Restaurant Marketing Trends That Sizzle in 2017

Because eating is often a social activity, there’s no shortage of restaurants when you’re searching for one online. Of course, every eatery that shows up on search results pages would like to be the one preferred by someone looking for a good meal. All this competition for the attention of hungry searchers means restaurants looking to maintain a steady stream of customers need to maintain constant visibility. If restaurant marketing is on your plate of priorities in 2017, consider the following trends when determining how to serve up the right content.

Story-Driven Experiences

The experience a restaurant delivers is just as important as what is on the menu. The key to encouraging loyalty and building a customer base that includes repeat visitors is content that presents an appealing narrative. The story could revolve around the resident chef, the atmosphere and ambiance, and, yes, even the cuisine. Story-based content is especially enticing for millennials, who also happen to have more of a tendency to dine out.

Niche Targeting

Gone are the days of saying a restaurant is something “everyone” will love. Restaurant marketing in 2017 is all about the niche. Content needs to focus on one or two very specific niches. This may include an emphasis on family-friendly dining, gluten-free menu selections, or vegetarian or vegan dishes. Trying to be everything to everyone comes across as being nothing special to anyone. Instead, unique attributes and offerings should be played up in blog and social media posts, website content, and descriptions in local directory listings. Doing so will allow restaurants to truly stand out from the crowd of competitors waiting in the wings.

Customer Experience

One of the more interesting restaurant marketing trends for 2017 is the increased adoption of no- booking policies. It’s an example of patrons’ growing focus on the customer experience. For marketing purposes, a no-booking policy means more available tables to promote and taking away some of the uncertainty sometimes associated with scheduled dining appointments (like no-shows). The trick for marketers is to find creative ways to make trends like no-bookings policies attractive to diners by coming up with the right combination of price, product, quality, and overall customer experience. Some restaurants are making no-booking work for them by doing things like upselling available tables or focusing on the quality of the dining experience. Restaurants that want to justify higher prices often use a similar strategy.

Smart, Multi-Channel Marketing

More restaurants are discovering the many benefits of multi-channel marketing in 2017. It’s a concept that involves presenting a consistent message across different online channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. It can also include existing efforts with blogs, email marketing, and what’s featured on websites. While the message should be the same on each channel, the content can differ. For instance, an email marketing campaign may target former patrons by offering coupons, discounts, and alerts about upcoming specials. However, social media engagement is usually focused on sparking conversations by sharing useful tidbits of info and presenting topic ideas (e.g., “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure dessert?”). Restaurants that successfully run campaigns across multiple channels are more likely to see a noticeable impact on profits due to increased visibility at multiple points in the decision-making process.

Timed Marketing Campaigns

Timing is especially important when it comes to restaurant marketing. It doesn’t always make sense to present incentives to stop in or place an order on slower nights or times of the day that are normally slow, or when a restaurant isn’t open. Fortunately, content can be prepared in advance and timed for release when it makes sense to do so. For instance, a restaurant that gets more weekend business may send out emails on Thursday to encourage ordering for the big weekend game or suggest a weekend night out with friends.

Technology and competition have forever changed how restaurants promote their services, atmospheres, and menus. In order to stay competitive, restaurants need to base marketing efforts around price or a specialized niche. The content presented by any restaurant looking to attract attention online needs to be just as fresh and appetizing as the daily special. Whatever appears online must also be tailored to the tastes of searchers if it’s going to do your local haunt, family dining spot, or corner cafe any favors. Need some help finding the right content combination for your restaurant? We have a talented staff at Content Writers prepared to dish out the content your customers crave.

Ken C.

Ken is a freelance writer currently living in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. Born in California, his fondness for writing dates back to elementary school writing contests and led to positions on both high school and college newspapers. He earned a degree in Journalism and Communications from Point Park University and did work in data entry after college before transitioning to a full-time career as a freelance writer. While his areas of expertise are marketing and health-related content, Ken is a versatile writer and enjoys exploring and researching a variety of topics. When not busy knocking out articles, he likes to spend time with friends, go for walks, and discover new and exciting things about the world around him.

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