As an independent Restaurant Owner, you might feel alone in your marketing struggles. Who can you talk to that will offer some ideas on restaurant marketing in Kenya?
Everyone from your brother-in-law to your banker has advice, but where do you turn to for trustworthy, proven marketing strategies?
How do you cut through the competition, stand out and employ proper marketing techniques for your restaurant business?
To carry out proper restaurant marketing in Kenya, follow these 10 best practices and you will be on your way to great profits and success.
Table of Contents
1. Start with restaurant branding
Restaurant branding encompasses your business personality and helps your customers identify with you. It is what differentiates your business from the competition. You should consider your restaurant branding long before opening your doors or launching any marketing campaign. Once you get your branding right, your marketing efforts and how you train your staff will become clearer and more effective.
When thinking about restaurant branding, the first thing to consider is your concept. What kind of restaurant do you run? What is your menu like? What will you be known for and what kind of experience do you want your customers to have?
The key elements of restaurant branding to consider include:
Your restaurant name – Your restaurant name should be a unique word or phrase that does not infringe on the copyright of other businesses. The name should be search engine friendly to make it discoverable.
Your restaurant logo – A logo is a graphic or symbol that will help your customers identify and recognize your products, premises, communications, and social platforms. It should represent your restaurant’s ethos and brand values.
Your restaurant décor – Your customers will assess how your restaurant looks long before they step their feet there. Put key emphasis on how you fit, furnish, and decorate your restaurant. Your décor should resonate with your branding, and this includes tableware, glassware as well as wall décor.
Your restaurant takeaway bags –
Branding is all about being consistent both online and in real life and making your brand instantly recognizable. When starting to develop your brand, you need a good idea of who your customers are, where you sit in the market place and what your unique selling point is. To determine this, you need to perform audience research. Find out who is doing what and why, what’s missing, and how you fit in. Also, train your staff to be brand ambassadors that create a certain dining experience for your customers.
2. Invest in Good Photography
Hire a professional photographer that shows off your food and venue; giving your potential customers more good reasons to visit your restaurant. High-quality photography will boost your marketing efforts, increase sales, and attract new customers. Great visuals have power and they will appeal to your customers and make them want to taste your food. They also help customers in making decisions when ordering food.
In today’s saturated restaurant industry, professional photography will help you stand out from the competition. Use quality photography as well as video content on your website, across all your social media channels, and every other digital channel to catch the attention of your potential customers and improve visibility.
When you give an authentic visual representation of your products through photography, you tend to connect better with your customers. Take photos of your actual staff, kitchen, meals, and lounge area to help create trust.
3. Design a beautiful Menu
An attractive and detailed menu will greatly help you when doing your restaurant marketing in Kenya. Plan carefully how to design a successful and branded menu, build along with dishes that fit your concept and ethos. When designing your menu, consider your branding and psychological point of view. Ensure that the language and imagery in your menu fit consistently with your brand. The menu layout should be in such a way that it encourages customers to make food choices that are profitable to you.
A well-designed menu places the most profitable dishes in the easily seen location on the menu. Some people naturally scan menus in an A-Z shape from the left-hand corner while others read them sequentially from left to right. You can also influence the diners’ choice of food by boxing menus using different typography or placing a picture next to them to draw their attention.
4. Have a functional & professional restaurant Website
For you to carry out effective restaurant marketing in Kenya, you will need to create a functional website. You need to position yourself as an authority in your industry, so your website should be practical, useful, and professional. Many business owners have recorded high customer conversion once they introduced an aesthetically appealing website.
A simple website that is relevant and clear will attract local customers to your restaurant. You can do this by producing helpful content. You can do this by blogging about food. Blogging will generate leads who will become customers. You can include a blog in your WordPress website then study your market and understand restaurant trends. This way, you will be able to produce content that gets read, shared, and help customers make purchase decisions.
A website is a great tool to help you put your menu online. Customers can make their food choices before visiting your local premises and decide if they want to buy from you. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly as well. Most people access the internet through their phones and you do not want to miss an opportunity to make a sale.
Customers love convenience. Give your customers the full service with online ordering. An online ordering platform will give access to thousands of diners looking for places to eat each month. These platforms provide apps that give customers tools to book online. They are convenient and provide an easy way to order food. When mapping out your marketing strategy, but these services into consideration and a budget aside to cater for them.
A standard website in Kenya costs between KES. 10, 000 to KES. 90, 000 depending on complexity, number of pages, and the type of website. A simple website may have 1-5 pages while a corporate website will have several pages and subpages. An eCommerce website may have a live chat, order management system, and delivery solutions.
To get a good estimate of how much your website will cost, you should talk to a professional web designer in Kenya. An experienced web designer will be in a position to tell you the details of your website depending on what you want. They are able to give you the details to include, the cost, and how long it will take to have the website up and running.
5. Engage in Local SEO practices
- Keyword research
Optimize your restaurant’s website and blog posts for SEO so that they can rank highly in search engines like Google for keywords that your audience is looking for. The first thing to do when engaging in local SEO practices is to perform keyword research. Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into search engines when looking for something on the internet. A website owner or SEO expert uses these words to optimize a website so that it ranks high on Google results.
To carry out keyword research, you can use tools like Google Keywords Planner, or keywordtool.io. You can also check what other websites are ranking for or ask people like your customers, friends, and family members what they usually type when looking for a certain restaurant or meal. Remember to include meta descriptions, title tags, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Optimize Images
Another great local SEO practice is to optimize your website images. Image optimization will help you attract new customers and make your website load faster. To get your product images to rank high on Google, you will optimize them by reducing their file size without compromising on the quality.
To optimize your images, you will need to name them descriptively and in plain language which your customers will understand easily. Include keywords in the names to increase SEO. Ensure also that the alt attribute, which is the alternative text in images, is properly optimized by using relevant keywords. Choose the image dimensions and angles that you want to display wisely and include alt texts for each side. Your image file type is also something to put into consideration. Decide whether you want to use JPEG, GIF, or PNG. Use GIFs for large product images. JPEGS are best if you are using small file sizes. PNG can be used as an alternative to both JPEG and GIFs.
- List your restaurant on Google My Business
Google My Business is a business listing that lets your business be found and makes you connect to your customers across Google Maps and Search. All you need is to create a business profile where you can post photos and offers of what makes your business unique. This will help you give customers a reason to choose you every time.
Google My Business gives your customers more ways to do business with you. Remember that your customers are always ready to connect with you, whether it is through messaging, chat, calling, or leaving reviews. You are also able to see how many people are connecting with you on Google and how customers engage with your business profile. This could be through clicks, calls, bookings, etc.
- Run Google Ads
Running Google Ads will help you reach a wider audience. It the fastest way to get your website on top of the Search Engines. This is the best tool to use if you are not getting as much traffic as you would like. This will require you to set aside an advertising budget so as to take advantage of the many tactics and channels that they offer. The best thing about Google ads is that you only pay once someone clicks on your ads. You can also control your budget since there is no minimum spend.
Compared to SEO, Google Ads will get your business noticed faster. When you run Google ads, they usually show up above the natural results, making them be noticed first. These results may include images as well making them highly noticeable which makes them likely to earn a click.
Google Ads will help you reach the right people through targeted advertising. You can use keyword targeting to directly reach people who are looking for what you are selling. Choosing the right keywords will help you get good results since your ads will consistently show up to those making the search.
Google ads will also help you tap into its stored user behavior and demographics. This will help you to better get your ads in front of your target audience. This means that you can target your ads based on age, gender, or online interests.
6. Partner with Food delivery services
Most people love the convenience of having their meals delivered right to their doorstep. This need has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more people are avoiding physical eating places. To increase the number of customers who can purchase their meals from you, you will need to partner with food delivery services. They take the customers’ orders on your behalf and make the purchases then deliver the food to their desired destination. Some of the best food delivery services you can partner with include:
JumiaFood promises to deliver your food order within 35 minutes. They have an app where you choose what you need to be delivered and from where. You also select your destination from the app. To use the app, a customer needs to set a delivery location where the food will be delivered. Then choose the product from thousands of shops on the app’s list and wait for your order. Payment is done after delivery so there’s no risk of losing your money.
Jumia food gives you an option to choose your favorite from over 750 restaurants in Nairobi. It doesn’t matter what you need, be it a pizza, burgers, KFC chicken, Indian food, art Caffe menus, etc, you will get it as ordered.
Besides the app, you can also call to order or order through their website’s chat. Jumia Food also offers delivery from other places like supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, and more.
Uber Eats makes it easy to discover new and nearby places to eat in Nairobi. They let you browse plenty of food delivery options, then place your order and track it till it reaches you. It doesn’t matter whether you want to order breakfast, lunch, dinner, or supper. You can also browse by category including Asian, American, Italian, and Chinese, Thia food, fast food, or alcohol.
To get started with Uber Eats, a customer will need to create an account. This way, you have access to all the offers and you can now make your orders.
- Yum deliveries
Yum is an online food ordering service based in Kenya but offers services to Uganda and Tanzania as well. They provide over 600 deliveries per day and strive to make online food ordering the norm, rather than the exception. Members can browse through menus on their website and make orders from various restaurants in Kenya. They deliver to Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, and Nakuru. You can also call them to place your order.
7. Advertise Locally with Flyer design & distribution
The use of Flyers is one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise your restaurant business. It is less expensive compared to billboards, radio ads, newspaper ads, etc. A great flyer with an eye-catching design and a creative copy can get your restaurant in front of many people and draw customers to your restaurant. It is a low-risk way of giving you an excellent return on your marketing investment.
A restaurant flyer should be able to stand out in a world where businesses and brands are trying to get the attention of consumers. A great flyer design will attract more people and convert them to customers. An experienced graphic designer should be able to combine visual elements with a creative copy. If you want to offer an extra incentive, give out coupons or a special offer.
How much does restaurant flyer design cost in Kenya
The cost of a restaurant flyer will depend on your designer and how much customization is needed. You can expect to pay anything from KES. 1,000 and above depending on the size of the flyers, quality of printing paper, and quantity. For best price estimates, get in touch with the best graphic designers in Kenya, such as CreativeKigen. To get the best out of your flyer design, share your logo and other visual designs, as well as your branding with your designer.
8. Get active on Social Media
A strong social media presence will help you compete successfully with other restaurants in your area. Social media gives a level playing ground to smaller, independent regional brands to get their message out to the masses. This means that you must be actively promoting your restaurant website and location on social networks. You can leverage on social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram, but you don’t have to use them all.
The type of social media platform that you choose to use will highly depend on your audience, your specialization, and the marketing technique that works best for you. Some of the best ways to get the most out of your social networks include:
- Share mouthwatering professional photos
- Run Giveaways
- Show off your stuff
- Use relevant hashtags
- Repost customer-generated content
- Make your customers feel special, share the pictures they take, and like them on social media.
- Run paid Ads
9. Grow your email database & Run Personalized promotions
Build your email list by capturing your website visitors’ personal information like email address, phone number, address, date of birth, etc. To create an email list, collect phone numbers of people who call in to make reservations or order food, or make any inquiry. At the point of purchase, give a discount coupon or a voucher in exchange for your customers’ phone number or email address. This will help you to send an email that is targeted to the recipient based on their history with your restaurant.
What would you send to someone who has only dined with you once in the past 3 months compared to someone who has come in once a week? For this to work you need a restaurant CRM to store customer data then create email marketing that is relevant to customers rather than just ‘spraying and praying’.
Send birthday reminder emails Birthday’s the single most important dining day for most people in the year. Restaurants want to capture these diners as usually the party size is large and the total spend is high.
The 1st step is recording the birthdays of your guests. You can ask them over the phone, run surveys or ask them when they are making an online booking. The 2nd step is storing and managing the information in a customer database or CRM. The 3rd step is sending them a personalized email 2 or 3 weeks out from their big day explaining why you have the best venue for their event. You could also consider adding in a special discount to sweeten the deal.
10. Bulk SMS for Takeaways & To Engage Customers
Bulk SMS marketing is a great way to generate business for restaurant owners. A whopping 81% of customers use their mobile phones to search for places to eat and what to eat. To carry out SMS marketing, you can entice your customers to opt-in with a special discount or offer.
Bulk SMS marketing is cost-effective and helps you achieve a great return on investment. It is cheaper than flyers and printed ads. You can set up a scheduled text messages campaign. Sending hot deals through SMS marketing will encourage repeat customers and build customer loyalty. It also creates great business exposure as more people are likely to read a text message than opening an email.
Below are some of the ways you can use bulk SMS in marketing your restaurant:
- Event promotion: You can send hundreds of SMS alerts in a few minutes at a scheduled time when they will have the biggest impact.
- Brand Awareness: Include your brand or company name or even your website in every text message that you send to your customers. Use shortcodes for redeemable prices to promote your brand.
- Attract new customers: Use bulk SMS marketing to attract new customers by sending exclusive offers, contests, offers, and coupons.
- Promote new dishes: Send regular updates to your customers informing them of your tasty new dishes and include crazy offers.