Living in a dynamic city like Dubai, we are spoiled by a large variety of restaurant options. According to Dubai Municipality’s report, around 5 new restaurants are opening their doors to the public every single day. For us, consumers, this is great news: we get to try different dishes, different ambiance, get a refreshing feeling of the city, and more possibilities for socializing. However, for the restaurant owners, this news may not be as exciting as it sounds since the market share per restaurant becomes unsteady with the footfall being shifted from one place to another, or from one mall to the next. We closely work with many restaurants in the region and we get to see their everyday struggles and help them overcome these challenges. Even though there is no “One size fits all” solution, the following items are very important in order to stay ahead:
1. Use Mouth-watering Visuals
As a restaurant, you have invested hundreds of thousands of Dirhams (if not millions), found talented chefs and hired the best team. Don’t try to save money on things that actually make all your investments turn into profits. Unfortunately, for many of the restaurants in the region, this is not the case. Especially since everyone with an SLR camera claiming themselves as food photographers.
You need to be careful with whom you trust for your business. Be very selective about your food photographer, use professional and experienced food stylists, and get creative. People want options, some new experience, a reason to come to you instead of 16,000 other restaurants in Dubai. Be the change!
2. Use Social Media Effectively & Build Connections
Like it or not, our lives revolve around technology. We check our emails as soon as we wake up, even before we wash our face, and we end the day with checking our Instagram feed, going through stories, and reacting to things that appeal to us.
Create a social media strategy, post engaging content regularly, react to what your clients are sharing about your business, reward the ones that are loyal to you and regain the trust of the ones that were not so happy with their experience. Keep an eye on your competitors, define measurable KPIs, and evaluate your performance monthly.
Let your clients be part of the story, and be “THE” place they want to go, not the one they forget about as soon as they leave.
3. Be Proactive on Zomato & TripAdvisor
I can feel you are rolling your eyes, but yes, Zomato! Word of mouth being the most effective way of generating new business, Zomato offers the same benefits to masses. If you are not proactive in generating positive reviews, only ones you will be getting are going to be your unhappy clients. Keep your menu and restaurant details updated on online platforms.
Are you enticing your customers to leave a review on Zomato? Are you responding to complaints quickly and turning unhappy customers into loyal ones? Is your Zomato rating over 4, even 4.5?
If you say yes to all of these, well done! If not, make time and focus on these items.
Be proactive on Zomato and TripAdvisor by asking your customers to leave a review, and reward the ones who writes a brillant one.
4. Invite Foodies! Influencers Are Your Best Friends
Can you imagine a concert without a superstar? Influencers are our superstars! Invite them to taste your food, spoil them with your hospitality, and make sure they leave your restaurant with a broad smile.
With carefully-selected and well-organized influencer visits, you can enhance your brand-awareness and improve your footfall drastically.
5. Take Advantage of Coupons & Discounts
When it comes to trying new venues, we all love getting a great deal. Make sure that you are on as many platforms as possible for your potential customers to see your brand and come try the amazing food and drinks that you have to offer. Whether it be Entertainer App or Groupon, be visible. Offer Business Lunch deals, join a loyalty program, create seasonal offerings, and make them feel special.
A carefully planned and executed marketing strategy is the difference between success and failure of your business.
What else do you think may have a drastic effect on the footfall? Do you think suggested tools are going to be helpful for next decade?
Fatih Ozturk is Founder & Marketing Director of Red Marketing, a marketing consultancy based in Dubai, offering creative solutions to everyday challenges, www.redmarketing.ae