Are you are a foreign restaurant owner and want to establish your own business in China? Do you have no clue on how you can attract Chinese guests to come to eat at your restaurant? We will introduce in this article several digital strategies you should use to attract your target, Chinese customers.

The catering market in China

According to the IBISWorld report, the catering market in China reached US$494.6 billion in 2015. There has been a huge diversification of the services offered to Chinese customers. Thanks to the growing Chinese middle-class as well as a higher disposable incomes, Chinese people increasingly go out for leisure at cafes, bars, the cinema, etc. Since they are away from home they tend to eat out.

According to HKDTC Consulting, offering a unique taste and overall experience are both major selling points to attract Chinese customers. Good catering services and restaurants of a unique character have become one of the major selling points in commercial districts and shopping centres when it comes to attracting consumers.It should also be noted that each Chinese region has its own favourite tastes. For example, Shanghainese prefer sweet-savory meals, whilst those in Sichuan province prefer spicy food.. and so on.

Marketing for restaurants in China

More than half of the Chinese population are now connected to the internet. Actually, there are more than 660 million Chinese internet users. It is also estimated that 9 out of 10 Chinese netizens own a social media account. Needless to say, Chinese customers won’t just go out and try any restaurant. They tend to go online first to get more information and check out some restaurant reviews.

Website (in Chinese) and SEO optimisation

The first step to an online presence in any country is by having a website. If you want Chinese customers to gather relevant information such as your contact information or menu on the web, you will have to create a website in Chinese. It should absolutely be translated in Chinese as most Chinese people have a low level of proficiency in English. Actually, despite signifant government investment China still ranks 47th (out of 70 countries included) in the EF (education first) English Proficiency International Ranking.

In addition, you should provide relevant content for the Chinese visitor and use only high-quality pictures and videos. You can share your website information about your menu, address, contact information, social media QR codes and even links to online articles/positive reviews about your restaurant.

Sushi o

You can see here the O Shanghai Sushi restaurant which is using neutral colours. It also presents a menu with high-quality pictures and all of this is in Chinese, they also have an English version.

Now that you have a website, you have to get some Chinese visitors. The easiest and most natural way to look for information online is by going through a Chinese search engine. The most used search engine in China is Baidu. Baidu has more than 80% of the market share. Using the right keywords and utilizing PPC and a general SEO strategy will help you to drive more traffic.

More information about SEO in China 

 

 

Chinese entertainment and catering finder mobile app

Now that you have an optimised website you should create an account on the most used apps by Chinese netizens : Dian Ping and Mei Tuan. Chinese potential customers can scroll through your profile and look at your menu, pictures taken from former customers and even read reviews.

dianpingdianping

DianPing is a mobile app and website which is very similar to the western counterpart Yelp. Chinese users can find several things through the app like restaurants, KTV, cinemas and so on.Another great app you can use to gain more visibility is Mei Tuan. It offers the same services as Dian Ping.

 

Press releases and Online Media

 

Another way to get better in terms of ranking on Baidu and to attract more Chinese customers is by having a good online reputation. You can create a positive reputation by collaborating with dedicated food and beverage Chinese websites that will write articles about your restaurant. They could mention your restaurant + contact information in one of their articles or post a review of your restaurant.

xiaomishu

Here are some Chinese websites you can partner with for your online PR:

Xiao Mi Shu is a website that enables Chinese users to book a restaurant online.

 

Leverage the power of Social Networks

Finally, you have the social media platforms. Like I said earlier about 90% of Chinese netizens own a social media account. The main Chinese social media platforms in China are WeChat, WeiBo,QQ, Qzone and Ren Ren. WeChat has more than 690 million active users worldwide. Since it is a Chinese instant messaging mobile app, China is the main market. You also have Weibo, a microblogging platform which has more than 222 million active users. It is estimated that 68% of adult Chinese netizens are active on WeChat. Also about 60% open the app at least 10 times a day.

geeksalade wechat

On this image, you can see GeekSalad’s official page. You can order food directly via WeChat. Some restaurants even offer special promotions or a special membership program.

If you want to promote your restaurant, you can create an official account on WeChat and Weibo. On WeChat, an official account will offer additional features such as the possibility to create your own app in order to promote special offers to your followers.

creperie

Also, don’t forget to share your QR code on your official website, just like “Creperie” a French restaurant in Shanghai did. It is a good idea to offer the app in Chinese and in English so you can attract expats as well.

We are a Wechat Marketing agency and can help you to develop your followers on Wechat.

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