Are you a foreign restaurant owner and want to establish your own business in China? Do you have no clue 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 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 centers when it comes to attracting consumers. It should also be noted that each Chinese region has its own favorite 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 is 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 optimization
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 into Chinese as most Chinese people have a low level of proficiency in English. Actually, despite significant 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.
You can see here the O Shanghai Sushi restaurant which is using neutral colors. 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 optimized 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.
DianPing is a mobile app and website which is very similar to its 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.
Here are some Chinese websites you can partner with for your online PR:
- Xiao Mi Shu > http://www.xiaomishu.com/
Xiao Mi Shu is a website that enables Chinese users to book a restaurant online.
- Open Rice > http://www.openrice.com.cn
- Nuo Mi > https://nuomi.com/
Leverage the power of Social Networks
Finally, you have social media platforms. As 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 that 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.
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.
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 ex-pats as well.
We are a Wechat Marketing agency and can help you to develop your followers on Wechat.
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Why content marketing is vital in China ?: What is Content Marketing ? The Content marketing is a strategic a… https://t.co/Qdgnlns8T8
— Olivier VEROT (@Olivierverot) 25 mai 2016
We are an Luxury feel asia restaurant giving a wholesome experience over a fine dining meal.
We are spread out in two floors, Bar & lounge and Shisha garden by South of Thames Riverside. Opposite to New American Embassy and Battersea Power station.
Overall we can serve 225 people in a go.
Spice in the food can be tuned down to medium to mild preferences. When your guest visit to London, they can also have British experience.
Please let us know, how to promote our restaurant among Chinese People
We can help you , please contact us VISH. 😉
Your picture are so beautiful! It makes me hungry haha. By the way, I have a restaurant in China and this article is very interesting. There are many expats in my restaurant but not that much Chinese people. I want to attract them. I didn’t know that Dian Ping and Mei Tuan are the best app for netizen chinese. I will read others article about the subject. Thank you!