To help you build a winning golf restaurant marketing strategy, we surveyed some of the top restaurants in North America and got them to share their secrets. The landscape of small business marketing has changed, and while restaurants face new challenges, they also have access to new opportunities.
Tip 1: Strong Online Presence (and a Great Search Ranking!)
Google is the new, free restaurant guide for anyone with an internet connection. Today’s customers turn to search engines and online maps when they look for somewhere to eat, or choose a venue for their special event. And don’t get it confused; the golf restaurant is in competition with other urban restaurants out there. Since virtually every person has access to a computer, tablet or smart phone, no business can ignore this marketing revolution.
“By not maintaining a web presence, or having a web page that plays poorly with search engines, you might as well be invisible.”
Be informative and interesting – It’s the mandate of every search engine to make the results they deliver be useful to searchers. As such, you can never go wrong by making sure that everyone who visit your website find informative and engaging content.
Have a dedicated section of the restaurant on the golf club website. Again, make sure your website is tablet and smartphone compatible!
“Also, beautiful pictures of your restaurant floor plan and dishes are the most effective way to drive customers to your place. A nice picture is worth a thousand words.”
Tip 2: Solid Marketing
Social Media refers to online based communities through web sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, as well as other participatory online communities. Post lots (and regularly). Frequently updating is key to making your social media accounts look alive, which attracts people to follow you. A dead account does you no good, so don’t create social media accounts unless you intend to keep them active.
Online reviews are a major part of most restaurants’ digital presence. Gone are the days of relying on professional critics and food guides- now multiple websites enable your customers to rate their experience.
Newsletters and promotional emails. The key here is not just getting yourself out there, but delivering up content to people’s inboxes that make them want to engage with you and share. Promotional emails should offer something positive for the reader, maybe discounts, seasonal recipes, contests or information about events being held at your venue.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways of attracting new customers. Thankfully, as a restaurant you’re an expert at taking an everyday experience like eating and turning it into something more than just an ordinary meal. As a service based business you’re also able to interact directly with your customers and you know how to make sure they have a positive experience worth telling their friends about.
Never Forget the Old Fashioned Secrets of Traditional Marketing. Before you throw all your time and budget into Twitter campaigns and website banner ads, take the time to make sure you understand the ways traditional marketing still works so you don’t accidentally limit yourself. Just remember, traditional doesn’t mean antiquated and obsolete. You can still have fresh contemporary design as sharp as anything else without getting rid of paper and in person communication.
Tip 3: Deal Sites – Worth the Time?
Deal Sites are one of the more controversial options for online marketing. This means websites like Groupon, Daily Deals or Living Social that offer steeply discounted vouchers for your services to geographically targeted audiences. Although these websites will pay you for the privilege of offering your deal, they will do their best to make a profit in the vouchers they sell. As such, there are many reasons to be extremely cautious when using this method to try to generate publicity.
Keeping your staff happy – Although deal sites encourage tipping in their instructions, many coupon purchasers may forget this step. If your employees are gratuity dependent, you may end up with unhappy workers.
It may not work anyway – There is little evidence deal site based customers turn into regular full price customers. Since new deals are offered every day, this encourages deal seekers to continue to shop around.
Timing – Steep discounts (sites like Groupon generally expect at least 50%) can mean you might make as little at 23 cents on the dollar on voucher customers. This might be fine for periods that you would already offer this sort of discount in, but vouchers generally don’t expire and may be used at times when you’d rather have room for full paying customers.
Tip 4: Use an Up to Date Club House POS
Whether you’re a big or small golf restaurant, make sure your business is taking advantage of the latest golf management software and services. Gone are the days of clunky card processing machines or taking orders on scraps of paper. Today’s customer is device savvy and expects you to be too.
There are a huge number of club house POS options to choose from, but you want one that best fits in with the special needs of your restaurant. That means a fast, efficient service that’s completely customer friendly. You will also want to look at functions like portability and central tracking on all orders. Ideally, that also means one that works well with your other marketing efforts. Take the time to shop around and discuss features with your club house POS vendor.
“Look in priority for a cloud based point of sale system. For at least the same quality of service, it will generally cost you 4 times less than a traditional point of sales system. Also, you will have access to the system and all your metrics from anywhere and with any device.”
MUST HAVE FEATURES:
Improves service and works seamlessly with your staff – A good club house POS system improves efficiency by being easy to quickly train on. Remember, no matter the bells and whistles offered, it’s not an improvement unless it makes your employees faster, more informed and better organized.
Table side portability, central information – While terminals and interface systems need to be completely portable, the best systems also let a central user track and easily pull reports, giving you limitless control over your operation, as well as letting you manage work flow from a big picture perspective.
Flexible hardware options – Rather than multiple vendors for different aspects of your business, a good club house POS system lets you decide how to customize it to your restaurant by letting you avoid the limits of proprietary hardware.
Offers an extra touch (or two) – Imagine being able to send receipts directly to customers by email, or maintain customer profiles in a central system, for a more personalized experience. With constant improvement in club house POS services, you get to ask more out of your system.
About the author:
JD is a passionate golfer, entrepreneur and a sales & marketing expert. He writes to inspire, educate, and inform readers on all things related to how technology is transforming the way golf courses are operating.