As customers invest more energy into searching for the perfect restaurant, more Americans than ever consider gluten-free options essential. Nearly 3.1 million people adhere to gluten-free diets according to a 2017 study from the Mayo Clinic, making the restriction three-times more popular than it was in 2009. The gluten-free phenomenon, now on the rise for the better part of a decade, is more than just a fad and restaurants that market gluten-free options are more desirable to this growing customer base.Restaurants that effectively market #glutenfree menu options are more desirable to this growing customer base. #restaurantmarketing Click To Tweet
Here are our favorite ways to market gluten-free menu items in your restaurant:
Optimize Online Listings With “Gluten-Free”
Yelp and Google reviews make this a customer’s world, but restaurants now have the opportunity to strengthen their positions online with Yext for Food, a tool that allows restaurants to add unique food attributes to their online listings, such as “gluten-free.” Yext for Food lets the restaurant owners manage their business information across all the top online publishers from a single dashboard. These include Google, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, and food-specific publishers such as Zomato, AllergyEats, Postmates more.
By denoting your restaurant as gluten-free in search engine and directory listings, users are more likely to find your restaurant for gluten-free keywords that are gaining in popularity, like:
- “Gluten-free restaurants near me”
- “Restaurants near me with gluten-free menus”
- “Restaurants that serve gluten-free meals”
- “Gluten-free take out near me”
By making this simple addition to your restaurant’s online listings, gluten-free consumers are more likely to find you online.
Update Menu Design with Gluten-Free Symbols
Go big or go home. All of your menus should have a separate section for gluten-free options or use symbols to mark gluten-free items, a method also used to designate dishes that are spicy or contain raw ingredients with a key on the menu. But don’t stop there. Work closely with your team to ensure that items labeled gluten-free remain that way; common misconceptions regarding what gluten is can mean that gluten sometimes sneaks its way into dishes through unexpected ingredients (like condiments) and customer trust is difficult to earn back.
Revamp Signage and MarketingLess is more when integrating #glutenfree designs into your #restaurantmarketing materials and store signage. Click To Tweet
Less is more when integrating gluten-free options into your marketing materials. A simple “gluten-free options now available” notice might be enough to get customers in the door. Staying on-brand here is key; a restaurant designed around wellness and healthy eating can easily capitalize on gluten-free options. A rough-and-tough burger joint would do better to make gluten-free dishes appeal to their current base rather than try to capture a completely new audience.
Share your new gluten-free menu items on your social media channels. Make Pinterest-worthy images with professional food photography to make a more memorable social media post. Staying on-brand continues online, as customers engaged on social media will be the easiest to win over with new menu items. However, putting extra thought into the way you share will take the message farther. Make a visual impact, be witty whenever possible, and remember to research the best times and days of the week to post depending on the platform.
Incentivize Food Bloggers & Instagram Influencers
Food blogs and Instagram health stars have a greater influence on potential customers than ever, and having a well-respected blogger compliment your food is a key component to a strong marketing push for gluten-free items.Reach out to #foodbloggers and Instagram influencers for reviews on your latest #glutenfree fare to increase positive brand exposure. Click To Tweet
Pitch unique items and new offerings (like your gluten-free editions) and be sure to explain how your restaurant is different from the next place on the block. Instagram influencers with high engagement are also extremely desirable and can usually be enticed with a free meal or gift card.