Getting a strong foothold in the restaurant game isn't easy. When you first open, the press is all to happy to write up the news and put your name out there, but that becomes old news fast, and it can take just weeks to fall off the local radar. Many a failed restaurant has looked back at their mistakes and realized that word of mouth only goes so far. What's a chef to do?
Keep your spot in the public eye with these four tricks of the trade:
Take Advantage of Events
This sounds obvious, but hear us out. There are a couple ways to use events to your advantage. First, host them, and we're not just talking about renting out the bar for private shindigs. Why not actively scour the web and offer your services to people already scheduled to meet up? Type food/drink into Eventbrite or Meetup and you'll be flooded with events that touch the culinary sphere. Any you know what- all these gatherings would love to have food/drink. Join the group or send a message to the leader and offer everyone $1 off drafts or whatever if they host their get together at your place. If the group is big enough, the register will be ringing all night, and your restaurant's name will be on all the communication for the event. Done and done.
Second, if you can cater, cater. And if you cater, make sure you bring the branding. Don't let that food head out the door without making sure your people are wearing branded gear, and give them plenty of marketing material too. They should have business cards, brochures, a banner, whatever you have. It's a free press event. Treat it as such.
Getting Social with Media
Creating a social media profile that is a "must-follow" isn't the easiest thing. One way you can achieve higher online status is to give an incentive for consumers to check your social media pages. Restaurants are starting to give out free appetizers or desserts in exchange for engagement on their social media profiles. If you strategically place these updates around promo posts then you will be able to grab eyeballs of the masses!
Get on the Calendar
This strategy circles back to co-sponsoring an event, but there are differences. All cities have a social calendar. Do you have specials such as Wing Wednesdays or 1/2 price beer on Friday nights? If so put that those promos on social calendars because you're almost positive to get some return. Everyone is looking for a good deal, and something to do. You're a good deal. You have things for people to do. Let them know.
Reach out to Specific Websites
One website that we strongly suggest reaching out to is Eater. The food website has a page for nearly every major city in the country (23 to be exact) and has the most up to date restaurant openings and news. Foodies flock to Eater to read what restaurants are hot and which restaurants are up-and-coming, plus they're extremely active on social media and their newsletter goes out every single day. What makes Eater great is that it doesn't forget about restaurants just because they opened six years ago. If you have an interesting story, they're up for it.
Go forth. Get your name out there. Your opening buzz only lasts so long. Fan the flames with some creativity. It'll be well worth your while.