Top 5 Digital Restaurant Marketing Tools You Need (2018 Update)

Enrique Estagle

21 August 2017    |   

In today’s restaurant marketing, digital marketing is the name of the game. If you want to succeed in the restaurant industry, billboards and newspaper ads will no longer cut it. QSR Web reported that 2017 would be the year of digital marketing for restaurants. If you weren’t able to keep up with it last year, don’t worry! 2018 doesn’t look to be any different either according to Eagle Eye. The reports also noted that more restaurants are increasing their digital marketing spend. The numbers don’t lie. If you want to be at the top of the game in the food service business, you need to be able to adjust to the times and use digital marketing tools that will help you get a leg up on the competition. Here are 5 tools that will help your restaurant get ahead of the curve and succeed in the digital marketing space: Website Maker / Content Management System According to SinglePlatform and research firm Chadwick Martin, restaurants are the single most searched industry online — both on desktop and mobile browsers. That means that having a website for your restaurant is equivalent to having a good first impression in today’s digital marketplace. In a Huffington Post article, ChowNow founder Christopher Webb broke down what an effective restaurant website looks like: Creating a website for your restaurant may be an intimidating task, but worry not! You don’t necessarily need to learn how to code or hire someone to design and run your website. There are numerous website makers and content management systems available that handles everything from domain name registration, down to scheduled blog posting. Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace all offer easy-to-use website management solutions. Social Media Management Applications Just like having your own website, having a strong social media presence is an absolute must for every restaurant who wants to up their restaurant marketing game. According to Sprout’s Q3 2016 Social Index, three-quarters of the people surveyed “purchased a product because they saw it on social media.” What this means is if you’re not visibly active on social media, you’re missing out on a large customer base. An excellent social media strategy for your restaurant marketing is one that involves engaging with your customers all the time. The sky’s the limit when thinking about ways you can use social media to promote your restaurant. Kairay Media has 30 tips on social media marketing for restaurants – here are our top seven favorites and takeaways from that list: Create your own and ride on trending hashtags Conduct photo contests Reward customer check-ins Post videos — especially those of chefs preparing your restaurant’s best-selling menu items Keep it fun and friendly — there’s no need to be serious Post images with relevant quotes Encourage customers to post reviews A dedicated social media manager can be a valuable member of your restaurant. But you or someone else from your existing team can handle this task just as well. It’s all about scheduling posts well in advance, ensuring that your restaurant’s social media accounts have fresh content every single day. Hootsuite is the market leader in social media management applications. It not only lets you schedule posts way in advance for multiple accounts, but it also gives you real-time customer insights. Email Marketing Solutions Some people might take it for granted, but email can have a huge impact on your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts. According to a 2015 report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing can have a return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every $1 spent. That’s almost one entrée earned for every dollar spent. Beyond the simple weekly newsletter, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate the use of emails in your restaurant marketing. Turnstyle has a deep-dive guide on the topic. Out of the numerous suggestions given, here are some we liked: Announce new items, as well as those that you’re about to take out of the menu. Both will draw loyal customers back to your restaurant in no time Send out invites for upcoming events, especially during holidays Share recipes created by your chefs Conduct surveys to get more insights from your customers Send special email messages for customers who haven’t visited your restaurant for a long time (30 to 90 days) On a customer’s birthday, make sure you send them a “happy birthday” email message MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are the top-of-mind solutions for email marketing. Intercom can also do email marketing, as well as other customer relationship management features. Online Table Reservations Since the 20th century, customers have either called or walked in advance at a restaurant to place a reservation. Restaurateurs, in turn, jot their names on the reservation book and wait for their arrival on the day itself. Who would’ve thought that taking this task to the digital age can also be an effective restaurant marketing technique? Online table reservation sites are taking the restaurant industry by storm. These companies perfectly cater to the growing millennial market by letting them reserve a table at any restaurant through the web or a mobile application. This makes the whole process quick and easy. Other benefits of using online table reservations for restaurant reservations are: Removing the old-school, paper-based reservation book with the online reservation system easily integrated with your restaurant’s PoS Have a more detailed account of the upcoming forecast, giving you the ability to better manage your inventory and staff shift schedules Get recognized by more people as your restaurant is listed on their site Opentable is the company that first comes to mind when talking about online table reservations. Its Airbnb-like system makes it easy for customers to book. It also can be integrated into a restaurant’s PoS or your restaurant’s existing website with a widget. Yelp now also has its own reservations service that is integrated within its review platform. Online Reviews Speaking of Yelp. Yes, it can be the bane of your restaurant, but online reviews are important in the customer’s decision-making. According to a BrightLocal report, 84% of people surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And that same report noted that 7 out of 10 consumers will review a business if they are asked to. Serving great food and delivering excellent table service is the key for a good reputation for your restaurant. But that has to translate to tons of reviews online. The Toast Blog shared 4 ways to improve how your restaurant performs on online review sites: Promote your restaurants beyond liking on Facebook or following on Twitter. Tell them that they can check out your restaurant on Yelp or TripAdvisor Ask (or invite) your customers to review your restaurant. You can do it after they’ve settled the check, or through email Create a dedicated landing page on your website just for reviews, featuring sample entries from previous customers Conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to sift the promoters from the detractors In today’s world, what you and your customer say online is as good as gospel. That is why it is important for any restaurateur to invest in restaurant marketing – especially in their digital marketing. By using these online marketing tools, we guarantee that your restaurant will get more customers at any time of the day.

In today’s restaurant marketing, digital marketing is the name of the game. If you want to succeed in the restaurant industry, billboards and newspaper ads will no longer cut it. QSR Web reported that 2017 would be the year of digital marketing for restaurants. If you weren’t able to keep up with it last year, don’t worry! 2018 doesn’t look to be any different either according to Eagle Eye. The reports also noted that more restaurants are increasing their digital marketing spend.

The numbers don’t lie. If you want to be at the top of the game in the food service business, you need to be able to adjust to the times and use digital marketing tools that will help you get a leg up on the competition.

Here are 5 tools that will help your restaurant get ahead of the curve and succeed in the digital marketing space:

Website Maker / Content Management System

According to SinglePlatform and research firm Chadwick Martin, restaurants are the single most searched industry online — both on desktop and mobile browsers. That means that having a website for your restaurant is equivalent to having a good first impression in today’s digital marketplace.

In a Huffington Post article, ChowNow founder Christopher Webb broke down what an effective restaurant website looks like:

An effective website for your restaurant marketing should have 1.) A homepage with the most important information on the top half of the page, supported by enticing photography, 2.) A dedicated section for your menu and a page for regular and special promotions, 3.) An online reservation system, 4.) A regularly updated blog to boost your SEO ranking and and a dedicated section featuring reviews and other articles from your local press outlets, and 5.) Chef and staff profiles and links to social media accounts

Creating a website for your restaurant may be an intimidating task, but worry not! You don’t necessarily need to learn how to code or hire someone to design and run your website. There are numerous website makers and content management systems available that handles everything from domain name registration, down to scheduled blog posting. Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace all offer easy-to-use website management solutions.

Social Media Management Applications

Just like having your own website, having a strong social media presence is an absolute must for every restaurant who wants to up their restaurant marketing game.

According to Sprout’s Q3 2016 Social Index, three-quarters of the people surveyed “purchased a product because they saw it on social media.” What this means is if you’re not visibly active on social media, you’re missing out on a large customer base.

An excellent social media strategy for your restaurant marketing is one that involves engaging with your customers all the time.

The sky’s the limit when thinking about ways you can use social media to promote your restaurant. Kairay Media has 30 tips on social media marketing for restaurants – here are our top seven favorites and takeaways from that list:

  • Create your own and ride on trending hashtags
  • Conduct photo contests
  • Reward customer check-ins
  • Post videos — especially those of chefs preparing your restaurant’s best-selling menu items
  • Keep it fun and friendly — there’s no need to be serious
  • Post images with relevant quotes
  • Encourage customers to post reviews

A dedicated social media manager can be a valuable member of your restaurant. But you or someone else from your existing team can handle this task just as well. It’s all about scheduling posts well in advance, ensuring that your restaurant’s social media accounts have fresh content every single day.

Hootsuite is the market leader in social media management applications. It not only lets you schedule posts way in advance for multiple accounts, but it also gives you real-time customer insights.

Email Marketing Solutions

Some people might take it for granted, but email can have a huge impact on your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts.

According to a 2015 report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing can have a return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every $1 spent. That’s almost one entrée earned for every dollar spent.

Beyond the simple weekly newsletter, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate the use of emails in your restaurant marketing. Turnstyle has a deep-dive guide on the topic. Out of the numerous suggestions given, here are some we liked:

  • Announce new items, as well as those that you’re about to take out of the menu. Both will draw loyal customers back to your restaurant in no time
  • Send out invites for upcoming events, especially during holidays
  • Share recipes created by your chefs
  • Conduct surveys to get more insights from your customers
  • Send special email messages for customers who haven’t visited your restaurant for a long time (30 to 90 days)
  • On a customer’s birthday, make sure you send them a “happy birthday” email message

MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are the top-of-mind solutions for email marketing. Intercom can also do email marketing, as well as other customer relationship management features.

Online Table Reservations

Since the 20th century, customers have either called or walked in advance at a restaurant to place a reservation. Restaurateurs, in turn, jot their names on the reservation book and wait for their arrival on the day itself.

Who would’ve thought that taking this task to the digital age can also be an effective restaurant marketing technique? Online table reservation sites are taking the restaurant industry by storm. These companies perfectly cater to the growing millennial market by letting them reserve a table at any restaurant through the web or a mobile application. This makes the whole process quick and easy.

Other benefits of using online table reservations for restaurant reservations are:

  • Removing the old-school, paper-based reservation book with the online reservation system easily integrated with your restaurant’s PoS
  • Have a more detailed account of the upcoming forecast, giving you the ability to better manage your inventory and staff shift schedules
  • Get recognized by more people as your restaurant is listed on their site

Opentable is the company that first comes to mind when talking about online table reservations. Its Airbnb-like system makes it easy for customers to book. It also can be integrated into a restaurant’s PoS or your restaurant’s existing website with a widget.

Yelp now also has its own reservations service that is integrated within its review platform.

Online Reviews

Speaking of Yelp. Yes, it can be the bane of your restaurant, but online reviews are important in the customer’s decision-making.

According to a BrightLocal report, 84% of people surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And that same report noted that 7 out of 10 consumers will review a business if they are asked to.

Serving great food and delivering excellent table service is the key for a good reputation for your restaurant. But that has to translate to tons of reviews online.

The Toast Blog shared 4 ways to improve how your restaurant performs on online review sites:

  • Promote your restaurants beyond liking on Facebook or following on Twitter. Tell them that they can check out your restaurant on Yelp or TripAdvisor
  • Ask (or invite) your customers to review your restaurant. You can do it after they’ve settled the check, or through email
  • Create a dedicated landing page on your website just for reviews, featuring sample entries from previous customers
  • Conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to sift the promoters from the detractors

In today’s world, what you and your customer say online is as good as gospel. That is why it is important for any restaurateur to invest in restaurant marketing – especially in their digital marketing. By using these online marketing tools, we guarantee that your restaurant will get more customers at any time of the day.

Related Posts

Awards & Rostering    |   

How much do full time staff really cost?

Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there I went along with that, not really giving it much thought. But today the thought struck me – casuals miss out on plenty of benefits afforded to full and part timers, so are they really better off? I decided to investigate further. What follows may surprise you. First – how many days in a year does a full time employee work? Weeks in a Year: 52 Working Days in a Year: 260 So far so good. We’re going to ignore the 1 or 2 days that we’re off by, for the sake of a nice round number. Next, let’s look at this full time employee’s entitlements, in days. Annual Leave: 20 (4 weeks) Personal Leave: 10 (2 weeks) Public Holidays: 10 We’ll assume a 7.6 hour work day and 17.5% leave loading. So how many hours of leave are we paying? Annual Leave – Base: 152 Annual Leave – Loading: 26.6 Personal Leave: 76 Public Holidays: 76 Total Hours of Leave Paid: 330.6 Earlier we calculated how many days of work one can work in a year, now let’s subtract leave taken to get a more accurate figure. Days of Leave Taken: 40 Actual Days Worked in a Year: 220 Actual Hours Worked in a Year: 1672 Divide 330.6 (hours of leave paid) by 1672 (hours worked) and we get 19.77%. Remember, we are comparing this to the 25% loading paid for casual staff. So from this perspective, yes, your full time and part time staff are still cheaper – but only by 5.23%. And even that number is probably on the low side. We ignored long service leave and maternity leave because they are a bit more unreliable. Both they are also costs (or accruals) that can definitely add up! When you take into account the fact that you only have to pay casuals when you need them, it’s easy to see why more and more Australian employers are turning to casual staff. According to the ABS, this has been growing steadily since the 90’s, and today over 1 in 5 jobs in Australia are casual.

Industry Insights    |   

Why Brisbane is Australia’s Best City for Startups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: 1. Cost of living This is by far the biggest benefit of being in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. This has allowed us to bootstrap to a considerable size without using external funding. 2. Transport This may sound like a small thing. The best advice we got when we were starting our business was “it takes a lot of shoe leather”, meaning we’d spend a lot of time on our feet talking to anyone who’ll meet with us. Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away. Despite what philosopher Alain de Botton might say about the Riverside Expressway, it’s one of my favourite features of the city. Because Brisbane’s not that big, we can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like we are out of the loop. 3. BCC Brisbane City Council is making a very concerted effort for the future of the city to be digital. I was lucky enough to receive the Lord Mayor’s budding entrepreneur grant and have heard Cr Quirk talk about the city’s plan for the future and I’m excited about growing a business here. 4. Business community There are a number of great communities around start-ups really getting some traction in Brisbane such as River City Labs and iLab. But the other great thing about the city is how many innovative business people are willing to talk to you and lend a hand – which is particularly good for a B2B business! 5. Talent Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talent to help build and grow our business. It’s a much tougher market for employers in other capital cities, especially those with only one technology-focused university. I’d recommend Brisbane as a great place to start a business for anyone considering starting out. The team at Brisbane Marketing & Digital Brisbane have a lot of support available to you on top of the many other benefits.

Awards & Rostering    |   

Easter Penalty Rates 2015 — What you need to know about paying staff

Easter is coming up soon, and that means two things! A new season of Game of Thrones to feast on, and – perhaps less excitingly – public holiday rates to pay staff. As a business owner, accountant, or bookkeeper, it’s important to be aware of how public holiday rates over Easter and ANZAC Day should be paid in your state. First, let’s see when the holidays will be in 2014. You might be surprised! If your business is open on any of these public holidays, you’ll need to pay staff the appropriate public holiday rates. You should check your award, which will tell you exactly what multiplier or penalties to apply, often under a Public Holidays section. A common multiplier is 2.5x. Some businesses pay staff salaries, or pay casually “above award”. Public holiday penalties still apply! If you have a contract, it should cover this – check with Fair Work if you are unsure. Staff who don’t work on a public holiday If you have full or part time staff who should have worked on any of the weekday public holidays – Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Easter Tuesday in specific cases – they are still entitled to pay, even if they do not work. Generally you’ll pay at base rate for the hours staff would have been entitled to. Of course, if staff do work on the day, you’ll pay at a higher rate as dictated by the award (see above). But keep in mind: this only applies if they usually work on that day. For example, a part timer in Queensland who generally works Tuesday to Thursday probably wouldn’t get paid the public holidays because there’s no public holiday on those weekdays. Check your award/agreement to be sure! If your award dictates how rostered days off work, you should check to see if staff with an RDO on a public holiday are still paid. In some states, some kinds of businesses are not permitted to open on public holidays due to trading regulations. If this applies, you will probably still be required to pay staff who would otherwise work on that weekday. Again, if you’re not sure, it’s best to ask. Staff who work on a day that isn’t a public holiday Keep in mind that the rest of the award doesn’t shut off just because it’s Easter. For example, if you are in Tasmania and pay Saturday rates, you’ll still need to pay these on Easter Saturday (which is not a public holiday for you). Tell me some more interesting facts about payroll around public holidays Did you know… If an employee takes sick leave around a public holiday (eg. Thursday April 24 to Monday April 28), they still get paid the public holiday if they were otherwise supposed to work that day (ie. full/part time) If an employee takes annual leave, public holidays during the leave period don’t count towards their annual leave balance Public holidays do not need to be paid for staff on unpaid leave Staff cannot be forced to work on a public holiday if they have reasonable grounds for doing so. Common reasons include: the amount of notice given, family responsibilities (especially over Easter), and whether one could reasonably expect the business to be open on a public holiday. Tanda’s employee time clocks automatically interpret industry awards – including public holidays – so you can be sure you paid staff right, without tedious manually data entry Where can I get help? Add the Fair Work Infoline to your speed dial, they are always happy to help. The number to call for any payroll queries is 131 394. What’s your favourite easter treat? We’re impartial to Lindt chocolate bunnies. Yum. Note: none of the above constitutes formal payroll advice. Always check with your accountant, bookkeeper, or Fair Work.

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About the author

Enrique Estagle

Enrique was the former editor-in-chief of Tanda's Blog.

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Awards & Rostering

How much do full time staff really cost?

Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there […]

Industry Insights

Why Brisbane is Australia’s Best City for Startups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: […]

Awards & Rostering

Easter Penalty Rates 2015 — What you need to know about paying staff

Easter is coming up soon, and that means two things! A new season of Game of Thrones to feast on, and – perhaps less excitingly – public holiday rates to pay staff. As a business owner, accountant, or bookkeeper, it’s important to be aware of how public holiday rates over Easter and ANZAC Day should […]

More Resources

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