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A “No Nonsense” Business Strategy For Your Restaurant That Will Win New Customers & Bring Back Existing Ones.

The team at Futura love good food so its not surprising that we’ve developed a niche in creating brand identities, websites and online marketing plans for a range of restaurants, bars and catering businesses.

Not only do we have a wealth of experience in helping restaurants accelerate their success, but we also have a real passion for the sector, which shows in the value we add to each client project.

We’re in regular touch with our clients in the food and hospitality industry and are always thinking up strategies on how they can attract new customers and bring existing customers in to their restaurants more frequently.

Whilst we tailor each digital marketing plan to the specific needs of our clients, some basic principles can be applied across the board, which we thought we’d share with you in this article.

1. Define Your Restaurant’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

If you’re starting up a new restaurant you need to carefully consider, define and explain what makes your restaurant unique so that you can differentiate your business from your competitors and entice prospective customers to dine with you.

If you already have a restaurant business, when was the last time you checked out the competition and asked yourself how uniquely your restaurant, décor, food and services were positioned in the market? We can help you research and define a USP for your restaurant and articulate this in a statement, which will underpin your entire business strategy and marketing and becomes embedded in the minds of your customers.

2. Create A Distinctive Brand Identity

Every restaurant needs to have a psychologically compelling brand image. A brand is much more than a logo, it is the visual representation of your Unique Selling Proposition conveyed through design, photography and slogans that tell your customers why they should dine with you – and keep doing so!

A good brand should be able to influence your customers on a conscious and sub conscious level so that they are not just eating your food, they are benefiting from a unique dining experience.

3. Develop A Website Which Generates A Constant Flow Of Business

Restaurants are one of the most searched for businesses online, yet shockingly have some of the most poorly designed, unimaginatively branded, user unfriendly websites we have seen for any sector!

Paying an amateur to create an average website is a waste of money and a HUGE lost opportunity for your restaurant. A professional business driven website on the other hand is the most powerful lead generation tool at your business’s disposal and can underpin your restaurant’s success, if integrated with the rest of your marketing strategy.

Is your website user friendly, does it give prospective diners a feel of the ambiance of your restaurant and the type and variety of food that you serve? Are menus easy to navigate and share with others? How easy is it to make a reservation or view reviews from other diners? Does the website COMPEL the visitor to make a reservation there and then?

We would also add that restaurant websites should be mobile phone friendly. Often prospective customers are looking for a good place to eat when they’re out and about and they will want to be able to easily see all your website content on their phone.

If your website is not converting visitors into table reservations, take away orders and building your customer database, you need to take a long hard look at why its under performing and what action needs to be taken to fix it.

4. Online Ordering & Home Delivery

With many people looking to reduce the cost of eating out or simply wanting to enjoy the comfort of eating at home, developing a “home dining” side to your restaurant with online ordering can add an excellent revenue stream to your business.

Restaurant online ordering is increasing in popularity as more and more people are getting used to shopping online. Online ordering is no longer an option but rather a necessity in order to compete in the restaurant marketplace.

The average online order is 18% higher than orders placed via the telephone. Not only does online ordering automate the process, it can also eliminate ordering errors, reduces the amount of staff time spent on the phone and provides you with invaluable marketing data about the most frequently ordered items on your menu and your customers’ buying preferences and demographics.

5. Getting Your Restaurant’s Website Onto Page #1 Of Google

If your restaurant is not ranking on Page One of Google for your target search terms e.g. “Lebanese Restaurant in London” or “Indian Restaurant in Mayfair” you are losing out on a huge number of potential customers.

We know for a fact that Restaurants are some of the most-searched for businesses, in Google, an audience awaits that is LOOKING for your restaurant online and the chances are they can’t find you!

Eating out can be faddish – people are always on the look out for the new, the fresh and the exciting – make it easy for them to find you by investing in a search engine optimisation campaign that gets you onto page one of Google for relevant search terms and once you’ve converted website visitors into customers, we’ll show you how to keep them!

6. Use Social Media to Engage With & Retain Customers

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have emerged as dynamic platforms for customer engagement. Fans or followers opt-in to receive real-time updates and special offers from your business, as well as being able to post their own comments and feedback or participate in discussions.

Many restaurants who don’t want to “cheapen their brand image” with special offers are giving social media users a backstage pass to their kitchens. Restaurateurs are using social media to reveal how their dishes are made, generate familiarity with chefs and provide a means for diners to share feedback on new and existing dishes.

The best way of using Social Media is reminding people that you exist and allow people to feel more involved and engaged with that you are trying to deliver. If used intelligently, social media can convert one off diners into becoming regulars.

7. Email Marketing & Data Capture

Once your customers finish their meal and leave your restaurant, how can you keep in touch with them? Staying at the top of your customers’ minds is as easy as a intelligently thought out email campaign. Providing your customers with offers that are of interest to them reminds them of why they like you – and why they want to visit again and again.

Pivotal to email marketing is the creation of a targeted email database of people who have dined at your restaurant. Give your customers an incentive to join your mailing list so that you can then market future offers and promotions to them – or simply remind them that you exist and they once enjoyed a great dining experience with you!

Starting up a new restaurant or growing a restaurant in these tough times can be challenging, not least because the marketing landscape has changed significantly with new opportunities to understand and embrace.

Distinctive branding, business driven websites and online marketing can improve the performance and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and allows you to get closer to your customers, reaching the right people with the right message at the right time. Don’t shy away from it, embrace it!

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of your restaurant’s branding, website, marketing or business plan, give us a call on 020 7993 4477. We’ll be happy to advise how we can help take your business further.

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