13 Ways for Multi-Location Restaurants to Build Local Brand Affinity

By Raubi Perilli

      Jan 31, 2022     Solutions    

One of the challenges of running a multi-location restaurant is showing customers you aren’t a generic chain, but rather, a local business that is a part of the community. Customers may be quick to assume that brands with multiple locations aren't parts of the local culture and community. But, minds can change.  

Local customers can start to see a multi-location restaurant as an integral part of their community. They can build local brand affinity that makes them want to support, promote, and regularly visit the location in their area.  

How to Build Local Brand Affinity

Here are a few ways to use regional marketing to build local brand affinity for your multi-location restaurant.

#1) Create location pages on your website.

To let customers know you have a footprint in their area, start with your website. Rather than have one website that speaks to customers in all communities, add pages that reach customers where they are. Create a location page for each of your restaurants. This page will offer information and messaging that is directly related to that location, giving you an opportunity to showcase what makes that restaurant  unique. Location pages also support a local SEO strategy.

#2) Add each location to local business directories.

You want local customers to be able to quickly find the location nearest to them. You want them to be able to find you when searching for your brand name as well as keywords that are related to your restaurant and area. Adding each of your locations to business directories will help you accomplish this. Creating unique business profiles on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Local Area Sites will make it easier for nearby customers to find you through search.  

Read More: How to Use Google My Business for Multiple Locations

#3) Create separate social pages for each location.

One more place to make a local impact online for your multi-location restaurant is through unique social media pages. While you don’t need a separate social media page for every location on every platform, it can be beneficial to create a few location-specific pages. For example, create a unique page for each location on Facebook and Instagram so customers can tag themselves at specific locations.  

Read More: Your Guide to Managing Social Media Profiles for a Multi-Location Business

#4) Use segmentation in your email marketing campaigns.

Just as you want your content on social media to hit the right regional audience, you also want your email marketing to reach the right people. When creating email marketing campaigns, use audience segmentation to split up your email list by location. Create unique email campaigns for customers based on the restaurant closest to them or the restaurant they visit most.  

Read More: How to Create a Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy

#5) Add menu items that reflect regional tastes.

Building local brand affinity for a multi-location restaurant isn’t just about creating unique marketing, it’s about adjusting your operations to also match regional needs. Consider how you can make small adjustments in each of your locations to match regional tastes. For example, if you run a yogurt shop, you may want to add a Florida Orange flavor for your southern stores and a Blueberry for your locations near Maine.

#6) Add decor that ties your location to the area.

In the same way that you update offerings to match regional tastes, also consider how you can update your store decor to match the local culture. Think about how a store in Albuquerque, New Mexico might look and feel different than a store in Honolulu, Hawaii. Consider how you can use furniture and art to style your location to look like it fits into the region it’s located in.

#7) Create content related to local conversations.

The messaging from your brand should also match the culture and conversations in the area of your location. Consider how you can tie regional stories, events, attractions, and history to the content you create. For example, if you have a location in New Orleans, you may share content on that location’s page about Mardi Gras, but you wouldn’t likely share it from your location in San Francisco.

#8) Get featured in local media.

A great way to build local brand recognition and affinity is by getting your name in the local news. Reach out to both traditional and digital media outlets. Talk to local news stations about doing a story on your business or initiatives like local charity efforts. Also, work with local media channels and magazines to get featured in round-up lists of the best businesses in the area. Create your free business profile on Local Area Sites for a chance to have your business featured in your area.  

Related: How to Get Local Press Coverage for Your Business  

#9) Sponsor local events.

Put your brand name in front of nearby customers by sponsoring events in your community. Look for events that will attract your ideal customers and pay to put your name on banners, include coupons in giveaway bags, or even serve up free samples. Events are a great way to build local brand affinity, and they are also a strong lead generation tool as you can use your visibility as an opportunity to get attendees to sign up for your email or text marketing list.

#10) Give back to your community.

One of the best ways to build brand affinity in a community is by directly giving back to that community. Charitable efforts help the community, and they help your brand. For each of your locations, consider how you can create unique initiatives to get involved with local, trusted charities. Donating to and sponsoring causes and groups big and small is win-win for everyone involved.

#11) Use location-based marketing to reach the right audiences.

In some cases, you may need to put paid advertising into action to reach customers around your business. When you take this approach with a multi-location restaurant, use location-based marketing tactics, like geotargeting and geofencing, to ensure you are reaching the customers most likely to visit your business.  

Related: Addressable Geofencing: How to Use Location Targeting to Reach Customers

#12) Use data to optimize and improve operations at each location.

When you run multiple locations, each restaurant will produce unique results from a unique customer base. Make sure you have data that helps you identify those differences. Set up systems that allow you to monitor which stores perform the best, which items are the most popular at each location, and other data points that can inform your marketing and operational decisions.  

Related: How Multi-Location Restaurants Can Use Data to Increase Revenue & Improve Operations

#13) Ask for feedback.

If you want to build local brand affinity and connect with nearby customers, talk to them! Don’t make your brand messaging a one-way conversation. Ask for feedback and engage in social listening to pick up on customer sentiment, needs, and wants. The more you get to know your customers, the better you will be able to provide the offerings and services they want and need.  

Read More: Succeed at Multi-Location Marketing by Following These 7 Best Practices

Build More Local Brand Affinity with MyArea Network

Multi-location marketing can be a challenge. When trying to reach unique customers in unique places, you need to market your brand as whole while keeping in mind the regional nuances that can connect your store to your community.  

Use these tips to build local brand affinity for each of your restaurants. For help with any of these initiatives, talk to our team at MyArea Network. We specialize in helping brands make lasting connections with locals in their community through our managed services and local marketing platform.  

Let’s talk about how we can build more local brand affinity for your regional brand.