Food For Thought: Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Has digital marketing ever influenced where you dine? I recently took a mini road trip with my friend from the Gulf of Mexico to the east coast of Florida. I’m a planner, to a degree, but not when it came down to where we would eat. It was a weekend getaway to the beach and the last thing on my mind was starving to death. That quickly changed when I realized that after 5 hours in the car, I was borderline famished.  Yes, I’m being dramatic.

Not knowing the area, I reached for my iPhone to start searching for an ideal location to grab some grub.  Did you know that 67% of U.S. consumers search for restaurant information on their mobile devices? Surprising? Absolutely not! My iPhone was the first thing I turned to when I realized it was going to be feast or famine if I didn’t get to a restaurant in the next hour.  It’s no secret that restaurants face fierce competition and the ability to thrive in the marketplace has to go beyond just serving delicious food.

I consider myself a foodie, but not in the standard sense. I stalk restaurants. Well, what I really mean is I’m a marketer, so I stalk their marketing tactics. I’ll visit their website, read their menu, and seek diner reviews and pictures of their food on social sites. If I see a restaurant ad on my Facebook feed, I will click it. I’ll also go the extra step to see what’s posted on their Facebook page. I want confirmation that my decision is supported by others who also want an overall enjoyable experience with both good service and delicious food.

That may sound like a simple order, but in reality, those are expectations that restaurant marketers need to meet to stand out from the competition to be successful. Like most industries, the restaurant industry is always changing and it’s no longer enough for restaurants to rely on word of mouth marketing…they have to be where the customers are, and more often than not, it’s online.

There’s a rapid shift from mainstream advertising to digital marketing. Restaurants need to focus on the digital marketing aspect and increase their presence in the digital arena. My dining decision would be based on scrutinizing my options and what was available at that moment, while being a passenger in a car. Obviously mobile is key, and it didn’t take long to size up the reviews, check out mouth-watering images on Facebook and find a restaurant to fit the bill. I was no longer in jeopardy of withering away.

Digital marketing is just one part of a multi-channel marketing approach. Digital methods of communication are fast, versatile and can be easily implemented in today’s world. In fact, AccuData has helped dozens of restaurants with their campaigns, including Rib City, a franchise restaurant serving family-style barbecue.

Hunger can strike at any time and anywhere. Let the AccuData team of experts cook up the right marketing strategy for your business. Cheers to the Holiday Season and a successful New Year!

Written by AccuData Integrated Marketing

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