Top 5 Digital Marketing Strategies for Reopening Restaurants

Luke Forand

By Luke Forand

June 30, 2020

The impact of the Coronavirus has stretched far and wide. The economic crisis that shadows the pandemic has hit the restaurants and hospitality industry particularly hard. The financial burden of being closed for months has put strain on everyone and put some out of business. For restaurants preparing to reopen, evaluating if it will be fiscally responsible to open up when they are legally allowed to do so and determining what their business looks like in this new reality is a formidable task. We have all had to shift how we think about our businesses and we must stay agile and flexible if we want to thrive in the future. Here are some digital marketing tips to help you make the most of reopening your restaurant. Contact us if you have any questions about optimizing your website or online presence, we’re happy to help and would love to talk with you!

Restaurant Opening During COVID-19 Pandemic

1. Reset Your Marketing Plan    

However you establish your restaurant’s marketing plan (formal bound booklet, scribbles on a napkin, budget-breakdown one sheet), by now you’ve scrapped whatever that plan was for 2020. If you think “we do not have money for marketing” or “marketing is not something we should be focusing on now” then you’re not seriously considering this time as an opportunity to grow your business. There are plenty of things you can do for little/no cost that have a major impact on how potential guests find your business and become customers. So explore the internet, talk to your industry friends, join webinars, use free resources, make connections and build up an idea of how you’re going to get “butts in seats” this year and into 2021. Just remember: you can come out of this situation stronger, and your business will definitely look different than it did before.

2. Update Information on Online Listings

Online business directory listings provide crucial information to your potential customers, and consistency across all these listings (we manage dozens of listings for our clients) dramatically improves how search engines like Google rank your website. This is a key piece of Hudson Creative’s Search Engine Optimization service, one of our proven tactics to increase the number of people who see your business online and visit your website. An online listing can be highly visible directories like Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp, or lesser known networks like Acxiom or ShowMeLocal. Make sure to keep all your major listings updated with the latest information (i.e. temporary closures, new hours, or takeout/delivery offerings). We are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service experts and second-to-none when it comes to SEO for restaurants, so if you are having trouble accessing, getting ownership or making the most of your key listings, contact us! We have the knowledge and resources to help you improve your online presence to drive more business.

Restaurant Listings Optimized for SEO Results

3. Consider Your Restaurant’s Takeout & Delivery Options

There are two dueling realities currently for restaurants: what a business is allowed to do legally and what makes sense financially for that business to do. As individuals, companies and the government sort out what this new normal looks like, one thing is certain: takeout and delivery will continue to grow as an important revenue stream for restaurants. Take a look at the options for online ordering providers and decide if this will be a part of your business plan. Fold promotion of takeout and delivery into your marketing plan with things like email blasts, website updates, in-restaurant promotion and digital advertising. Takeout and delivery is now a more competitive space than ever with many restaurants diving into the game for the first time, so you have to build this revenue stream with proper promotion if you want it to succeed! Check out this case study on how we helped one of our clients double their orders via one of their online takeout/delivery system.

4. Over-Communicate Safety Procedures  

Offering information on how you are providing a safe experience for guests and workers is a crucial part of reopening your business and building customer confidence for your restaurant. Most people will appreciate the information, few will fault you for over-communicating and erring on the side of caution when it comes to the health and safety of your patrons. Consider all the ways to communicate your Coronavirus protocols and where to put this communication: your restaurant’s website (home page, FAQ page, dedicated Coronavirus page), third-party listings (i.e. Google My Business, Yelp, local directory listings like on nycgo.com), and in your restaurant.

5. Optimize Your Website

One thing that has not changed: people go online to discover restaurants and make their dining decisions. Search Engine Optimization ensures that people looking for a restaurant like yours, or a restaurant in your area, get to your website as opposed to your competitor’s site. Search Engine Optimization is about building momentum for long-term, sustainable growth of the business. Right now is a great time to invest in improving your website’s SEO, so your site is optimized for search as people start dining out again. Check out this case study that shows how we use search engine optimization to drive results web visibility and traffic.

Digital Marketing Agency Restaurant Website Design Revamp

Gumbo Bros. Catering Landing Page


Written By
Luke Forand

Luke is a sales and accounts rock star with marketing chops to match. He has 10+ years of experience building strong brands, strategies and systems to increase revenue. He has a passion for data-driven results and moves easily from planning to strategizing to implementing our marketing tactics.

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