Even the economy is expected to improve in 2010, industry experts estimate that sales in restaurants will decline by about 0.8 percent, compared to $328 billion in last year. It is not a good news for restaurant managers, because the lean sales will force them to face another bitter, hard fight war through 2010. Internet nowadays has magnificent effects on business, but few restaurant owners notice it also brings 5 effective while free marketing tools to boost their customer traffic.
#1. Website- the start of Internet marketing. Even if you already have a website, don’t skip this tip. A qualified restaurant website should include aesthetic design, organized page navigation, and fast-responsive page opening in a browser. Don’t forget to just take half hour to embed an interactive Google or Yahoo map inside of your store locator, so any interested strangers can choose a drive route at their own pace, without leaving your website. If you don’t have a website, then congratulations, your business is lagging far behind the world.
#2. Local Directory. The local directories are similar to the internet versions of yellow page. Although some famous directories charge several bucks every year, if you search “free local directory”, you can still find a lot places to fill in your website and boost its SEO performance. Since most search engines also provide free directory listing, your restaurant location and services can get attentions from Google and Yahoo users at least.
Some experienced restaurant marketers may have tried those 2 basic tools, but advanced marketers will never stop from here. The ambitious owners are seeking more active ways to stand out in the local community. The following technologies are essential for those ready U.S. restaurant marketers, ranging from fast food eateries to high-end establishments.
#3. Yelp. Word of mouth is one of the best ways of promote food and services. That’s what Yelp community volunteers are doing. Hundreds of thousands of Yelp gourmets write reviews and read comments about the new restaurants or better food within their neighborhood or at travel destinations. But Yelp is a double edged sword. You want your business out there and at the same time you have to take the good and bad reviews online, both of them are broadcast much faster than traditional media.
#4. Social Marketing. After Costco decided to set up Twitter and Facebook accounts in its marketing plan, why not hurry up to battle for more fans of your restaurants in this Internet Enclosure Movement. If you plan to distribute deep discount information or state-of-the-art services, your fans at those social website can help to broad your news tens of thousand times within several days.
#5. In-store Viral Marketing. After bringing online customers to your restaurants, you should prepare them some different experience they never get at your competitors’ side, so they can send out anything about your restaurants to amuse their readers or friends among those social networks. In Tampa, FL and 2010 International Hospitality week, the new multi-touch TouchMenu systems captivated a lot of attention. Can you imagine a 20-year-old virtual waitress explains you every delicious food with hi-res images? Or order a drink from the kiosk to a hot girl in other tables? Or even chat with them in real time? Such TouchMenu System also integrates Twitter and Facebook for your proactive guests to immediately start a new word of mouth campaign for you, for free!