If your venue caters to a niche (but growing) crowd of conscious consumers, it’s important to market your restaurant’s sustainability. Why? Because according to the National Restaurant Association, “60 percent of consumers say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on its eco-friendly practices.”
Whether your restaurant is vegan, vegetarian, farm-to-table, organic or acting in some other sustainable way, you can engage with those conscious consumers and grow your customer base. Here’s how.
Share Your Story
Is your restaurant a plant-based sanctuary that serves entrees in compostable bowls and composts all of its food scraps? Is all of the food on your menu grown and harvested from your family farm? Did you become a vegetarian at the age of six after visiting a beef farm and dream of opening a restaurant where you could share meat-free goodness with others?
Your story is paramount to your business’ bottom line – it highlights why what you’re doing matters and is the first touchpoint potential consumers have with your brand. If it isn’t memorable, inspiring, and worth sharing, then you will likely lose out to a sustainable restaurant with a more compelling story.
Engage with Conscious Consumers on Social Media
Social media offers your venue a quick and easy way to engage with your consumer base. Are you excelling at something? Is there something your venue needs to improve on? Are you looking for inspiration for your spring menu? Use social media!
Ratings, feedback, polls, and questionnaires allow customers to voice their opinions on what they like/dislike about your venue, and in turn, you can answer their questions, respond to ratings, and use their feedback to make better business decisions.
Customer engagement creates a personalized experience for customers, who will feel valued and heard. In addition to this, you’ll always be able to access your customer base and conform to their ever-changing desires. For example, you host a social media contest. Perhaps this means you ask customers to post a photo of their favorite dish from your restaurant, and whoever gets the most shares or hashtags wins a dinner for two at your venue. Or, maybe you create an online poll to determine the most popular spring dish and offer the first ten participants a free lunch of your version of said dish.
In addition, maintain a Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter profile, and even a Snapchat account. It’s important to stay on top of social media trends: if a new social media platform launches and gains popularity then sign your business up.
Not only does social media offer free marketing opportunities for your business, it is also the first impression many customers and potential customers have of your venue.
Showcase Your Offerings Online
Are you known for a particular vegan dish, or seasonal menu changes? What does your venue specialize in? Use your website to show customers and prospective consumers what your sustainable business is all about, and how it positively impacts them and the environment.
Consider this – four times as many people will visit your website versus your restaurant. Meaning your online presence needs to be unforgettable. Feature beautiful photos of your menu items and venue. Write mouthwatering descriptions under each menu item, and if applicable, share the story behind the item. For example, do you offer homegrown house salad? Show pictures of the production process and final product. This will enable consumers to connect with your business and the dish itself.
Remember, your brand is part of your business’ foundation, so don’t forget to market your restaurant's sustainability. Implementing the above suggestions will amplify your efforts and create a following of conscious consumers.
About the Author
Antasha is an Online Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she spends her days advising restaurateurs on their point of sale systems and her nights writing hospitality-related content. A veteran bartender and server, Antasha enjoys bringing her industry experiences to life through blogging. Her three-year-old son and BFF, Elijah, is her self-proclaimed muse for all things creative.More Content by Antasha Durbin