When you own a restaurant, you know. You’ve spent your hard earned earnings and umpteen hours of hard work to put it up together. However, when it comes to marketing, most restaurateurs are confused what to do? Partnering with a restaurant marketing agency so you can take some of the work off your plate makes a lot of sense – it saves time and produces a better return. But, then how to be sure the agency you choose is a good fit for you and your business.

Here’s simple set of questions you need to ask before you sign the advance cheque. Use them to interview the potential hires shortlisted by your team and make an informed decision about the restaurant marketing Agency you want to hire.

1. DO THEY LOVE FOOD?

Give them your signature dish complementary. Ask them a question – What do they find unique about your dish vis a vis others. Ask them what’s their favourite dish and why? If the answer to these questions gives you an indication (Come On! you can smell people who know food) that the guys (and gals) love their food, hire them. Else say a polite no and move on. Learning is simple yet profound. Those who love their food will market your food well.

2. ARE THEY AWAKE WHEN YOU SLEEP?

Ask them what their working hours are. Mostly they will fall in 10 am to 6 pm regime. As the next question – Up to what time would they be available to communicate with you? How – Phone, What App, e-mail? You don’t use email all the time (Isn’t it?). Ask them if they will take your calls at 7.30 P.M just before your restaurant is readying itself for the hectic evening. Ask them if they would be available to work on Sunday afternoons.

You want to partner with the agency that fits your communication style. If you want your agency to be available whenever you want to pick up the phone and call them, you need to look for an agency that takes that approach too.

3. WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?

Restaurant marketing agencies specialize in different areas, even though there’s a lot of overlap between firms. However, it’s important to understand what the marketing agency you ultimately hire will do and what they will expect you to do.

You are a businessman and not a trained marketer. It’s very likely that you may not have detailed and documented consumer insights, don’t know where your customers come from and don’t have an articulation of your brand, it might be very difficult for any agency to help you. If this is the case, you’d be served best by working with a street smart and cost conscious agency that can help you lay this foundational groundwork by collecting consumer insights through setting up small experiments like talking to drivers in the parking lot to find information about your guests.

If you do have this information, then you need to make sure the agency you hire specializes in what you need. For example, if you have a great food photographer doing mouth watering photography of your signature dishes, then the agency needs to find a great food blogger who matches up with quality content. This combination of great pictures and reviews can weave the magic and get you great press coverage, almost free.

4. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR SERVICES?

With this question, you’re essentially asking who does what. It’s very important to know what role you’ll play in the partnership as well as what you can expect your restaurant marketing agency to do.

It might be helpful to create a list of items you need a marketing agency to take over for you before you initiate a dialogue. Try to get specifics here, because it’s easy to think you’re both on the same page when speaking in generalities.

For example, if the restaurant marketing firm says they’ll create a new website for you, make sure you know what that means. Will they come to your restaurant and take photos to put on your site or do you need to hire a photographer and submit photos to the agency? Will they create custom videos for your site or do you need to pay a third party to create them for you? Will your new website be mobile responsive and will it have intuitive features like seeking reviews as soon as the guests step out of the restaurant and are relishing the after taste of the rollicking food they had in your restaurant.

5. WHAT WILL YOU DELIVER AND WHEN?

Ask this question blunt? Ask how many reviews will you deliver? Will you work with the team to solicit genuine customer reviews? How many bookings will happen through the website? What will be the restaurant ranking in the google / yahoo / bing search? How many blogs will be posted in a month? Will special events / festive offers / food festivals be marketed as part of monthly retainer? Ask them how many FB likes and shares will be delivered in a month?

6. WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WORKING WITH RESTAURANTS?

A lot of questions will be answered by an agency who has worked with Restaurants in the past. Also companies who have served food delivery clients, food stuff companies will understand the category well. In the online world your restaurant is not just competing against your neighbour but also fighting for getting guests from Swiggy, Zomato and Food Pandas of the world. Experience counts.

You should inquire about their experience with local SEO and online reputation management as these are two essential components of restaurant marketing. Of course, you also want to get ahead of bad press if it were to occur. So, if online reputation management is something that you’re looking to have an agency take care of, you’ll want to make sure they have experience in public relations (PR).

So if the answer to these 6 questions (or the majority) is yes. You are well on your way to get the best ROI for your marketing budget.

GO AHEAD. SIGN UP!

Now without much delay, set up meetings with potential restaurant marketing agencies. You are well stocked with the ammunition to ask these 6 questions and hire the best Restaurant Marketing Agency for your business.