How to Market your New Menu
So you have created your restaurant menu, now you have to market it. You have to let people out there know about your menu and your chef. You need to create a buzz and you need to keep advertising even though you have been long in the market. You might think that you are already well known but with all the new products flooding the market these days, customers might miss you out. That’s why big brands like KFC, McDonalds and other fast food chains spend millions on advertisements yearly. Eventhough people know them. Below are some ways that I use to promote my menu. Hope its of some help.
1. Advertise your menu
The first and important thing you have to do is to advertise in the mainstream media that you have a new menu.You may need to fork out some money but this will help to create awareness to your restaurant. As mentioned earlier even big restaurants do it.These will include advertisements in newspapers, flyers, banners and brochures. You can also seek help from your staff to help you hand out the flyers around town. My staff was happy to do it for me. If you have a higher budget you can advertise on the radio or tv. Make sure you write something interesting or use an eye catching pictures. Try to go away from the norm, otherwise people will pass it by cause its just another advertisement.
2. Invite the local media to taste your new menu
You can advertise in the newspaper or magazines as mentioned above. You can also go a step further by inviting some reporters to sample your menu. It is always well worth considering inviting the media to your restaurant. To do this you must be really sure that you are ready. You wouldn’t want to make a fool of yourself to the people who is going to write about you. You need to put your best foot forward. I suggest you run your menu for one month to work out any hiccups that might occur before calling the press. When you are ready, then only call the press. If you are inviting only a few media people then call up some friends to dine at your place, so the place will look good not like a haunted restaurant.
3. Invite your local bloggers.
These days it’s not only the professional food critics that people listen to for advice. Consumers search the internet on information on your place. A recent survey that was done by the hotel I work of how people got to know about our hotel was 45% said that they knew about us from the internet, 40 % was from friends and 4% from the newspaper and magazines. These will show you the power of the internet. Bloggers have their own set of followers and these followers listen to them. Look around at websites of local bloggers. A good way to start is to search for blogs about your competitors, follow them and see what they write. Whether it suits your style. Also note how many folllowers they have. But a word of caution most bloggers write the truth because they have a reputation to uphold to their followers. If your item is not good, don’t feature it or you might get some nasty reviews. Once you get a positive review, you can share it with your customers, post it on your site and on your blog and Twitter and Facebook pages.
4. Pictures sell.
In my former hotel where I worked, we created menus with pictures in it. After printing the menus, I used the pictures and created posters of individual food items. Each food item had a catchy tag line like “Sinful Pleasures” for desserts, “What a Hunk of Beef “ for beef burgers and “Get Curried Away” for curry dishes. We noticed that customers is more likely to order a dish when he or she sees a picture. So when we needed to clear a slow moving item, we just put a poster of the item. But you need to take mouthwatering shots of your food. Search the net for ideas on mouthwatering images. Follow suit.
5. Upload on your Facebook, Twitter or othe social sites.
Nowadays most business are using the social media like Facebook or Twitter to promote their company or products. If you don’t have a Facebook sites its best to create one. Its really easy. You must put important information under the Info tab which includes your restaurant’s location, directions, hours of operation and Web address. You can even put your menu in your facebook site. You also need to let your customers know that you have a Facebook site that they can be friends with. This is done by giving out cards with your Facebook address out to everyone. Apart from that you need to also keep your site updated and attractive. Here is when you can get more creative, with the help of the pictures. You can upload the pictures on your site every two days. Do this after you have uploaded your menu. You can feature not just pictures of your dishes, but also the recipe or a video of the chef demostrating how to cook the dish. You can also feature interviews with your customers. Constantly add interesting things, not only trying to sell your product. If you have interesting article on your Facebook page, people will be interested to be friends with.
Even though emailing out newsletters or product update is nothing new within the internet world, it is still a great way to build awareness of your new menu to existing and new customers. You won’t have to worry about spamming if your customers give you their email address. Normally when someone has given you their email, they are already interested in your place. This gives you a chance to entice them with special offers or highlight to them your new menu. I have wrote in my post “Restaurant Promo Ideas #6- Collect Mailing Address ” on ways to get email address from your customers.
7. Create Videos
The use of videos in marketing is still largely underestimated. There is a huge audience on sites like YouTube. Imagine nowadays an aspiring singer can land a huge contract by just a music video on You Tube. But video marketing can also be used as a restaurant marketing tool. You can post your Chef in action, a tutorial on how to set a table or prepare a cocktail. Don’t forget to add your link at the bottom. If you video is good and it might go viral and then alot of people will know about your restaurant.
These are some of the ways of promoting your menu. If you located at a busy intersection you can hand out sample of your food for people walking by. Do dropby for more Restaurant Promo Ideas.