Restaurant Marketing is About to Change in the U.S.

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Blog | No Comments

zomato logo


It’s been awhile since a major change in modern restaurant marketing. Here in the U.S., restaurants have pretty much accepted Yelp, Facebook, and Urbanspoon as the tools available to get their name out there. Well, that’s about to change. India-based start-up Zomato has just announced a $60 million acquisition of Urbanspoon – more than doubling their traffic and netting the company instant coverage across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Sleek and fast, Zomato’s website is easy to understand and is quick to offer up search results. Key information about each eatery is easily digestible (pun intended). It also sports user reviews and images like the other elephant in the room, Yelp.

In addition to its usability, Zomato brings a well-crafted, warm voice to its content. Their goal is to celebrate food lovers. Emphasis on lovers. One of their biggest differentiating factors from Yelp will be the friendlier culture that they’ve cultivated so far. In fact, Zomato will even filter reviews based on if they seem like spam or not. That’s a competitive leg up over Yelp’s infamous rant reviews. Maybe it’s an American thing, though. Who knows if Zomato will experience the same renaissance of sass.

No matter what happens on the user side of things, Zomato will be making waves in how restaurants are marketed.

Diversity in Marketing Methods

This will be the first big name marketing platform for restaurants that’s based outside of the United States. At first, that may just sound like a fun fact. But it’s not; it’s a huge deal.

Although Zomato’s clever foodie writing sounds like start-up lingo, if you take a closer look it has an international appeal. Zomato will bring new sensibilities and new ideas to an otherwise very American market. And that’s the beauty of diversity. People from different backgrounds with different life experiences will have new and different ideas about how to do things. The most surprising ramifications of this are probably yet to be seen.

More Feet on the Ground

From the Zomato hiring page, it looks like they have a staff of people in each city they represent. Who knows if they’ll be able to keep this up with such a fast expansion, but their commitment to this so far bodes well. Between sales managers and advertising-focused approaches, Zomato will be making sure that restaurants have a say in their visibility online. On their site, there seems to only be Facebook-like sidebar ads. I’m willing to bet that their content writer positions are funded by paid ‘feature’ restaurants for their fun lists and ongoing coverage in each city.

This means that for those restaurants who haven’t taken the time to establish an online, social presence before… it’s going to cost you to compete now.

Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

It’s not too late to start establishing your brand identity now. In Columbus, this has been a surprisingly easy game seeing how much of a foodie city we are. Most residents rely on national apps or local reviews (Columbus Underground, Breakfast with Nick, the taco truck tours…). Meyer Bennett Creative is a branding agency with a history of working with big names in the local restaurant business. Contact us or call 614.485.9913 for more info about our services.

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