10 Restaurant Promotion Ideas That Attract Customers and Drive Sales

By Raubi Perilli

      Dec 17, 2020     Solutions    

Competition in the restaurant space is high. If a restaurant wants to attract customers and drive sales, they need to do something to stand out. That is where restaurant promotions come in.  

With the right restaurant promotion ideas, small mom-and-pop shops to large multi-location brands can attract attention and give interested customers a good reason to visit.

Why Use Restaurant Promotions?

Restaurant promotions help a business stand out and attract more attention. They work for a variety of reasons. 

  • They give customers the nudge they need to visit. If a customer has been thinking about visiting a restaurant, a promotion might be the reason why they decide to visit. It can remind them that they want to visit and give them an immediate incentive.
  • They add urgency. When a time-limit is used on a promotion, it gives customers a reason to visit in the near future. It adds an urgent appeal that tells customers they must act fast if they want to get the deal or discount.
  • They drive additional sales. When customers are attracted to a promotion, they will visit to get the deal or discount, and it’s likely they will make an additional purchase. Promotions drive customers to a restaurant (or to order online) and can lead to additional sales for other products.

Overall, running regular restaurant promotions is an effective way to consistently attract customers and increase revenue.

10 Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Now that you know why restaurant promotions are effective, consider how you can run them at your local restaurant or multi-location franchise. Here are ten restaurant promotion ideas to try.

#1) Customer Loyalty Programs

A customer loyalty program consistently rewards your most frequent customers and gives them constant incentives to visit your business. Even better, it helps you collect useful consumer data and information about the purchase history of existing customers.

#2) Limited-Time Offer Menu Items

Add variety to your menu and give customers a way to try something new by regularly introducing limited-time offer menu items. Create seasonal or novel items, or consider tying menu items to a national trend or event.  

#3) Bulk Coupons or Vouchers

Give customers a discount for their loyalty by selling discount coupons or vouchers in bulk. With a voucher program, a customer could spend $50 to get $75 in coupons. This drives revenue while ensuring that customers will be back for multiple visits. Learn more about Vouchers by MyArea Network.

#4) Discounts

Simple discounts can be very enticing for customers. Use the type of discount that appears to have the biggest value and consider positioning your discounts as:  

  • Percentage-based (such as 50% off)
  • Flat-off (such as $10 off)
  • Two-for-one or buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers

#5) Happy Hours

Happy hours with discounts during a set time frame, typically around 3-6 PM, are often used by bars and restaurants, but they can also work for fast-casual establishments like cafes, coffee shops, and take-out food spots. Don’t overlook a happy hour promotion just because you don’t sell alcohol.

#6) Flash Sales

Another way to use time in your restaurant promotion ideas is through flash sales. Flash sales are a great way to engage your social media audience (and encourage people to follow you). Announce a flash sale through your social media accounts to drive a quick influx of customers for a timely deal or discount.

#7) Upgrades / Combo Deals / Family Packs

A good restaurant promotion idea is to package multiple items together and discount the price. This is great for individual upgrades and combo deals. You can also use it for family packs where you can serve an entire family at a discount.

#8) Contests

Contests are both exciting and fun, meaning that customers are likely to participate. Host a contest that gives away a grand prize, and also gives each participant a smaller prize such as a coupon or discount. This process helps you collect customer contact information while giving incentives to visit your restaurant to everyone who participates. Learn more about this strategy in The Best Marketing Contest Idea for Restaurants.

#9) Social Media Sign-In Deals

When your customers share their experience at your restaurant online, it spreads the word about your brand. Offer customers a promotion (like a free menu item or discount) if they check-in or share content through their social media profile during their visit. This gives customers something of value while helping your brand gain visibility through social media and user-generated content.

#10) VIP Deals

Customers love exclusivity and feeling like they are getting something that other customers aren’t. Play into this desire for exclusivity by offering VIP deals or promotions that are only available to your most loyal customers.

Tips for Getting More Out of Your Restaurant Promotions

Now that you have some restaurant promotion ideas to inspire you, consider how you can get the most out of each campaign. Here are a few best practices for running restaurant promotions.  

Tie it to a social media holiday, day-of-the-week, or theme. Help drive interest in your promotion by tying it to timely events such as social media holidays or themes. Piggy-backing on social media holidays like National Burger Day or National Cheese Lovers Day can help you increase engagement on social media and generate more views through hashtags.  

Market your promotions as an event. Position your promotion as an event to make it feel more exclusive and exciting. When you market your promotion as a special event, you can promote your event by adding it to local event calendars to increase awareness and boost attendance.  

Require customers to provide contact information to get the promotion. Get an additional benefit out of your promotion by using it as a means to collect customer contact information. When possible, ask customers to share their phone number or email address when redeeming the promotion so you can grow your customer database and build remarketing campaigns.  

Actively promote your promotions. Having a promotion isn’t enough to drive in customers. You must also promote your promotion so nearby customers know about it. Don’t set up a promotion and expect it to bring in customers on its own. Pair it with a marketing campaign to spread the word. Some effective tactics for spreading the word include:  

Look at your competitors to get ideas. If you are struggling with coming up with ideas for your promotions, research your competitors to see what type of promotions they are running to get inspiration. Use these three tactics for researching your competitors.

Bring Your Restaurant Promotion Ideas to Life

You probably have a few ideas about how to use these restaurant promotion ideas to create effective campaigns of your own. Now it’s time to get to work.  

Bring your restaurant promotions to life and easily launch campaigns using our platform. mySuite is a local marketing platform that helps you set up text marketing, geofencing, and other powerful local marketing campaigns.  

It’s free to join, and setting up your first campaign is easy whether you already have an engaged list of customers or are starting from scratch. Learn more and sign up for free today.