The hospitality industry has changed dramatically over the last year or so, with the coronavirus pandemic completely shutting down any hopes of ‘back to normal’.

Businesses have been forced to change their market offering, revitalise their menus, and adapt to circumstances that are far from ideal. But with these changes brings a glimmer of hope to the hospitality industry – we can adapt and we can thrive. We just need the marketing know-how.

Marketing has changed too, however, so it’s not just your own industry that you need to keep up with, but all the new platforms that are emerging and how people want to interact with restaurants is changing. It can be difficult to keep up, which is why we’ve created this short guide on how to market your restaurant in 2021.

Get to grips with social media

Social media channels can be hard work for the hospitality industry, with bad reviews and negative comments flying around like garlic in a pan. But it’s essential to have a presence on these platforms, providing your audience with options to book, view menus, ask questions, and read those (hopefully) rave reviews.

But don’t just leave Facebook to the customers; make sure you’re creating content too. Whether it’s a video of a meal being made or promotional offer, sharing posts and gaining engagement is essential for successfully promoting your business online.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at TikTok. Short form video content is the way forward and that’s TikTok’s ethos. This channel is ideal to start building connections with younger audiences – younger audiences who interact often and are likely to ‘grow up’ with your brand. If your restaurant is famous for a particular dish or drink, use TikTok to showcase this in a fun and engaging way.

Update your printed marketing material

Perhaps you’ve already reopened or are planning to in the near future. Having COVID-friendly printed collateral, such as menus and signage, will keep your customers safe and make it easier to clean.

Antibacterial coated menus and leaflets are a great way to ensure your restaurant is as hygienic as possible. At B&D Print, we provide a range of antibacterial coated products, as well as laminate printing. This is just one step in the right direction, but will ensure your customers feel at ease and allow you to disinfect and clean more thoroughly, potentially reducing the risk of transmission.

Keep your website up to date

If you have a website, ensure you keep it as up to date as possible, with any changes to your opening and closing times, as well as rules and regulations that customers should be aware of when visiting your restaurant. 

Consistency is key when it comes to promoting your business online, so make sure your address, phone number, and COVID-19 information is updated regularly across your website, social media, and anywhere else you might appear online – such as your Google My Business listing.

You might need to invest in a better booking system too. If you relied on walk-ins before the pandemic, you might want to consider changing tact. With COVID-19 regulations changing daily, we never know when the next wave might come and whether this means going back to booking only. Booking also allows you to track and trace customers, as well as giving you an idea of how busy you might be.

Choose the right platforms for your delivery business

If you’ve changed your business offering over the pandemic to include delivery, and are hoping to continue this venture going forward, ensure you’re on the right platforms to make this as successful as possible. Although you might not see this as ‘marketing’, it all ties in.

If someone uses Just Eat or Deliveroo to search for their Friday night takeaway and you don’t appear, they’re not likely to go hunting the web for more inspiration.

Think about investing in an app

You might not need to go out and create your own booking and ordering system, but you should try and utilise an app for ordering at your restaurant. This can limit contact between staff and customers, giving many people relief that they’re safe from COVID-19. 

Although an ordering app isn’t necessary, especially if your restaurant isn’t large, it’s good to keep these things in mind, as your competitors may already have gotten on board with it. It all adds to your ‘COVID-19 secure’ messaging, which can help market your business in 2021.

It’s also a great opportunity to collect customer data, such as email addresses. You can then keep people up to date with new offers or birthday discounts, tempting them back to your restaurant in the future. Just make sure you gain consent before you start emailing everyone.

Keep on top of your reviews

Reviews are a lifeline for restaurants. Customers like to know what they’re getting and seeing positive reviews before they book someone can reinforce trust in that restaurant. 

Platforms, such as TripAdvisor, allow you to claim and manage your restaurant page. This ensures you can reply to reviews (and not just the good ones…), so that customers know you’re active and available.

Remember, embrace those negative reviews and address them head on. If someone wasn’t happy with the customer service or their meal was cold, use this insight to make improvements, or try and find out if the customer was just having a bad day.

A great way to share your testimonials is to add them to your printed menus or posters, especially if they’re quirky and interesting. 

Take advantage of printed marketing & direct mail

Everyone knows that for a brand to gain recognition in 2021, it’s all about online. But for restaurants and local businesses, overlooking printed marketing, such as signage, leaflets, banners, menus, and more, can be detrimental to gaining new, loyal customers. 

We’re not just talking paper menus and flimsy posters here, but COVID-friendly collateral that protects your customers.

Increasing footfall is crucial, especially after what has been a disastrous year for many establishments. Leaflet drops and direct mail campaigns are a great way to reach potential customers that you might be missing online.

If you require any updated, COVID secure menus or printed marketing materials for your restaurant in 2021, contact our team today for more information. If you’re a restaurant, we have a specific package available for you:

restaurant antibacterial menus

Restaurant design package

  • 300 x A4 Main Menus
  • 100 x A5 Wine Menus
  • 100 x A5 Dessert Menus
  • 100 x A7 Bill/Receipt Holders

£235 – Standard matt lamination both sides*

£315 – Anti-Viral matt lamination both sides*

*Including delivery. Prices based on PDF print-ready artwork.

We can also fully design any menus or marketing collateral you require. Just let us know your brief and ideas and we can help with the rest.

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