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Simple Marketing and Content Plan for Local Restaurants and Catering Businesses 

Marketing 3-4-5™ Fundamentals Specifically Crafted For Restaurants & Catering - Browse all industry plans here

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Highlighting your restaurant's daily customer and employee activities makes content marketing a breeze and can be done during off-hours 

Creating authentic content for your restaurant can you help you stand out from the big chains.

Local restaurants of all kinds are still a vibrant part of many local communities and help define the atmosphere in the areas they're located.

While competition has grown fierce, restaurants are in a great position to serve locals, enhance the experience for visitors to your town, and deliver catering for events and organizations.

Sadly, most restaurants don't effectively and consistently reach people online but it doesn't have to be this way. We're here to help.

This simple marketing and content plan is based on our Marketing 3-4-5™ approach and will show you how to clearly and effectively market yourself online without requiring much time or expense.

As we always say, content drives marketing, and it's surprisingly easy for local businesses to follow a repeatable process for creating impactful content.

Below are simple ways for you to rapidly create content that is relevant, compelling, yet requires zero creativity for your Restaurant or Catering Business.

How to get started marketing your restaurant or catering business in just a few steps:

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Highlighting Your Catering Business

Growing your catering business would be transformative for most restaurants and yet it's poorly marketed - if it's marketed at all.

Once you have a page on your website about your catering offering, marketing your catering business can be as easy as sharing recent catering activities. Each catering job that represents your preferred type of opportunity should have its own post and it should include:

  • how many you people served,
  • what menu items were included and how much of each,
  • where the event was located,
  • delivered and set the food up or if it was picked up by the client,
  • how much notice was needed for this type of catering (time between buy and the event)
  • and what the client said or feedback they gave you.

Ideally, you should include a quoted testimonial and photos of your staff preparing the food and, where possible, a picture of the food setup onsite.

Catering job posts literally remind people that you do catering, your client is likely to promote the post to their friends and contacts on social media who have similar catering needs, and when you are talking with someone about catering you can reference similar jobs on your website to support your sales activities.

Your Menu and Menu Pages

Of course, a menu is a vital part of your website as a restaurant.

Feature your customers' favorite items, post prices, descriptions, nutritional information, variations and add-ons etc. Featuring a mobile-optimized menu has never been more important... or easier to do.

Make sure that your restaurant's website has a page or section for each type of collection e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, appetizers, desserts, and catering.

Once you have specific pages in place, you can feature catering posts (from above) on the catering page, breakfast posts on the breakfast page etc. This is incredibly useful for visitors and helps you rank higher on Google in the process.

Food Highlights & Restaurant Exclusives

Do you prepare mouthwatering dishes or plate like a pro?

Whether it's a long-time customer favorite or a new creation you're trying out, create a post and share the story. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, include a description highlight notable ingredients or local sources and then give it a share so others will want to come try it! 

Don't forget to share information and pictures of specialty foods or dishes that set you apart from the rest. These details will help encourage potential customers to visit your restaurant or come back again.

Growing Email Marketing Subscribers

The value of email marketing for many local businesses cannot be overstated and email a key component of content distribution

Local business owners often ask for ways to grow their email list and one of our favorite options for restaurants, retailers, and other consumer-facing businesses is to collect business cards in exchange for a giveaway such a weekly or monthly drawing for a gift card.

This is fast, easy, and fun because every time you announce the winners you can send an email, post it to your website and share it on Facebook... now that's good marketing!

Bonus, these are your customers and you can use their email address to request Customer Reviews...

Employee Recognition & Employee Favorites

Whether you have 2 employees or 20 recognizing them in a blog post is an easy way to reward them for a job well done while helping people get to know you and your restaurant. 

Content about people featuring smiling faces is more engaging than most other types of content - it gets more engagement on social media when shared and attracts more attention when people see it on your website or email newsletter.

You have a few options to recognize employees. You can recognize employees regularly:

  • as an employee of the month,
  • employee anniversary or recognize a new employee,
  • you can recognize them in an ad-hoc way when customers report a great experience to you or even celebrate new hires or work anniversaries.

Whenever possible, give your content a human-interest angle

Include your employees to share their favorites. Do they have a menu favorite? Perhaps they have a seasonal favorite or product that reminds them of a favorite experience?

Include Q&A such as:

  • How long have you been at [COMPANY]?
  • Why did you apply to [COMPANY] in the first place?
  • What have you learned working here that helps you with your everyday life?
  • What are you most proud of with regard to your work at [COMPANY] or what's your favorite memory working here?
  • What would you say to someone thinking about applying?
  • What's your favorite item on the menu? (if applicable)

This is a great, fun, easy way to help people connect with your staff and see menu items that you feature all at once.

Highlight Your Customers and Regulars

What better way to attract customers than to celebrate how you deliver an amazing experience for other people?

In a sense, this is similar to the catering posts introduced above but this is much more about your customers and why your place is their place.

Can you think of a time someone was wowed by your restaurant? They gushed about how you delivered a terrific experience?

This is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for the people who visit your restaurant.

Ask them if they'd mind if you tell their mini-story. If they agree, take a picture with them at the table or with a notable backdrop and ask them:

  • Where they're from (local or visitor),
  • What brought them in for their occasion or why they've become a regular,
  • Did they eat at the bar, in your dining room, outdoors, etc and are there any COVID-specific adjustments that you've made to accommodate people?
  • What's something they'd say to someone looking for a special spot and considering your restaurant,
  • What did they eat or do they have a go-to item on the menu

This can be short, sweet, and to the point as it reinforces what makes you unique and valuable.

This can be as simple as helping provide a romantic night out, a fun environment for a get-together or even recommending something new to try.

Special Occasions, Events and Event Recaps

Do you have special events or happy hours? Is your place great for live music?

Perhaps you teach cooking classes or have a private space people can reserve for special occasions.

Live music and public events are well served with a calendar on your website (it should be sortable with the ability to access past events not just a list of activities). A simple post commemorating a recent event or live band performance reminds people of the great time they had or that they missed out on a fun experience at your restaurant... either case reminds people to visit you again soon.

A page on your website can highlight your rentable private spaces and options and you can recap those activities just as you highlight catering. 

Community Interest Article

Let's face it, where you live matters to you - and it should. Why not highlight a local cause you're supporting? Do you host fundraiser nights or do you regularly get solicited for donations?

Yep, you can create posts and recognize these activities on your website.

This makes you look good - it's ok to make yourself look good - and it shines a light on a local organization you care about in real life.

Go further by highlighting Local Connections™ and feature local events in a community calendar, we have an app for that ;)

Get the Most Out of Your Content and Marketing Efforts

Don't forget that the blog lives on your website and follow our suggested approach to post and distribute content online. Grab our Content Marketing Checklist download for free below.

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