Restaurant owners can testify, the food and beverage industry is saturated with stiff competition. And it only becomes more intense as new dining venues pop up on every corner, seemingly overnight. Expert marketing tactics are the only way to stay ahead of your foodservice rivals, who are also seeking to be named the hottest spot in town.
When navigating social media marketing in the highly competitive restaurant industry, it is crucial to fully understand the marketing metrics for restaurant success. This will help ensure the money you put into your marketing budget generates an ample return on investment and brings your venue one step closer to the top.
What Are the Five Marketing Metrics?
There are many metrics (much more than five) that restaurant owners need to keep in mind when analyzing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. But if you don’t have the time or energy to keep up with all of them, the following are the most important to keep on your radar:
- Customer Sentiment & Retention
What Are the Key Marketing Metrics for a Restaurant?
In our modern world, food has evolved from a necessity to a beloved hobby. If you’re a restaurateur, you know that self-proclaimed “foodies” are always on the hunt for the next hole-in-the-wall culinary sensation. And everyone is hoping to be the place to satisfy and amaze their taste buds, as well as fill their stomachs with new and exciting flavors.
Social media is the primary way audiences engage with and evaluate the food they eat—photos will be taken, locations will be shared, and reviews will be left. Thus, you will carry out your advertising campaigns primarily through social media. When evaluating the success of your digital marketing strategies over a period of time, you will need to keep the following KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in mind.
Engagement is the sum of likes, shares, subscribers, comments, or retweets that an individual post gets when shared on your social media. Audiences that engage with your social media posts are truly worth their weight in gold because they drive your social media presence and, by association, your business.
You might be tempted to think the size of your social media audience matters most, but we argue it is better to have a smaller audience that supplies huge engagement numbers on each post. The majority of your audience is probably located close to your restaurant, meaning that those followers are likely to actually patron your restaurant!
Additionally, the number of times your post receives engagement adds credibility to your restaurant as a place worth visiting. With impressive engagement numbers, your location may start trending or even appear on the first pages of Google’s SERP.
Although audience size matters a bit less than your engagement rate, it is still important to examine and understand the reach of your social media efforts. “Reach” is aptly named, as it measures the number of people who have seen a post, essentially how far your marketing campaigns are reaching into the virtual realm. Because the world of social media and the internet is virtually limitless, it is essential to know if your marketing efforts are making any impact at all.
One way to measure your reach is by noting the number of followers or subscribers each account has. Each time you post to social media, everyone who follows your account should see said post, thereby contributing to your reach.
The second factor of importance relating to reach is the number of “impressions” your posts receive. Whether organic or boosted, impressions represent the number of times your post was viewed—including multiple views by a single user. Impressions will ideally lead to engagement (discussed above), which will continue to drive brand growth.
One tool restaurant owners can use to measure reach is the ever-faithful Google Analytics. If one of your social media campaign goals is to drive traffic to your website, Google Analytics can let you know how effective your campaign has been by showing an influx of visitors to your website.
Every successful social media campaign will produce leads! These leads can help you implement fine-tuned marketing strategies to continue pursuing business growth. There are three types of leads generated and categorized by the marketing funnel. You can measure each of the following in Google Analytics:
The Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
The Information Qualified Lead comes from people engaging with your social media in pursuit of information. These people are interested in your restaurant or menu items and will poke around casually searching for answers. Your ads should readily supply relevant information and offer social media users a chance to sign up for future updates via email.
The Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
The Marketing Qualified Lead represents those who have expressed ongoing interest in your restaurant but have not yet gotten to the point of action or conversion. You should continue highlighting your business’s best features and offer further information, subtly and gently pushing this potential customer to the next stage.
The Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
The Sales Qualified Lead is ready to make their purchase. In this case, that means filling a table at your establishment. At this stage, offering the potential customer directions, hours of operation, or a way to instantly make a reservation may help you seal the deal.
If your social media marketing strategy is effective, you should be able to generate these leads from your target audience. If that isn’t the case, you might need to re-examine your social media content and platform choices. Knowing when to make changes is just one reason that understanding the marketing metrics for restaurant success is so vital.
This metric is possibly the easiest to understand since it happens in real-time! Restaurant owners can measure conversion rates by noting the number of tables they turn in a specified period of time. You won’t necessarily know how many customers entered your doors directly from a social media post. Still, seeing an increase in tables served and profit margins compared to your prime cost can indicate an increased conversion rate. Basically, if your marketing campaigns are successful, your business will grow.
How often have you gone to a business and been asked the question, “How did you hear about us?” This question is asked because businesses need to know which marketing channel investments are proving the most profitable. If one is more profitable than another, it may be worth adjusting your marketing budget to invest more heavily in that specific channel. This marketing move will logically help lead to more conversions!
5. Customer Sentiment & Retention
The last KPI for measuring restaurant success is by far the most personal and heartwarming. Customer sentiment and retention illustrate how your customers feel about your establishment, including decor, customer service, food, and overall experience. This metric can strongly indicate how many times they will choose to return to dine with you.
If your customer retention rate is high, you can safely assume the foodies in your community hold you in high esteem. This high esteem is what will help your business grow for years to come! If you find your customers are generally pleased with your restaurant, consider offering a loyalty program to give back to those who have made your success possible.
Work with the Marketing Professionals
Creating a marketing campaign that doesn’t leave your restaurant out in the cold can be challenging. What’s more, understanding the marketing metrics for restaurant success around that campaign can be a complex task that takes time and effort to do well. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone!
By partnering with Versa Creative, you’ll have access to a team of experts whose experience, talent, and passion can take your business to the next level. Reach out to our team to learn more about how we can help you grow your restaurant business!