Building a business that your target audience wants to visit is at the core of every strategy. For restaurants, however, the competition for market positions happens in the kitchen.

One restaurant chooses to serve exciting and exotic produce, and suddenly every chef starts cooking with tropical fruits and plants. Competing on portion sizes is also a lost cause; there is only so much your customers can eat. As a result, seasonal diversity and chef’s specialties are on top of your differentiating strategy.

Making your restaurant stand out from the crowd is a tricky challenge that needs to address both your presence and brand awareness. Unfortunately, in a crowded digital space, many restaurants rely on social media profiles to build their brand, which can have a counterproductive effect. Indeed, the desire to inject a fresh and edgy personality into the restaurant industry is not new; and there are only so many tattooed chefs with hipster beards your customers genuinely care about. If you want to get noticed, you need to do something truly different. You can still be yourself and share your trendy behind-the-scene photos online, but you need to reverse the focus. Stop making it about your story, and connect with your audience by making their story your marketing centerpiece. 

Create not just dishes, but content too

The last-minute approach to find a restaurant for a night out is, for many customers, reduced to a couple of seconds checks on Google Maps. “Google, show me restaurants near me” has become an everyday occurrence. Keeping up with local SEO can secure your position on Google Maps. But you can also appeal to customers who are not yet looking for a night out meal through your content. Indeed, according to Ignite Digital, over 80% of users conduct a search online before making a purchase. As a result, a blog that shares insights about your menu inspirations and explains your approach to dietary requirements, for instance, could increase your brand awareness within your local target audience. 

Don’t hesitate to share your know-how

Many restaurants are not willing to share their recipes online as they fear that divulging their secrets could lose their valuable customers. In reality, creating a YouTube channel to teach some of your most accessible recipes is likely to drive more customers to your restaurant. Indeed, it’s a great way to advertise your business by showing your know-how and expertise. Most people are keen to see how you cook their favorite dishes, even though they are unwilling to learn how to prepare it themselves! 

Forget menus, cook what people want to eat

Can you open a restaurant without a single menu? It’s the challenge that a small British restaurant in the south of England has taken. Verveine has developed a unique approach to menus: The staff asks their customers only three questions regarding their appetite, tastes, and allergies. Based on the answers collected, each individual receives a tailored menu, created with seasonal and local produce. Needless to say, such an approach makes everybody feel special! 

It’s time for restaurants to rethink their marketing approach and put customers at the center of their strategy. Creating an experience that makes your customers feel valued and understood can make all the difference. 

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