“Foodie" culture isn’t just a consumer trend---it is a way of life. Since 1992 American have spent more money dining out than eating from the comfort of their home. And now with the amount of information that can be found online these customers, often times millennials, are constantly looking for the next new spot to dine out.
The main challenge for restaurant brands is creating a sense of personalization down to the local level. From review response and social engagement, to local page optimization and competitive insights, your brand can develop an experience created for a specific location. After all, customers are not only searching for your food: they’re searching for a personalized dining experience from search to last bite.
Review & Creative Social Response
DO transform your brand using reviews
We work with restaurant marketers every day, and have seen that the greatest area of opportunity in the restaurant vertical in review moderation and response. As with any strategy, your goal is to not just make the sale, but keep them coming back for more. If your restaurant is located in tens or hundreds of places, review moderation is essential will be the tool to make that a reality. Far too often, bad reviews come in for multi-location brands who would rather ignore or remove them. Instead, we recommend responding as a reactive and proactive method strategy to transform the culture, service and infrastructure of your restaurant’s locations.
DON'T ignore the possibilities of social media
The Fuqua School of Business predicts that CMOs from top companies expect to spend 21% of their marketing budgets on social next five years, compared to last year’s 9%, and the reasons why are obvious. Networks are realizing how user check-ins and actions could be of use to brands, so now it’s time for restaurants get in the game. As we predicted, Foursquare’s powerful API is using check-in and geolocation information to power the way brands use social media. Restaurants should be injecting social media streams and promotions to leverage all branded properties. From local listings to local pages, implementing local-social activity will bring about relevance to local to users who may stumble upon you.
Local Properties Optimization
DO customize your local listings and local pages
When you claim your local properties and create local brand pages, you have the opportunity highlight differentiating factors from your competition. Move beyond the bare minimum of NAP and hours to make these properties as optimized and customized as possible. You can use schema.org markup and Facebook Open Graph tags to specify a URL for your menu.Because you are doing this on a local page, this process will support location-specific menus. Past local pages, we recommend working with GrubHub, who runs allmenus.com and menupages.com. If you provide them with your location database and menus, they will publish menus for all of your locations, and Google picks these up and will link to them from your Google My Business page.
In Local SEO, campaign measurement and analytics is vital. That’s why we’ve enhanced to Brandify to make sure that these efforts are being tracked in the most simple, actionable way for brand managers.
DON'T let Mobile become your last priority
Mobile is local. Help local users find what they’re looking for in the context that they’re looking for it. If your branded properties are not responsive, get them there. If they are, move forward and optimize them fully. Now with Google’s Mopocalypse on the verge of rolling out, it is time to make sure that your brand is present on directories that have been listed in your restaurant categories. Attach yourself to authoritative sites that Google favors before you miss the opportunity to rank and get found by mobile searchers.
With so many great examples of restaurant brands making a difference with mobile, your strategy has infinite creative possibilities. Mobile ordering apps hot right now as the rise of in-app and in-store mobile payments penetrates enterprise marketing strategies. Considering how these strategies fit with your brand’s goals and objectives can help you rank above the competition while providing more convenience to your new-age mobile customers.
DO take note of local competitive strategies
Your consumer's are evaluating their alternatives, and you should be too. From content and imagery to events and promotions, you must take notice of how your local competition is portraying themselves online. Take note of how your competitors are customizing their local pages and optimizing their review channels. Playing close attention to the keywords your competition is utilizing can help you to develop and improve your own keyword ranking strategies. You may also want to utilize a tool to view how their locations are ranking on Google and Bing’s search engine results page.
DON'T let Big Data overwhelm you
Your local competitors are managing just as much user data as you are. The difference between you and the competition is in how you own and leverage this data. Create strategies to synthesize Big Data and refresh small data so that your brand is syndicating clean, consistent and relevant information to the right customers at the right time. Restaurants should be using a tool with clear, actionable dashboards that power their data in real time.
We know how to make both Big and Small data work to help keep you ahead of the competition. Learn the top strategies and tips in our newest whitepaper, “Why ‘Small Data’ is a Big Deal”.