5 Effective Ways to Market Your Restaurant at Events
Piggybacking off community happenings, or crafting your own, can be a great way to expose your restaurant’s brand, menu or talent to the masses. But doing so without a strategy is a recipe for disaster.
Here are a handful of methods for making your eatery the star of an upcoming event:
The Pop-Up Concept
GQ has touted restaurant pop-ups as the “world tours…in the age of the rock-star chef.” As cult fandoms follow their favorite kitchen icons both physically and digitally, pop-ups feed on fixations in the form of sneak previews, market tests and samplings of faraway concepts. As such, restaurateurs and their marketing teams should scour community calendars, meetups and social media, and engage in conversations with like-minded owners and operators to take their talents and tastes on the road.
Sponsor a Charity Event
Everyone loves a brand that gives back, so restaurateurs should be on the lookout for issues they can get behind and fuel with their resources. Whether it’s a fun-run race, gala or anything in between, the beneficiaries of these events get to tout their cause, and your restaurant gets exposure for helping. This investment in food and labor costs is already in your wheelhouse of expertise and can pay off better than putting that money toward marketing or paid advertisements.
Find Connective Tissues
Let’s say you have a farm-to-table operation adjacent to a neighborhood weekly farmer’s market. What a missed opportunity it would be not to plug into this programming. Show up with tasters, fliers or boots-on-the-ground staffers to show off the brains behind your operation. “Find where the DNA overlaps,” recommends Aubrey Gordon, president of Sprocket Communications. “Perhaps put together an ad or dedicate a section of your menu to the locally grown ingredients and farmers with whom you have relationships” to bridge the gap from farm to plate.
Become a Recommender
Whether it is through your restaurant’s weekly e-newsletter or social media strategy, consider designing a perfect day, weekend or special occasion in your community putting your restaurant amidst a collection of must-see attractions. “Send your customers to relevant events around your community,” says Eric Elkins, CEO and chief strategist of WideFoc.Us, a social media shop based in Denver, Colo. “Suggest other programming—a show, a street fair, a flea market—that perfectly pairs with a trip to your restaurant.”
Don’t Forget the #Hashtags!
When and if your eatery’s team participates in or hosts any event, make sure to “use event hashtags when they’re resonant, as well as an active like and follow strategy.” This includes tagging people in images broadcast online to give them an audience and a chance to feel celebrated for their attendance.