20 Most common restaurant marketing mistakes

If you are a restaurant you should stay away from these most common restaurant mistakes. You can always learn something new and avoid these mistakes.

Avoiding these mistakes will get you more customers, and your strategy will be long term instead of short term benefits you will get long term benefits.

Let me show you some of the most common mistakes so you can correct the path.

1.No Clear Strategy:

It is very common and really any one can make the mistake of Not having a clear marketing strategy in place, afterall as a restaurant owner you might want to focus on other aspects of your restaurant business instead of focusing on marketing and chances are you are not pro at it.

But, the truth is all restaurants need marketing strategy. What about new businesses that are jumping in this line of business? What about keep getting the customers returning back? If you have a clear restaurant marketing strategy then it means you will keep getting returning customers ensuring steady income stream.

Therefore, create a marketing plan, it’s not necessary it has to be big, it can be just 1 page, but write down your marketing strategy and then stick to it unless you feel like changing it.

Read another article I wrote about AIDA Restaurant SEO, it will help you out big time.

So, there are multiple parts in Restaurant marketing, mainly:

    • Direct marketing
    • Platform marketing
    • SEO
    • Social media
    • Email
    • WhatsApp (or other such apps)
    • Brochure, pamphlets.
    • Bill board
    • Radio
    • Ads
    • There can be more, if you need more help let me know if I should write about it or contact me if you need more help.

2.Narrow Focus on Offline marketing

Yes, offline marketing is good, but you know everyone lives in a digital world so it’s much better to spare some bucks for your online marketing (digital marketing). If you spend $1000/month offline then better start catching up online also and spend 30 to 50% on digital.

Now, it doesn’t have to be huge amount, but you got to learn how to spend smartly and wisely on the internet for the biggest outcome.

When you are spending online you need to realize what’s the best you can do. Is it brand awareness you are looking for or transactional (meaning paying customer in restaurant aspect). If you are looking for brand awareness then you will opt for online display ads. If you are looking for transactions meaning paying customers then you will opt for search ads with keywords ‘fast thai food delivery’ or whatever that fits your restaurant offers

Again, offline is important, but not all the time especially when avg. person spends 6+ hours on devices like phone, laptop, tablet.

3.Ignoring customer feedback and reviews.

Word of mouth marketing is the best type of marketing so you will never go wrong with customers speaking about you and put you among other future customers in the best language possible.

So, always take into consideration the customer feedback.

If you don’t ask your customers about their feedback explicitly they will go to Google My Business, Facebook Groups, etc and leave it themselves. So, the best strategy is ask for their experience when they dine-in or even takeaway and politely ask if you like the service/food would you like to leave a rating or review about us on GMB (Google My Business) or Facebook group etc.

4.Not having a strong brand identity.

Just because you are not as big as Mc Donald’s doesn’t mean you don’t have to take your identity or branding seriously.

Remember, branding doesn’t have to be expensive, you can integrate it with your everyday merchandise. Starting from but not limited to your logo, your packaging, your restaurant theme, main theme colours, brochure, employee uniforms. Just vector logo with color scheme and then putting it on uniforms, packaging, brochures, logo will create a professional perception among your customers.

Your identity is not just your name, but also what you call your biggest cuisine or people’s favorite drink.

Now, branding is not limited to aesthetics only, you can even consider how politely or graciously you speak to your customers in your branding.

So, knowing what is branding and how you do your own branding will take your restaurant brand long way.

5.Inconsistent branding across all platforms.

Like mentioned in point 4, make sure your logo, colours, words, cuisine names, uniforms are consistent. Consistency develops a feeling of satisfaction and comfort in the minds of your customeres and make the feel like coming back. So, yes, make sure your branding is consistent.

6. Overcomplicating your menu.

If you have noticed, there are 2 type of restaurant. Restaurant 1 with literally small menu with 2 or 3 items but huge line of customers, on other hand there are restaurant with huge menu literally 100+ items and much fewer customers then example restaurant 1.

So, you need to decide you want to overcomplicate the menu with long list of items or few specialist items that people mainly visit your restaurant to have.

It also affects your bottom line like how much money will you make at the end of day or month. This decision impacts your supplies, warehouse, perishable items, chefs available etc.

7.Not updating your menu regularly.

It’s simple. Every week introduce 1 or 2 new dishes depending on season or festivals. You don’t need to print new menus, Just put on the board, make simple post on Facebook, GMB and people will know you are bringing something new that’s their favorite or not easily found and they would want to spend their money at your restaurant.

8.Failing to create a loyalty program.

There are multiple ways to create loyalty program. You can engage some company (DM me) or just do it yourself without extra cost. Just print simple card or give secret code or number to your customers with which they can redeem extra meal or discounts.

Loyalty programs ensure that you keep getting customers with consistency.

If you are a restaurant with decent size with good food but not as many customers to fill the restaurant or empty the inventory every day then you should look into having loyalty program.

9.Not having a mobile-friendly website.

Not saying you should have an app, but at least you should have a website, there are lot of free and paid options that shouldn’t cost you more than $4 every month to have a fast mobile friendly website. There is Power App, bubble.io, WebFlow, or even more simple apps, just look around otherwise I will share them in future.

10.Not optimizing for search engines.

You have to optimize your website, social media, platforms for search engines. Google search, bing search and other platforms are the best source of regular traffic and you should have a proper multi-channel strategy to get traffic. SEO is one of those puzzles from your multiple channel strategy.

11.Failing to leverage social media platforms.

Without saying you post every day, at least keep your social media active. This way customers will know you care about the business and still have that positive energy that people seek. Doesn’t mean you spend ton of money but at least post your specials, deals, discounts. loyalty program, new decoration, wish new year, happy {holiday name} etc.

12.Not responding to comments and messages on social media.

Sometimes there might be bad or uninvited comments, you can just leave those illicit comments but always respond to meaningful and legit comments.

13. Not offering any specials or promotions.

Always have something to show that differentiates your business from other businesses (competitors).

14. Not collecting customer data for email marketing, or WhatsApp.

Be polite and ask your customers (especially when you think they enjoy their meal) if they enjoy their meal will they be happy if they receive a promotion once a month or special occasions through their email, SMS or WhatsApp.

15.Not segmenting your data list.

Goes without saying that how important it is to protect customer privacy. Now, when this is settled, let me tell you it’s a great practice if you can manage to segment your customer data into categories like visit often, placed big orders, conducts birthdays – this helps you to create more suitable prices, plans and deals that you know they will like and will gladly accept the offer as it comes.

16.Ignoring the power of influencer marketing.

Especially, if you are a new restaurant looking for buzz then influencers can be a cost-effective way to set your foot between the competition all around you. Make sure they have the following from your target audience, then negotiate some deal with them that will get you the walk-in customers or take-aways that you want.

17.Neglecting local marketing opportunities.

Don’t neglect local marketing opportunities such as giving your business card, or brochure for take-away or deliveries. Getting that cheap billboard that sees the most traffic during the day. Look for such local marketing opportunities. Sometimes it can come in a variety of creative ways.

18.Failing to train staff on marketing initiatives.

It’s extremely critical, actually it’s the most vital point to teach your staff how to deal with clients as well as how they can upsell or keep future customers coming in.

Manners, behaving, speaking, presesnting, dealing with difficult situations – teach your staff.

19.Not tracking your marketing efforts to measure success and adjust strategies accordingly.

This is a missing piece of puzzle that very few people can do well. Whether it’s Google analytics, instagram insights, or platform like ubereats, food panda, insights can give you a meaningful directions on improving your business and sales.

20.Doing something phenomenal

What do you think about an offer that is too excited for any one to believe. Let me give you some examples: i) biggest burger
ii) spiciest pizza
iii) if you are below this weight (put weight machine) then you get 2 meals (specific cuisines) free.

You see, that’s how easy it is to generate a buzz.

If you want to work on your marketing campaign, then drop me email at ak@mabdullahkhan.com or WhatsApp at +92 340 2589990

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