7 Effective Copywriting Tips for Attracting More Restaurant Customers

There’s a lot of confusion about what copywriting really is. Most people confuse copywriting with content writing. While you need both good copywriting and content writing to promote your business, copywriters write with a specific purpose in mind. That is to advertise your restaurant and convince people to come and visit.

There’s no need to stress the importance of having phenomenal copy. Great copywriting is and always will be a mainstay of all successful marketing campaigns. However, in this day and age of ubiquitous digital marketing, it’s more important than ever for you to produce effective copy that grabs your customers’ attention, stimulates their senses, and evokes powerful emotions.

In the foodservice industry, with so many restaurants vying for people’s attention, it’s even more crucial for you to use copy that can help you tickle your customers’ fancy and stand out from the competition. Below are seven tried-and-tested copywriting tips that can help you achieve that.

  1. Know your audience.

Who are you writing for? The first and most important thing you should do, even before you put a word down on paper, is to identify who you’re writing for. Different types of restaurants will obviously have different types of audience. For example, a family-friendly fast-casual will have very different customers compared to a trendy speakeasy bar or a pizza delivery service for college students.

Most restaurants are perfectly content with working with a broad demographic. If you want to be different, however, zero in on a single person and craft your message towards that one reader. What are her pain points? Buying preferences? Food that she actually buys? Getting to know this single person that sums up your audience will help you write in a language that she can understand. And this brings us to No. 2.

  1. Write in their language.

Whoever your ideal reader is, write in the same language that they use to speak with. That means, for most restaurants, that you need to write your copy using everyday conversational language that everyone can understand. Resist the urge to throw in big words and technical phrases that you think will make you look better than other restaurants. On the contrary, using overly complicated words and technical jargon in your copy will make you look like you’re trying too hard. And if customers don’t understand what you’re talking about, you lose the chance to connect emotionally with them. Use this simple rule of thumb: If someone who doesn’t work in the foodservice industry doesn’t know what you’re talking about, take it out.

Business clichés are another thing to look out for. These weather-beaten phrases have no place in your copy. What does it really mean for a restaurant to be “forward-thinking” or “results-driven”? No one honestly knows. It’s best to give these outdated phrases a rest.  

  1. Highlight your Unique Selling Proposition.

A Unique Selling Proposition is something that only you can offer. Your competitors don’t offer it, and though you may try to offer it in the future after they see you being successful with it, you will have long benefited from it before copycats enter the scene.

A Unique Selling Proposition also increases the perceived value of your offer and will make customers more likely to buy from you. For example, how can a Chinese delivery service crush the competition in a city where there’s a Chinese takeout joint at every corner? Perhaps the restaurant employs only Chinese chefs who are trained in the traditional art of wok hey, or wok cooking. Or perhaps they use only the freshest, finest ingredients imported from the Land of the Red Dragon itself. The restaurant’s Unique Selling Proposition could be “authentic Chinese food delivered straight to your door.”  

  1. Use sensory words.

Eating is a sensory experience. Unfortunately, you can’t make customers taste the flavor of food, hear the sounds of cracklings cooking in the deep-fryer, or smell the aroma of chocolate chip cookies wafting from the oven. The next best thing you can do is to write good copy that stimulates as many of the senses.  

Smell, for instance, is a very primal sense. Studies show that the sense of smell is so powerful that simply smelling a certain scent can trigger memories from the past, so don’t hold back when writing about the fragrant, earthy scents of rosemary and basil or the minty fresh goodness of an ice-cold summer drink. Taste is also crucial. You can write about the taste of food by describing their flavors, such as the sweet, tart, or savory, or describe the intensity of their flavors. A chili con carne, for example, can go from mild to spicy to downright on fire. Writing about the texture of food can help customers imagine how the food feels inside the mouth. There’s a reason why rich dark chocolate with creamy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness and crispy, juicy fried chicken sell better than just regular old chocolate and fried chicken.

  1. Make your copy all about your customers.

Yes, you are writing about your food, your restaurant, and your business, but your customers don’t really care. When people interact with any business, they’re not doing it for the benefit of that business. They’re doing it for themselves. They want to know the answer to the question “What’s in it for me?”

It is in your business’s best interest to give them that answer. What benefits can they get when they dine at your restaurant? Will they get to eat delicious food and enjoy a pleasant experience? Effective copywriting is all about highlighting what your customers can gain from your business, not what you can gain from them.

A simple trick to make sure you’re writing as a customer-centric copy as possible is to be liberal in using the words “you” and “your” and minimize the use of “we,” “us,” or “ours.” Standard copywriting advice also advocates for the use of the active voice in writing because this helps you naturally use “you” more often.

  1. Tell a story.

Everyone loves a good story. Our ancestors have been sharing stories over the light of a bonfire for thousands of years. Some restaurants may have a family recipe that has been passed down from one generation to another and that recipe has since become their bestseller. Other restaurants may highlight the fact that their ingredients come from some unknown corner of the world. One of the most loved stories is the success story, which often follows the journey of the restaurant owner, from typically humble beginnings through hardships until they have triumphed and reached their dreams.

What’s your story? And how can you incorporate that into your marketing copy?

  1. Write with personality.

Copywriting has evolved quickly over the last several decades. In the past, you may get away with saying, “But wait, there’s more. Order in the next 10 minutes and we’ll double your order. Free!” These days, with so much marketing material clogging the airways, people are getting burned out from all the hard-sell infomercial-type copy. People don’t like being sold to; they want to interact with a real, live person.

And by injecting personality into your copy, whether it’s witty or edgy or cheeky with a hint of sarcasm, you’re bringing out the human behind the business and connecting with your customers at a more personal, more intimate level. So figure out what voice you want to write in and use that same voice in all your marketing copy.