Marketing your restaurant and driving sales are no easy tasks. That’s why we put together this list of 101 ways to market your restaurant. We hope some of the suggestions below will give you an “aha” moment (or several!), inspiring new ways to reach and grow your customer base.
How many have you tried?
Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement is a great free way to market and promote your restaurant. While Facebook is the obvious number-one choice for reaching more potential restaurant customers online, don’t forget to use all of the tools available — not just on Facebook, but on other social media networks as well.
- Create a Facebook page for your restaurant.
- Create a Facebook group (e.g., Pizza Lovers of New Mexico, if you’re a NM-based pizzeria).
- Participate in local Facebook groups, to build connections in or outside your community.
- Create an Instagram account for your restaurant, with irresistible food photos.
- Create a Twitter account.
- Build a YouTube channel.
- Create a LinkedIn business profile.
- Create a Snapchat business account.
- Make TikTok videos.
- Pin and save on Pinterest. Add your food photos.
- Create contests on Facebook (giveaways, etc.).
- Create events on Facebook (they can be virtual, like a virtual “happy hour”).
Social Media Paid Marketing
Paid ads on social media boost your visibility online. Make sure you’re targeting your local area and segmenting by appropriate interests and demographics.
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook pixels
- Facebook boosted posts
- Twitter Ads
- Instagram Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Promoted Pins
- YouTube Ads
- TikTok Ads
- Partner with local influencers on social media.
Get Set Up to Sell
Customize your store to match your restaurant’s brand and personality. Upload your menu items within minutes of setting up your account.
Your website should represent your business, answer customers’ questions, and let customers order online. Make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to expand your reach with your website.
- Enable online ordering.
- Add a blog to your website, for company news, food-related articles, etc.
- Offer to write guest posts for other blogs in turn.
- Invite guest bloggers to write for you, to widen your reach.
- Implement SEO for your restaurant. Search engine optimization best practices can improve your website’s online visibility.
- Accept online reservations.
- Create branded content, like a podcast or video.
Update your online menu and try these tactics for menu marketing to boost your restaurant sales.
- Optimize your online menu, offering quick access to customer favorites.
- Add attractive photos to your online menu.
- Create limited-time menu items, to incentivize acting fast.
- Offer special holiday menus.
- Make sure your takeout menus let customers know how to order online.
A coupon can get someone to try your restaurant for the first time, or re-engage a customer who hasn’t visited your restaurant recently.
- Digital discount codes, which you can share through social media, email, etc.
- Sunday paper coupons
- Mailer coupon packages
- Boy Scout camp card programs
- Promote gift card sales
Send personalized discounts to customers based on holidays they celebrate, their birthdays, and their anniversaries. Create discounts for specialized groups of people, such as students, teachers, and healthcare workers.
- Holiday promotions
- Birthday deals
- Anniversary discounts
- Senior discounts
- Student discounts
- Military and law enforcement discounts
- Healthcare worker discounts
- Teacher discounts
Once you have a list of email subscribers, it’s time to start sending them emails. Try these types of email campaigns to promote your restaurant to the people who want to hear from you.
- Welcome email series, sent to new customers
- Re-engagement email sequences, sent to customers who haven’t place an order in a while
- Monthly newsletters
- Emails announcing new menu items or limited-time specials
- SMS and text campaigns, abiding by all privacy, etc., laws
When you reward your customers who are loyal to you, they keep coming back. Get your loyal customers to come back for more by employing one of these types of loyalty programs for your restaurant.
- Point-based or spend-based loyalty program
- Tiered loyalty program
- Free delivery on a purchase over a certain amount
- Extended delivery zones for loyalty members
- Rewards such as branded merchandise
- Partner programs that reward members for recruiting new loyalty members
- Game-based loyalty programs
Share Your Restaurant’s “Secrets”
Your restaurant’s best-kept secrets are stories that your customer base would love to hear. Share a piece of your heart, and open up about your values, recipes, and why you started your restaurant.
- Publish a recipe book.
- Post your restaurant’s recipes online (e.g., to your website’s blog).
- Tell the story of why you started your restaurant, for instance for your local paper.
- Share your mission and values with your customers (e.g., through social media or a newsletter).
- Share your food sources. If you source locally, your customers will love learning more.
Paid Ads Other than Social Media
Social media isn’t the only place to advertise to potential customers. Try these paid advertising options to reach customers both online and offline.
- Google ads
- Newspaper ads
- Radio or podcast ads
- Local ads on streaming services like Pandora
Create Profiles on Review and Event Sites
Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp let your customers leave reviews and increase your visibility online. Get your restaurant discovered on new platforms by making a profile on these restaurant review and event sites.
- Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon)
- The Infatuation
Promote Your Restaurant by Promoting Causes
People love supporting businesses that do good and are involved with causes. Host fundraising events, and be vocal about your charitable efforts.
- Sponsor a Little League team.
- Host a fundraising event for a school.
- Donate food waste to charities.
- Let patrons buy a meal for a healthcare worker.
- Give customers the option to add a donation to a local charity to their order.
Increase Local Visibility
You want more people to find your restaurant locally. These marketing tactics will help you do just that.
- Create a Google my Business profile.
- Partner with other local restaurants.
- Sell condiments such as sauces to local grocers.
- Get a booth at a local fair, festival, or farmers market.
- Display signage on your restaurant’s exterior.
- Create print collateral such as flyers and business cards.
- Hand out branded items at local events.
- Sell swag and merchandise, like T-shirts and hats.
- Hire a sign spinner.
- Do a business card fishbowl giveaway.