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10 Marketing Tools for Restaurants to Engage & Retain Guests

10 Marketing Tools for Restaurants to Engage & Retain Guests



July 1, 2024

July 1, 2024

marketing tools
marketing tools

The global food service market was valued at $2.52 trillion in 2021. This figure is expected to grow to $4.43 trillion by 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9% between 2021 and 2028.

Customers continue to trust those closest to them. Nielsen research found 92% of consumers were more likely to try a product, including a restaurant, if recommended to them by friends or family.

Online reviews are a close second in terms of consumer trust. Roughly 70% of global consumers say they trust online reviews.

This means marketing is essential for the success of any business, including F&B concepts. Restaurants should have a clear and flexible marketing strategy in place so they can track their progress and results.

To create an effective restaurant marketing strategy, consider using various marketing tools for your restaurant. These tools, known as restaurant marketing automation software, include social media, guest reviews, email and SMS automation, among others.

Using marketing automation software can help you speed up and streamline operations, save time, and long-term costs.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the top marketing tools for restaurants, F&B concepts, and entertainment venues.

Top marketing tools for restaurants

Top marketing tools for restaurants

Now, let’s dive into the popular tools restaurants can use to improve and speed up their marketing operations to drive more business.

1. Social media marketing tools 

To grow your business, you need to be where your customers are and that’s social media. Many restaurants use Instagram to show their delectable dishes and unique beverages.

Why should your restaurant be an exception?

Social media management tools help you create and schedule social media posts across multiple platforms at once.

Some tools offer a free version, a free trial, and a premium version. Which version you use depends on your needs and the size of your business. 

Many social media management tools come with reporting features, highlighting your top performing posts, in terms of engagement, comments, shares,...etc. Top-performing can also be based on click-through-rate (CTR) if it has links. 

Popular social media management tools include Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, CoSchedule.

2. Ad automation tools

Online marketing has come a long way in recent years. For many business-to-consumer (B2C) industries like restaurants and e-commerce, you don’t have to manually create every ad you run.

Ad automation software helps you create custom and lookalike audiences and marketing lists. Then, they run your ads across various social media platforms. All automated.

Popular ads automation software includes Convertedin, Adroll, HubSpot.

3. Email marketing 

The average open rate for emails in the restaurants and hospitality industry is 18.5%, according to Campaign Monitor.

Email marketing offers great opportunities for restaurants, from guest segmentation to ultra-personalization to boosting awareness and sales.

In addition, to get your emails, guests willingly sign up to get your newsletter and promotional messages. In other words, they’re giving you permission to contact them and send them updates and offers via email.

Email marketing software helps you create various email campaigns for your restaurant such as social proof and re-engagement emails.

If you’re using a restaurant management system like Servme, email comes with F&B-specific email templates you can use to create a restaurant newsletter or campaigns. You can also segment and schedule campaigns.

Popular email marketing software includes Servme, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Brevo, ActiveCampaign.

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Restaurants

4. SMS marketing 

Text messaging remains a popular marketing tool for restaurants. Not only do they have a 98% open rate, but research also shows consumers check and respond to text messages faster than email.

45% of consumers respond to an SMS within 5-10 minutes of receiving it, while 32% respond within 2 minutes.

As you can see, SMS marketing is closer to consumers compared to other types of marketing.

Popular SMS marketing software for restaurants includes Twilio, Unifonic, SimpleTexting.

5. Influencer marketing 

Restaurant and hospitality expert Alexandra Leung notes that influencer collaborations have “proven to be a highly effective strategy for many restaurants.” Especially those “targeting younger demographics.”

Similarly, 85% of respondents in The Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2024 see influencer marketing as “an effective form of marketing.”

This means, one of the top ways restaurants can increase their sales is to collaborate with influencers. There are different bloggers for each industry and sub-category.  

For example, you’ll find many fast-food bloggers, but fewer fine dining influencers. Some are local, regional, and global.

Dubai, for example, is home to many of the world’s top food bloggers and influencers. That said, many Egyptian and Saudi food bloggers travel to the UAE to review popular dining locations and share them with their millions of followers.

As a restaurant, it’s important you set a budget and determine your expectations before contacting food bloggers.

With influencers, you can reach out to them via their emails or websites, their managers, or using influencer marketing software.

Popular influencer marketing software includes AspireIQ, Upfluence, Klear, Grin, CreatorIQ. 

6. Design software 

Design and graphics are essential for the success of your restaurant’s social media plan. Every F&B concept needs to showcase its mouth-watering dishes to their audiences.

Whether you’re on Instagram, Facebook, or elsewhere, you need high quality graphics to entice guests to try your food.

You can invest in high-quality, easy-to-use design software. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a skilled designer. Design software often comes with free and premium versions.

Popular design software tools include Canva, PicMonkey, Visme, Apple Pie Design.

7. Stock image options 

Creating catchy designs begins with images. But where can you get images while avoiding copyrights? It’s through stock image sites. There are free and paid sites.

Choose the stock images you like and edit them with design software like Canva to meet your brand’s colors and tone.

That said, it’s important to use images from your own restaurant as well. You can take these with a smartphone and upload them to any graphic design tool and edit them accordingly.

Top options for restaurant stock images include Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, Freepik.

8. Video software 

Video continues to thrive in various social platforms. Let’s face it, consumers are curious about video, especially short videos that they can view while scrolling through their feed.

87% of marketers say video has helped them boost sales and increase ‘dwell time on their website.’ Meanwhile, 95% of marketers report better brand awareness through video content.

Want to create and edit videos without turning to a video editor? Video creation tools can help you create, edit, manage, and share videos across your website and social channels.

Top examples of video software include CapCut, Vidyard, Animoto, Vimeo, Wistia.

9. SEO tools 

Do you have a website for your restaurant or F&B concept? Then, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to rank higher in Google and other search engines.

SEO tools help you uncover the keywords, or keyphrases, to use to rank higher. Most tools come with a free trial to help you sample the software. Keywords work for both your webpages and your blog (if you have one).

Popular SEO tools include Mangools, Semrush, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs.

10. Event management software 

If you’re an F&B concept that creates or hosts events regularly, you should consider event management software. It helps you perform various duties and so you can ensure a smooth guest experience even during busy hours.

Restaurant event management software can help you

Top restaurant event management software platforms include Servme, Eventbrite, OpenTable, Perfect Venue.

Try Servme for various marketing operations

Try Servme for various marketing operations

If you’re looking for software that combines various features into one, check out Servme.

Servme is a reservation, table management, and waitlist management system that comes with email and SMS marketing automation features for restaurants of all sizes.

Using Servme you can

Want to see how Servme combines various restaurant marketing tools into one platform? Book a quick, personalized demo to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Tools for Restaurants

Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Tools for Restaurants

Q: Is a menu a marketing tool? 

Your restaurant menu is an important marketing tool because it informs current and potential guests about what your restaurant offers.

Menus provide information like available dishes, beverages, and desserts, as well as price tags, additions, dietary information, among others.

We talk about digital menus and related software in our restaurant tech stack article.

Q: Do I have to use all these marketing tools for restaurants? 

The simple answer is ‘No.’ Determine the tools you want to use to start. Don’t overwhelm yourself by using too many tools all at once. Create a strategy and decide where you want to start.

You can choose to use a design tool alongside event and table management software like Servme. That way you can create designs for your social media platforms and manage online and offline waitlists and bookings from Servme. You also get email and SMS marketing features in Servme, including F&B-specific templates for each, so you don’t need additional software.

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Posted by:

Nada Sobhi