OpenTable Industry Series: 21 ways to amplify your restaurant marketing

Updated on 24th January 2023

OpenTable regularly holds Industry Series events, bringing the restaurant community together for an afternoon of tech, training and sharing of marketing best strategies. The goal? To provide restaurateurs actionable insights to run and grow their business.

The OpenTable team was joined by two industry experts; Chris Hawes from Personica, OpenTable’s email marketing partner, and Tracey May Howes, restaurant marketing consultant and social media coach.

Throughout the afternoon, over 50 restaurateurs had direct access to marketing experts to ask questions, demo products and receive one-on-one coaching.

Here’s a sneak peek into the marketing tips and best strategies we shared with our special guests.

8 email tips for restaurants

As an advisor, Chris works closely with Fishbowl restaurant clients to guide them on email strategy, help capture customer data, drive customer engagement through targeted email campaigns and provide analytics training.

‘If you’re like most operators, you’re too busy running your restaurant to focus on marketing. Not only that, but in today’s online world, successful marketing requires plenty of specialised expertise. That’s why so many restaurants ask us to do the email marketing for them – we’ve got the restaurant experience and the skill sets to help grow your business,” he shares.

Here’s Chris’s eight email tips that were shared at the Industry Series event.

1) Database

Build your database by offering a compelling hook, such as offering a free drink at your spot, to get more sign-ups.

2) Content

Content reigns supreme and should take precedence over promotions. Recipients will be intrigued to hear about the stories behind the food.

3) Subject line

Write a killer subject line that captures people’s attention and makes them want to open the email. Keep them clear and concise, and consider adding an emoji.

4) Personalisation

Send email comms from a member of your team. It adds a layer of personalisation, with the recipient receiving the email from a real person rather than a restaurant name.

5) Call to action

Have a clear call to action, whether it’s driving people to a page to read an article or clicking through to book a table at your spot. Every email needs a purpose.

6) Email pre-header

Remember to use the preview pane, as it gives recipients more insight into the email. Along with the subject line, a to-the-point preview pane can increase open rates.

7) Timing

Research the best time to reach audiences. Some emails perform better first thing on a weekday morning, while others are successful on weekends. Find the sweet spot by testing sends at different times.

8) UTM tracking

Use UTM codes to track the links in your email. That way, you can see if someone visited a blogpost or your menu page directly from the email.

7 social media best strategies for restaurants

As a restaurant consultant, Tracey helps create integrated marketing and social media strategies for clients ranging from London based independent restaurants, bars and retailers to international organisations.

‘Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or someone starting out, I work with clients to provide personalised coaching that help business owners and their teams maintain an effective presence on social media,’ says Tracey.

Here’s seven of Tracey’s social media best strategies.

1) Audience

Understand the type of audience on each platform. Facebook has a different audience than Instagram, which differs from LinkedIn. Think about who you’re talking to and how to talk to them.

2) Content calendar

Set up a content calendar for when to post across social media. Doing so will give you a better overview of your social media strategy and help you plan better for posts.

3) Video

Use videos to engage with audiences. Just remember to add captions, as an increasing number of social media users browse without the sound on.

4) Storytelling

Like email sends, tell stories over selling services. That doesn’t mean you can’t promote your restaurant, but you stand a better chance of engaging with audiences if you tell compelling stories related to your spot.

5) User Generated Content

Encourage user-generated content (UGC), which involves getting your guests to participate in your marketing efforts. Ask them to share photos and videos of their experience at your restaurant.

6) Creativity

Be creative with your images, adding text where necessary. This can be helpful for platforms like Twitter, where you gave a 280 character limit.

7) Engagement

Have conversations with your audience and use social media as a customer service tool to respond to questions and provide advice.

6 ways to get involved with OpenTable marketing

OpenTable’s extensive promotional calendar provides a range of opportunities for restaurateurs to promote their restaurant, helping keep them busy all year round while maximising guest opportunities.

Here’s the six ways OpenTable customers can get involved in OpenTable marketing campaigns.

1) Maximise Experiences and offer unique moments for guests. With Experiences, diners can pre-book (and even pre-pay) for curated experiences at your restaurant.

2) Enhance your OpenTable profile with specific information about your restaurant that capture’s people’s attention when they land on your page.

3) Use Boost Campaigns to get more eyes on your restaurant and drive bookings, so you’ve got a sell-out spot.

4) Offer more personalisation by targeting specific diners, such as first-time bookers, to encourage them to reserve a table.

5) Track reservation info from your Google Ads, Meta Ads and email to make decisions about the best way to target guests.

6) Measure marketing with regular reports that give you insights into guests and how they interact with your spot.

* If you’re not an OpenTable customer, contact us today to learn how you can get started.