Delicious food and delightful service sit at the core of every successful restaurant business. Without them, no amount of genius marketing will save a restaurant from ruin. However, it’s increasingly evident that good food and good service are essential but not sufficient criteria for restaurant success!
Restaurants today operate under intense competition. There’s no dearth of restaurants offering good dishes and satisfying dining experiences. So, what can you do to beat the competition and grow your restaurant business?
The answer is simple and timeless: build customer loyalty.
The rewards of customer loyalty are massive. A mere 5% increase in brand loyalty can increase revenues by a staggering 95%! Brand loyalty doesn’t just affect your revenues; it also affects your costs. Acquiring a new customer can be 7x more expensive than selling to a current customer. Despite ample evidence in favor of retaining current customers, most marketers and restauranteurs obsess about new customers and splurge huge budgets targeting them, while largely ignoring their existing customers. That’s diametrically opposite of what fast-growing restaurants and food chains do.
Branding Ideas to Retain Customers and Fuel Revisits and Reorders
Here are top branding ideas that will help your restaurant business thrive and grow by inspiring loyalty among your customers:
- Define Your Brand
- Personalize your menu to fit your brand
- Offer promotions that align with your brand identity
- Online Delivery
- Become active in the community
- Email Marketing
- Loyalty Rewards
- Multi-channel Marketing
- Content marketing – food blog or vlog
1. Articulate Your Brand
The purpose of branding is to position your restaurant as something unique, relatable, and worthy of your patrons. That’s how you grab their attention in an ocean of competing brands and restaurants vying for the same attention.
Take your time to develop your brand identity. You can start by developing a mission statement by asking yourself questions like: Who are we? What do we offer our customers? What are we doing, and why are we the best at what we do? Are we affordable, fine-dine, fun, elegant, quirky, or something else?
Be honest in your answer to questions like: Do our target audience care about our values enough to stick with us?
Once you develop a mission statement, core values, and a unique brand identity, they’ll serve as your guiding principles. Every business decision – big or small – about your products, services, and operations should be in line with these branding elements. Therefore, communicate your brand identity to your staff and help them ingrain those values into every aspect of their service and customer interaction.
2. Design Promotions That Reflect Your Brand Identity
Remember, brand identity is not just what you communicate about your restaurant; it’s everything you do. It’s reflected in the food you serve, your service, your ads, your community activities, and everything else.
Maintain coherence and consistency in your marketing communications. Even your promotions must originate from your brand identity. If you are a family-friendly restaurant, you can lean on kids-focused promotions and offers.
If you’re primarily targeting corporate customers, then networking events, fundraisers, and corporate coupons can prove effective.
Are you trying to be the most hip and happening bar in town? Bring in a celebrity; set “big eat” contests with massive portions and rewards for winning customers; you can even hold a contest between your bartenders or against those from a neighborhood restaurant and let customers vote on the drinks they whip up. It’ll give great exposure to all restaurants involved in the contest.
Special offers on sports nights, dance instructors, rap battles, poker tournaments – there’s an endless array of promotions available at your disposal. Pick those that reflect your brand and its values.
3. Invest in Menu Marketing
Menu marketing is more than just putting your restaurant logo into your menu or adding plant-based delicacies to demonstrate your vegan values. The menu should feel like an expression of your brand.
If you have a themed restaurant, create unique menu item names that align with your theme. Supernova Hot Chili in a space-themed restaurant, Flaming Dragon Wings in a Game of Thrones-themed venue, and Captain’s Ribeye in a Pirate-themed outlet are some examples you can draw inspiration from.
Once you get the basics sorted out, it’s time to take the menu to your customers. Publish your menu on your website, social media profiles, third-party platforms (like Yelp), and wherever else you can. And make sure that your menu is SEO-friendly. Use the keywords your audiences use to make your menu easy to find. More importantly, make sure that any changes to your menu are immediately reflected wherever your menus are published.
4. Set Up Commission-free Restaurant Online Delivery
Did you know that 63% of restaurant consumers prefer to order directly from restaurants, instead of third-party marketplaces like UberEats, Doordash, GrubHub, Postmates, and so on.
What’s surprising is that many restaurants rely on these third-party food ordering apps, despite them charging up to 50% of the order value in various fees.
Fortunately, many restaurants are waking up to this reality, and opting to set up direct ordering and delivery systems on their phones, websites, and apps. Unfortunately, the lack of technical know-how is pushing them directly into the hands of online restaurant delivery platforms that charge restaurants a fixed percentage commission on each fulfilled order, albeit at a lower rate than what third-party delivery services charge.
The solution is commission-free restaurant online delivery platforms like Orderlina that integrate directly into your website, apps, and phone systems to create a seamless experience for both consumers and restaurant staff. Instead of paying hefty commissions, restaurants pay only a small, fixed monthly subscription that does not hurt their revenues.
What’s more, many modern restaurant delivery platforms like Orderlina even feature QR code menus allowing users to scan from their phones and start placing orders on the go.
5. Become Active in the Community
The most powerful way to reinforce your restaurant branding is by being real. More than words, consumers demand action.
According to an Accenture report, 65% of consumers make purchase decisions based on the brand’s stance on important political, socio-cultural, and environmental issues. Consumers do not want to interact with nameless, faceless organizations. They desire “human” interactions even when they are making purchase decisions.
Restaurants can demonstrate their commitment to their values by actively participating in local community activities. Cater sporting events, create viral campaigns supporting the causes you espouse, donate food to disadvantaged groups – there are endless ways you can walk your talk.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels in existence. It has high open rates, and conversion rates that would put other channels like PPC and SEO to shame. Savvy marketers rely on highly personalized email campaigns that entice their customers with excellent offers and messages based on their past purchases.
Every time a $10 coupon or 20% discount inspires an order from your current customer, remember that it usually costs much more to acquire each new customer.
Use emails to keep your customers informed about the latest promotions, your contributions to the community, updates on your restaurant, changes to the menu, and other developments. However, do not overdo it. Give your audiences the option to choose how frequently they’d like to receive emails from you. Without this option, you are likely to end up in their spam folder.
7. Loyalty Rewards
Many restaurants treat their current customers as private assets. They don’t see the need to woo them anymore. The thinking goes: “Why would you woo someone who is already sold on your promise?”
Here’s the answer: Because everyone else is wooing them!
Other restaurants are trying to attract them with powerful branding, massive discounts, personalized offers, and every other trick in the “restaurant marketing cookbook.” Ignoring them can be catastrophic to your business.
Loyalty rewards help you ward off the advances of other restaurants on your customers. Restaurant customers love accumulating loyalty points, and redeeming them for free meals. You can launch an in-house loyalty program, or join a third-party loyalty program. Whatever you pick, allow your customers to customize the rewards they get from redeeming their loyalty points.
8. Multi-channel Marketing
Whether your customer interacts with your staff during dine-ins or your social media posts, they must experience consistent branding at all touchpoints. Print ads, TV commercials, flyers, community activities, and food delivery packaging – your branding should speak for you.
For instance, it’s not enough that you vocally support sustainability; your food delivery packaging should be made of sustainable or recycled materials.
9. Content marketing: Launch a Food Blog or Vlog
Content marketing is one of the most brilliant ways to gather a massive fan following. A blog on your website and a YouTube channel can give you incredible visibility for your brand. In fact, a blog is the most cost-effective option of all. You can share everything from fresh recipes, professional cooking tips from your chef, innovative take on traditional dishes, and even guides on how to whip up mouth-watering delicacies that people tend to get wrong.
YouTube videos, on the other hand, will require some degree of effort and investment into high-quality equipment and videography skills. If you can do that, then irresistible videos of your dishes will reach millions of people worldwide. With a bit of marketing genius, you can go viral too.
Whatever you do as a restauranteur, you cannot ignore the digital world anymore. Your customers search for your menu before even visiting your restaurant. They look for your ratings and reviews. They try to find out if they can order from you without ever leaving their homes and offices. Therefore, every restaurant needs a strong digital presence to survive the intense competition in the industry.
Orderlina offers a robust restaurant ordering software with built-in features like QR code menus, payment gateways, takeaway and dine-in support, image menu, white label solution, POS integration, and more.
Try our Free plan, which includes most of these features to explore Orderlina and enjoy its benefits. If you want to discuss your restaurant’s needs in greater detail and understand how Orderlina can help fulfill them, contact us.