The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Restaurant Marketing

Getting your marketing message attention today can seem like you are throwing rocks into the ocean, trying to make a splash. While social media has made it easier than ever to reach a global market, it also has become saturated with millions of posts and videos all vying for users' attention. Those rocks you are throwing hoping to make an impact in the ocean of social media are sometimes not doing anything except making you frustrated.

How do you create a marketing plan that gets your brand out in front of the rest? How can you be the leader and not a follower on social media? How can you parlay those likes into people in your restaurant?

Let’s break it down in this Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Restaurant Marketing!

Become Obsessed

Getting to the top of the social media game is about getting serious about owning your space! That means you are going to have to get busy making bigger waves across your social media channels. In order to do this, you’re going to need a couple shifts in your mindset.

Post consistently. Nothing quite confuses people like the hot and cold relationship! One week you are steady and sharing the love of your brand everywhere and then you disappear for a couple weeks. People crave a little consistency in their lives. If you fail to remind them you’re there, they soon start going to another restaurant that shows them a little more love than you have. Shame on you for not being more committed to the fragile guest-restaurant relationship.

Post more often. Yeah, the restaurant marketing gurus will argue that you can post too much. It’s a safe bet that you are not posting enough.

The best way to see how far you should go with your restaurant is to push the edge and see how far you have to go to start getting some pushback! If you are not getting complaints about posting too much, then you are not posting enough! Do you think McDonald’s runs only two commercials a week? Oh hell no! They want you singing that jingle in your head when you are driving and they want you dreaming of Big Macs!

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Shutterstock

Play to Emotions

If you stroll through any social media stream right now, it would be easy to say that 95% of restaurant posts are one-dimensional pictures of either their food or a beverage. If, your hungry or thirsty at that moment you might take some action and head to the restaurant. The odds are that you’ll just keep scrolling.

Stop to think about the emotions behind your posts. What emotional heartstrings are you pulling on? The real secret to marketing anything is to transfer emotions. The same if you want to sell luxury cars, real estate, or getting people to come to your restaurant. Emotions are the meaning behind the message.

Ruth's Chris Steak House doesn’t just sell steaks, they sell status and an image of being the best. Chipotle doesn’t sell burritos, they sell food that is hormone free and their guests identify with that lifestyle. Same for Whole Foods. Consumers don’t shop there because it’s the best price. They shop there for the status that you can afford to shop there!

What are some emotions behind your brand? Local? Sustainable? Are you a status brand? Are you a convenience brand? The trick is to find your tribe and then speak to them.

Video Is King

If you haven’t looked at the calendar lately...it’s 2019. If you want to stand out in the crowded social media ocean, you must start putting out video content. A few years ago, it was a nice addition to add to your marketing message. Today it is required if you want to get a hyper attention deficit audience to listen!

Video is the dragon slayer to the big brands. You have access to a noble video studio in the form of your smartphone or tablet. The cameras on these things are incredible and they get better every year! You also have apps that you can download to edit your videos and then make them public with your own channel on YouTube. You don’t need a fancy website or thousands of dollars in professional video equipment to get started. Just get started!

It’s shocking that most people know the power that video can play in marketing and yet they don’t use it. If you’re one of them, let’s break down a few reasons you still might be on the sidelines about using video.

You're afraid it might not be good.

Okay, it’s a legitimate fear, however, people are more interested today about the message. Look at some of the videos shot on smartphones and the millions of views they get! If you speak from the heart and share your story with the world of why you do what you do, someone will listen and they will share that to someone else, who will share that with someone else. That’s how things get viral.

You don’t like the way you look or sound on camera.

Okay, you’re not going to like this...no one really cares. Seriously, stop worrying about how you look and refine what you want to say! The message always beats out over looks. They are plenty of actors in Hollywood that are not the definition of good looking and they find a way to get their message heard.

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Shutterstock

Use the 80:20 Principle

Gather close because here is the biggest secret to social media marketing...it’s about being social! Not much of a secret is it? The sad thing is that too many get stuck on the “all about me” wavelength that they fail to see it.

Social media needs to be more about others than yourself. That’s not only smart marketing, but it’s also smart business! People might pay attention to a self-centered brand for a few minutes, however, it won’t last long term. You need to show people you are interested in them too if you want staying power. Brands that last always put others first.

A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80:20 Principle or also known as Pareto’s Law. Basically, 80% of your efforts come from just 20% of your activities (or actions). On social media, that means you should be liking other people’s post and commenting on their stuff 80% of the time. The other 20% is about you and your restaurant.

This small shift in attention will have a huge impact on your marketing. Why? Because people want to know you are listening. They want to see you engage with them. They want you to be human. They want to know you care.

Drop the pretentious bullshit and just be authentic. Be you. That is your number one marketing advantage. There is only one person who is you.

The moment you stop marketing and start sharing your story with the world is the day you stop competing and you begin to dominate!

Be Different

For the love of all that is holy, please (and I really mean please): stop posting the same boring stuff! Yes, the majority of the population just go along with the crowd and don’t rock the boat. If you want to stand out on social media then your only option is TO ROCK THE BOAT!

Playing it safe is like aiming for third place in a race. It doesn’t really get too much! You want to make it a goal to get a little edgy in your marketing. That is how you get attention today, by being clever, being unorthodox, being different, being memorable!

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Shutterstock

Food posts, specials, and reminders about your happy hour just are so commonplace that the majority of your followers just tune out. Replace that boring stuff that everyone else of doing with:

  • Video at the local farmer’s market.

  • Volunteering at the local food bank.

  • Rave about your team.

  • Rave about your guests.

  • Showcase the ingredients you methodically select for your restaurant.

  • Take us behind the scenes of a catered event.

  • Let us see your menu planning session with your chefs.

Just stop posting the same things that 99% of your market is and dare to be different.

As it was mentioned earlier: with the advancements in technology today, you can shoot a video, edit, and upload it all from your smartphone. The only excuse you have is that you don’t want to really market your restaurant effectively and would rather just complain about business being slow. Complaining gets you nothing and nowhere in today’s market. Taking immediate action does.

Are you going to always hit a home run with each post! Of course not. That’s why you must track your data to see what sticks and what people ignore. Then all you do is create more along the lines of what they like!

Social media isn’t a science, it about connecting with people on their level. That’s critical to remember, marketing is about how your guests see you. Too many times we think marketing is about us. No. You want to connect with people to what is important to them. When you can get past the it's “all about you” mindset, you’ll finally have the real secret of social media marketing down.

Want more tips from Donald Burns on how to improve restaurant? Check out the recent episode of The Barron Report below where Burns breaks down some of the psychological principles that get in your way from building the restaurant and life you truly desire. Stay tuned for more insights from The Restaurant Coach in an upcoming episode of The Barron Report releasing soon.

How Will These Business Trends Impact the Restaurant Industry?

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2018 was a good year for the economy, which is always a great thing for the restaurant industry.

But what will 2019 bring?

The U.S. Federal Reserve predicts that the gross domestic product will grow by 2.5 percent. The unemployment rate is expected to continue to drop too.

But when it comes to labor, this means the labor pool will only be more shallow. However, this is a good thing for restaurants in the sense that more consumers will have a deposable income to spend.

That just means it’s time to take your business to the next level. In a recent “Entrepreneur” report, it outlined five business trends expected to reign in 2019. One of which is that there will be more personalized experiences because these resonate with customers.  

“Next year, take a page from Dunkin’ Donuts. The breakfast brand recently reported a 3.6 percent redemption rate for a mobile coupon campaign aimed at a competitor’s customers in Rhode Island. What’s more, ten times the number of redeemers took a secondary action, such as mentioning it on social media,” writes “Entrepreneur.” 

In 2018, data privacy became a hot topic, especially after the Facebook data breach.

In a recent episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron breaks out the Cambridge Analytica scandal and how it may be affecting your restaurant. Listen below to see how users are engaging with your Facebook content and how this data debacle has been impacting your restaurant sales.

With a series of data breaches being revealed in 2018, customers have become much more weary to share their information and for good reason.  

“In the coming year, avoid purchasing data or otherwise acquiring it without consumers’ consent. Not only is regulatory pressure increasing on companies that do so, but Deloitte reports that 71 percent of purchased data is inaccurate,” writes “Entrepreneur.” 

Instead, interactive content is a great way to collect guest data. Whether it be offering free Wi-Fi, collecting guest info for a waitlist, etc. With these methods, guests are willing to share their data for convenience.  

Although meal-kit subscription services struggled in 2018, “Entrepreneur” predicts that other subscription-based companies will continue to flourish.

See what the other business trends are that are going gain momentum come 2019 at “Entrepreneur” now.

Find Out What Consumers and Chefs Can't Get Enough of in the 2019 Flavor Trends Report

Find Out What Consumers and Chefs Can't Get Enough of in the 2019 Flavor Trends Report

Today's consumers are looking for new ways to spice up their plate and palate. Whether it be with a new exciting protein or a dish they know and love that features a new flavor.

But consumers' tastes are constantly changing. With that in mind, every year we release reports pulling from our data index to see what consumers are craving.

For our latest report, we used Foodable Labs data to analyzed 910,309 social conversations on multiple social media platforms. Our dataset is made up of chefs, independent restaurant owners, corporate chefs, multi-unit brands, and food influencers.

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Foodable Network Shows are Now Available on Spotify

Foodable Network Shows are Now Available on Spotify

Move over Apple, Spotify continues to reign in the music streaming realm.

Earlier this year, Justin Patterson, an analyst for Raymond James predicted that Spotify's subscriptions will spike to 150 million by 2020.

This is double the current number of subscribers.

"The music industry is shifting from a transactional to on-demand model, and Spotify is well positioned to double its subscriber base, expand gross margin, and generate material free cash flow," wrote Patterson back in May. It has "one of the best growth rates in tech – there is a scarcity of companies poised for 40 percent annual profit growth through 2019."

Apple launched Apple Music, a streaming service in 2015 for $10 a month to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services like Pandora. But Patterson doesn't anticipate that Apple will be able to overtake Spotify in the music category.

"We doubt Apple ever overtakes Spotify ever in music," said Patterson. "Rather, the risk is that Apple slows Spotify's growth in markets where iOS devices have large installed bases."

Although Apple and Amazon are both ahead of the game when it comes to on-demand video content and podcast, Spotify has been aggressively collecting this type of content.

With its massive subscriber database, Spotify could quickly emerge as a strong competitor in this space.

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1.2 Million Consumers Have Cut the Cord, Shifting the Media Landscape

Now that content is readily available for instant streaming on so many platforms like Hulu and Netflix, consumers are no longer willing to pay premium pricing for cable.

Although there are still 91 million customers with cable, Telco TV, or Satellite dish, according to "Cord Cutters News" over 13,000 people a day are canceling traditional TV.

In the months of July, August, and September- cable, Telco TV, or Satellite dish lost at least 1.1 million subscribers, as reported by the research firm MoffettNathanson.

"Satellite TV providers had their worst quarter on record with a loss of 726,000 subscribers, the firm says. Cable operators have been hit with a tough trend, too. So far this year, they have lost nearly 1.1 million subscribers, their worst losses at the three-quarter mark since 2014. So far this year, traditional pay-TV providers have lost 2.8 million subscribers," writes "USA Today."

However, "Cord Cutters News" claims that this is likely an underestimate.

There are hidden cutters that aren't being accounted for. First, there's the 13,000 that have moved out on their own from their parents or with roommates and decide not to get cable at all.

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"Take the example of three roommates splitting the bill for cable TV at a rented house. If the three roommates decide to move out and get their own places that counts as one cancellation of cable TV but if all three fail to sign up for new cable TV that makes three new cord-cutting households," writes "Cord Cutters News."

Now, these don't technically count as "cord cutters" but they are potential cable customers that these companies are losing out on.

Read more about how cable companies are continuing to lose millions of subscribers at "Cord Cutters News."

One of the biggest challenges for cable companies is that they are losing the younger audience, aka future subscribers at an alarming rate. 15 percent of people from the ages of 18 to 34 watched less TV. Since 2014, TV watching by this group is down by 36 percent. Teens are watching 18 percent less TV compared to last year and 48 percent less since 2014.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron calculates that that cable and other TV services are down to 50 percent of current viewers in just 3-5 years. Watch the video above to see how this is shifting the media landscape.