15 of The Best Restaurant Marketing Ideas You Need to Start Today

By Raubi Perilli |

  | Jul 5, 2018  /  Solutions |

Marketing is a key element to any restaurant's success. If your diners don’t know you’re there, how will they find you and visit regularly?

Fortunately, there are restaurant marketing ideas that make it easy to promote your business, attract more customers, highlight your menu, and grow your sales.   

1. Share Photos of Your Specials on Social Media

Restaurants are highly visual, which is great for promoting your brand on social media. Upload photo promotions of your signature dishes or seasonal specials to lure customers in to grab a bite. You can also share videos on Snapchat and Instagram video of food getting served or your chef preparing a meal.

2. Broadcast Live From Your Restaurant

Facebook Live has taken the social media world by storm, and you can bring people in by broadcasting from your restaurant. This can be as simple as sharing music from a local band, going live as your chef prepares a meal, or giving diners a behind-the-scenes view of your place. This content is engaging and highly shareable, boosting interest in your business.

3. Invite Radio and TV Hosts to Your Restaurant

Radio shows and TV hosts are constantly looking for content. Invite these media outlets to broadcast live from your restaurant for a day for a change of pace. The celebrity factor of the hosts will bring people out, while the added exposure will increase brand awareness to new customers.

4. Invite Local Celebrities and Influencers

Along with inviting media, tap into influencer marketing to promote your brand. When someone like a popular area blogger, mayor, or local athlete eats at your restaurant and posts about it on social media, thousands of people see it and consider it an endorsement. Reach out to a handful of influencers to see if they’re interested in having a meal.  

5. Present Your Owner or Chef as an Expert in the Field

Media outlets are always looking for experts to interview for their local stories. To get local press coverage, respond to queries and help reporters create their stories. For example, if a journalist wants to cover healthy eating, your chef can share some ways they cut back on the calories from the meals they serve.  

6. Discover Specialty Groups to Join

If your brand caters to specific demographics, look for specialty groups to join and support. For example, you could join an eco-friendly organization if you don’t use straws or plastics, or a gluten-free support group if you offer options for diners. Your participation shows that you care about the community you market to.

7. Get Involved In the Local Business Community

Along with specialty groups, you can also look to join the local Chamber of Commerce or neighborhood communities that you operate in. This shows that you are dedicated to the people and town that you market to, and they are more likely to support you because of it.

8. Find a Cause to Support

Supporting a charity or non-profit can increase your sales and brand exposure while you’re doing a good thing. More than 85% of customers expect brands to act on social or environmental issues. Consider setting up a fundraising night for a local non-profit or a month-long campaign to bring people in and support a cause.  

9. Connect With the Local Sports Community

Americans love their sports, and you can grow your business by getting involved. This can be as simple as giving away a few tickets to the local pro team a few times a week or setting up a corporate sponsorship of a little league or high school soccer team. Once again, when people see that you care about the city, they will care about your brand back.

10. Encourage Diners to Leave Reviews

Ask your customers to leave reviews if they enjoyed the experience. It takes two seconds to say this when you hand them the bill, and you can watch your reviews grow as more people talk about how much they love your brand. Even if only a few people review your brand each night, you should have dozens of reviews within a few weeks.

11. Respond to Reviews and Online Questions

You can’t ask people to leave reviews and not respond to them. Say a quick thank you to positive reviews or show that you plan to take their feedback or suggestions into account. More than half of customers expect a response to a negative review in seven days or less, so you can save a relationship just by staying on top of what people are saying and asking online.

12. Update Your Local Listings Online

More customers than ever will find your brand online, through third-party review sites. These sites include MyArea Network sites, Google, Yelp, Zagat, and other pages. You want to make sure your brand is featured and updated on a variety of business directory profiles to account for the various traffic channels. If your brand isn’t listed, then your customers are going to your competitors.  

13. Reward Visitors For Checking In

Along with asking customers to leave reviews, you can also ask them to check in on Facebook or Yelp. This boosts your brand exposure to all of their friends and followers. You can either give diners a discount or free appetizer or opt for a larger reward like entering them in a drawing for a free meal once a month.  

14. Develop a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs serve multiple purposes. They encourage customers to return and get rewarded, and they also help you collect information like customer phone numbers and email addresses. Consider developing a loyalty program to grow your email marketing list, set up customer remarketing campaigns, and to bring more people through your doors.

15. Create Exclusive Specials

Give customers a reason to follow you on social media or receive your text alerts. Create exclusive specials that people can only hear about if they’re on your list. You can even make them more exclusive by limiting the number available. You can recreate the popularity of the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino or any of their secret menu items with this exclusivity.    

There are dozens of ways for you to promote your restaurant, and it’s hard to know which ones work for your brand and budget.

MyArea Network is here to help.

Set up a free consultation to review how you are currently promoting your brand and the steps you can take to grow your marketing footprint in the future. 

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