Promoting Your Restaurant Using Neighborhood Marketing Campaign

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If you are looking to establish a world-class restaurant one of the first things you should do is dominate the local market! “Neighborhood Marketing” means focusing on local customers within your community. Usually that means targeting people who live and work within 3 to 5 miles of your restaurant.

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The idea behind neighborhood marketing is to build up a strong following in your local market. By doing so you will build a base of strong support should you decide to expand your reach further out. Further, a strong local base will empower marketing tactics, such as viral marketing, by giving you a core group of loyal customers to build momentum with in marketing campaigns.

One key focus of neighborhood marketing is building up your reputation as a good corporate neighbor. You can do this by sponsoring charity events, giving back to the community, and joining local business associations.

While neighborhood marketing is highly effective, you should be warned: It requires time, patience, and commitment. If you just plan on “dabbling” in neighborhood marketing, don’t even waste your time. You will need to approach your campaign and your local community with conviction.

Neighborhood Marketing Tactics
So how do you launch a great neighborhood marketing campaign? Let’s go over some of the major tactics!

-Get Involved-
If you want your local community to support you, you will have to support your local community. It’s that simple. You should get involved in local charity efforts and network with local civic groups. For example, if you know a neighborhood center is having a summer picnic event, go ahead and offer to cater it for free or with a heavy discount! Community involvement is a proven tactic, with a survey finding that 52% of adults prefer to eat at restaurants that are engaged in the local community.

You should also get involved with local business associations. For example, if there is an XXX City Business Development Board for your local community, sign up! Still looking for more ideas? Consider the following:

– Give gift certificates to support local charity auctions
– Host community gathering groups and provide free drinks and appetizers
– Network with local organizations and launch a community newsletter
– Launch “go green” campaigns, such as recycling
– Donate food and leftovers to local feed-the-poor programs
– Donate a portion of all sales to local charities

Become “the place” to be
You should position your restaurant as the local gathering place. Whether it’s for business meetings or salsa dancing nights, your restaurant should be everyone’s top choice to hold a special event or meeting. There are plenty of ways to do this. You can offer food education days and teach people about healthy eating habits. Or, you can hold yoga or cooking classes. Not only will people who come to these events order food, but you will also spread your brand and build up your company image.

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Pound the Pavement
At the end of the day it’s all about meeting people, and the easiest way to do that is to get out from behind the counter and actually go meet with people! Consider doing the following:
Pitch directly to local businesses! You can pass out coupons, and offer to cater or host events at a low cost
– Put up posters, distribute flyers, and post on bulletin boards! Just make sure you don’t litter
– Have employees dress up in a custom and hold a sign along the side of the road
– Post your menu outside of your restaurant and around town

You could also pass out free samples in the local community. For example, if it’s a scorching hot day, you could hand out ice to people passing by. People will receive a treat and reprieve from the heat while you will get great publicity.

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Treat Your Employees Right
At the end of the day, whether a business is great or mediocre often depends on the quality of the staff. Ultimately, it’s the staff who will be cooking and serving most of the meals, so make sure they are happy and feel like you appreciate their hard work.

And not only that, your staff will be talking about their job and experience at your restaurant. If they are enjoying their work they will be far more likely to share that good experience. Of course, on the other hand if they are not enjoying their work, they will talk bad about it, thereby tarnishing your reputation.

-Partner Up-
You should try to form partnerships with other local businesses. For example, if there’s a theater nearby, why not work with the managers to offer dinner and movie packages? Then you and the theater can launch joint marketing campaigns to draw in customers. You can set up a similar deal with a local hotel and can even offer hotels commission for each customer they send your way. For example, the hotel can offer guests 10% off coupons, and each time you see this coupon you can give the hotel 10% of the sale.

Running Your Neighborhood Marketing Campaign
-Make a Plan-
You will need a plan that details activities to be carried out in the short term and also outlines a vision for the future. Also, make sure you start tracking the budget.

-Measure Success-
You should keep an eye on your sales trends, count the number of coupons turned in, and measure any increased sales on nights that you host events.

-Always Evolve-
The market is a dynamic and competitive place. You have to be willing to change and adapt to changing conditions and tastes. For example, if a recent dieting craze claims that blueberries are the key to losing weight and suddenly people are eating blueberries by the bushel, start offering blueberry pie and blueberry muffins! Don’t let your business get stuck in a rut or you are sure to lose customers.

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