Turning Around Negative Reviews To Boost Business

With 88% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, bad customer reviews may affect your restaurant’s business.

Convert those disgruntled customers into loyal patrons while boosting your business with these tips:

Take a Two-Pronged Approach

Monitor and manage online review sites regularly to resolve customer complaints on both public and private fronts.

  1. Public. Two leading reasons why customers write bad reviews are: to save others from the same negative experience, and to get an apology. Step up and offer a sincere apology to try wooing the customer back, and publicly prove you care about fixing the situation.
  2. Private. Take the conversation offline with the reviewer to address their specific concerns. Thank them for their input and explain how you are resolving their issue.Invite them to return so you can ensure their return visit is positive.

If all goes well, the reviewer might post a retraction. At the very least, you’ll be increasing direct engagement with reviews—which can “increase positive online sentiment” by 25% (eMarketer).

Choose Your Words Wisely

One poor experience can leave customers feeling cheated or disrespected. When dealing with disgruntled customers, your words and tones matter.

Be Honest. Own up to any mistakes. Try to offer solutions, not excuses. Always be specific to their individual issue. Avoid using cliché apologizes that deflect responsibility such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Be Empathetic. Sometimes dissatisfaction stems from a policy or price point. Try to clarify your position but put yourself in the customer’s shoes to demonstrate you understand their feelings.

Be Diplomatic. It’s hard to be genial when someone is publicly criticizing you. But remember, grace under fire can often deflate an angry customer—and displays professionalism.

Go The Extra Mile

Experts in service recovery believe that the combination of apologizing and offering some sort of reparation yields the best results:

Refunds. Sometimes reviewers feel entitled to a refund. While this is not always appropriate, there are instances—such as errors in delivery orders—where refunding makes sense.

Freebies. To incentivize diners to give your restaurants another shot, sometimes a free appetizer, discount or promo code through Grubhub can do the trick.

Be Prompt…and Proactive

Studies show that responding promptly to negative reviews and experiences is critical:

Respond promptly: More than half of consumers that post a review/feedback expect a response within 7 days. Grubhub enables restaurants to do just that—even sooner. Just be sure to wait until you’ve had a chance to assess the situation and think about how best to reply.

Be Consistent: Respond promptly to good reviews also! This encourages more reviews which can increase your star rating (each star added can increase sales by 5-9%).

Simplify It: Make it easy for people leave review via social media. Also, Grubhub’s new ratings and review system allows customers to share and feedback, while giving restaurants helpful customer insight.

A bad review can be a gift in disguise—cluing you in on what 26 other customers may be experiencing silently!

Take advantage of the PR opportunity in front of you to not only win back these customers, but position your brand as a customer service champ.

Takeaway: Check out some examples of good responses to common customer reviews.

Ready to reach new customers and grow your business with Grubhub? Sign up today!

Best Practices for Replying to Reviews

More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds take online reviews into consideration when making a dining decision. And on Grubhub, diners who read reviews are 1.5 times more likely to order than those who haven’t.

Ready to increase the number of customers ordering from your restaurant? Use these best practices to encourage positive reviews and reduce the impact of negative online comments.

General Tips

  • Be prompt. More than 80% of consumers believe getting their issue resolved quickly is the most important part of a great customer service experience. Grubhub enables you to respond to reviews within 7 days after a customer reviews your restaurant.
  • Use proper grammar and spelling. Avoid offensive words and cap locks to ensure the diner understands your response and walks away with a positive experience.
  • Be specific. Including details from the customer’s review shows you’re taking their review seriously.
  • Thank customers who write positive reviews. This small gesture can go a long way toward improving your relationship and converting your customer into an advocate.
  • Share what you’re hearing with your staff. Your staff is on the front lines and has a direct impact on customers’ experiences. Share successes to keep your staff motivated and any improvements needed for the future.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Turning a negative dining experience into a positive one can help you boost business. In fact, a one-star improvement in a restaurant’s ratings translates to anywhere from a 5-9% effect on revenue.

Here are some tips to help you respond to even your harshest critics:

  • Keep it cordial. Your business might feel like your baby, but your customers are hungry, which can make them feel like babies too.
  • Apologize for the poor experience. While every negative review may not accurately reflect your restaurant’s dining experience, a sincere yet brief apology will show that you take customer complaints seriously.
  • Identify a solution. From running out of a popular dish to mixing up orders, mistakes happen. Outline specific steps to fix the situation and show diners you’re committed to improving the experience.
  • Evaluate making changes. If you see recurring complaints, making improvements can drastically improve your ratings and reviews.

Examples

Not sure how to respond to a negative review? Check out what a good response might be to common customer reviews:

Review 1: A diner says their food was late

Why this works:

  • The responder apologizes, then offers a solution
  • The response is short and specific

Review 2: A diner says their order was inaccurate

Why this works:

  • Replied promptly as soon as the diner posted their review
  • Shows a solution
  • Encourages the diner to try the restaurant again

Review 3: A diner thinks the food is not great

Why this works:

  • The message is personalized by addressing the customer directly
  • Highlights a component of your business to other diners who are reading (“source our seafood from high-quality suppliers”)
  • Shows you’re working to address the complaint, even if you don’t have the answer in that moment

Review 4: A diner says they never received their order

Why this works:

  • Response shows you have investigated the issue
  • The tip to the diner is made in a polite, cordial manner
  • Shows the restaurant is committed to solving the problem

 

Ready to get started with Grubhub for Restaurants? Sign up today. 

 

 

How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews

With every less-than-perfect review comes the opportunity to improve your restaurant. Not only can a few words of criticism highlight areas of your restaurant that need tidying up, but they also give you the chance to win over a disgruntled diner.

(more…)

A Guide to Restaurant Reviews

More than half (53 percent) of 18- to 34-year olds take online reviews into consideration while making a dining decision. Positive buzz from customers, critics and social media influencers can have help your restaurant attract new diners while negative reviews might drive potential diners away.

If you’re looking for advice on making the most of restaurant reviews, this whitepaper is for you.

Download A Guide to Restaurant Reviews now to learn:

  • How to generate reviews from critics, influencers and customers
  • Best practices for monitoring online reviews
  • Tips for responding to both positive and negative feedback
  • How to apply feedback at your restaurant

14 affordable marketing tools to help you boost your digital restaurant branding strategy

Building your restaurant branding and online presence is an evolutionary journey that will adapt and grow with your restaurant over time.

To help you get started,  we’ve put together a list of our 12 favorite restaurant marketing tools you can leverage to grow your restaurant’s digital presence.

Affordable design and content creation tools to support your restaurant's digital marketing strategy

Affordable design and content creation tools to support your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy.  Creating new content is a critical component of keeping your audiences engaged, but not everyone is a graphic designer. 

Even relative newbies can take advantage of these tools to create digital restaurant branding materials like social media posts, videos, and more. 

Canva

This web-based app offers professional templates for everything from logos and social media posts to business cards and video collages. You can use the platform to create your own brand kit to ensure colors and fonts are cohesive across whatever designs you execute. There are both paid and free versions, so you can start small and upgrade your account if and when you’re ready.

Animoto

Animoto is all about video production. Templates are categorized by intent, so you can piggyback off social trends, explore promo videos, or check out templates made for celebrating special events. Membership includes access to over 1 million photos and clips from Getty Images, plus thousands of licensed songs.

You can get started for free, but advanced features like removing the Animoto branding from videos and accessing more design options require a paid professional or team account.

Pexels

 It’s always nice to have your own branded images to use for marketing purposes, but stock photos offer a low-cost alternative that doesn’t require you to pay a photographer, schedule a shoot, and wait for editing.

Pexel is a searchable database of free stock photos and videos you can download for free. All images are royalty-free and suitable for commercial use.

Easy-to-use email marketing platforms for restauranteurs to stay connected with loyal customers.

restaurant owner using content creation tools to fuel her restaurant branding strategy

Email marketing offers an average ROI (return on investment) of $42 for every dollar you spend. If that sounds great, it’s because it is. 

You can use email to introduce a new chef or seasonal menu, spread the word about a renovation or patio extension, or send promos that encourage subscribers to make a reservation, order takeout, or check out a post on your social media pages.

These two email marketing platforms are easy-to-use, affordable, and take a lot of the guesswork out of contacting your customers online:

Constant Contact

This email marketing tool encourages you to work smarter, not harder, by creating branded emails using their simple templates. Constant Contact also offers web design and social marketing tools, but those packages are sold separately.

Email marketing capabilities include access to templates, marketing automation, eCommerce marketing, list segmentation, and more. Sign up for free and experiment using the site’s free trial period, and if you like what you see, you can upgrade to either their Email or Email Plus plans, both of which are still relatively affordable.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is another email marketing platform that has expanded its service offerings way beyond email to include website design and appointment scheduling options. But the big selling point here is the access to features like audience management and insights and analytics that can help you gauge the success of your campaigns, track sales, run A/B tests on new email series, and much more.

To access all that, you can sign up for a free account that’s already quite value-packed. There are also paid plans designed for businesses ready to scale their marketing with more contacts, audiences, behavioral targeting, and expert support.

Social media scheduling tools that make your life easier

cafe owner taking a photo for their restaurant social media channels

Social media platforms gain about 1.3 million users every day. For restaurant owners and managers, social media presents an ever-expanding playground filled with people who need to eat and want help deciding how to fulfill that need. 

On Instagram alone, 81% of users are on the platform to read up on various products and services. Post regularly and create content that’s authentic, honest, and eye-catching, and you can capture the attention of those info-hungry users too. 

These social media scheduling tools help you keep your content calendar up to date without being tied to your smartphone or computer.

Later

Use Later to create social media posts and schedule social media posts ahead of time. The site is free for individuals with just one social set.

There are additional paid plans for restaurants looking to take their social media strategy to the next level.  

Hootsuite

Use Hootsuite to schedule posts on all of your social networks. Access images right from your dashboard, where you can also monitor social conversations and various trends and see all your brand mentions.

Plans are a bit more expensive as you add social accounts and users, but standalone restaurants should be able to do everything they need via a basic membership.

Canva

Remember Canva? This design tool recently added a scheduling utility. If you’re already using Canva to design elements of your restaurant branding, you can now skip the cumbersome steps of downloading from one platform and uploading to another by using their built-in Content Planner to caption images and schedule posts.

This feature is included in the overall Canva pricing structure, which starts with a free plan that’s quite comprehensive.

Many restaurants won’t need to upgrade, but additional paid plans unlock assets like branding kits, other templates, premium stock photos, and project management for larger undertakings that require an entire team.

Restaurant website tools and hosting services

Grubhub Direct dashboard image

Creating a presence for your restaurant online starts with a great website. This is the first point of contact for many customers, so it’s important that your site is compelling, searchable, and as user-friendly as possible. But it also needs to reflect your brand in terms of color and messaging. 

 

Before you get building, consider this: 77% of consumers who participated in a recent survey say they’re likely to check out a restaurant’s website before dining in or ordering takeout, and around two-thirds have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant or ordering food to-go because of what they saw on that site.

Grubhub Direct

Grubhub Direct is a commission-free online ordering website that you can use as a standalone restaurant website or supplement your restaurant website experience. With Grubhub Direct, you can drive customers to an online ordering website customized just for your restaurant’s brand and include your logo, photos, and menu.

What’s even better is Grubhub Direct gives you access to detailed customer data so that you can develop personalized connections that build a loyal fan base. Learn more about Grubhub Direct by clicking here.

Wix

Wix is a website hosting service that also gives you access to hundreds of templates, unlimited pages, and even high-quality hosting, all free with their basic plan. For more storage space, video hours, and other perks like removing the Wix logo from your site, you’ll need to upgrade, but even the basic paid plans cost less than a dollar a day.

You can even embed your Grubhub Direct website onto your restaurant website to drive commission-free online orders. 

WordPress

When you find out 41% of the web was built using WordPress, it’s hard not to be impressed. The platform hosts everyone from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies who take advantage of the simple design utility to build beautiful websites without knowing a single drop of code.

As for pricing, WordPress is the cheapest around, with plans starting with a basic free membership and scaling a few dollars at a time as you upgrade for more functionality and support.

And guess what- with WordPress, you can easily integrate your Grubhub Direct online ordering website! 

Free to use promotional tools to build your restaurant's online presence

Google My Business

Search engines prioritize local results–for a good reason. MostGoogle searches include the terms ‘near me,’ ‘closest,’ and ‘nearby,’ and one way to quickly and affordably capture that local SEO power for your restaurant is through your Google My Business page.

In addition, if you are interested in driving online orders, including a link within your Google My Business listing to your Grubhub Direct or even Grubhub Marketplace listing can also encourage customers to order directly from you.

Yelp

Over 90 million people visit Yelp to find local restaurants to dine at, meaning if you are not optimizing your Yelp account, responding to reviews, and using Yelp to connect with new customers, you are missing out on potential diners.

While Yelp does charge advertising fees, claiming your business and providing updated contact information, including a link to your website or online ordering website, are easy and free steps you can take to begin to build your online presence.

Investing in your Yelp listing can also help your business appear at the top of Google searches for ‘near me’ and ‘nearby’ search terms. Learn more about claiming your Yelp listing here.

Grubhub Marketplace

 

Over 33 million hungry diners use the Grubhub app to find new restaurants and reorder from their favorites. When you join the Grubhub Marketplace, you also get access to free-to-use marketing and promotional tools such as:

  • Promotional and loyalty Tools designed to help take your business to the next level by increasing your restaurant’s exposure on Grubhub Marketplace
  • Sponsored listing capability to elevate your restaurant’s place at the top of customer searches
  • Ratings and review tools to help you engage with your customers and attract new customers

Start to build your restaurant's online presence today with affordable marketing tools designed to make your life easier.

Building your digital restaurant brand can open your business up to a new world of marketing channels, customers, and revenue opportunities.

While it may seem daunting to get started first, search for easy-to-use digital marketing tools, like the ones listed here, to help you get started. With these tools at your disposal, your restaurant branding strategy is only as limited as your imagination.

Are you interested in learning more about building your restaurant’s online brand while also increasing your sales? Download our latest guide, Build Your Brand and Boost Your Business with Online Ordering.

Taking on Your Biggest Pain Points? Grubhub Can Help with That

Looking to solve your restaurant’s biggest pain points?

Grubhub has the tools and services needed to do just that. From pumping up sales to simplifying delivery, Grubhub can improve your restaurant in more ways than one.

Grubhub’s on-demand delivery network helps solve staffing issues. Better yet, restaurants who join Grubhub see 6 times the growth in revenue annually versus restaurants who don’t.

Start boosting your business with a little help from Grubhub.

Pain point: Getting new customers

At Grubhub, we do all the marketing so you don’t have to. Leverage our online tools to target potential customers with special discounts and track how many of those customers take advantage of your offers. We offer what you need to reach (and keep) new customers.

Pain point: Responding to reviews

The sooner you respond to reviews, the better. More than half of all customers expect a response to their online review in 7 days or less.¹ Grubhub can raise the bar on customer satisfaction by asking customers specific questions about their orders and allowing you to address feedback within minutes.*

When it comes to typing out a response, keep a close eye on grammar and spelling while also mentioning a few details from the customer’s review. In addition to being specific, let customers know you care by thanking them for their feedback and outlining how it will help improve your restaurant moving forward.

Pain point: Maximizing your restaurant hours

Experiment with your hours, delivery fees and order minimums to drive business using Grubhub’s self-service tools. Whether you’re looking to decrease fees during the week or extend hours on the weekends, Grubhub helps you make the most of delivery.

See what works best by updating your restaurant’s pickup and delivery hours. With Grubhub, you can update whether your restaurant is open for business in just a few clicks.

Pain point: Simplifying your menu

Featuring images and detailed descriptions can clear up confusion surrounding your menu — and even drive sales. Around 50% of customers would be more likely to order an unfamiliar dish if an image of it was included.

Add either element to your menu using Grubhub and tack on a few specials to further entice potential customers. Since menu updates are reflected across multiple channels, you’ll also save plenty of time along the way.

Say goodbye to your most pressing pain points. Grubhub can help unlock your potential to increase revenue and serve up enhanced customer experiences. Get started today!

Ready to learn more about improving your restaurant operations? Subscribe to The Tip Jar!

 

¹National Restaurant Association

*This feature is only available to self-delivery restaurants.

Grubhub Marketplace: The largest food delivery marketplace – 2

Grubhub Marketplace: built with your restaurant in mind

Join the largest online ordering marketplace
made to connect you with hungry customers.
Get access to delivery and takeout options to
help you reach new customers, build a loyal fan
base and increase your sales.

Join Grubhub Marketplace with customizable options

Flexible packages with marketing commissions as low as 5%. Choose the one that’s right for your restaurant.

Boost your business from day one

From the moment you join, you’ll have access to powerful self-service marketing tools, invaluable competitive insights and 24/7 customer support and account management from real experts.

Boost Business

It’s free to sign up

No up-front costs, no long-term commitments and no surprise fees. Marketing commission starts at 5%, and you only pay for orders placed.

Not your average welcome kit

When you join, we’ll send you custom signs for your restaurant, tamper-evident stickers and a tablet for taking and managing orders—all for free.

Free menu photoshoot and expert advice

Our team of professionals will work with you to set your menu up for success on Grubhub Marketplace, including a free menu photoshoot.

Technology that’s as easy-to-use as it is effective

Grubhub Marketplace gives you leading technology that helps drive orders while making your life easier.

Order management

Easily manage your menu, set hours of operation, edit your profile details and access financial performance data in one place.

POS integration

Grubhub for Restaurants integrates seamlessly with some of the most popular point of sale systems to make it easier to grow your business.

Insights dashboard

Keep track of your restaurant’s performance and get custom growth recommendations based on data comparing your restaurant to other top restaurants in your area.

Marketing that works

Grubhub Marketplace gives you access to marketing tools that are
proven to boost your business.

It’s free to sign up

No up-front costs, no long-term commitments and no surprise fees. Marketing commission starts at 5%, and you only pay for orders placed.

Grubhub+

Reach our most dedicated, high-frequency customers with Grubhub+, our subscription membership program. Members pay no customer delivery fees.

Sponsored listings

Get more exposure by getting your restaurant to the top of customer search pages on Grubhub.com and the Grubhub app.

Ratings and reviews

Attract new customers with restaurant ratings and engage with your existing customers by responding directly to customer reviews.

Virtual restaurants

Maximize your profits and attract a new customer base with a delivery-only virtual concept. Try one of our nationally marketed pre-built concepts, or test new menu ideas with your own virtual restaurant.

Order fulfillment on your terms

Self-delivery

Have your own drivers? Use your existing staff to deliver Grubhub orders to your new local fans. You control and modify delivery boundaries and fees from your restaurant portal.

 

Grubhub delivery 

Use our fleet of Grubhub Drivers to pick up and deliver your orders to customers’ doors in insulated delivery bags. We’ll take care of coordinating and compensating drivers.

Learn more about Grubhub delivery

Pickup

When you sign up for Grubhub, your restaurant will automatically be set to accept pickup orders from your customers. You can change this at any time.

 

Get new customers and more orders

Increase your takeout sales and reach hungry new customers commission-free for 30 days








Grubhub has an array of tools that can help you market your restaurant and connect to more customers. When you sign up for Grubhub for Restaurants, your restaurant will be listed on Grubhub Marketplace, instantly connecting you with 33 million customers looking to order from local restaurants.

You will also get access to:

  • An insight dashboard where you can keep track of your restaurant’s performance and get custom growth recommendations based on competitive data.
  • Account management advice from real experts.
  • Easy and free-to-use smart promotions and loyalty tools that can draw in new customers and turn them into loyal fans.
  • Ratings and reviews that allow you to engage with existing customers and directly respond to their needs.
  • Sponsored listings that can boost your restaurant’s exposure by putting your name at the top of customer search pages on Grubhub.com and the Grubhub app.

For additional marketing support, you can sign up for one of our flexible pricing packages that offer marketing commissions as low as 5%.

When you join Grubhub for Restaurants you get access to easy and free-to-use promotional and loyalty marketing tools that will help you acquire new customers and turn them into loyal fans.

One way you can do this is by running a Smart Promotion. A Smart Promotion is Grubhub’s most advanced promotional tool that automatically varies your offer values and adjusts customer targeting to best fit your restaurant’s needs while protecting your profitability.

You can also run loyalty programs or do-it-yourself promotions, both of which maximize your visibility and exposure to new and existing customers on the Grubhub Marketplace.

Grubhub offers flexible pricing packages for restaurants, with marketing commission starting as low as 5%.

You can choose between the Basic, Plus, and Premium options for your restaurant, all of which include a free 60-day trial.

In addition, depending on how much support your restaurant needs to get set up on the Grubhub Marketplace, we have representatives available for any assistance you may require. To find out more specifics on each pricing package or to talk to a customer rep, visit the flexible pricing packages page.

Marketplace

Grubhub Marketplace: built with your restaurant in mind

Join the largest online ordering marketplace made to connect you with hungry customers. Get access to delivery and takeout options to help you reach new customers, build a loyal fan base and increase your sales.

Get new customers and more orders








Join Grubhub Marketplace with customizable options

Flexible packages with marketing commissions as low as 5%. Choose the one that’s right for your restaurant.

Boost your business from day one

From the moment you join, you’ll have access to powerful self-service marketing tools, invaluable competitive insights and 24/7 customer support and account management from real experts.

Boost Business

It’s free to sign up

No up-front costs, no long-term commitments and no surprise fees. Marketing commission starts at 5%, and you only pay for orders placed.

Not your average welcome kit

When you join, we’ll send you custom signs for your restaurant, tamper-evident stickers and a tablet for taking and managing orders—all for free.

Free menu photoshoot and expert advice

Our team of professionals will work with you to set your menu up for success on Grubhub Marketplace, including a free menu photoshoot.

Technology that’s as easy-to-use as it is effective

Grubhub Marketplace gives you leading technology that helps drive orders while making your life easier.

Order management

Easily manage your menu, set hours of operation, edit your profile details and access financial performance data in one place.

POS integration

Grubhub for Restaurants integrates seamlessly with some of the most popular point of sale systems to make it easier to grow your business.

Insights dashboard

Keep track of your restaurant’s performance and get custom growth recommendations based on data comparing your restaurant to other top restaurants in your area.

Marketing that works

Grubhub Marketplace gives you access to marketing tools that are
proven to boost your business.

It’s free to sign up

No up-front costs, no long-term commitments and no surprise fees. Marketing commission starts at 5%, and you only pay for orders placed.

Grubhub+

Reach our most dedicated, high-frequency customers with Grubhub+, our subscription membership program. Members pay no customer delivery fees.

Sponsored listings

Get more exposure by getting your restaurant to the top of customer search pages on Grubhub.com and the Grubhub app.

Ratings and reviews

Attract new customers with restaurant ratings and engage with your existing customers by responding directly to customer reviews.

Virtual restaurants

Maximize your profits and attract a new customer base with a delivery-only virtual concept. Try one of our nationally marketed pre-built concepts, or test new menu ideas with your own virtual restaurant.

Order fulfillment on your terms

Self-delivery

Have your own drivers? Use your existing staff to deliver Grubhub orders to your new local fans. You control and modify delivery boundaries and fees from your restaurant portal.

Grubhub delivery 

Use our fleet of Grubhub Drivers to pick up and deliver your orders to customers’ doors in insulated delivery bags. We’ll take care of coordinating and compensating drivers.

Learn more about Grubhub delivery

Pickup

When you sign up for Grubhub, your restaurant will automatically be set to accept pickup orders from your customers. You can change this at any time.

Get new customers and more orders

Increase your takeout sales and reach hungry new customers commission-free for 30 days








Restaurants, your restaurant will be listed on Grubhub Marketplace, instantly connecting you with 33 million customers looking to order from local restaurants.

You will also get access to:

  • An insight dashboard where you can keep track of your restaurant’s performance and get custom growth recommendations based on competitive data.
  • Account management advice from real experts.
  • Easy and free-to-use smart promotions and loyalty tools that can draw in new customers and turn them into loyal fans.
  • Ratings and reviews that allow you to engage with existing customers and directly respond to their needs.
  • Sponsored listings that can boost your restaurant’s exposure by putting your name at the top of customer search pages on Grubhub.com and the Grubhub app.

For additional marketing support, you can sign up for one of our flexible pricing packages that offer marketing commissions as low as 5%.

When you join Grubhub for Restaurants you get access to easy and free-to-use promotional and loyalty marketing tools that will help you acquire new customers and turn them into loyal fans.

One way you can do this is by running a Smart Promotion. A Smart Promotion is Grubhub’s most advanced promotional tool that automatically varies your offer values and adjusts customer targeting to best fit your restaurant’s needs while protecting your profitability.

You can also run loyalty programs or do-it-yourself promotions, both of which maximize your visibility and exposure to new and existing customers on the Grubhub Marketplace.

Grubhub offers flexible pricing packages for restaurants, with marketing commission starting as low as 5%.

You can choose between the Basic, Plus, and Premium options for your restaurant, all of which include a free 60-day trial.

In addition, depending on how much support your restaurant needs to get set up on the Grubhub Marketplace, we have representatives available for any assistance you may require. To find out more specifics on each pricing package or to talk to a customer rep, visit the flexible pricing packages page.

5 restaurant marketing ideas to grow your business

Americans love to eat out. Restaurants hold an impressive 51% of the food dollar in the U.S. meaning more than half of what we spend on food, we spend on delectable goodies from our favorite pizzeria or that irresistible little Thai place on the corner. For owners and managers eager for their share of the pie, it’s crucial to utilize fun and effective restaurant marketing ideas to reach more customers. 

 

5 Restaurant marketing ideas to accelerate your business

To help you, we’ve collected our top five favorite restaurant marketing ideas you can use to grow awareness for your restaurant, bring in new customers, and positively impact your sales.

1. Build a website that’s representative of your brand

There are two main reasons your restaurant needs a website: your competition already has one and your target demographic is looking for yours.

A comprehensive survey of restaurant-goers found that:

  • 77% of consumers surveyed say they’re likely to peruse a restaurant’s website before they ultimately dine in or order delivery
  • 68% have decided against visiting a restaurant because of something they saw or experienced on that restaurant’s website
  • 62% said a restaurant website deterred them from ordering takeout or delivery

It’s especially telling that the vast majority of survey participants said they were visiting restaurant websites as the final part of the decision-making process. The intent is already there — think of these website visitors as warm leads. People are hungry. They’re looking for a reason to finalize their decision for lunch or dinner, and it’s up to you to close the deal. Ideally, your website is ready to act as your marketing campaign, sales rep, and customer service team all rolled into one tempting package.

If you don’t have a website, now is the perfect time to build one. If you already have a site, look at it with a critical eye, imagining you’re in potential diners’ shoes. Either way, make sure you’ve ticked all the following boxes:

  • Share your hours of operation, contact information, and menu (and if those are already up, double-check they’re up to date)
  • Include links to your social media profiles to help build your following
  • If you’re a Grubhub customer, including your Direct Ordering Link is a great way to increase your order volume and catch customers who are looking to order directly from your restaurant business

Your website is an opportunity to convey your restaurant’s brand and story. Something as simple as an About Us page can help your audience appreciate your story and your vision. It’s nice to establish that rapport, but being on the same page matters for more practical reasons, too; 57% of customers will spend more money on a brand they feel connected to, and 76% will choose that brand over a competitor.

2. Use social media marketing to engage with your target audience

To make the most of your restaurant marketing, take your message to the people. According to Pew Research, the people are on social media, with 7 out of 10 Americans using some type of social platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat — that’s where people go to share pictures of artfully plated tapas and fishbowl-sized fruit punches. But it’s always where they go to see where their friends are eating and what their favorite restaurants are cooking up in the kitchen that week.

Sprout Social considers social media to be a growth engine, and the results of their latest survey support that assertion. Of those consumers surveyed, 89% said they will buy from a brand they follow on social media and 84% say they’d choose that brand over one of the brand’s competitors. And it’s no coincidence the numbers here mirror the statistics above related to brand loyalty and connection.

If your restaurant isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to build and leverage a marketing presence. Social platforms are where you attract potential customers and engage with existing ones. From witty banter about what happened during last Friday’s happy hour to behind-the-scenes videos that turn your Instagram Stories into a preview of what guests will be ordering for dinner that night, your social feed is a spokesperson that’s accessible 24/7.

To make the most of social, avoid trying to master all possible channels at the same time. Think about your restaurant’s target audience in terms of demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), and decide which platform makes sense for your restaurant. To get you started, here’s a look at each platform according to its largest age group:

  • Snapchat: 13 to 24-year-olds
  • TikTok: 18 to 24-year-olds
  • Facebook: 25 to 34-year-olds
  • Instagram: 25 to 34-year-olds
  • Twitter: 30 to 49-year-olds
  • Pinterest: 30 to 49-year-olds

Concentrate your efforts on the platforms with the most potential and branch out from there once you have established feeds and the resources to scale.

3. Optimize your listing on Google my Business

As a restaurant owner, you already know how important it is for diners near your restaurant to be able to find you as easily as possible. With 46% of searches being locally focused thanks to the inclusion of terms like “near me,” algorithms automatically highlight Google My Business, which is why it’s important you optimize your restaurant’s listing on Google. 

Google my Business is a free listing that connects businesses with customers across Google Search and Maps. By creating a Google My Business account, you can “claim” your restaurant’s page and then edit your information, post photos, and share special offers like an appetizer deal or two-for-one desserts. This is another great spot to include contact details such as your Grubhub Direct Order Listing so customers can connect with a quick click of the button or tap of their finger.

4. Partner with local press, food bloggers, and food critics to boost your restaurant’s profile

So far, most of these restaurant marketing ideas have focused on what you can do in house, but sometimes you need a little outside assistance. Partnering with local press, food bloggers, and food critics is an effective way to build trust throughout your community and increase awareness about your restaurant, upcoming events, and exciting news like a new chef or seasonal menu change.

There are no rules governing who can call themselves a blogger, so rely on due diligence before partnering up with anyone promising online coverage and local exposure. True influencers offer specific details as to how your restaurant will be featured, where content will be published, and how many social mentions you’ll get. Engagement is key here — it doesn’t matter how many followers a blogger has if no one reads their posts. Look for accounts with plenty of comments and shares as an indication that readers are paying attention and interacting.

As for journalists, you can reach out to your local newspaper to see who offers community coverage. Some neighborhoods also have free papers; these publications are particularly interested in stories with local flavor, and your story will reach the people most likely to drop in on a weeknight or order delivery. If you’re not sure who to reach out to or just want to cast a wider net, check out HARO, an online database of journalists.

5. List your restaurant on an online ordering marketplace

Working with an online ordering provider like Grubhub provides instant access to thousands of customers in your area as well as adding third-party credibility to your growing brand.

When Erika Emeruwa and her partner opened The Council Cafe in New York they knew they needed to find ways to drive brand awareness for their new cafe, and that is why they turned to Grubhub. “As a new business, we knew we needed an awareness drive to tell people we were here,” Emeruwa said. “ Grubhub allowed us to get in front of customers that didn’t know us.” 

"Being on Grubhub gave us credibility with potential customers."
Erika Emeruwa
The Council Cafe

Since joining the Grubhub Marketplace, the Council cafe has seen month-to-month growth in sales. 

When you join the Grubhub Marketplace, you can scale your business quickly thanks to an influx of pickup and delivery orders from new customers. Plus, you get access to free marketing tools like:

  • Ratings and reviews: Attract new customers with your ratings and engage with your existing customer base by responding directly to customer reviews on your menu page
  • Insights: Take advantage of valuable recommendations based on data that compares your business to top restaurants in your area
  • Virtual restaurants: Create a separate delivery-only virtual restaurant within your brick-and-mortar restaurant that exclusively accepts orders online to boost revenue without increasing your overhead costs
  • Promotions and loyalty: Our promotion and loyalty tools are free to use — you only pay for the rewards your customers redeem

The restaurant industry is a tricky place where you often get out what you put in. By incorporating these restaurant marketing ideas into your overall strategy, you can maximize your existing resources, harness the power of existing new tools, and make sure your kitchen is a hive of activity every day of the week.

Ready to grow your restaurant business? Join Grubhub today!

The Devil Is In The Details – Inspiring Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are the foundation of your restaurant. They provide steady income, usually spend more than new customers, and make great brand ambassadors. It even costs less to keep them than it does to attract new customers.

Cultivating a regular customer base doesn’t happen on its own. Use the following techniques to unlock the many benefits of customer loyalty.

Get Back To Basics

Give people a reason to be loyal by maintaining high standards for all aspects of your restaurant and by keeping up with customer trends.

  • Focus on Food. The quality and consistency of your food is the number one reason people will come back time and time again. Focus on freshness, flavor, temperature and consistency.
  • Stay Current. The restaurant business and customer demands continuously evolve. From online ordering and delivery, to mobile payment options and fresh food trends, strive to stay on top of shifts within the industry.
  • Make Cleanliness a Priority. Keep things tidy and well maintained—from clean bathrooms and sparkling silverware to neat and organized delivery orders. This is a fundamental element of a great customer experience.

Be Accountable For Mistakes

In the fast-paced restaurant industry, mistakes are bound to occur from time to time. View them as opportunities to show off your customer service skills, and you just might win over a customer for life. 

  • Take Responsibility. Don’t point fingers or blame. Just apologize for the error and let the customer know you are committed to making up for it.
  • Respond To Reviews. Monitor all review sites and respond promptly to everyone. Be courteous at all times, especially when responding to bad reviews. Suggest taking the conversation off-line to give more personalized attention to disgruntled customers.
  • Make Reparations. Offer something to smooth the situation over. Customers will appreciate the gesture and remember your sincere attempts to make their less-than-favorable experience better.  

Own Your Specialty

Celebrating what makes you different—and gearing your business model towards people that it resonates with—inspires loyalty in customers.

  • Be Bold. Pinpoint the exact feature(s) that makes your restaurant unique (i.e., signature dish, best prices, family recipes, etc.). This is called your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • Know Your Customer. You can’t be all things to all people. Determine who will be attracted to your unique offerings and what matters most to them.
  • Carry It Out. Follow your unique theme throughout your business: in marketing messages, menu items, décor, and more.

Create A Winning Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a wonderful way to reward loyal customers, keep them engaged with your brand, and encourage additional sales. 

  • Match Programs To Customers. There are many different types of programs that incentivize customer loyalty and ultimately grow your business: fun interactive games, point systems, customized rewards, loyalty benchmarks, and tailored promotions. Choose a rewards program that fits your target customers’ personality. 
  • Keep It Simple. The success of your loyalty program will largely depend on how simple the rules are, and how easy it is to sign up and redeem rewards. 
  • Promote It. Your staff should be trained to encourage customers to sign up for rewards programs. Promote your loyalty program on social media and your website, during the online ordering process, on receipts and checks, through email blasts, on tent cards, and more.

Be Good Community Partners

Today’s consumers like to align themselves with businesses are contributing positively to society. Become a supporter of the community that sustains you, and your good deeds will inspire loyalty.

  • Buy Local. Support local farms and suppliers, and feature dishes on your menu made with local ingredients. This will capture customers’ interest in both sustainability and healthy eating.
  • Give Back. Pick a local charity to partner with and host events to raise funds and awareness. You can also sponsor a local athletic group or civic organization, and donate food for local shelters or food pantries.
  • Support Neighborhood Talent. Create a venue for local singers and musicians to provide live entertainment in your dining room or bar on certain nights. You can also feature the work of local artists and craftsmen throughout your restaurant, and even host galas and art shows.

These tactics can help you both satisfy your customers and make special connections with them. Show them how much you appreciate and value them, and they will be inspired to return that sentiment. 

Learn how to make a your restaurant unforgettable with a great first impression.

Ready to reach new customers and grow your business with Grubhub? Sign up today!

Image:  Austin Distel on Unsplash