in India or the USA. Impress your first-time customers, and they will return again, this time with a friend. And the process goes on! Now, apart from killing with food and awesome services, what other things can attract a guest? Membership is the next step ahead. The future of the restaurant business is membership. Get a card made and introduce the point system to guarantee surefire visits from existing customers. Can you tie up with other restaurant cuisines which are different to you? Please put some effort into making that card.You can also have a different membership tier system. Something which makes you stand out of the queue. How about a free dish after a guest completes 100 points? Alternatively, discounts are lucrative for walk-in customers, those who order through apps and also those who order through online aggregators. Check out some more drool-worthy ideas.Send texts to regular guests on their birthdays or anniversaries, and request them to visit your restaurant for lunch or dinner. Ask them how many people would come if they agree to celebrate their event at your restaurant. You remember their special day and are eager to reserve seats; they will love it. Serve on the house cake. They will keep this little act in mind forever.Start an offer for regulars to give them 50% off on all orders the very first day of every month. You reached out in the previous point. But how can you get customers to reach out to you without sending them 50 messages a day and preparing to get blocked? Free meals if they come 10 times and on reaching 5 times give them that day 50% OFF.In case you are launching a new dish, you can offer a plate to your most regular customer for free for tasting. You are impressed at the loyalty of a customer and want to satisfy him/her. Send some food home but not in a poor quality plastic container. Opt for steel or a high-quality plastic tiffin box. This way, you not only show that you care for the customer but also for the community. Put some pamphlets on what new items you are planning to introduce on your menu card.Bar Tip- First ‘Beer free from 11 PM to Midnight’. These offers of a happy hour do not just make your customers happy, but also put in that extra wad of dollars into your cash box. Other offers include 2 for 1 or half price on drinks in a limited period of time, fixed price and bundling, unlimited refills, daily special, Combo up, wine and cheese in the evening, buy in bulk and upsell and last but not the least buy a large pizza and get one beer free. 2. Your FamilyI consider people at work as family. You will spend a lot of time with them in the early years. Promotion always starts at home first. Lot of restaurants don’t understand the true value of it at all.
Freshness always sells: Let the waiter inform the guest that you offer fresh ‘gajar ka halwa’, but it will take 45 minutes, and it is a USP. He can then ask if the customer would want to have some.
Scarcity is demand: When the customers realize that you have only 5 plates of ‘murgh malai kebab’ for the day, they will not want to lose it.
Waiter with a language name tag: A name tag is useful in communicating with waiters. People love to talk to waiters from the same country as theirs. You must have noticed servers hailing from a particular region, building camaraderie with guests from the same area. Once the guest leaves, you may have also noticed that they ordered quite a lot of food; much more than you had expected they would.
Use employee stories: If an employee is good at something like carving pumpkins or serving wine, spread the news. Guests will flock to experience the service.
Cross-selling: Can they sell if the guest orders burger and coke with it or wine with steak?
Membership: While they are making the payment, waiters should politely ask them if they want membership. Informing the guests about the benefits of the membership is also a must or else you will only have cards and no members!
We all want hardworking employees, but what about those who have great ideas. Have an idea of the month competition as well. Always remember, an idea can change your restaurant.3. The Human TouchA good restaurant owner knows the value of the human touch. Guests are not numbers, nor are they machines. I always believe humans run on emotions and feelings. How quickly you can touch them will result in success for the business. If you support the local team, you will be able to touch the emotional chords of the locals. Host open microphone, quiz, karaoke nights and such trivia events to create an atmosphere of fun and joviality. People will love to visit your eatery. Get into the social cause: Promote your business for philanthropic causes. You can request guests to buy a ticket for cancer awareness and obtain the chance to win dinner. Community service and environmental safety are two of the major aspects of social work. Collaborate with some of your competitors to show how the industry is putting efforts for a better today and tomorrow. Distributing food and clothes for charity is another way to find mental happiness and promote your business simultaneously. The best trick in the business is to impress men in uniforms. We love them from our heart. Can we give them a special discount on the national holidays?Food festival: Take part in food festivals and events to cater to the unique taste buds of the locals. You may set up a stall in a carnival meant for desserts and offer your best desserts. Such promotional activities can take you to the target audience, and in no time will they flock to your establishment to get more of your tasty fare. 4. One Click for magicIt just takes one click to get everything on your fingertip in this century. Have you taken the social media leap? Are you active on them? If not, here are some tips worth trying.First and foremost, be on all the social media platforms. But, just having an account cannot promote your venture. You need to post regularly too. It can be anything from pictures of your restaurant to offers and blogs about the industry. It helps to inculcate curiosity about your business.
FB/ Insta Share and free dinner: 10% off the bill
Sir/Madam, please share a picture of your order on Insta or Facebook to get a flat 10% off on your bill. Help us reach out; we will help you save your pockets” - this is what you will be indicating. You can also go live on FB/Instagram/YouTube every weekend, and send a notification to a regular customer every month for a free dinner.
WIFI: Like our Page
A common practice in the airline industry, you can try it for your restaurant as well. When a customer likes your Facebook page, he/she gets the opportunity to use your password while at the establishment.
Social media stories:
Post videos or small pictures just for 24 hours. When potential customers see them, they get excited and flock to your eatery for more.
Use HD and videos for promotion:
The contemporary customer always wants something more. HD videos and pictures are more attractive than flat ones when it comes to appealing to famished eyes. The food has to look delicious and luscious.
Viral social media contest
Who does not want to stand out? When you are on social media, you have to be unique because your rivals too, are trying to win the game. Contests and competitions can bring you to the limelight. Plan such exclusive contests that they go viral and people come to know about your existence. For instance, ask interested customers to grab a burger in 1 minute and post the winner’s picture on Facebook or other platforms. Repost images from customers if they are of good quality after asking for permission: Did you like the picture of a dish or the interiors of your restaurant by a customer? If yes, you can seek their permission to repost it and awe your audience with its quality.# Hashtag and create your specific hashtags:
Create your specific hashtags to reach out to your target audience and let them filter information.
The menu card on social media and in a different language ( You can also show this menu online from the phone in the restaurant if they don’t know the native language at all)Post the menu on social media for people to see. Interested customers will surely visit the restaurant if they like the price. Now, in case there is a change in the menu, post the new picture again.
Hashtag Small Guideline
Before you post anything, take a look at the following# Do not forget to name your restaurant in the hashtag.# Always use your company name in the hashtag.# Look outside the window before any hashtag.# Include 30 hashtags on a post and 10 on a story. # Timings of those Tweets# Don’t waste time using unnecessary tags.# Give this job to a young kid, and they would be up for it.# Quora and Pinterest are free platforms that can be highly beneficial for promoting your company.Monthly boast posts: Social media is a great way to appreciate your admirers. Post the 5-star reviews of a particular month and follow it with a post of gratitude. 5. The first impression is the last impressionThey say first impressions are the best impressions. Besides the local guests, your aim is also to entice tourists. Put your establishment right in front of their eyes outside airports, at bus stands and at taxi stands. Hoardings and electronic signages are effective for this purpose. Just make sure that you are the first contender because people remember what they see first.
Invite bloggers and YouTubers
Find the right influencer for your brand and then allow them the freedom to place your product organically in their videos and blogs. Because, you do not have the time to write blogs yourself, but who knows?
Invite taxi and bus drivers
Guests coming as tourists would talk first to the taxi or bus drivers of the town. People love to ask them during their return back to the accommodation for a restaurant recommendation.
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