January 11, 2022

5 Trends Predicting What’s on Tap for Restaurant Marketers in 2022

By Mike Rocco

There’s a reason your feed is flooded with trend pieces at the start of every new year: trends matter. This is especially true for marketers like you in the fast-moving restaurant industry. 

When you’re able to hop on a trend quickly, you’ll gain more traction because your competitors aren’t participating in that trend yet. Case in point, we had a client ask us to go ham with their social media presence way back in 2009. And guess what? In 2022, their competitors still haven’t caught up to the engagement numbers our client has thanks to being an early social media adopter.

So yes, this is another 2022 trends article. But we promise reviewing these five trends is worthwhile. You’ll be able to reach your customers where they are — before your competitors get there.  

1. Write Content to Capture Voice Search Users  

Voice search is getting more and more popular. 2022 could very well be its biggest year yet. This is great news for your restaurant. Why? Because it’s easy for potential customers to use voice search on their phones to browse local eateries on the go. 

People use voice search to pose questions like, “Is there a Chick-fil-A near me?” “What’s the best Italian restaurant near me?” “What are the most popular restaurants on State Street?” 

Here’s the key to taking advantage of voice search this year. Work question and answer formatted text into your website’s copy when you can. For example, highlight that you’re a popular restaurant on State Street on your company’s “Contact Us” page. 

Surely you noticed that all of the common voice search questions above are just that — questions. That’s how users talk to Siri and other voice search-enabled devices. If your restaurant can answer their questions, you’ll gain SEO traction and rank higher for those inquiries. 

2. Expand Your Email Marketing List 

If you have an iPhone with the latest iOS, you’ve already seen apps prompt you to opt-in to tracking. Unsurprisingly, almost everyone chooses not to be tracked. As a result, conversion metrics we used to be able to follow on platforms like Facebook have disappeared. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as tracking and other privacy changes are concerned. Google also plans to stop tracking third-party cookies in 2023, which will be here before you know it. 

As a result of these privacy changes, marketers should look to first-party data — like email addresses — more and more in 2022. Email addresses that customers willingly give you are your best bet as far as reaching your target audience goes. 

To obtain more email addresses and feed your email marketing campaigns, you might consider offering incentives to customers in exchange for their email addresses. This is something a lot of restaurants are already doing. How about a free drink or dessert? Or a $10 discount on their first online order? 

Getting that sacred email address is worth the effort and incentive. Once you have someone’s email address, you can tailor your messages to their habits and lifestyle. In 2022, there’s no such thing as too much first-party data. 

3. Own All of Your Restaurant’s Online Channels 

It’s 2022, so whether you like it or not, your restaurant is all over the internet. It’s crucial that you own and manage your entire online presence. 

Start by auditing your website. Are you updating it regularly, or, like many restaurants, do you set it and forget it? Most would-be customers visit your website before visiting in person. You better leave them with a good taste in their mouths — pun intended. The same goes for social media. Are you posting haphazardly once a month? Or are you leveraging your social media platforms to truly engage your target audience?  

Remember, we said you have to own and manage your entire online presence, even the platforms you don’t know or wish you weren’t on — like Yelp and Google. 

Your restaurant is on Yelp whether you’ve claimed the page or not. You might as well claim it and monitor its content. Ditto for your Google Business listing. Make sure you’re taking the time to respond to both positive and negative customer reviews

You’re also in charge of your restaurant’s menu on your website and on channels you might not check as regularly. That includes delivery services you use, like GrubHub and DoorDash. Your menu is more visible than ever in 2022. Be sure it features enticing food descriptions and photography

Last thing: It’s no secret that we’re in an employees’ market. Hiring for all restaurant positions will continue to be really tough in 2022. Consequently, it’s in your best interest to look on websites like Glassdoor for employee ratings. You’re even less likely to attract top talent if the internet is full of negative Nicks slandering the work experience at your establishment. 

4. Tailor Your Social Media Content to Each Platform 

There’s a tendency for us marketers to post the same content across all of our social media channels. And repurposing content in this way used to be a best practice. But in 2022, the social media landscape is too diverse. One size content does not fit all. 

For instance, Instagram demands better images than Facebook. And Facebook is great for paid ads, while Gen-Z TikTok users will turn up their noses at your salesy “commercials.” 

The moral of this trend story is to create specific content for each of your restaurant’s social media channels. This might mean picking and choosing which platforms you’re on, and that’s okay. Just be sure the channels you are on are getting the custom treatment. 

5. Learn the Influencer Marketing Game 

Speaking of social media, influencer marketing is here to stay. In fact, Facebook just introduced Professional Mode for Facebook profiles. Professional Mode enables individual users to make money for themselves and brands (ahem, influencer marketing) in a way only Facebook Pages could do before. 

With Facebook in the influencer marketing game, it’s time for you to learn how to do influencer marketing right for your restaurant. It’s more complicated than you think, but an effective influencer marketing campaign could mean big gains — and perhaps a viral post or two — for your restaurant. 

We Wish You Good Marketing Luck and Good Restaurant Food in 2022

Happy New Year, our fellow restaurant marketers! 

We wish you all the best this year. Hopefully, with these five trends in mind, your marketing strategy will be as delicious as your best selling appetizer this year.