Do you attend events to promote your restaurant?
We’re talking food festivals, restaurant networking sessions, community events etc.
If you already frequent such in-person events, great! You’re on the right path.
Why? Because food culture is on the rise.
According to Eventbrite, there’s been a 47% increase in food and drink events in recent years. Millennials dig the face-to-face interaction from in-person events on top of what they see and follow on social media.
If you’re looking to increase your restaurant’s bottom line, you need to be where the crowd is.
With a stellar social strategy in place, you can now generate a buzz among your local community to create awareness and drive sales through in-person events.
Cashing in on the event marketing strategy today.
Turn in-person interactions into online orders.
Not sure how to achieve that? Read on.
Types of In-Person Events You Can Participate In
Attending, participating, sponsoring, hosting – whatever your manner of showing up, in-person events give a promotional boost to your restaurant.
But what kind of in-person events should you take part in?
1. Food Festivals
Food festivals aren’t just popular in America. Countries all over the world have popular annual food festivals.
Setting up a booth to sell signature items from your menu at a food festival is a great way to grow your customer base.
Show off your culinary skills by inventing bite-size versions of existing menu items or new dishes for them to sample.
Don’t forget to create a buzz amongst your social media followers so they can get their friends to visit your stall.
2. Farmers’ Market
Aren’t farmers’ markets a place to sell fresh produce only?
If you use local and organic ingredients in your restaurant, reach out to your local farmers’ market organizers.
Farmers’ markets help position your restaurant as a supporter of local produce and fresh, healthy ingredients.
Not only is this great for branding, but it works wonders to pull in customers.
Decorate your booth to stand out from other food and drink vendors. Only display your best-selling dishes up for sale.
It’s not just about selling your items. Make connections with customers while you prepare your food and drinks. Get them talking to find out what they crave from restaurateurs like you.
3. Community Events
Grow your restaurant’s credentials by showing up to events organized by local committees and communities.
What kind of events are these?
- Community block parties
- School festivals
- Fundraising events
- Charity events
- Arts and crafts week
- Holiday events (example: Fourth of July, Halloween)
Make your regular customers a part of this event by offering them an incentive. For example, get them to refer their friends to order your food online for a free dessert on their next visit to your restaurant.
Pro tip: Become a household name in your locality by networking with families and community leaders. If they love your restaurant’s food and service, imagine how many people they’ll recommend your restaurant to!
4. Larger Events
If you have the manpower and are ready for a mammoth logistical task, go big!
Contact organizers of marathons and larger music concerts. Display a table with your finest food and sell them to the throngs of people who attend such large-scaled in-person events.
Remember to keep your food and drink menu for these events relevant. Don’t offer your best-selling tiramisu at a marathon!
Did you know? You can also use jumper to sell your event tickets! Collaborate with event organizers to do so, or even better, create your own in-person event to drive sales.
Aside from increasing exposure to customers, in-person events also help you stay in touch with competitors and network with vendors too. Create collaborations to help you get the step up in the F&B industry.
The Quick Checklist to Driving Online Sales from In-Person Events
The idea of taking part in in-person events is to increase sales for your restaurant.
But how can you convert these one-off event attendees to long-term clients?
Creating a successful event is tricky. It requires effort in planning, implementation and evaluation.
To help you create an exceptional event strategy that’ll result in more orders for your restaurant, here’s a quick and easy checklist:
Spread the word about your event on social media, marketing and advertising platforms. Make use of the right hashtags. Collaborate with influencers for bigger events.
Make a list of the dishes and drinks you want sell and make them the right size for the event (for instance, if it’s a pop-up booth, smaller sizes work better).
Draw the attention of potential customers by making your booth and food instagram-worthy. Take creative approaches. It’s all about the brand. You and your wait-staff should look presentable, too. Make sure your logos are displayed clearly to make it more memorable.
Conceptualize the offer that you’ll be marketing on the day of the event. Once it’s locked in, start promoting earlier to drive traffic.
Prepare ways to drive sales through online orders post-event. Set-up integrations such as jumper and QR codes that will help you drive event ticket sales and convert in-person customers to long-term diners.
Day of Event
Have signages that clearly display your brand name, what you’re selling and what’s on offer. Make them readable from a distance.
Set up and test your POS system. Don’t forget to check your kitchen appliances and ensure all gadgets are in working order.
Talk to customers and always have a smile on your face no matter how stressful it gets. Ask questions to give you better understanding of the people visiting your booth.
Give your customers something more than food and drinks. How about a card with a QR code on it? Inform them that they can scan the code to get 20% off their first online order.
Or maybe offer a dollar off if they share to your preferred social network with a hashtag of your name or food type. This also makes it easier to follow up individually later and generate even more sales.
- Make customers like your Facebook page on-the-spot so you can use services like jumper to follow up with an offer to place an online order.
- Create a contest. Get event attendees to take a picture and post it on social media with your chosen hashtags.
Gather information and intel from your customers. Ask them if they’re interested in getting first-dibs on your restaurant updates. Get them to sign up to your email marketing campaign. Create a special sign-up form for this event to get one or two more details about your potential customer.
Did you know? When it comes to sharing, 84% of millennials are likely to post pictures of food while at a food-related event.
1. Follow up
Don’t just stop at getting sales at the event. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Engage in marketing outreach. Connect with them via social media or email. If you got people to share with a specific hashtag, it’ll make it much easier to find those who have purchased from you.
Focus your marketing messages on the main call-to-action: getting them to make an order for your food or drinks online.
Analyze the response you have received from the events. How many email sign-ups did you get? How many QR code coupons were redeemed? How many online orders were received via jumper? Has anyone signed up for your loyalty program?
Tweak your event marketing strategy for the next round.
Clearly, there’s more that goes into planning an event.
The idea of this quick checklist is to cover the basics needed to achieve your goal. Leverage on in-person events to bridge the gap between offline marketing and online sales.
Focus on Long-Term Planning for Continuous Sales
If you think a one-off event is enough to continuously drive online orders, you’ll have to change that mindset right now.
Yes, research has demonstrated that participating in events is a great way of getting repeat customers.
If done right, it appeals to millenials and gets you the results you’re looking for.
However, it doesn’t stop there.
The great news is that they no longer need to visit your restaurant in person. Remind them that they can place orders online via social media. It’s convenient for you (thanks to integrations like jumper) and for them, too.
You can even offer return customers an exclusive offer to drive online orders.
In-person events are a great way to strengthen your brand and bottom line. But if not done right, these can cost more than what you’re gaining.
Be a savvy restaurant marketer. Think long-term and keep up with trends – both online and offline.