When starting your own restaurant franchise, marketing will be a huge contributing factor to your success. Creating a solid marketing and advertising strategy for your business might seem intimidating, but with the help of your franchisor and the eight best practices below, you’ll be well on your way to marketing mastery in no time at all.
Working in the food sector comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, the industry is growing and thriving, meaning that there is plenty of competition out there. On the other hand, the fact that the industry is so successful shows there is strong and constant consumer demand. If you can stand out from the crowd, you can reach great heights as a restaurant franchise owner. It all comes down to marketing your business like a pro.
8 marketing tips and best practices to help you grow your restaurant business
1. Ask yourself the necessary questions
Before you can market effectively, and get your restaurant or pub franchise on the map, you’ll need to ask yourself some necessary questions. You’ll need to figure out how to grow your business and target your efforts in the right directions, so that you don’t waste time on unsuitable strategies. Ask yourself:
- Who is my franchise’s target market?
- What is my franchise trying to achieve?
- Who are my competitors?
When conducting market research, the goal is to gain insight into customer behaviour, their wants and needs. To do this you need to be asking the right questions.
— Ant Marketing
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2. Develop a good website
A quality website can make a world of difference to your food franchise, whether you’re creating it yourself or hiring someone to create it for you. 88% of online website visitors are less likely to return to a website after a poor experience [Gomez], losing you a wealth of potential customers. Plus, 75% of people judge a company’s credibility based on their website design [Stanford University].
Create a website for your business which is easy to use and navigate, quick to load, and secure to browse on. Be sure to include:
- A full online menu
- An online booking system (and a phone number, for those who would prefer to call)
- Search engine optimised content (allowing your site to rank more highly on search engines and be seen by more potential customers)
- Added value via resources like a blog or a latest news section (to keep customers on the site)
3. Encourage people to leave your restaurant a review
Before buying a product, 93% of customers read online reviews [Qualtrics]. Similarly, encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews of their restaurant experience will increase future custom. Plus, when you do receive the occasional negative comment, you’ll have the opportunity to respond quickly and professionally, further displaying to your other customers that you’re a caring, quality business, deserving of support and patronage.
4. Develop a social media presence
Similarly to the importance of having a website, a social media presence can be beneficial for your business, creating another point of customer contact and raising your brand profile. Promoting your franchise via social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even TikTok, the newest of the bunch, could be a great chance to stand out from the crowd, do something different and get new people engaged with your delicious offerings.
5. Utilise email marketing campaigns
Whether via your website or during the in-person dining process, you can give visitors the option to provide their email address. With this information, you’ll then be able to run email marketing campaigns, sending out everything from news to offers and vouchers. Email marketing is a fantastic way to reward loyal customers and keep people up to date with any important changes.
The numbers show email marketing is outranking popular tools like social media, SEO, and PPC advertising. While it still has its competition, it’s undoubtedly still working.
— Campaign Monitor
6. Provide offers
The mention of email marketing leads perfectly into the marketing power of a good offer or discount. This type of promotion is one of the best possible ways to reward customers and keep them coming back for more. Whether it’s 10% off when you spend over £50, a free drink with every main course, or a free dessert on your third visit, you can use a good offer to give customers a reason to come back and continue to support your business.
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7. Place your focus locally
Ask yourself: What would the local community like to see from my restaurant franchise? Then, seek to meet these desires. Particularly post-pandemic, when more people than ever are pushing for sustainability and making environmentally friendly choices, sourcing local ingredients can give you a solid marketing boost, and earn you some useful community support. You could also gain community enthusiasm and local support by:
- Partnering with local charities to support those in need within the community
- Extending offers and deals to local businesses
- Dropping extra and leftover food at shelters and food banks in the area
- Working with local manufacturers
8. Enhance the restaurant experience with tech
It’s a well-known fact that people spend a lot of time on their phones, and that today’s phones are essentially very small computers, full of processing power and complexity. As the owner of a restaurant franchise business, you can use this fact to your advantage by engaging customers and involving mobile-friendly tech.
You could create an app, for example, that allows customers to book from their phones without even needing to visit your website. You could use a QR code, as many restaurants have been doing during the pandemic, to allow customers to access the menu and order food in their own time, from the comfort of their table.
This type of subtle marketing, aimed at improving customer experience and adding value, rather than just selling, will often see people leaving better reviews. As a result, your business’s performance might see a boost.
Learning how to market your franchise is essential
Running a franchise in the restaurant sector is a profitable, exciting prospect, but if it doesn’t feel right for you, Point Franchise can advise you on starting and advertising a franchise in any sector under the sun, from landscaping franchise marketing to milkshake franchise marketing. Browse a range of available investment opportunities using Point Franchise’s UK franchise directory.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©