Many people dream of owning a food business, but the food industry is more than cooking up orders and serving tables. Managing staff, stock and inventory, accounting and overhead expenses, and marketing, are all priority tasks for an average food business owner.
Marketing today is so much more accessible than it was a decade ago, and there are so many ways of boosting awareness about your local food business – but the same applies to everyone, so there’s a ton of competition to be noticed. In this article, we’re going to share with you 5 marketing ideas for local food businesses that, while may seem a little unconventional, are tested and proven methods of giving your visibility a nice boost.
1. Selling or Giving Away Gift Boxes
A lot of brands have relied on swag giveaways to increase brand awareness, and that’s something you can consider. But gift boxes and swag merch aren’t necessarily the same thing – it’s the difference between giving people a keychain with your logo on it, and giving them something that represents your business.
Gift boxes can certainly represent aspects of the food industry and are great on special occasions or promotions. For example, during Valentine’s Day, you could have a wine delivery gift sent to your first 10 customers – just as an example, but there’s a lot of creative ways you can work gift boxes into promoting your local food business.
Local pubs that also serve food to the neighborhood can get in on the fun as well, like starting up a mug club for beer lovers. You could for example give away branded mugs to your club members, and have local craft tasting nights, with club members sporting their mugs for regular patrons to envy.
2. Fast-Cut Short Marketing Videos for the Tiktok Generation
TV commercials and music jingles are so 1980s – today’s optimal marketing videos are 15 seconds or less, judging by Tiktok and YouTube Shorts!
Fast-cut clips and frenetic editing have been around for a long time and have been hugely influential. A quick cut-around-the-corner, in and out, gives viewers a sense of immediacy, speed and excitement. You can also pack a lot of mouth-watering dishes and kitchen utensils flying around in 3 seconds.
It’s like, bing-bang-boom, from the burger grill to the plate, in 3 seconds of fast-cut clips. Paired with some cool music, this is a great video advertising technique for appealing to today’s attention spans but also gives a cool, edgy, local vibe to your ads.
3. Utilize Social Media Challenges and User Content
You likely already have a lot of high-quality photographs of your food, and maybe you even hired a local photographer to get them done. That’s great! But you also might potentially have a treasure chest of customer-uploaded content on social media. People love taking photos of their food, and that can certainly be used to your advantage.
This doesn’t mean that you can go about just taking photos off of people’s profiles, even if the images are of your restaurant’s food. It’s a much better idea to create a social media challenge, contest, or even just straight up ask your customers to share their foodie photos with you.
It’s a wonderful way to promote your brand to the general public, similar to giving away free items or hosting a social media competition. As a result, you may get more followers, raise your brand’s awareness, and encourage more people to visit your business. If the winner has never dined before, you will get the opportunity to experience your restaurant without risk.
4. Do Mobile Ordering and Home Delivery
During the pandemic when a lot of businesses had to close their doors in 2020, many restaurants suffered. But it also created a lot of opportunity for food delivery businesses, and it seemed like everyone was trying their hand at a milk tea-and-burgers food delivery business (at least where I’m writing from). On any given day of the week, I could choose from dozens of local food startups for my lunch and dinner, delivered right to my door.
After trying many places, I settled on my favorites and became an “online regular” – and your local food business could’ve been one of them! Offering online ordering and delivery is such a simple concept that really pays off, especially because so many remote workers would happily order lunch instead of cooking in the kitchen they’re working 20 feet away from (guilty).
You don’t need a fancy website and mobile app; you really can just use your business’ social media page and take orders through text messages. Set up a simple help bot to answer customers’ basic questions (where are you located, what hours are you open, etc.) and in-house staff can monitor the social media and pass orders back to the kitchen, like a digital waiter.
5. Cater to Local Community Events
Though Internet marketing receives a lot of attention these days, don’t overlook your own backyard. Restaurants are more reliant on local customers than other businesses. People are more likely to be “regulars” in your neighborhood.
Consider creating specific community promos, such as a Wednesday discount for the neighborhood organization or a happy hour for a local business group. Connecting your restaurant to a major local event and/or a similar local business might help you draw more customers without having to spend more money on advertising. If you collaborate with the appropriate partner, you may take use of their existing network to promote your own company.
Promotions that meet a community need or provide a source of excitement are always a good approach to boost sales. Local groups will be able to utilize your space and will also be in charge of the full marketing.