Restaurant digital marketing trends

Toad in the hole, spotted dick, stargazey pie – English cuisine has always been labelled as old-fashioned and bland, only attracting curious tourists.

But the British Food Renaissance has transformed the way we eat during the past decade. London’s self-claimed foodies are becoming really hard to impress.

While ‘casual’ dining out has become ‘normal’, people are shifting away from junk food to ‘something a little posher’ and premium like fancy organic burgers.

So what can restaurants do to grab their attention in this overcrowded restaurant scene? Alongside the obvious (good quality food), they need to incorporate modern restaurant digital marketing trends to effectively evoke the unique tastes and atmospheres offline and online.

  • Interactive and functional websites

While most restaurateurs like to spend substantially on décor and furnishing, many suddenly become more reluctant on sharing a penny on their websites.

A website is the digital face of a restaurant. If done professionally, it can be a powerful way to reach more consumers. So if you already have a restaurant website, check if the design and content embody your restaurant’s unique atmosphere.

Your online booking system should be the lifeblood of your website, driving the conversion rates. It definitely shouldn’t be something energy-taking, time-consuming and cumbersome to use.

With the right combination of high-quality imagery, architecture, content and UX design, your website should visually communicate the taste, scent and other sensations. 

Iggy’s website features beautiful and high-res images of their dishes, while Hof Van Cleve incorporates fantastic UX design and efficient booking system.

  • Mobile Marketing

For many of us, eating out can be something spontaneous. People rather use mobile phones to decide which restaurant to dine in on the same day. So your website need to be responsive to offer better user experience on mobile phones and tablets.

Are you in one of the popular restaurant finder apps such as Urbanspoon or OpenTable? Or why not consider building a bespoke mobile app that lets your users pre-order food on their mobiles?

  • SEO-friendly content

Content is crucial for restaurants to increase their online visibility and build the base of customer loyalty. Besides high-quality and consistent contents, they need to be SEO-friendly to appear on the first page of Google organic search with specific and relevant keywords such as ‘Organic burger London’.

On the other hand, an old restaurant website with out-dated contents often get unnoticed by ever-changing Google algorithm. Your website will do particularly good in terms of SEO if it regularly updates seasonal menus, new promotions and upcoming events. With the right design and content, newsletters allow you to keep in touch with target customers who want to hear about new offers and promotions.

  • Social media strategy

Social media is one of the essential restaurant digital marketing trends. Your Facebook or Instagram page needs to mirror your brand personality and match with your market niche. There are a plenty of ways to do that online – such as showcasing beautiful images / videos of your signature dishes.

Dining out is not exclusively about food, it’s also about a lifestyle, social interaction, mixed with some exclusive information and behind-the-scene looks.

Then there are other restaurants taking more local approach to excel at their customer relations (besides Facebook’s geo-targeting has made it much easier).

Why not ask a local food blogger to feature your restaurant in exchange for a free dinner or lunch? It will help you enhance your reputation AND also increase your online visibility.

‘‘That sounds like a lot of work. What are all the benefits of using social media anyways’’, you ask?

You might be relying on Google’s paid ads. You might come up first in Google – but that won’t communicate with users. Today consumers want to find out what kind of people dine there, the staff, the tones you are using and whether the atmosphere match with their tastes. Your menu can’t communicate all of those. You don’t want to have an overwhelming website either.

If your website is your digital face, then your Instagram shows your persona.

Above all, social media gives you more insights into your customers. You can be experimental to find out what images/videos get more ‘likes’. 

What do you think?

Appnova is a digital agency specializing in web design, UX, eCommerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.

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