Digital Marketing For Restaurants: 3 Tips for Staying Relevant Online

Digital Marketing For Restaurants: 3 Tips for Staying Relevant Online

When it comes to dining, today’s consumers can do quite a lot without leaving the comfort of their homes: research local restaurants, check reviews and menus, reserve tables and, last but definitely not least, order online. Having a strong online presence is increasingly important in maintaining relevance, especially with smartphones playing a dominant role in guiding our everyday decisions (Mintel, 2018).

With constant technological innovation and ever-changing restaurant customer communication preferences, it can be hard to keep up with best marketing practices. Here are three tips for restaurateurs to keep relevant online.

1. From Social Media to Email, Go Where Your Customers Are

Know your diners and how to reach them. There is little point in devising the next best digital marketing campaign if you are conducting it on a platform that won’t reach your customers. For example, our latest research in restaurant marketing reveals that the 18-34 age demographic is most interested in receiving restaurant communications via Instagram, and interest wanes with those over age 35. By comparison, Facebook communications are just as popular with the 35-54 and 18-34 age groups, while the over 55 segment is most interested in receiving communications via email.

Practicing this principle shouldn’t be limited to social media; it should be applied across the board in marketing efforts. Consider using: mobile-friendly websites, compatibility with Google Maps, hyper-location targeting and even potential appearances on third-party apps/aggregators – all have the potential to attract new customers, increase loyalty of existing customers and increase sales (Mintel, 2019; Mintel, 2018; Warc, 2017).

2. Pay Close Attention To Your Customers’ Restaurant Reviews

Social media and review sites are among the key places people go to voice their opinions, expressing not only what they like but, most importantly, what they don’t like. According to Tripadvisor’s Influences on Diner Decision-Making report, 94% of Americans and 87% of Brits say their dining decisions are influenced by online reviews; 72% say they have been influencd by online restaruant photos (Tripadviser, 2017).

Customers value what other diners say and how restaurant management responds to comments and criticism online. 94% of consumers say they have read management responses on review sites, adding that if criticisms are dealt with suffiently they are not discouraged from dining at that restaurant. Tuning into these online conversations can help your restaurant react to hot topics and trends, and provide feedback in a much more agile and sympathetic fashion (TRG, 2015).

3. Measure Customer Passion With Engagement Rates

Knowing your customers doesn’t mean just knowing what online platforms they use, but knowing the things they care about. Keep your posts topical and in line with the trends your customers are passionate about, whether that’s saving a couple of bucks, trying new foods, or caring about ethical/environmental issues. Connecting with consumers’ passions can create waves of positivity for your business, boosting brand awareness and brand sentiment.

But how do you find out about your customers’ interests? 

You can track what they are discussing and engaging with on social media. Review your post engagement. Social media engagement reflects how many likes, shares and comments each post gets. Roughly, an engagement rate between 1% and 3.5% is considered “average-good,” with a rate between 3.5% to 6% regarded as “high.” Review which of your posts receive the highest number of likes and, more importantly, review the the engagement rate. Use such metrics to guide future posts, ensuring that they’ll be meaningful for your target audience.

For more advice on restaurant marketing, read our recent post on how restaurant customers want to be contacted. Learn more about Oracle’s restaurant POS systems to discover how they can help you analyze and connect with your customers.

Stay up-to-date on emerging digital marketing strategies for restaurants by subscribing to our blog!



Mintel (2019) Attitudes Towards Casual Dining – April 2019

Mintel (2018) Digital Trends Quarterly – December 2018

Tripadvisor (2017) Influences on Diner Decision-Making.

TRG (2015) How Restaurants Can Stay Relevant.

Warc (2017) Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery: Using Waze to drive guests to restaurants.


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