Restaurant Marketing: 6 marketing ideas for restaurants in the midst of crisis!

According to consumer theory, consumers in a time of political crisis are very hesitant, they limit their spending significantly – in some product categories even up to 50% look at different prices in different stores in search of the most advantageous solution, they are procrastinating and feel unable to cover range of their needs. The insecurity of “tomorrow” forces them to save their money in case of need. After the consumer stagnation due to elections, due to the insecurity and the anxiety of the consumers for the future of Greece – inside or outside the EURO – and especially of their disposable income, we pass to another period. With the political stability that will occur logically, consumers will feel relatively safe and will start buying products and services again according to their wishes and capabilities. Thus the decline in traffic and consequently in the turnover of restaurants will be reduced and there will be a relative increase.

It’s an opportunity now to implement the right marketing moves to get you selected! In this context, I suggest 6 ideas for Marketing actions especially for restaurants. Note, however, that this article is purely educational – informative and does not provide investment advice or a sure return. It takes study, strategy and perseverance to succeed. Do not forget that every business is different and needs an individualized approach, which is why expert advice is always appropriate.

1. Menu changes

Today’s Greek consumers consider going to a restaurant part of their entertainment. They prefer to spend an evening or lunch in a nice environment trying new and interesting flavors with their friends. It is important to keep their interest alive with innovative gastronomic suggestions, so that they can experiment, try and enjoy. With the periodic changes in the menu (without changing the main dishes that sell the most) you will give a new breath and a topic for discussion between the groups. Word-of-mouth, especially for the quality of the flavors, is crucial for the success and development of a restaurant. The renewed dishes do not tire and positively complement the experience that the customer “lives” in the restaurant. Do not forget that today in Marketing and Consumption we are talking about experiences and not only about sterile products. The consumer will evaluate everything to decide whether to choose us again or not.

2. Social Media Discounts & Offers

Social Media has entered the daily life of businesses for good. Most companies have (at least) a fan page on FACEBOOK. What is required on Social Media is to post unique content (content) to create interest, gain likes, share and collect comments. So we can make the FACEBOOK audience (potential customers?) Get involved in our business, learn about us and come to serve them. But making a post successful and going viral (that is, being relayed by many Social Media users) is not an easy task. We need a capable base of fans who really find interest in doing our business. So it’s a great idea to encourage Social Media customers / users to visit your pages to get (with a coupon) a discount on their next visit to your business. This way they will enter your fan page, read what you will post and of course you will achieve the required interactivity to make your messages viral. Final purpose? find other fans and increase your communication power!

3. Chef’s Tips

Enhance your customer experience even more by giving your Chef tips to train them to prepare more delicious meals at home. So, without revealing your secrets, you give them ideas and useful instructions that they can use every day. So every time they look up to such advice, they will remember hearing it and your business will come to mind. In other words, in this way, you extend the consumer experience outside of your restaurant.

4. Satisfaction Surveys

One of the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur is active listening. It is important – and necessary – to listen to our customers, because only then will we be able to see exactly what is happening with our business, what is going well, what is not going well and what could be improved. This can be done successfully with a customer satisfaction survey. A questionnaire can determine and evaluate your position in the existing catering market, reveal opportunities for more services and identify customer needs and requirements. Marketing research is a whole science based on science. However for a first image you do not need to go into such deep concepts and you can run some research yourself with a free online tool like

5. Take Out Boxes

A phenomenon that is observed at the moment is the customers (in some types of restaurants) asking for the food, which they did not consume, in a package to take it with them. It’s a good opportunity to create special boxes that will actually serve as an advertisement for your restaurant as they will be transported or, if you consider a useful package to remain in the customer’s house long after eating. So create free mobile ads!

6. BounceBack Techniques

BounceBack cards are a good technique, and widespread. These cards are given to customers upon completion of their visit and invite them to revisit the restaurant at a specific time from the last visit, offering a discount or other gift. Thus, by giving a “carrot” we can lock the next visit of the customer, in a reasonable time. This can work positively, as, as we have said, today consumers are looking for the best prices and offers, so they will choose to take advantage of such an action.

First publication: July 2012 in Food & Service magazine

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