Raleigh, NC – The COVID-19 pandemic affected the food service industry perhaps more than any other. At the start of the shutdowns, almost all establishments across the country were forced to shutter their doors. While this opened up many opportunities for restaurants to offer delivery and pick-up options to their customers, it took away the personal service that many restaurants are known for. Today, life has gotten somewhat back to normal, but restaurant marketing remains crucial to help reclaim people’s trust in a hands-on world.
McKeeman Communications, one of the only niche PR firms in the Raleigh/Charlotte, NC area, says that restaurants have their work cut out for them in the wake of the COVID crisis. Lingering supply chain issues, staffing challenges, and ever-increasing costs mean that marketing is more important than ever.
But what are the best restaurant marketing tools? According to McKeeman Communications, there is no singular avenue by which restaurants can maintain their presence. Instead, it is a combination of social media management, aired media visibility, influencers, and good old-fashioned customer outreach.
Restaurants should utilize social media now more than ever, which includes common channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, along with industry-specific platforms, like OpenTable and TripAdvisor. Each of these pieces of online real estate is an opportunity for restaurants to showcase who they are, what they have, and how they plan to improve their operation for their customers today and in the future.
Aired media consist of news stories, podcasts, and interviews. Most PR firms recommend that restaurants and other businesses look for opportunities to show and share their expertise with both their local community and a broader audience. A quick tip here: always have a story to tell. A local news anchor is more likely to reach out to a restaurant or business with something interesting, relevant, or unique to share.
Many PR firms also emphasize the importance of influencer marketing. Business owners can look to social media for the most active influencers in their area. A great restaurant marketing tactic here is to host an invitation-only influencer night. Those who enjoy bringing attention to themselves revel in an opportunity to be put on a pedestal and wined and dined. They will appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at the way things are run, and giving them an exclusive event means they will enjoy the best of your staff and service. Ideally, this will lead to glowing reviews.
While the vast majority of restaurant marketing tactics in 2022 and beyond will focus on online channels, businesses should also respect the value of great public relations strategies, particularly those that put restaurants face-to-face with their customers and community. Businesses might, for example, hold open houses to celebrate new menu items. Another tried-and-true marketing tactic here is to offer free swag/gear to patrons. Business owners should never underestimate the marketing potential of a simple T-shirt, which can be worn over and over again, creating a marketing impression for everyone the wearer comes in contact with.
Service and quality continue to be crucial. However, restaurant marketing has to keep up with today’s customers. From social media management and influencer marketing to sticking to in-person events and special offers, restaurants have many ways by which they can share their story, their love of food, and their commitment to their respective communities.
Of all the PR firms in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas, McKeeman Communications has the most experienced, driven, and dedicated staff. Those in the restaurant industry know that having a niche marketing agency on their side offers a leg up over the competition.
McKeeman Communications is currently accepting new clients. Find out more at McKeemanCommunications.com.
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Exact Observer journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.