CAFE & RESTAURANT MARKETING: What does effective cafe marketing look like in 2019? It’s more th

Cafe and restaurant marketing in Sydney has changed a lot in a short few years. Since launching back in 2010, there’s no arguing that Instagram and it’s application has changed dramatically. From a simple photo-sharing app to a marketing goldmine, Instagram is now being used by businesses, especially in the food scene in Sydney to reach customers in large numbers. It’s no secret that hospitality frontrunners are using the app well as it’s perfectly suited for great styled food photos and videos.

Back in 2013, we helped a little known café by the name of The Grounds of Alexandria to establish a social media presence, which in turn gained the attention of hungry eyes, who were now willing to travel to an out of the way industrial estate in Alexandria for brunch. The rest is history, the Grounds became one of the most posted about must visit places in Sydney, right up there with the Harbour Bridge!  Since then, we have worked with over 80+ great cafes, restaurants and hospitality brands in Sydney and over the last 6 years developed and refined a marketing model specifically for hospitality businesses that bring in customers, builds brand awareness and reputation. We began to see what the similarities were between all our best clients and what aspects of the marketing worked best for them. It was through this testing back and forth that we began to form a refined model and also timing of when things would be done to gain maximum impact.

Because we have been in the industry since the early days of cafe and restaurant marketing we have seen social media marketing evolve dramatically and we have had to evolve with it. While acknowledging the power of the Instagram, we have also come to realise that instead of relying solely on the one platform, it should be only a part of a whole marketing package. Back when the Instagram was in it’s high growth organic phase it did most of the heavy lifting in the marketing for cafes and restaurants.

Although posting regular high-quality content to Instagram and Facebook remains important and is still vital to maintain a presence, it is now only one part of many factors needed to attract customers into your venue.

With 6 years of experience, working with a bevvy of hospitality clients, we have come up with a tried and tested formula for the best way to market your café or restaurant in 2019.

These are outlined below: The other marketing items needed on top of Instagram for Cafes and restaurants.

Professional Photography for Online Platforms

Employing a professional photographer to shoot all of your menu items is essential to appeal to audiences. Your chef or staff members taking low-quality snaps with an iPhone will no longer suffice! All of the best hospitality names will have professional photos taken to make the business look professional and enticing. This is usually done with a good food photographer that knows how to bring out the best in the menu. We have taken over 100K food photos in our time and the equipment keeps getting more and more sophisticated!

Daily Posting at Optimum Times for Instagram and Facebook

To build a solid Instagram and Facebook following, you must be posting aesthetically appealing photos your audience want to see. BUT, you also have to post at the right time. If you don’t, your audience won’t see it! By posting at an optimal time of the day, you will be able to maximise the level of engagement.

Active Instagram Targeted Growth Strategy

Following and engaging with the type of Instagram users who would typically be interested in your content and venue and would likely follow and share your content. This is a time-consuming and manual process but can have great benefits for your brand awareness and reach if given the correct attention. It typically requires several hours on a daily basis to actively target and build your fan base quickly but pays dividends over time and is the only way to build a fan base these days.

Influencer Marketing

Instagram influencers have been named the new celebrity endorsement. Building relationships with influencers and bloggers who regularly post about the food they have eaten or restaurants they have visited can be extremely beneficial for your brand. When Instagram users see that your cafe or restaurant has been endorsed by a popular influencer, this increases brand perception and encourages them to visit your venue. The fact that influencers also have a large audience to post to, also means that posts about your cafe or restaurant will be seen by more people. 

Public Relations

Press coverage and publicity is a must if you are wanting to maximise your venue’s exposure. A well written, on-brand press release about your venue should be distributed to food publications, in the hope of captivating their interest. Pitching to publications with a story about your venue could result in them potentially covering a story about you. The subsequent media hype, as a result, will put you on the map and enhance your reputation.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is essential for all posts, posters, events, flyers etc. to make your overall brand appear professional, uniform and on brand.

Facebook and Instagram Advertising

Paid advertising on Instagram and Facebook can help you to appear in the news-feeds of potential customers – even those that don’t follow you! By launching a creative and engaging ad campaign with a call to action at the end, targeted to specific audiences, you can create a dialogue with potential customers.  With Facebook totally monetised and Instagram going that way you have to pay to play. Rather than lament about the good old days when organic was great, it’s has been necessary to adapt with the platforms as they change. Cafe and restaurants wanting to market to audiences with offerings have a laser guided tool with paid ads that reach their most likely customers. A good social media marketer will know how to use these effectively to target the audience you want seeing your food and drinks.

Hospitality Social Sites

Being across all social platforms is the best way to increase the exposure and reach of your brand online. Beyond, Instagram and Facebook, there is also Google Business, Zomato, TripAdvisor and Yelp which have large user bases in their own right. With so much to choose from out there now savvy customers cross check across all these platforms on top of Instagram and  Facebook before they decide to visit. You never know which image or which site your customer will see first before deciding to visit your cafe or restaurant so it’s vital to be consistent and attractive on all of them.

Other non digital marketing strategies

Good overall hospitality marketing involves more than just digital strategies. There are still audiences that look beyond digital to make decisions and you have to get your customers returning. There’s no point doing all the hard work, getting your customer in but not getting them returning because of many other factors such as food, ambience, price etc. Also when they are in it’s an ideal time to market to them and that’s where alot of the non digital strategies kick in such as the right call to action flyers, letter box drops, the correct signage etc. Marketing is the most effective when the online and physical combine with a great product and that’s when the magic really happens!

The formula for marketing your café or restaurant in 2019


It’s a lot to think about right? Traditionally, you would need to tackle it yourself or employ expert consultants in each of the areas. A PR agency, marketing agency, food photographer, videographer, menu consultant, influencer agency and graphic designer to achieve the above-suggested strategy. That’s a lot of cost and a lot of different consultants to work with and usually out of the budget of small food operators.

That’s why at CPM, we felt there was a need for a typical cafe and restaurant owner wanting to market themselves to have access to all the professional services that only the larger operators could afford. Large operators such as Merivale, Solotel and The Rockpool Group all understand the importance of marketing and have their teams working on it around the clock. What we wanted was for the smaller operators to have the same level of expertise and service at their disposal as well. CPM’s marketing packages include an umbrella of the above-mentioned services under the one roof. By having specialists in each of these areas, you no longer have to outsource them separately. We understand that as a busy cafe or restaurant owner, trying to run a business is no easy feat and it’s why we provide all of these specialist capabilities at a price point that is much more affordable than separately. 

If this is of interest contact info@cpmonlinemarketing.com today to see how we can help you.