If you own or manage a restaurant, here are some facts you should consider: Before finalizing where to dine, 90% of guests research restaurants online and 57% visit a restaurant’s website. If we look at Millennials, 86% will try a new restaurant after seeing food-related content online.
To tap into a customer base that’s increasingly internet-savvy, you need to build and expand your restaurant’s online visibility. In other words, you need to be where your customers spend their time when making decisions about spending their money.
Starbucks does an impressive job on this front. The beverage chain uses a mix of marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and search marketing to connect with its customers. Through these channels, it shares updates to its menu, upcoming offers, new store locations, etc.
Here’s one of its emails for example:
It also optimizes its website for search engines through search engine marketing (SEM) and local search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for customers to find it online.
It’s up to you to pick the marketing channels best suited to your restaurant, but to get the most out of them, you’ll need some software tools! And to give you a complete picture of the top options, we’ve created a list of the best marketing tools for restaurants.
Why do we call them best? It’s because all of these tools feature in GetApp’s Category Leaders reports (an annual ranking of top software tools) for social media marketing, SEO/SEM, and email marketing. They have user ratings higher than 4 (out of 5) and 10+ user reviews on GetApp (read full selection methodology at the bottom).
Email marketing can provide multifold benefits to restaurant owners hungry for success. It can help keep your restaurant on top of customers’ minds; increase cross-sell and upsell opportunities; and communicate business changes, availability of orders, and operational hours. Not convinced?
Research shows that email marketing can return $44 for every dollar you spend—a whopping 4,400% return on investment.
Here are some ways you can use email marketing for your restaurant:
Collect customer email IDs (maybe after they’re done dining) and share regular discount coupons/seasonal offers via email.
Create and share periodic newsletters to showcase your latest/seasonal menu. Don’t forget to capture new, interesting, or upcoming dishes on this menu.
Set up automated reporting on your email data to gauge the audience’s preferences and adjust your menu and offerings accordingly.
To help you find the right tool to manage these functions, we’ve created a list of the three best email marketing tools (listed alphabetically):
User ratings: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 54+
EngageBay is a one-stop solution for creating emails and managing email campaigns.
With its easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality, you can create emails and newsletters to showcase upcoming events at your restaurant, new additions to your menu, ongoing offers, and more. In case your restaurant operates multiple outlets, you can also send location-specific emails targeted at customers close to a certain outlet.
Pricing info: The starting price for EngageBay is $8.99 per user for 15,000 contacts and 10,000 branded emails. The tool also offers a free version that supports 1,000 contacts and 1,000 branded emails.
Click here to read user reviews of EngageBay.
User ratings: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 115+
Moosend is a cloud-based email marketing tool.
It offers attractive email templates for sharing updates about your menu, discount coupons, seasonal offers, etc. Using these templates doesn’t require any HTML coding knowledge. The templates allow adding your restaurant’s branding to the emails or personalizing them for your customers.
Pricing info: Moosend’s base paid plan starts at $8 per month, billed annually, and supports up to 2,000 email subscribers. The tool also offers a free version that comes with no time limitations or upgrade requirements and supports up to 1,000 subscribers.
Click here to read user reviews of Moosend.
User ratings: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 58+
Sender is an email marketing platform that offers compelling features to help you engage your local customers better.
It offers mobile-responsive email templates and a built-in image editor to help you show off your seasonal menu and ongoing offers. You can also personalize newsletters to highlight a customer’s preferred cuisines or orders.
What’s more? Sender also lets you add videos to emails and newsletters through which you can show off new additions to your joint, behind-the-scenes footage from your kitchen, and share recipes to give customers a taste of your restaurant.
Pricing info: The starting price for Sender is $10 per month, billed monthly. It supports up to 60,000 emails per month and 5,000 subscribers. The software also offers a “Free Forever” plan that supports 15,000 emails per month and 2,000 subscribers.
Click here to read user reviews of Sender.
You too can use social media to show off your restaurant menu through appetizing visuals, run targeted ads to increase sales, and stay on top of your customers’ minds. To manage all this effectively, you’ll need social media marketing software.
Let’s see how you can best use social media marketing tools:
Manage multiple social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) from one platform.
Share images or videos of popular menu items or show your audience how you prepare their favorite dishes.
Set up notifications and alerts for customer queries and comments and set aside time (daily or weekly) to reply to these. If you play this well—that is, engage the audience and resolve their queries satisfactorily—it can really add brownie points to your brand image.
Organize and schedule your posts across multiple channels via a social media calendar to ensure regular communication with followers.
To help you pick the right social media marketing tool, we’ve shortlisted the three best options. The list is arranged alphabetically.
User ratings: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 538+
ContentStudio is a cloud-based social media and content marketing platform.
The tool can help you engage customers by scheduling social media posts around upcoming events, new menu items, and ongoing offers. You can also use it to monitor followers and analyze the best performing posts. It helps you manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Pocket accounts from one platform.
Pricing info: The pricing of ContentStudio is not publicly available but can be obtained by contacting their sales team.
Click here to read user reviews of ContentStudio.
User ratings: 4.7/5
Number of reviews: 389+
Loomly helps you run ads for your restaurant, manage social media campaigns, and track conversion rates.
It allows managing multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) from a single platform. You can also use the tool to learn more about your restaurant’s followers, build ideas for future posts, and get tips on optimizing posts for higher engagement.
Pricing info: The starting plan for Loomly costs $25.99 per month, billed yearly. It supports up to two users and 10 social media accounts.
Click here to read user reviews of Loomly.
User ratings: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 80+
Statusbrew is a cloud-based social media marketing tool that helps plan and execute social media campaigns.
It allows publishing content on multiple social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. It also helps you monitor engagement on your posts, get insights into your competitors’ social media strategy, and generate insightful reports.
Pricing info: The starting price for Statusbrew is $99 per month, billed yearly. It supports up to three users and 10 social media profiles.
Click here to read user reviews of Statusbrew.
SEO/SEM tools can help drive more traffic to your restaurant’s website, improve your website’s ranking, and increase search visibility. These tools also provide insights that help you make the best decisions when marketing your restaurant.
Let’s see how you can best use SEO/SEM tools:
Optimize your restaurant’s website for search engines so that when customers search for a restaurant, your establishment ranks higher in the search results.
Use local SEO to claim business listings, manage online reviews, and ensure your restaurant’s location shows up in the local search results.
Run paid ads for your restaurant. These ads will appear among the search results or on websites most visited by your customers.
We’ve picked the best SEO/SEM tools to help you select the right product. The list is arranged alphabetically.
User ratings: 4.4/5
Number of reviews: 108+
Raven is a cloud-based SEO, SEM, and social media marketing platform.
You can use the tool to run online advertising campaigns, optimize your website ranking in search results, and gain deep competitor insights. Raven also helps you fetch data from over 20 marketing tools, including Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Bing Ads. You can use this data to monitor your restaurant’s performance.
Pricing info: The starting price for Raven is $39 per month, billed yearly. It supports two domains/campaigns, two users, and 1,500 position checks.
Click here to read user reviews of Raven.
User ratings: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 948+
SEMrush is an SEO, SEM, and social media marketing tool.
It can help you target the right keywords for your restaurant, monitor your website traffic, manage pay-per-click campaigns, and more. You can also gain insights into your competitors’ SEO strategies and analyze your SEM/SEO strategy’s performance.
Pricing info: The starting price for SEMrush is $83.28 per month, paid annually.
Click here to read user reviews of SEMrush.
User ratings: 4.4/5
Number of reviews: 102+
SpyFu is a cloud-based SEO and PPC tool that can help your restaurant increase its website traffic and visibility on search engines.
It also gives insights into the SEO and SEM strategy of competing restaurants by letting you see the keywords they’ve purchased, the websites on which their ads appear, their ad variations, their organic rank, etc.
Before you finalize on any of these tools, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you make the right choice:
Take a demo: Schedule product demos before finalizing a tool. It’ll help you get an up-close view of the tool’s features and discuss any queries with the vendor. Make sure to prepare for the demo by researching the tool and jotting down any questions that you come up with.
Check out related software: See if you would benefit from any related tools that complement your preferred marketing solution. For example, lead generation software, customer loyalty software, and brand management software may come in handy, as you’ll want to not only engage customers but also keep them coming back.
For each category (email marketing, social media marketing, and SEO/SEM), we referred to their individual GetApp Category Leaders reports and judged the products therein on the following criteria, until we had three qualifying products:
The tool should have a user rating higher than 4 (out of 5) on GetApp (information accessed on: Aug 3, 2020).
The tool should have 10+ user reviews on GetApp (information accessed on Aug 3, 2020).
The tool should have at least half of the below-mentioned features. We identified these features based on secondary research and in-house expertise:
-For email marketing: User segmentation, email personalization, branding options, email HTML code editor, integration with third-party tools, and discount coupon creation.
-For social media marketing: Customer targeting, multi-account management, image editor, and security.
-For SEO/SEM: Local SEO options, keyword research, on-page SEO, analytics, competitive insights, and PPC campaign analysis.