9 Money-Making Restaurant Marketing Trends That GUARANTEE Results in 2024

Restaurant Marketing Trends 2024

The restaurant industry is more competitive than ever before. With rising costs and staffing challenges, marketing is essential for attracting and retaining loyal customers. As we enter 2024, these are the top 9 trends that restaurant marketers need to focus on:

1. Hyper-Personalized Marketing

Leveraging customer data and AI tools to deliver tailored recommendations and offers is key for driving repeat business. According to a Zion Market Research report, the global personalized marketing industry is projected to reach $161 billion by 2027.

  • Use CRM data to segment customers based on ordering history and behaviors. Send them customized promotions and offers.
  • Implement AI-powered chatbots for personalized conversations at scale. Chatbots can recommend dishes, respond to questions and surface promos.
  • Show customized menus, specials and suggestions to customers based on factors like past orders, location and weather.
  • Leverage geofencing to send targeted mobile offers when customers are near your restaurant location.

2. Mobile Marketing Innovation

Mobile is taking the lead in restaurant marketing. 67% of restaurant orders are predicted to come from mobile apps by 2025 according to Appinventiv.

  • Launch a branded mobile app with easy ordering, payment and loyalty features. Enable push notifications.
  • Optimize your mobile website for easy access on the go. Ensure fast load times.
  • Use geotargeting and geo-conquesting ads on mobile to engage nearby customers.
  • Implement loyalty programs with mobile wallet passes and personalized offers to incentivize repeat downloads.
  • Test innovative formats like interactive multimedia menus, 3D dish views and more.

3. Social Media Community Building

92% of diners use social media for restaurant discovery according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Humanizing your brand and fostering social communities is vital.

  • Encourage User Generated Content submissions like food photos through contests and campaigns.
  • Share behind-the-scenes content highlighting your teams and brand personality.
  • Collaborate with local influencers to produce engaging social content.
  • Monitor social conversations to respond quickly to customer feedback and concerns.
  • Promote limited-time offers and events to create FOMO and buzz.

4. Customer Experience Focus

Customer experience drives long-term loyalty and advocacy. According to Impact, 95% of customers say experience is important in their restaurant selection.

  • Gather feedback through surveys, reviews and social listening to identify pain points.
  • Have consistent, omnichannel experiences across dine-in, takeout and delivery.
  • Invest in staff training on hospitality and service recovery for problems.
  • Provide self-service options like contactless payment, kiosks and mobile ordering for convenience.
  • Streamline ordering, payment and pickup processes for faster, seamless service.

5. Subscription Programs

Recurring revenue subscriptions incentivize customer loyalty. The average Panera Bread subscriber visits 10x per month and spends 30% more according to subscription commerce data.

  • Offer tiered subscription packages with increasing benefits – from discounts to free items and members-only events.
  • Integrate subscriptions with your loyalty program and mobile app.
  • Provide an easy signup and management process. Automate fulfillment and renewals.
  • Limit subscriptions to drive exclusivity and make them feel “VIP”.
  • Curate special subscriber-only menu items, specials and experiences.

6. Data-Driven Decision Making

Leveraging data analytics and attribution modeling is key for optimizing marketing ROI across channels. According to Deloitte, data-driven organizations are 3x more likely to report significant improvements in customer retention.

  • Track cross-channel campaign performance – social, email, mobile push, search ads, etc. Optimize based on engagement and conversions.
  • Analyze customer metrics – CAC, lifetime value, retention – to target high-value segments.
  • Perform geo-based analysis on web traffic and mobile orders to identify growth locations.
  • Connect analytics to your POS and online ordering to unify data for holistic insights.

7. Local Values & Community

68% of consumers want companies to make a positive social and environmental impact according to Sprout Social. Local community engagement builds meaningful ties.

  • Highlight your founders’ story and neighborhood roots on your website and social media.
  • Source ingredients from local farms, vendors and artisans. Promote these partnerships.
  • Support local charities and community groups, especially those your customers care about.
  • Host events to give back, like fundraisers for schools, blood drives or food donations.
  • Offer discounts or free meals to first responders, medical workers and community heroes.

8. Experiential Marketing

Pop-ups, brand activations and events help restaurants make an emotional connection with customers. 72% of consumers say they positively view brands that provide unique experiences according to EventTrack.

  • Partner with nearby venues, like breweries, on pop-up dining events.
  • Set up sponsored cooking classes led by your chefs highlighting seasonal dishes.
  • Create limited-time themed menus around holidays like Valentine’s Day or events like the World Cup.
  • Host tasting tables at local farmer’s markets and craft fairs to sample your food.
  • Organize restaurant anniversary parties with contests, entertainment and special menus.

9. Visual Storytelling

95% of diners say food photos are important for their decision making according to a Zizzi survey. Consistent, high-quality photography and video make your brand stand out.

  • Invest in professional food photography across your menus, website, ads and social media.
  • Show your food, ambiance and staff in authentic moments – plating dishes, laughing with guests, etc.
  • Share behind-the-scenes shots of your kitchens, ingredients and culinary team preparing food.
  • Adopt a consistent editing style with color grading, filters, etc. aligned with your branding.
  • Encourage UGC photo submissions from customers by running promotions.
  • Consider drone photography and virtual tours to showcase your unique space and layout.

By embracing these 9 emerging trends, restaurant marketers can drive greater success as we enter a new era of innovative technologies paired with experiences that connect on a human level while benefiting local communities. The brands that win will be those who learn quickly, test new approaches and stay nimble to find the right strategies for their specific audience and market.

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