4 Restaurant Marketing Trends to Follow into the New Year

Resilience has been the name of the game for restaurant owners over the past couple of years. Looking ahead to 2022, staying top-of-mind with customers will require three things: creativity, convenience, and a robust digital presence.

Keep these four restaurant marketing trends at the forefront of your business planning for the new year.

Home Delivery and Takeout

When restaurants closed their doors for in-house dining, takeout and delivery took off. Expect this trend to continue well into the future as consumers prioritize both convenience, health and safety.

On the marketing side of things, this means investing in an online takeout and delivery service you can scale with, in addition to investing heavily in your digital presence.

Integrate and advertise your at-home dining services front and centre on your website. Make sure your offerings are also updated and streamlined across review site listings like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google.

As well, don’t underestimate the power of effective signage to promote delivery and takeout services to in-house diners. Use small posters and signs, or even customizable decals to educate customers on how they can continue to support your business from the comfort of home.

Hyper-Local Advertising

“Restaurants near me” is searched 6.2 million times every month on Google. What does that mean for your business? The short answer: you need to optimize for local search.

To do this, audit your business information across your online channels. This includes your website, mapping services, search engine listings, review sites, and social media.

Look for inconsistencies in your business name, hours, menu, location, contact information and services. Everything should be consistent across the board. You should also spend time updating claimed listings and profiles with specific information about your restaurant and adding high-quality photos.

This will also encourage reviews among your customer base. Your takeout and delivery system may allow you to automate review requests to recent customers. Additionally, you could create and print tableside cards using Canva with QR codes that point diners directly to a review site like Yelp.

Beyond digital, direct mail targeting your local area can be a great way to get in front of new, relevant customers. Create a mailable menu brochure or a card offering limited time discounts.

Loyalty Programs

Restaurants often take a one-size-fits-all approach to loyalty programs with generalized discounts and punch cards. Moving into the new year, consider optimizing for personalization to keep customers engaged.

Building an email subscriber list is a great way to start. You can use email as a channel for segmenting customers based on activity and frequency of engagement, using online ordering data as allowed.

With more visibility into your customers’ ordering habits, you can better tailor your loyalty program around specific interests. For example, if you know a customer orders the same menu items from you roughly every two weeks, why not target them with a personalized discount on what they love most?

As your contact list builds, you can also use your loyalty program for promoting exclusive content. This may include access to “secret menu items”, limited weekly or monthly specials, or appreciation events.

Brand Differentiators

Last but not least, restaurants should expect to move into the new year with a clear sense of self. What you value and how you market that to customers will help you stand out and bounce back against the competition.

Think about your differentiators. Maybe your business is woman- or family-owned with an interesting story to tell. Maybe you’ve recently invested in eco-friendly, compostable packaging. Maybe you heavily source ingredients from local suppliers or even grow some of your own.

Market your brand values to new and current customers in an effort to strengthen relationships. The more you can lean into community and purpose, the better positioned you’ll be to build awareness that drives actual impact (and revenue).

Whether you’re looking to DIY or explore custom print and design services, Staples’ Solutionshop has the solutions you need to support a growing business. Learn more about booking a free consultation with one of our experts today.

By Staples Canada

October 18, 2021