Boost Your Restaurant Business With Five Local Marketing Tips Modern restaurant management

The pandemic has ravaged many businesses across the country, and few industries have been hit as hard as the restaurant industry. Thousands and thousands of restaurants have been forced to close for safety reasons, some permanently. Today more than ever, restaurant owners must improve the management of restaurant establishments to survive these uncertain times. Consumers and customers alike have changed their behavior due to the events of the previous year.

So it makes good business sense to revamp your marketing strategies. Focus on changing your restaurant processes to adapt to new realities and to reach customers living in your area.

Today, take a look at the effects of the pandemic on the restaurant and food service industry along with five simple but effective marketing techniques to boost your local business.

The pandemic and the restoration

Necessary security protocols and the increased risk of contracting the virus in closed premises have combined to shut down the majority of businesses in 2020. Restaurants have been hit harder than most as many food-related businesses fail. were not ready to switch to digital services.

According to a survey more than 110,000 restaurants and drinking places have been closed as a result of the pandemic. That number included restaurants of all sizes, from large international restaurant chains to small dining experiences. Many of these restaurants have been closed as a precaution, to prevent people from congregating in small areas where face mask removal is a necessity.

However, many small restaurants cannot afford to stay closed for more than a few weeks. With costs like rent, food supplies, and wages, it’s no wonder that many restaurants are doubtful they’ll be able to bounce back. According to another to study conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 52% of restaurant owners do not believe they will be able to recover from the impact of the 2020 pandemic.

So what can restaurateurs do to survive the hard times they are going through now and the hard times ahead? While a variety of funding is now available, if you want your restaurant to survive you will need to step up your marketing efforts, especially your marketing efforts to locals.

Five local marketing strategies

Any credible digital marketing provider will tell you that the best goal of any marketing campaign is to attract local businesses. Even in today’s increasingly digital and connected economy, local customers still represent the bulk of your restaurant’s bottom line.

Too many restaurants are trying to attract larger and larger markets when their services are unlikely to or even reach those audiences.

Smart restaurateurs know that attracting a local customer and maintaining their loyalty is worth more than a thousand likes or views from people across the country. Improving your marketing strategies is just as important as avoiding marketing mistakes.

Below are five ways to improve your local marketing techniques. By doing this, you can ensure that your restaurant has a constant supply of customers from your community who can keep you in the dark.

1. Highlight your safety and hygiene protocols

The pandemic has changed customer priorities when it comes to the businesses they frequent. According to a survey, 77% of consumers are now more concerned with hygiene protocols and restaurant safety methods. This is quite understandable given the nature of the current crisis. Refer to your local health experts and guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to determine these steps.

Make sure locals know the steps your business is taking to keep customers and staff safe.

On your website, create an easy-to-read infographic that summarizes the protocols you follow. Highlight security protocols that also improve the convenience of your service, such as contactless payment, curbside pickup options, and quick take out. Make sure you legitimately follow these safety guidelines, as your customers’ trust is an invaluable marketing asset.

Impose the wearing of face masks for employees and customers. Prominently advertise your commitment to these safety and health guidelines on your social media page and website. You can also create posters and flyers that showcase your safety protocols to make sure everyone knows you are doing your part to ensure hygienic food preparation on your premises.

2. Partnership with other local businesses

Local businesses must come together in the current climate to ensure their mutual survival. Search your local business listings for companies that can complement your restaurant services wonderfully. Your best options for such partnerships boil down to additional vendors and companies.

Suppliers refer to the companies that provide your restaurant with the raw materials and equipment you need to do business. Switching to local suppliers can be a very affordable way to reduce your restaurant’s overhead costs. This is because you can expect lower prices due to the smaller distance between you and the companies that supply your goods. You can also expect fresher and better goods, as the food won’t have to stay in transit for long.

Supplementary businesses are businesses with goods and services that work well with yours.

For example, most restaurants partner with or subscribe to food delivery apps, like Food Panda, so you might not need to hire your own delivery staff. The type of additional business that your restaurant should partner with depends on your needs. If you run a restaurant that specializes in baking and confectionery, you might want to partner with an event planner that specializes in birthdays.

Make sure that both of your businesses market the fact of your partnership. Issue press releases or send emails to your clients regarding the partnership. You may even consider offering promotions or discounts to customers who will purchase your products through your local partnerships.

3. Contact local foodies

Social media influencers are all the rage when it comes to promotional material and there’s no denying that their reach is huge. Some influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers, and their recommendations can amount to hundreds of dollars in business for your restaurant. Rather than targeting or partnering with influences that operate nationally or internationally, choose to reach out to local and small-scale food enthusiasts or critics.

These people will have a significantly smaller reach and fewer followers, but they are part of your community. Their subscribers will most likely be other people in your area and their patronage will mean over a thousand pageviews by users from other countries. Plus, these local foodies and food bloggers will be much more affordable than top influencers.

Reach out to local bloggers and food critics and ask if they’re willing to work with you on honest reviews of your restaurants. Send them a selection of your best dishes and ask them to post about it on their blogs or social media feeds. This type of directed interaction with local, small-scale social media influencers can help market your restaurant and, in turn, gain more customer attention.

4. Register with local directories

More and more restaurants are being searched online. According to a report, as much as 77 percent of diners will search for a restaurant online before ordering or visiting. This means that it is paramount that users can not only find you through search engines, but that they see favorable reviews of your restaurant online. Digital marketing strategists will point out that listing in online directories is a great way to expand your reach online.

List your restaurant with online directories, such as Google My Business and Yelp. These online directories not only allow users to leave positive reviews about your restaurant, but the information you provide to these platforms also helps delivery drivers and customers determine your physical location.

Online directories will also contain your contact details and other details that will make it easy for customers curious about your restaurant to call you.

5. Be more active in the community

Finally, there is little that can help your restaurant reach the forefront of raising awareness in your community than being more active there.

Partner with local causes, such as homeless shelters, reading initiatives, and environmental cleanup efforts. This will generate good publicity for your restaurant and show that your business is ready to give back to your community. Massive community events may be rare in the near future, but even small efforts like repainting benches and tree planting efforts can still stand out and generate buzz for your business.

The past year has been incredibly difficult for restaurants. But thanks to the resilience of restaurateurs like you, the industry can still survive. Improving your approach to marketing and targeting local customers is just one way to ensure that your restaurant not only survives, but thrives in the months to come.