How to Market a Restaurant: Setting up Google Places
Whether you’re a big, well established restaurant or a small mom & pop place just starting out, reaching out to your neighbors can always help business. These are the potential customers down the block who are looking for that go-to local spot when a Wednesday night calls for a spontaneous dinner outing. This could be you!
What do you do when you’re looking to go out? You Google “(type of food) restaurant (zipcode)” and click around to see how close, reviews and menus. So does everyone else. So how do you market a restaurant to this type of customer? You set up a Google places page with all your info is an easy first step to harness the powers of the internet.
You first want to search for your own restaurant/business and see if a page exists already. If it does you need to claim it to make sure the business info is correct and up to date. Once you’ve gone through the steps, your business will show up when customers are searching locally on maps. Want better rankings? Check out this short video to get some tips.
Google Places also comes with reviews (primarily from Zagat). Review sites like Zagat are also a great way to let people know how awesome you are. Zagat allows anyone to review and rate your restaurant. Customers can come here to read what real people think about your place. But what if I get a negative review, you ask? Zagat offers owners an option to respond to reviewers. This is a great way to get involved with your customers even if they had a bad experience. And no, I don’t mean by responding with lots of cursing and “How dare you speak badly of my place of business! I challenge you to a duel!”
Take the opportunity to use a bad review as constructive criticism. Why not apologize for the bad experience and offer a discount (or even just a simple apology) for the next time the customer visits so you can try to redeem yourself? This is a great way to show you care and also gives the customer incentive to return for another shot.
Don’t overlook the simple things either. Take a walk down your block and see if your place stands out from the crowd. You don’t want potential customers to walk right by your place. Try some outdoor signage to grab some attention (see above). I would totally check that place out after reading their sign.