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Uncertain circumstances have changed the guest experience for the hospitality industry. New regulations, whether it be takeout only, limited indoor dining, or strictly outdoor seating, impact guests’ perspectives of enjoying a delicious meal out. More than ever, it is essential to have a dedicated marketing team to convince regular customers to continue to indulge in their favorite dishes or entice others to try something new. These teams must not stick to the status quo, but rather take a close look into current processes.
Consider implementing the following five tips to strengthen your restaurant marketing ideas and workflow.
Marketing professionals are always striving to come up with fresh new tactics to drive guest engagement. Currently, however, many teams are working in smaller than normal groups or have fully transitioned to remote work. This presents a challenge because collaborative efforts can quickly drop off and information silos are created. In order to prevent ideas from running dry, it is essential to hold regular brainstorms with as many marketing specialists as possible, either via video conferencing or in small groups in person. Check to ensure all team members have access to a secure network option in order to maintain a reliable connection, share materials, and have access to the resources needed to hold a productive discussion. Outside-the-box ideas should be welcomed and the session can serve as a brain dump — these unique perspectives can lead to the next big marketing lead.
What better way is there for marketers to be attuned to guests’ needs and wants than to solicit their honest feedback? With the right platform in place, it’s simple to automate the sending of a quick survey to gauge how guests truly feel after their dining experiences. Surveys can be completed quickly by asking customers to rate satisfaction on a numerical scale. Want more in-depth feedback? Encourage them to respond to open-ended questions by offering an incentive such as a complimentary drink or appetizer. This will not only help marketers to obtain valuable feedback to tailor future marketing campaigns, but with the right targeted email follow up from front of house teams, can also help to entice guests to come back.
Focusing on social media and influencer engagement can be a great approach for restaurant marketing. An easy starting point is to encourage guests to post images of their favorite dishes by creating a hashtag for your restaurant. This unique hashtag can help to create buzz around menu items and attract new customers who are on the hunt for their next restaurant experience. User generated content is a reliable medium for exposure because it’s more trustworthy. Real photos by diners paint a more realistic picture of what the dining experience could look like for other potential diners. Have a buzzworthy appetizer or an interactive dessert? Encourage your guests to snap a photo! These are both simple ways to create Instagram-worthy opportunities for your guests to help prompt more interaction with your restaurant on social media.
As part of their role, marketers often need to comb through and segment large quantities of customer data. But it can be challenging to track particular consumer behavior without the proper tools. That’s where guest management systems come into play. Restaurant marketers can utilize the data collected through these systems -- highlighting guest preferences and historical spend and visit data -- to help hyper-personalize marketing for individuals and groups. Having data accessible to marketing teams within a centralized platform makes it easier for the data to be segmented and leveraged to generate new campaigns that drive real ROI.
Planning and scheduling social media content is one of the most time consuming tasks for restaurant marketing teams. In order to save time, use a social media scheduling tool to plan out timely posts. This gives marketers the ability to focus on projects that require their creativity and problem-solving skills rather than tedious, time-consuming tasks. Automating repetitive tasks can be liberating for marketing teams. The time saved can be used to create better, more memorable customer experiences that help boost repeat business.
During these unprecedented times for the hospitality industry, it is essential that your marketing team is adaptable and forward thinking. Now is the time to ensure that you are taking the proper measures to strengthen your restaurant marketing ideas and workflow. Alongside nurturing both new and loyal customers, developing and executing a strong marketing strategy will be paramount to your restaurant’s success!