You’ve spent the last few months or maybe even years putting together your dream restaurant. From finding the right space to building a delicious menu and creating a brand image, you’ve put in the work and are finally ready to introduce your new eatery to the world.
In a competitive industry like food and beverage, starting your business on a high note is super important for long-term success. Luckily, there are many great ways to drum up momentum before you open your doors.
Here are a few tips for promoting your new restaurant before you open.
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Build Your Digital Presence
In 2022, it’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of your business’ online presence. Many customers will first discover your restaurant online, so you’ll want to ensure you have profiles on the leading social networks. Although many usernames have already been claimed, ideally your restaurant will have matching handles across each platform.
Social media is a big part of your online presence, however, don’t forget the importance of a great website. Your website is where customers will find your hours, menu and any other information they need to know.
Find Your Audience
Once you’ve solidified your restaurant’s digital presence, it’s time to find your audience. While everyone loves great food, your restaurant’s unique brand may cater to some demographics more than others. For example, if your restaurant serves nutritious, high-protein dishes, your target audience will likely consist of primarily healthy, fitness-minded customers.
Your promotional efforts should be brand consistent and tailored toward your target demographic. This includes any traditional marketing, paid digital advertising or organic social posting.
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Share Well-Curated Content
While you may be familiar with making posts on your personal social media pages, curating content for your business is a different story. Great content not only highlights your restaurant’s unique strengths and identity but also offers customers something to connect with. Start with high-quality visuals of some menu items. This gives potential customers a sense of your restaurant’s distinct style and allows you to show off your culinary chops.
If it fits your budget, working with a marketing agency can help you build a strong content strategy. They can also help you refine your brand and improve your restaurant marketing down the line. Your hospitality real estate agent can connect you with local agencies that work with restaurants similar to yours.
Meet Your Neighbours
Of course, not all of your promotional efforts should be digital. A great way to build momentum for your new restaurant is by getting to know the business next door. Regardless of what type of business they are, establishing community relationships is a great way to increase word of mouth before you open. Consider leaving some physical marketing materials at nearby businesses and offering unique discounts for their patrons as part of your opening plan.
These relationships will be a great supplement to the promotion of your restaurant long-term and establishing them before you open your doors to the public is a good way to hit the ground running.
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Host an Industry Night
Before your official opening, host a private event for local restaurateurs and media. This is a great opportunity to build your network and receive feedback from industry professionals. You can serve guests samples of your best menu items, including any signature drinks.
With media in attendance, you may be able to land some free publicity with a glowing write-up about your restaurant. When inviting attendees, don’t forget about local influencers – especially in the restaurant world. When it comes to getting the word out about your restaurant, tastemakers can have a big impact. Outside of the restaurant industry, invite any influencers who may share a target audience with your restaurant. This could be entertainment personalities, athletes, local politicians etc.
After Opening Day
After you’ve finally opened your doors, promoting your restaurant should remain a permanent part of your business planning. That being said, if you got into the restaurant industry for your love of food, building a long-term brand and marketing strategy can feel overwhelming. However, the good news is that professional support for restauranteurs is available.
If you’re planning on opening a restaurant, talk to a hospitality real estate agent. Their expansive industry connections and unique insights can be a great resource during your restaurant journey.
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