Shut down dining rooms. Limited hours. Carry out only service. Restaurants & bars have faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thriving businesses have found themselves in the midst of financial struggles they never could have anticipated.
Bars & restaurants have been forced to get creative in terms of how they market themselves. At the beginning of the pandemic, many of them took some unique approaches to overcome customer objections about the safety of getting takeout & simply persuade them to place an order.
But even though many restaurants have reopened & owners have found ways to operate within the safety guidelines, the fact remains: COVID-19 has completely changed the conversation in the food & hospitality industry.
And business owners now need to learn how to navigate that dialogue in a way that continues to advertise their restaurants while still being conscious of the unique experiences of their patrons.
One thing that has not changed is that being online is absolutely crucial for any business’s survival. Not only is it necessary to keep your existing customers, but it’s vital to ensuring that you continue creating awareness of your product or service.
Facebook ads allow you to do both. By targeting customers at all stages of their Value Journey with your business, you can reach them with messages, offers & information to help them engage with your business.
As the conversation surrounding bars & restaurants as well as the needs of customers continues to evolve, these businesses are trying new approaches with Facebook ads to promote their menu. But it isn’t just about finding ways to start conversations about your brand online.
It’s also about having the sensitivity to resonate with customers & the complex concerns & emotions they are experiencing.
Creating Facebook ads in the restaurant industry will continue to be a delicate balancing act of business promotion & understanding the unique experiences of their ideal customers.
With that said, a number of restaurants, from small businesses to well-known chains, are getting the conversation right.
Here’s our list of 5 who are doing an exceptional job of using restaurant facebook ads to sensitively, helpfully & even humorously connect with people.
Located in Brookline, Massachusetts, Blossom Bar is an Asian-themed restaurant that is widely known for its unique cocktail menu. With the bar closed at the beginning of the pandemic, they needed a creative way to continue selling drinks.
As a result, the Craft Blossom Mixer was born. Blossom’s website describes it as “a Build-A-Bear for cocktails.” Customers can place orders for kits with all the ingredients & instructions to make their favorite cocktails at home.
In addition, Blossom ran a Facebook ad for their new promotion that included a video of how to make one of their signature drinks, as well as the ingredients.
Why It Works
The ad & promotion work for a couple of reasons. First, they meet the needs of customers who want cocktails, but aren’t comfortable eating at a restaurant or visiting a bar. But they also make the ad fun, engaging & helpful, ultimately creating more awareness for customers.
By using a video ad, they are also providing a tutorial on how to make the drinks. Whether customers order the kit or simply purchase the ingredients themselves, they have an inside look into mixing their favorite Blossom beverage.
Carousel ads are a creative way to display multiple images rather than one single photograph. Of course, they work great for showcasing a selection of products & previewing what customers will see when they click the link to shop.
However, they can also be used to tell stories & gradually unfold the message of your brand. That’s what good old Mickey-D’s did to roll out their contactless order & pickup process.
The four-panel carousel ad relays the steps of placing a contactless order in a humorous, entertaining & informative manner, with a surprise twist at the end.
Why It Works
The carousel ad is a perfect format for acclimating viewers to the new pickup procedure, especially for customers who may be apprehensive about ordering food & having contact with people.
It lets them know what to do & what to expect in a friendly, down-to-earth tone that speaks to the situation of the pandemic in a way that is funny, building both authority & trust in the pickup process & evoking a positive emotional response.
Panera gives another great example of a carousel ad that communicates a safe pickup process, but takes a different approach by using video instead of still images.
Coupled with text that relates each step, the videos show enticing images of Panera’s signature cinnamon rolls, showing that while the ordering process may have changed, the food offerings have not & it’s safe to take your favorite dishes home.
It also presents a bonus: a coupon code for $5 off online orders at the end of the ad.
Why It Works
First of all, let’s state the obvious: that cinnamon roll looks delicious. But beyond that, it takes McDonald’s strategy a step further by offering a coupon as an incentive for people to place an order.
As a result, they aren’t enticing customers to get one of those cinnamon rolls (or other menu options) to go. They’re offering a lead magnet.
They therefore overcome two objections—concerns about safety, as well as any possible price obstacles.
Tired of eating at home? This sushi restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona addresses the frustration of wanting out of the house for a normal night out in this series of ads showing how to spice up dinner with orders to go.
Using enticing images of their food & fun taglines, the ads paint a picture of a boring night at home transformed into a night to remember. “You don’t have to go out to go all out,” one ad proclaims. Another headline encourages viewers to “Make Your Place Feel Less Like You Place.”
Why It Works
From a copy level, the headlines are catchy, with repetitive language that is both humorous & makes the message memorable. However, it also connects emotionally with viewers & their desire for a night with loved ones that is a little closer to normal.
RA Sushi’s strategy paints a Before & After story in a way that causes viewers to envision an evening that is transformed simply with their favorite dishes at home.
El Rodeo Family Mexican Restaurant
2020 may have been challenging to say the least…but according to El Rodeo in Bend, Oregon, tacos are the ultimate cure for negativity. Their ad is simple: an image of tacos with the tagline “Inhale Tacos. Exhale Negativity” accompanied by the restaurant’s logo.
But it’s the ad copy that works together with the image to really make it a winner: “You deserve better in 2020. You deserve tacos.”
Why It Works
Good marketing uses emotion to connect with customers in a way that shows how their product solves a problem. According to El Rodeo’s tongue-in-cheek humor, if 2020 is the problem, tacos are the solution.
The viewers have been through a lot, & El Rodeo can release some of that negativity with a delicious Mexican meal. Bonus points for the use of the taco emoji, as emojis in general make Facebook ads that much more engaging.
How To Make Ads Work For You
Even if you don’t run a restaurant, your customers are still feeling the frustrations & pains of the pandemic.
The unprecedented situation we are in is also magnifying even the most basic needs & concerns, which means your business is in a position to create awareness & help those who engage.
So how do you do that? Dig into Facebook ads. If you want to learn more about an ad strategy & what it can do for your business, our Better Facebook Ads Evaluation can help.
Get a complimentary session with a Customer Value Optimization Specialist & learn how to build an ad campaign that appeals to your target customers.
Click here to schedule now.