If you’ve reached this post on restaurant marketing, it’s because you’re probably looking forward to seeing how your phone rings nonstop, there are diners seated at every table in your room and the time finally comes when you can tell a customer “I’m really sorry, but the restaurant is full today”.

So, it seems that the wind is blowing in our favor – the industry is growing, people want to go out to eat, and the Internet is giving us new channels to communicate directly with our customers. It’s time to take advantage of this opportunity to boost our business, through a good restaurant marketing strategy. Let’s go!

Marketing strategy for restaurants: Design your menu strategically

Your letter or menu is not just a list of dishes. It is a tool that you must know how to use to attract customers and condition their decision making, because often the letter is what determines whether a customer stays to eat at your restaurant or goes to the competition.

Here are some tips that will help you create an irresistible letter.

It has been shown that a letter with more than 4 pages has a negative effect. Barry Schwartz, psychologist and author of the book The Paradox of Choice states that this fact has to do with our emotions and that when we are given more options to choose from, we tend to feel indecisive, discouraged and less satisfied than when we have fewer options.

A study by Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman, published by the Harvard Business Review, concludes that the only catalyst for hooking is “simplicity of choice” – when buying is simple, consumers are driven to do it again and again, and even to recommend it to their immediate circles. If your menu is too long, try to eliminate the dishes that sell the least – even if they’re exquisite to you.

Detailed descriptions of the dishes sell more

According to a study by the University of Illinois, the more specific the description of your dish, the more your customers will be willing to pay for it. Let’s give you an example: Which dish would you choose: “cannelloni filled with traditional roast meat, bathed in b├ęchamel and grilled with Savoie Emmental cheese” or “meat cannelloni”? The detailed descriptions stimulate the appetite – our mouths are watering just by reading the first option, aren’t you?

Give a name to one of your dishes

When writing your menu or menu, another persuasive tactic you can use is to use proper names or close words on your dishes. For example, if instead of writing “Torrijas con leche” you write “Torrijas de la abuelita” you will manage to transport the consumer to a home and family environment and your torrijas will transmit that very attractive idea of “artisan dish”.

Uses geographical indications to emphasize the authenticity of the product

To highlight the quality of the ingredients of your dish, indicate their geographical origin. For example, if you serve an organic beef burger that comes from Galicia, you can write “Galicia beef burger” on your menu, followed by the other ingredients. Using this technique you will achieve that your dishes inspire a superior quality, so your customers will be willing to pay more for them.

Highlight what you want to sell

Eye tracking and heatmaps are techniques that advertising companies have been using for years to discover eye patterns or, in other words, to know where we are really looking.

These studies have shown that we first look at the center, then at the upper right corner and then at the upper left corner – what is known as “The Golden Triangle”. Based on these conclusions, we can locate in these areas the dishes with which we obtain the greatest profit margin, that is, the most profitable.

However, there is a study from the University of San Francisco that questions this theory and states that we tend to read restaurant menus like books. Even so, we can also highlight the most profitable dishes in other ways – using the resources mentioned in the previous sections, adding photographs, illustrations and using more striking typography or bold letters.

In this letter we can clearly see how the section “MEATS” stands out from the rest and captures our gaze. If we analyze it, we can see that it has been placed in the center – the first point where we direct our gaze -, a typography has been used for the title that is larger, more shocking and heavier than the rest, accompanied by an illustration that is also very dense, and bold text has been used for the dishes and prices.

Marketing strategy for restaurants: Take advantage of the dates indicated to organize innovative events

Dates like Father’s Day, International Women’s Day, Bachelor’s Day, Valentine’s Day and many others are the perfect reason to introduce something new and surprise your customers.

Instead of sitting around waiting for someone to walk in the door of our restaurant to eat “the usual”, in the same way as always, why not organize a special event for this day, change the menu or introduce something new to the operation of the restaurant?

While it is true that the most traditional strategy is to design a special menu for the occasion, we can try to go further.

For example, the restaurant Labarra in Barcelona, organizes a single’s night to celebrate the international day of the singles. Based on the idea of speed dating, they set up a large table to bring together 10 women and 10 single men, with the aim of getting them to meet and, at the same time, enjoy a tasting menu plus a free cocktail to extend the date, for a price of 30 euros.

Another strategy that can help you add value on a given date is to partner with a brand or NGO to offer more than just a menu for the occasion.

For example, the J’S restaurant in Singapore manages to differentiate itself from its competitors on Women’s Day, not only with a special menu, but also by allowing customers to pay for it as they wish. The money collected during this day goes to an association that looks after the education of disadvantaged girls. In this way, J’S clients, besides enjoying a nice meal, can contribute to a social cause.

Marketing strategy for restaurants: Advertise your restaurant on Google

Google provides you with a pay-per-click platform called Google Ads, which allows you to create ads that appear above and below search page results. This means you can have your restaurant’s website appear in the top results of Google every time someone searches for a restaurant in your city. Isn’t that great?

Advertising on Google can be a good marketing strategy for restaurants for several reasons:

  • There is the habit of searching for restaurants through Google. According to Google Trends, the popularity of searches that include the word “restaurant” has more than doubled in the last five years, almost reaching the peak of popularity today. Therefore, it is demonstrated that Google is an acquisition channel with a great potential to reach our target.
  • Advertising on Google is not intrusive. Ads are only shown when users are looking for a solution to a specific problem – in this case, finding a restaurant – therefore, those who see your ad on Google after performing a search will be much more receptive than those who, for example, have seen a large billboard of your restaurant at a time when they are not expecting it.
  • The cost of a Google Ads campaign is usually lower than that of a campaign in any traditional media – such as television, radio or newspapers – and you only pay each time a user clicks on your ad. This makes it possible to obtain higher profitability in your campaigns.

If you have never used Google Ads and want to know more about how it works, we recommend our Google Ads Tutorials. If you do not have time to enter the universe of Google Ads and want to save yourself from hiring an agency or a professional to design and optimize your campaigns, then Kolau’s platform is made for you. With Kolau you can do it yourself in the easiest and fastest way.