Aug 19, 2023 3 min read

The Marketing Ecosystem That EVERY Restaurant Should Be Using

Said another way ... why cleaning your deep fryer is the same as updating Instagram.
The Marketing Ecosystem That EVERY Restaurant Should Be Using

Let's talk about "Givens" and I don't mean Robin the actress or Mychal who pitches for the Orioles. I'm talking about something that is assumed as a premise or fact. Specifically, let's talk about givens in the restaurant business.

If you use a deep fryer, you change out the oil.

If you handle food, you wash your hands first.

If you have a front door, it has a lock.

I just want to make sure we are on the same page here ... you would agree those are givens, right??

I could go on but you get it. These are things we just know and accept as part of what must and should be done.

So can you please explain to me why there are restaurants out there, and I'm not just talking about independents, who don't think marketing is a given?

I thought if COVID taught us anything, we have to be online. We have to market our business to attract new guests. We have to market to our current guests to get them to come back. Marketing is sales.

And you're like "Rev ... c'mon man. We market. We do {INSERT MARKETING CHANNEL HERE}."

You need a marketing system. You need tools that lead new guests to you. You need channels to communicate to current guests and you need to be using them and be consistent in using them. They have to align with your customer journey so that you are always right there when they are thinking about what to eat for lunch.

What should that look like? I'M GLAD YOU ASKED!

Here is the marketing ecosystem that EVERY food service business should using:


1. Local SEO: via listings management (Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, Apple Maps, Siri, Alexa, TripAdvisor, etc)

2. Reputation management: restaurants with more frequent positive reviews come up higher in "near me" searches

3. Paid search optimization: You want to come up at the top of "near me" searches on Google? Use Google Search Ads

4. 3rd Party Market Places: Love em or hate em but GrubHub and OpenTable are a channel for new guest acquisition

5. Local awareness: via Facebook & Instagram awareness ads

6. Influencer marketing: Research shows that influencers harness 5 times better engagement rates than restaurant brands


1. Email newsletters: the average open rate for emails in the restaurant biz is 19.77% (our clients are typically 30% or higher) so if you want your current guest to keep you in their consideration set, send weekly newsletters.

2. Email automation: you don't need a fancy CRM (they are quite effective) to have a welcome email flow for all new guests. You get that function automatically with both Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Brands with a welcome email flow automation have a 33% higher 30-day return rate.

3. SMS: 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes. Send hyper-relevant texts to your guests around limited opportunities like an expiring offer, a limited-time menu, or an event.

4. Reputation management: See above about the value but you should thank every guest who leaves you a 4 or 5 star review and you should apologize & win back all guests that give you a 1, 2 or 3 star review.

5. Organic social media: "Followers" in our business are technically "guests" since no one follows a restaurant unless they have eaten there or intend to. That makes social media a retention tool. Share content at least 3-4 times a week. People use Instagram to decide what to eat at a restaurant and they use TikTok to find out about new restaurants.

And here's the thing .... you should care about the metrics. If you can measure it you should, but don't make the mistake of needing to find the ROI of all of your marketing.

How do you measure the value in $ of a new follower on Instagram, a new 5-star review on Google or getting someone to opt into your database?

It doesn't matter because it should be a GIVEN that you need to do these things.

Smart restaurants understand that these things are mandatory and they require consistency. So when you do that and you add in good creative, just like washing your hands, it works.

Need help building the system? We can help you.

Need help running the system? We can do that for you.

Send me an email:

Want more restaurant marketing tips? Follow my free newsletter on LinkedIn


*I help restaurants to build guest marketing programs.

*I help hospitality tech companies with lead generation and content marketing.

Need help? reach out:

Rev Ciancio

Branded Strategic, Head of Revenue Marketing

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