Your team has already mastered your hotel’s digital marketing strategy, now it is time to start thinking about other areas you could capitalize on: your on-site restaurant. Marketing your hotel restaurant as a separate entity may not be top of mind, but can be achieved through strategies your digital marketing team is already implementing (i.e. SEO and social media – as outlined previously in “5 Online Marketing Tips for Your Hotel Restaurant”). Today, we will discuss additional, innovative tips and recommendations that will help create an independent identity for your restaurant. So kickback, get excited, and let us discuss restaurant marketing in this 2017 Blue Magnet Interactive guide.
Get an Independent Website
Having a dedicated website for your on-site restaurant allows you to showcase the feel and experience of your restaurant outside the context of your hotel. When you only market your dining options through your hotel’s website, your restaurant is treated as a hotel amenity.
The theme and flavors get lost in the mix of where to stay and what to do. If you want visitors outside of your hotel guests to see your restaurant as a separate entity, we highly recommend creating an independent website. Keep in mind that hotel websites and restaurant websites have different main goals. Hotel websites wants to drive room nights, whereas your restaurant website will book table reservations and events, if you want to pursue those avenues.
So what would we place on this separate website…? Easy! The more useful information we can provide our guests, the better. Think about what makes your restaurant unique and what your guests want and need to know – your philosophy, initiatives, offerings, space, hours of operation, contact information, and happenings. Highlight this information on different pages with engaging, expanded, and visual content.
Share Your Story
Tell your current and potential guests who you are and describe the theme and feel that they will experience when they dine at your restaurant. What are your points of pride? Why is your restaurant your restaurant? Articulate this on your Home, About Us, Meet the Team, and Meet Our Chef pages.
Pro Recommendation: Add a touch of personality to your website by including inside tips from your own team.
Showcase Your Dining Menus
As potential guests research where they would like to eat, what is one thing that would bring them into your restaurant? Your menus! Use your website to promote your most accurate breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus on a dedicated menus page. This will tell your guests exactly what kind of cuisine they will find at your restaurant and help prospective diners make their purchase decisions. If your restaurant also offers happy hour or daily specials, be sure to advertise those as well to increase awareness and attract consumers who enjoy a good deal.
Work with your BMI Digital Marketing Manager or Search Engine Optimizer to take your efforts to the next level by marking up your menu. Schema.org released a markup for restaurant menus that help Google and other search engine bots understand what content is actually being displayed on the page (search engine bots are unable to read the content placed on a PDF). By including schema markup, which would display and break down the different menu offerings, your menu would be more visible in SERPs since the bots can now actually crawl the menu. Follow Moz’s guide for more information on Schema markup, its benefits, and how to implement this snippet.
Pro Recommendation: Show off those delicious, mouthwatering items by adding imagery of your actual food and drink offerings. Feel free to check out the Serious Eats’ “Guide to Food Photography” for more tips on how to take the best pictures of your food.
Promote Your Event Space
If your restaurant has available space to host private or public events, create a Special Events page to promote your venue, showcase its menus, and provide an action-oriented method for guests to contact you. Our Blue Magnet Team highly recommends using a contact or RFP form that forwards inquiries to your sales team’s email address or a management system to keep track of the requests.
Pro Recommendation: Think about what kind of groups you would like to attract and what you currently see a lot of requests for and include content about those types of events. Highlighting these types of events will help you to better target your preferred business and increase your visibility in the SERPs for valuable event-related queries.
Provide Contact Information and Hours
In additional to really showing off your restaurant’s feel, it is extremely important to include your address, phone number, designated email address, hours of operation, and parking details on every page. You can add this in the header, footer, or sidebars. This way your guests know when and where they can visit your restaurant.
Pro Recommendation: Add links to your different social media and restuarant review channels for your guests to continue to research you and put further trust behind their decision in dining at your establishment.
Add Additional Restaurant Content
Your independent website can also feature supplementary information such as your upcoming special events or happenings, chef or team member bios, press releases or blogs written about your restaurant, awards received, and anything else that will provide value to your guests’ experience on your website.
As we mentioned earlier, restaurant websites are typically used to drive table reservations. Work with an online restaurant reservation company to help capture your online visitors. Our hotel restaurant partners use OpenTable or Yelp Reservations.
Pro Recommendation: Create content on any special dinner, brewery tap takeovers, wine samplings, or happy hours to increase awareness about your events.
Search Engine Optimization for Restaurants
Once your website is up and running, keep your website healthy, maintained, and up-to-date. This includes providing your guests with current menus and promotions, ensuring everything is properly working on and in the background of the website, growing your online presence, and more!
Also keep in mind that dining pages on hotel websites are typically designed for potential and current hotel guests. Your SEO campaigns for your independent restaurant website will allow you to pursue unique keyword targeting, content creation, and strategic link building. This will better target diners outside of your hotel’s guests and position your restaurant as a local dining destination.
Create a Google My Business Listing to increase your visibility on Google’s result pages, drive additional traffic to your website, and aid your local SEO efforts. By having a listing, your restaurant will be featured not only in your regular organic position, but also in Google’s local 3-pack and in Google Maps.
Your guests will also be able to more easily find your restaurant’s address, hours, ratings and reviews, phone number, website, menu, and photos in the listing. The listing will also help your restaurant earn impressions for more niche terms and therefore increase overall online visibility. For example if guests are looking for “best tacos in Chicago,” your restaurant will be better equipped to appear in the local 3-pack.
Pro Recommendation: For additional exposure opportunities, reach out to food bloggers and nearby dining guides about your restaurant and any special happenings you host. If a valuable and trustworthy source links back to your website, then it will increase your exposure, traffic, and domain authority.
For more details on our SEO services and approach, please visit our page here.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Our team also recommends having a presence on social media, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. You want to be active on the channels that your guests are on and talking about you. Feel free to brush up on how to choose the right social media channel for your restaurant before moving forward with content creation and management.
Similar to your independent website’s tone, you want to express your restaurant’s personality and offerings through your social media posts. Your guests want to see your food and beverage items, specials, and events. You can also expand your content topics by sharing area events and telling your fans to come dine with you before or after a specific event.
Show off your different menu items to tell your fans what they should get at your restaurant and give them a reason for why they should dine with you.
Share your upcoming on-site events before the event to help increase awareness and attendance. Then post videos or photos during the event to show fans what they are missing and why they should come check out your next event.
To increase awareness about your venue space and requests for events, take photos of your space and promote the type of event that guests can have with you.
Take advantage of popular events happening in the area by positioning your restaurant as the place to be before, during, or after the event.
Remember to have fun with your social media posts! Share holidays or special designated days on your page(s) and bring it back to how it relates to your restaurant.
Pro Recommendation: Check out and share what your guests are publicly posting and tagging your restaurant in on their personal Instagram accounts by using social media tools like Picodash.
Reputation Management Tips
Another thing to keep in mind is that while you are generating content and engaging on your social media channels, you may receive negative feedback. It is best to take on the remarks head on and respond appropriately. Treat all of your reviews like you would if you received them on-property. Discover all of our tips and tricks on how to best deal with negative feedback on social media.
Pro Recommendation: Manage and respond to your reviews across your social media channels and local listings to get the most value from them.
Paid Digital Advertising
Take your marketing efforts to the next level and essentially “pay to play” to gain additional exposure for particular search terms. Rankings in SERPs and in Google’s packs have become very competitive over the years. Your restaurant will be competing with other individual restaurants, review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, blogs like Eater and Thrillist, reservation websites like OpenTable, online food deliveries like Grubhub, CVBs, and more on organic result pages. To help improve your visibility and level the playing field, our team recommends adding extra funds for paid digital advertising.
You can have campaigns set to appear on the Search Network (ie. Google search results page) and/or Display Network (ie. YouTube video). Once you have decided which network would align the best with your restaurant’s goals, you can begin the research, creation, and optimization of your ads. Set up ads to target both your branded terms and related keywords. Your branded campaign will help your restaurant appear when diners are searching for your restaurant and eliminate the potential of them going to another website that is not yours. Also create ads to target general and prospective keywords to broaden your search visibility. These types of keywords target searchers looking for restaurants in a particular area, a type of dish, and so forth. Similar to your SEO efforts outside of the hotel marketing, your restaurant PPC is a great way to target non-hotel guests and increase local traffic to your website.
Pro Recommendation: Set up your location extensions in your Adwords account to begin appearing in Google’s 3-pack on mobile and have an opportunity to appear in both organic and paid positions.
What About Rebranding of Your Hotel’s Restaurant?
Rebranding of your hotel’s restaurant is a bit out of scope for this post, but we have a specific blog post dedicated to showing how digital marketing can help with your restaurant rebranding efforts.
Your Takeout & Wrap Up
Marketing your hotel’s restaurant outside of your hotel will help create a separate identity for your restaurant and both target and resonate with different guests. In today’s ultimate guide we reviewed your options in creating, managing, and marketing an independent website, social media, and paid advertising. The more effort you put into your restaurant’s marketing, the more holistic your strategy will be, and in the end be most effective. Give us a call or send us a quick message to further discuss the benefits of marketing your hotel’s restaurant.