Entrepreneur Middle East July 2022 | Get In The Zone

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All Eyes On Us

Marketing your restaurant in a digitally competitive world [THE HOW-TO] b y G A B R I E L L E M AT H E R


hile the metaverse and Mark Zuckerberg promise a “feast for our eyes” in what we can expect to be the experience of dining in the future, restaurateurs today face some basic but real challenges of getting their name out in an overly crowded and competitive world. Especially for the restaurant industry, the marketing landscape of opportunities keeps on growing wider, and with a large amount of revenue generated by this industry, marketing could be pretty high stakes for many new startups. People make decisions with emotions, and marketing gurus with big budgets representing large corporations with even larger research and development (R&D) budgets are making sure they leave nothing to chance to keep their dining rooms full.

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I’ve personally seen a shift in our own business strategy for new launches, as we allocate more pre-opening marketing budgets in our projections compared to what we did five or 10 years back. A classic example is our turn-key project, The Hamptons, launched in 2014. Our focus then was a good brand positioning, communicated with good content on Instagram and Facebook, and we opened to full houses in the first week- in fact, we had to ward off review requests from bloggers, editors, and influencers. But back then, it was still a developing market with fewer F&B players of caliber, and lesser marketing platforms to worry about. Things have changed today, and our role as consultants and entrepreneurs is to deromanticize our personal emotions about marketing, and allow our brands the basic most fundamental and essential support of a well-drawn out marketing strategy with budgets allocated to boosting posts, videos, and advertising on social media. With this in mind, here are the steps I recommend you take to market your F&B concept: 1/ BUILD A BRAND POSITIONING STRATEGY BEFORE YOU BUILD YOUR MARKETING PLAN A lot of people miss out on the foundation of brand positioning. Just like a person’s personality is their best and most endearing asset, a brand is chosen for what it represents. I have observed firsthand the joy of