As businesses open their doors and adjust to social distancing, many restaurants are having to re-organize their marketing toolkits to meet today’s new needs. While we’re all looking for the crystal ball to tell us how the food and beverage industry is going to unfold, there are a few new topics to consider when relaunching your marketing strategy to ensure the comeback is greater than the setback.
An enhanced decision-making factor as restaurants re-open, and quite frankly, the elephant in the dining room, is the topic of health and safety. Your customers not only want to know you have the best cheeseburger in town, but also that your staff uses safety precautions and are looking out for your diners. Sharing your approach to keeping your guests and staff safe is more important than ever and reassuring diners that your restaurant is low risk will take frequent and repeated messaging across your marketing platforms. This can be done through a combination of messages on your website, social posts, imagery of staff or dining rooms social distancing or even a printed piece to include in to-go orders.
As restaurants adjust to these new ways of providing meals to patrons, such as pivoting to curbside service, joining a food delivery service or creating unique dining offerings, audiences are turning to restaurant’s digital platforms for the most up-to-date information. Studies continue to point out that screen time has greatly increased since the lock-down began, so a restaurant’s digital presence is a great way to communicate with your regular and potential new customers. Putting paid media behind digital messaging is a vital way to ensure your restaurant continues this communication with patrons, building brand awareness and credibility. Also, paid dollars behind your social strategy can bring more interaction from your followers, growing your overall engagement rate.
Now that your audiences’ day-to-day routines have changed for the time being and tourism traffic is light, it is a prime time to review your audiences’ demographics and psychographics that worked for you pre-COVID. Are you seeing a rise in business coming from your immediate neighborhood? More families ordering dinner for pick-up? Reviewing your audiences will give you a clearer understanding of how to reach your customers where they are, leading to drumming up more consumer traffic.
As you modify strategies based on your customer behaviors, it could be time to evaluate new marketing platforms you may have not previously considered. For example, studies show that consumers have even reignited an appreciation for direct mail – 37% of consumers said they’re more excited to receive mail and 30% spend more time reading marketing promotions via direct mail than prior to the pandemic. Pair this with the data from Path to Purchase Institute stating that “83% of guests actively look for some kind of coupon or incentive to lighten their financial load,” and it could be a home run. Restaurants should take advantage of these changing habits and identify the best combination of media tactics for reaching target customer demographics.
It is important to our team at Morgan & Co. that your restaurant remains a signature part of a community’s culture for years to come. And our team has extensive experience in using a combination of cutting-edge technology, data-driven strategies and creative thinking to attract your customer base to do just that. Contact us to learn how we can work together.