Top 8 Restaurant Marketing Trends in 2019
April 29, 2019
Restaurant marketing trends are rapidly changing as tech, consumer desires, and food choices change. Thankfully, it will only take a little information and social media know how to stay on top of the greatest restaurant trends in 2019.
Read on to find out our top 8 methods for you and your team to stay on top and increase your establishment’s traffic.
For lead generation, the future lies in chatbots. This tech tool is on the rise and is taking over customer service for many brands you already know and love. One firm, Gartner, predicts that by 2020 85% of customer interaction will be handled by chatbots.
Give a try to this feature using SMS and Facebook Messenger. You can set up this option for your restaurant on Facebook and setting up an autoresponse message. You may also want to work with a restaurant marketing agency that specializes in these programs, such as Promotable Media.
Are you getting lots of inquiries about operating hours for holidays or about reservations during the busy season? Include a response that has this information contained, plus any other of your restaurant’s frequently asked questions.
If you do not have an answer to your question, set up an auto-message with an instruction to call the restaurant directly or include wait time for response.
Bots are not only a great way to scale communication, but they are also around the clock solution for your customers and audience.
In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, they will bolster your response rate on Facebook, which in turn improves SEO and the chance that your restaurant is recommended by other patrons.
Transparency in What’s Offered
Another critical component of restaurant branding this year is ensuring that your consumer base is clued into what is offered at your restaurant.
With the amount of information available online from reviews to images of food, diners are more aware than ever of shortcomings regarding meals sold at restaurants and brand experiences.
It is critical to your restaurant’s good health that all photos of your meals are updated and accurate on your website as well as other social media channels.
Furthermore, ensuring accuracy and understanding the way you describe the “vibe” or ambiance of your place in the “about” and “history” areas of Facebook and other review sites like Yelp and its competitors can help you see if you have really captured the attention of your patrons.
Mobile is King
If you want your restaurant to soar, and be as popular as possible, optimize your site for mobile. Lots of consumers are checking out their eating choices on the go, not having the time to sit at a desktop or crack open a laptop.
The search engine algorithms of Google value mobile performance for your website. In this manner, you should devote the bulk of your restaurant marketing efforts to keeping your site and app running in top form.
You can also broaden your options for digital restaurant marketing too. For instance, you can set up in-app contests for free food, promos and other special discounts inside your restaurant.
Your best bet is to adopt the following strategies:
- Take a minimalist approach. Even though tech in advance and phone screens are huge, you should avoid clutter and unnecessary menus. Avoid drop downs because other content gets blocked.
- Make your design focus on the image. Avoid bright colors and lots of text and details. Put an emphasis on the food itself, and make use of simple, contrasting hues.
- Go the extra mile for a great hosting service. Do not allow your site to crash or load slowly. A low response rate coupled with lots of content leads to a negative impact on SEO.
Let Me Upgrade You…On Social Media
Every piece of content that is on your website should also be present on your social media pages. Some might argue that social media advertising is on the decline, but more than half of restaurants use social media platforms as a means of advertising.
It is still the most popular solution for advertising against any other form of outbound marketing. One great way to increase your influence on social media is to complete different tasks onto different platforms.
Many marketers in the restaurant and hotel branding industry advertise their businesses in the same way on every social media platform. However, you should separate different varieties of content to make them work with one another, instead of against one another.
Some strategies include:
- Use Facebook for posts and text. This is the one that is least focused on brevity and visuals in terms of content. Use this platform for your more informative content.
- Instagram, on the other hand, is visual in nature. 2019 will be huge in terms of visual representations of food. Upload short videos and show the “vibe” of your place through video.
- Twitter can be used to pose questions and conduct polls to your target audience.
- LinkedIn can be used for written content. Recruit new team members and bring in other industry professionals using this platform.
Visuals of Food
It’s okay to outsource some tasks. In marketing, we sometimes think it is better to save money by not spending it when it’s not really necessary.
But given what we know about 2019 being a huge year for visual food representation, a photographer will be a worthy investment. Do not save a few dollars now and miss out on spending from customers of the future.
Take all the chances you get to make your restaurant more enticing to consumers. On your ads and social media be sure you include photographs that are high-quality and professional. After all, food cannot be experienced from afar.
Photographers know what makes something visually memorable. Work with them to make your food look as appealing as possible. This will also give your restaurant something of a luxury vibe-so don’t be afraid to display them proudly on social media platforms.
Furthermore, do not be afraid to recycle old content and re-use photos. People will take note of your brand and your attention to great detail in doing so.
Dive into Content Marketing
Hotel marketing and restaurant marketing need content marketing sectors. You simply cannot avoid them. Offering top quality food is meaningless if you cannot direct your audience to it.
As a means of increasing brand awareness, place your brand so that people will always be directed to it.
You can do this in many different ways.
- Put written content that correlates to the food you are selling. Connect the act of eating with culture and create a feeling for your consumer.
- Provide top-notch descriptions and high-res pictures for each dish on your restaurant’s website.
- Provide other creative content. Do video tours of your banquet rooms, show your method of making a signature dish, interview your staff and have them give recommendations.
Nutrition for the Masses
One thing consumers care about now more than ever is their health and well-being. If you want to improve repeat business, show them that you care, and you are in the loop too. People now really care what their food is made of as well as how it tastes.
Customers want dishes that are nutritious and taste great at the same time. This change in what matters to consumers means you must adjust your marketing to fit the needs of your audience. Many famous restaurants have incorporated messages about health and nutrition into their advertising campaigns.
To aid in your quest of attracting more customers that value nutrition, have a look at these ideas:
- It is important to include calories, fats, and other nutritional guidelines. However, people do not respond to this information as much as they used to anymore. Make your ads something that connects your food to good health, positive feelings and wholesomeness of ingredients.
- Put the human element into your advertising. People who are in good shape and smiling about your food will make consumers feel good about coming to your dining establishment.
- Nature is one way to show off the natural good taste and ethical sourcing of your food. You can photograph your food in a natural setting, or even place it on a stump or chunk of wood as it adds an organic and natural feel to the entire ad.
- Be sure to do your photos in such a way that is minimal – meaning light and colors are focused solely on your food’s natural colors and textures.
In the same vein as natural and organic food, many consumers are seeking a plant-based option for dining. This has been on the rise globally, moving from being a niche market to a mainstream fixture in recent years.
Different regions handle this in different ways, and in 2019 it is predicted that the normalization of plant-based diets will be prevalent. This means less talk of health and more focus on eating foods like burgers, nuggets and other comfort foods like pizza that are plant-based.
There will also be a large influence from vegan culture and greater interest and desire for dairy-free products like almond milk and coconut ice cream.
Tell us what you think what will be the biggest restaurant marketing trend in 2019? We would love to hear from you and get more ideas. Join us on our private Facebook Community: Restaurant Owners Startup & Growth!
Partner at Longitude°
Jeremy is a Partner at Longitude°. He’s also the author of “Future Hospitality”, a book focused on how branding can create more impactful guest experiences. Additionally, he’s an honored member of the Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) Education Committee and has spoken at industry events and associations including AAHOA, Global Hospitality Summit, Hospitality Talks, and more.