How to do Digital Marketing for F&B?

If you are thinking about how to do digital marketing for your restaurant, cafes or even coffee shops, then you must know that digital marketing is important. But, how important is it? To benchmark, we look at the growth of people looking for via search engine.

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Why is digital marketing important for the F&B industry? 

To demonstrate this, we will use Singapore's online food delivery service to highlight to you the importance of digital marketing. 

When we embark on a digital strategy or create a marketing plan, we are looking for potential customers (also known as New To Business). To do that, we need to grow our online presence in order to get more people to know about our food and beverage business. 

Of course, to do all these, there must first be people online. For our various market outlet sharing sessions, we tracked Singapore Food Delivery Market. And here is the result: 

  • Jan 2020 Online Food Delivery: SGD$ 90 million 
  • May 2020 Online Food Delivery (circuit breaker in Singapore): SGD$ 191.8 million 
  • July 2021 Online Food Delivery (after Heighten Alert in Singapore): SGD$261.45 million
  • Dec 2021 Online Food Delivery: SGD$ 244.53 million 

A few variables to note from the stats: 

Food delivery grew despite the COVID situation. 

Every time there is a restriction, the food delivery grew. 

Dec 2021 shows that even after most restrictions have been lifted, the volume of transactions online remains. 

So, why is digital marketing important? 

Your potential customers are all online.

For a full breakdown of the Singapore online food delivery statistics, do visit the page.

Aspects of digital marketing for food and beverage businesses

Now that we know why we should do it, let’s look at the tools available for our marketing campaigns. 

Email Marketing 

This is the granddaddy of digital marketing and is found in almost every marketing tactic to boost food and beverage sales. It is still one of the most effective ways to encourage a re-visit to your outlet. 

Do note that the intent and the manner in which the subscription is acquired determines the open and click rate. 

We have seen a lot of restaurants onboarding subscribers using offers, the problem with this is once there is no offer for the subscriber, the interest to engage the email is very low, and they might even unsubscribe. 

Recommendation: Give some thought to how you are going to engage your subscribers (what type of email content will you be sending to them?) before doing any campaigns to onboard them. This will get you the subscribers that are signing up because they enjoy the content that you are offering. 

Search Engine Optimisation 

SEO is one digital marketing component that many F&B owners are familiar with, although not many people would have embarked on it. The reason is the sheer amount of work required to optimise and rank a page high in the search engine. 

It is good because once you are one of the top results in the search engine, other than traffic, it gives credibility to the brand. 

Recommendation: Do a detailed search about your location, product, cuisine keywords and try to optimise and be ranked for them (other than your brand) before optimising any other keywords. 

Search Engine Marketing 

SEM is very popular in the last two years, due to the sheer number of brands all doing online food delivery. Most people jostle for the popular keywords and hope to get traffic to their sites or their delivery platforms. 

Recommendation: Do detailed research about what your competitors are buying, look at the length of time they buy, the traffic they get and the amount they pay before embarking on any campaign. 

This will allow you to manage your budget better and advertise your outlet for a sustained period of time. 

Social media platforms 

All F&B brands will have a few social media platforms. On Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok, they will be posting about their products, their menu and their locations actively. 

Brands have also found that unless you advertised on social media platforms, the likelihood of someone seeing your post is quite low.

Recommendation: Content. If you are a brand that wants to build an engaging community, then you need to suss out what your audience is looking for. In these 2 test cases: 

We show how we build our Instagram account using just content 

We break down the number of followers (close to 500 per post) per piece of content and tactics to build up content. 

Food Bloggers

This is one of the most common ways for F&B businesses to “get the word” out. Influencers share your delicious food and drinks with their followers and hopefully, they will come to patronise your outlet. 

Below is the launch event for a customer that we did using influencers with the strategy shared below. 

Recommendation: Before starting any marketing campaigns with bloggers (paid ones), you might want to invite the micro-influencers that is willing to work for food. All you need to do is to feed them. They usually range between 1000 to 10 000 followers. 

How to do digital Marketing for F&B?

Now we know that digital marketing is important and we have an array of tools to reach our target audience, the next question is how are we going to do that? 

In the digital space, your potential customers are either searching for food or they are hanging at one of the social media platforms (ogling at food images). Either way, having a good understanding of their persona, is the best way to position your content to them, leading them to your site or F&B outlet. 

Customer discovery | Persona | Customer Journey Map  

Even before starting any digital marketing campaign, construct your desired customer persona, write in as many details as possible. Including things such as their preferred social media platforms. 

Other than a physical customer journey map (you can see a physical Starbucks journey map here), plot a digital map on how you will bring your customer through one platform (e.g. Instagram) to your site then ultimately to your restaurant. 

Customer validation | Hypothesis | testing 

Armed with the customer persona, you will have to test the hypothesis that you have just created, e.g. your customer likes to use Instagram to look for places to go. 

By setting up a hypothesis, you can decide if you want to test the time, the content, the offer that your target customer (the persona you have created) will like. 

You can (and should) test as many variables to ensure that your digital marketing message reaches the desired target audience. Testing is the only way to ascertain the facts on what the customers like or dislike. 

This is a case that we have run by testing what content our community likes to read on Instagram, what our community likes is not what you read about in many academic journals (e.g. it is not good, pretty images). 

Generate your own F&B Report (Free)

Free access to generate and download food and beverage data analytics on: 

  • F&B industry 
  • Competitors stats
  • Competitors advert (what they are buying and how much they are spending) 

Access this platform (Free) | this is the platform that we use to generate all the reports

The first way to suss out the overall content consumption of your target audience is to go into the SERP platform to learn more about what your target audience is searching for. You can learn more about the case study on cafe keywords here. Or, you can use the platform to do your own research. 

And once you have validated these facts, you will be able to reach your target customers. 

Customer creation | commercial posts | regular customer 

Once your target customer likes your social media posts, enjoys your website articles, watch your youtube video etc, you can start inviting them to enjoy your products by sending them offers or invites. 

This is the first of customer creation, an offer that is aligned with your content (e.g. if your content is about chilli crab then your offer should be aligned to it as well). 

For folks that like something more systematic, in a week of social posts, there should only be 1 to 2 commercial posts. 

And do not forget your existing customer, find ways to engage them and bring them back to your restaurants, cafes or coffee shops. You can consider doing this through a loyalty program, bounce back vouchers or bring a friend scheme (free birthday meal on us will bring always bring you, new customers). 


In this simple article, we explore the reason why digital marketing is important, we look at the various tools you can use and we plot for you the step by step on how you can do your digital marketing for your F&B business

If you like to explore more articles, click on the link above for more F&B/coffee articles. 

If you would like to chat with us about building up your persona or research into your online environment, book an appointment based on your availability. Or, you can start by chatting with us via email first. 

This article is written by Ebenezer Heng 

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About US | OCM Profile

OCM ( was started in 2007 with the first webpage about coffee machines. And for a number of years, we focused on helping people find their desired coffee machine (we still are helping folks with that! So, if you are looking for coffee machines for office or restaurants - check out the link). 

In 2010, we started getting enquiries on restaurant marketing and we start to help food and beverage brands with their marketing. Below are campaigns and events that we have done over the years: 

OCM's campaigns: F&B Marketing Ideas by OCM 

OCM's Events: F&B Industry events by or with OCM

Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

Since then, we have also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of these modules are still running in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes, below are some snippets of our lectures and workshops: 

OCM’s F&B workshops: Food and Beverage Marketing Lectures | Workshops - click to watch classes on customer journey map, JTBD and more. 

So, if you are looking for industry practitioners to help you scale your coffee or F&B businesses, do drop us a message or book an appointment. Do also check out our various social media platforms on regular F&B and coffee market updates: 

For regular coffee (F&B) related videos: OCM Youtube

For Daily Coffee Inspiration (fun coffee content): OCM IG

For insights into the coffee (F&B) industry: OCM LinkedIN 

PS: For the coffee lovers, we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners).

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