Starting in the hospitality industry as a food or drinks service is not the easiest of tasks, even at the best of times. Today, the industry faces an existential crisis in the form of falling public expenditure against rising operating costs. Margins are slim in food, restaurants, and catering already. However, as more businesses fold, more opportunities open up for new concepts. But how should one start getting out there as a new food business?
Creating a Google Business Profile
This first step is a small one, but also an extremely important one for the discoverability of your new food business. Creating a Google Business Profile gives you direct control over your presence in Google apps and searches; you can customise your information, making it easier for prospective customers and clients that find you to get in touch.
You also ensure your physical premises or headquarters are featured on Google Maps – a particularly important thing to do if you have permanent premises where customers can eat, or even collect food. Your presence here is not only good for discovery but also testimonials; customers can more easily leave reviews on your services or food, increasing the likelihood that new prospective customers will choose you.
Social media is very much your friend when getting your food and drink brand up and running. This is true whether you are a new restaurant concept or a street food truck seeking private bookings and engagements. Facebook and Instagram are essential in this regard, allowing you to respond directly to customer and client queries while showing off your menu items, truck, or premises.
While near-evergreen platforms like Facebook and Instagram are invaluable for advertising your brand, TikTok has emerged as one of the more impactful ways you can engage a new audience. Indeed, food brands have already been making waves on the platform, using smart multimedia content to showcase foodstuffs at their best and sell a brand image in the process.
But no promotional strategy should rely on digital media alone. A good strategy for raising brand awareness folds social media posts and targeted advertising with physical media and outreach, as part of a cohesive marketing push that shares a central aesthetic.
Just as you might use incentive marketing tactics to encourage email sign-ups to a mailing list, you might also use physical flyers to advertise exclusive details in local venues. You could also partner with other local businesses to offer samples of your products to their customers, expanding reach in the process.
Pick-Up and Delivery
Lastly, a key consideration in expanding your reach relates to the structure of your business itself. Takeaway and food deliveries, for example, are an unavoidably huge part of the hospitality industry as a whole, representing £10.5 billion in revenue annually. Failing to properly take advantage of this market could mean overall business failure; even an occasional food truck could offer food deliveries as a ‘dark kitchen’ with no permanent premises, ensuring their food makes it to customers and increasing brand awareness.