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How to Market Your Restaurant

Learn how to market your restaurant from restaurateur Paul Bolles-Beaven in this Howcast video.


When you think about marketing a restaurant, a lot of things come to mind. The most obvious would be advertisements. Putting out advertisements that say what your restaurant is and where it is, and put the phone number, website, and maybe even spotlight some particular offering that you're making at that time.

There are also the collateral materials that you'll have for your restaurant, whether it's business cards, or table tents, or postcards. And all of those things can help create an image for the brand of your restaurant. It's also very important to remember that the most powerful marketing tool in your restaurant is your menu. What's on your menu, what it looks like, and the information that's on it will be available on the internet and something that people will use to decide if they want to come into your restaurant.

When you walk by a restaurant you almost always see people looking at the menu. And what they're doing is, they're saying, "Is this where I want to eat?" So your menu sends a very powerful marketing message to potential guests.

There are many other things you might not think of. The facade of your restaurant. The sign of your restaurant. All of these things send a message to the world, "This is who we are, this is how it will feel to come eat here." How many fingerprints there are on your front door sends a message. How clean is the glass of your front door sends a message. How does it smell when people walk into your restaurant? How your staff is dressed will send a message to your guests. When they come in the restaurant, if they're ignored, it will send a very powerful message.

If they're welcomed warmly and with a smile and with enthusiasm, it sends a powerful message. Remember the best marketing you can do in a restaurant is to have people leave raving about their experience, because they'll tell people, "Wow. I was at this restaurant yesterday. I had an amazing time. They took great care of me. The food was great and it was a great value. I can't wait to go back."

Every guest experience, everything you do for a guest, every moment, how you treat the guest, is an opportunity to market your restaurant. You want to make sure you know how to put your restaurant into words. What's the story that it tells? And you need to be sure that you know how to use those words in the right situations so that people will listen. There is a type of person you want to attract to your restaurant. What are they likely to read? What are they likely to look for? Also, nowadays, it's vital that you have a web presence. Your website is your most powerful tool. And when people search, you want to make sure that they find your restaurant when they're in your area and they're hungry.

It's also very important now, with mobile devices, that that website be something that people can find on their mobile device, and utilize to say, " This is where I want to go. This is the experience I want to have."

It's also very wonderful to use your staff to promote people in your restaurant. Maybe your chef deserves the spotlight. Maybe we can find a way to create an opportunity for them to be written about in a publication. Maybe your wine director is a great personality and a talented professional who deserves some notice.

It's a great way to use your people to give them something that promotes themselves and their career, and also promotes your restaurant and attracts attention.

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