How To Drive Traffic To Your Restaurant - Oamii (2022)

Running a restaurant is, for the most part, a wonderful experience. However, some things will leave you pulling your hair. You might have a polite staff, good food, and wonderful ‘’Instagram-worthy’’ decor, but your foot traffic is slowly decreasing.

Are you doing something wrong?

Not necessarily. It’s just that attracting new customers to your fine establishment takes a lot of work and an extra amount of creativity.

If you’re wondering how to drive traffic to your restaurant, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to show you some digital strategies you can use to create a buzz around your business.

Here’s how to drive traffic to your restaurant the right way.

1. Work on your website

Most businesses know that having a website is essential, but they fail to get the most out of it. Some restaurants pay for a website and publish it just for the sake of it, without knowing the actual value it can bring.

Just having a website is not enough - you also have to ensure it’s optimized for search engines.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process in which you fine-tune the content of a website to rank better in search engine results. Without SEO, your piece of digital real estate is practically invisible as most people check out the first page of Google and go for one of the top results.

This means you’re losing out on a lot of potential customers. If you’re in an area with a lot of competition and have no SEO strategy, your competitors will take the larger piece of cake (excuse the pun), even though your restaurant might be better.

For example, if you run a pasta place and there are ten other similar restaurants in your area, guess which ones will receive the most traffic?

It’s also important to note that technical difficulties on your website won’t harm your ranking but can turn away customers who do land on your page. If your site takes too long to load, most customers will simply leave and go with something else (something that loads within seconds).

SEO also involves ironing out the structure of your website, optimizing it for all devices, optimizing the images, and so on.

2. Pay more attention to your business listings

Most search engines have dedicated business listings similar to Google Business Profile. Needless to say, you should claim the listing on each of those. The main benefit of being present on these platforms is that they’ll increase your visibility whenever a customer searches for local businesses.

If you already have a Google Business Profile, do a little test. Look for local businesses in Google Maps and see how your restaurant compares to your main competitors. If you’re unsatisfied with what you’re seeing, it’s time to get to work.

Make sure you’re taking advantage of people’s natural preferences for the visual and upload some nice-looking images. You can also use text over images to share the most information possible.

Google Business Profile also allows you to use keywords, so ensure that all the keywords you are using on this page are relevant to your restaurant.

3. Generate new reviews

These listings also allow customers to leave reviews. Customer feedback plays a crucial role in business ranking on search engines. More importantly, your star rating can inspire or turn away new customers. Let’s face it, people nowadays trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from someone they know.

However, you can’t just sit back and let the reviews roll in as you must approach this process proactively.

This is in part because unhappy customers are more likely to leave negative reviews than those who found your pasta and service incredible. We’ve seen situations where businesses had a lot of happy customers, but due to their lack of review management, negative reviews (that you are bound to run into) managed to snowball and tank their Google review rating.

To stop this from happening to you, you should generate a review link on your Google Business Profile. This link takes your customers directly to the review page so they don’t lose any time trying to track down your business listing.

Restaurants can get even more creative. You could generate a QR code and put it on your menu. You could get a lot of reviews if you train your employees to politely ask the customers for a review right after the customers finish their meal and are at their happiest.

Once you receive reviews, respond to them right away to show the customers that you care about your feedback. That way, you’ll show people who visit your review page that customer satisfaction is one of your most important goals.

4. Work on your social media presence

Increasing your presence and followers on various social media platforms will make spreading the good word about your business easy.

The fact that social media feels more personal opens up a more direct path to building a relationship with your customers. These types of posts are easily shareable, so in a sense, your customer will do marketing for you. The same applies to special events you might post - if your followers like your content, they’ll share it.

Once you do manage to grow your social media accounts, more people will know about you, and you will have got yourself a simple solution for how to drive traffic to your restaurant.

Regarding the content itself, you’ve got to be creative.

Consider making unique promotions and organizing social media contests. On a platform like Instagram, you can award the winner dinner for three if they tag two friends in a comment and share the post on their story.

This type of contest is a classic for a reason and could be a great way to increase your social media following with minimal cost.

5. Leverage PPC advertising

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a great way to get fast results. While most of the tips so far were more long-term, PPC can help you in your quest to discover how to drive traffic to your restaurant almost instantly.

PPC campaigns are also cost-effective since you’ll pay a nominal fee only when a user clicks on your ad. More importantly, it’s one of the ways your small restaurant can compete with bigger restaurant chains that have more resources and, thus, rank higher on search engine results.

A great starting point is bidding for keywords that matter. For restaurants, those are local keywords, since most people are looking to grab a bite in their close vicinity. For example, include the city name and the area in the keywords.

Our advice is to also include the specific part of town in keywords since they are less competitive and cost less. Since they’re very specific, they are more likely to drive paying customers to your restaurant.

Bonus tip: reward your loyal customers

Loyal customers are the best brand ambassadors you could have. The best thing is, you don’t even have to pay them. However, everyone likes a tip of the hat now and then, and so do your loyal customers.

If you have a group who visits your restaurant regularly, you have to find a way to reward them.

We recommend starting a customer loyalty program. By giving your loyal customers a small discount, you’ll make them feel special and incentivize them to keep coming back for more.

You could benefit a lot from a referral program too. For instance, you could offer a small discount on the next purchase for customers who bring in a friend.

Make your restaurant the talk of the town

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how to drive traffic to your restaurant. This is on the digital side of things, but you still have to ensure your business checks all the boxes in the physical realm, so to speak. A digital marketing strategy will help you get customers through the door, but if your service is subpar, you’ll quickly lose all the new customers you fought so hard to attract.

The question is - do you have the time to do all these things properly?

There’s a lot to take in, and a lot of different aspects that you’ll have to closely manage to make your digital marketing effort successful.

Sure, you could hire a staff member and task them with optimizing your website, managing all the different social media pages, and running PPC campaigns. But that’s still too much for one person to handle.

The perfect solution, in this case, is working with a digital marketing agency such as Oamii. We’ve got the human resources and the expertise necessary to craft a custom digital marketing strategy for your business.

We can do everything, from SEO to review management so you can focus your full attention on managing the restaurant. Call us at 561-228-4111 or fill out our online contact form, and we can take care of how to drive traffic to your restaurant for you!

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Author: Gregorio Kreiger

Last Updated: 05/27/2022

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