Tips for successful Restaurant Week marketing

Restaurant Week marketing - promote delectable dishes like these grilled oysters (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Delectable grilled oysters (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

How can you help promote your Restaurant Week or Restaurant Month?

Once a year (usually) many destinations work with local restaurant partners as they offer meal specials and deals throughout a week or a month, often in winter when business can be slow.

Of course, for such a promotion to be really successful – with benefits that last beyond a short time – it helps if restaurants are already taking care of the marketing basics.

Are Your Restaurant Partners….

  • Claiming their eatery on Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, making sure that name/address/phone number are accurate and consistent on all, plus responding to reviews?
  • Sharing quality photos on their website and social channels, especially great close-up food shots and chefs in action? Show the inside of the restaurant, too, with dining guests; not just staged photos of empty tables with zero people. Blurry, creepy screenshots of crowds taken from the restaurant security camera don’t count (yes, we’ve heard of a place that does this.)
  • Posting updated menus online?

In a recent Facebook Group discussion about this topic, we were so impressed with the stack of ideas from Visit Baltimore‘s former social media manager Matt Colly (now with Ritz-Carlton) we asked if we could share them with you.

Thanks, Matt!

Ideas for Digital Marketing Goodies

Matt says,

“I did find a lot of success with a shared assets folder using Dropbox. It was well-received and we were constantly in there adding things, in an effort to make it feel like a collaborative process with and between the participating locations. They were encouraged to take ownership of the creative and work it in to their own branded material.”

What sorts of items did he load into the shared folder?

  • “Layered art files – the promotion logo, window cling/sticker layouts, sponsorship logo lockups, etc.Design files for table tents that they could add their logo/messaging to.
  • High resolution photos taken during prior Restaurant Weeks.
  • A short ‘sizzle’ promotional video.
  • Short, medium, and longform promotional copy.
  • A best practices document with past successful menu items/value adds.
  • The DMO’s promotion flight and creative drop dates document.
  • A social media post ‘idea generator’ document, with examples of 10-15 posts per platform, mostly highlighting special menu items, drink specials, value adds, etc. We encouraged them to make it their own; put it in their voice.
  • The DMO’s website analytics from the event timeframe the previous year, so partners can see which restaurant-related posts and pages did particularly well. Do more of what works.”

Don’t Forget Offline Materials

Give both locals and visitors a visual cue that a special culinary event is happening.

Matt mentioned Restaurant Week branded window clings, or you could also do small posters to go in restaurant windows and entrances.

Do You Have Favorite Restaurant Marketing Resources?

A few ideas:

Have some favorite restaurant marketing resources of your own? Thoughts, feedback, or suggestions? Let us know down in the comments….

Give us a shout if you need some consulting, coaching, or brainstorming help with your tourism partners, including restaurants.

Thanks again to Matt Colly for generously sharing his ideas.

—>> Update – here is our Part II – more tips for restaurant week promotion


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Screenshot of the Tourism Currents Company Page on LinkedIn

What’s Hot on Our Social Channels?

**  Most popular post this month on our Facebook Page  –  why it is so important to have your own website (pass that link to your tourism partners.)

**  Most popular post this month on our LinkedIn Company Page  –  how to connect social media to your marketing strategy.

**  Most engaging tweet this month from us at @TourismCurrents, during the Social Media Tulsa  Twitter chat  –  “Pass this blog post from us to every tourism org that never answers you on social. 🙂 #SMTulsachat

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