The restaurant industry is a sector of business that quickly adapts to new landscapes. Whether you want to onboard restaurant tech like pay at table devices or utilize digital menus, more and more restaurant marketing tactics are beginning to emerge.
Read on to learn about what defines restaurant marketing and eight of the most effective strategies to generate traffic to a new restaurant.
What Is Restaurant Marketing?
Restaurant marketing is the practice of promoting your eatery to the public. It can involve both digital and traditional advertising techniques and always serves to draw customers.
By effectively marketing your restaurant to your target audience, scaling and optimizing your business efforts should be part of future projections.
Whether you want to grow your team or eventually open up a new location, proper restaurant marketing tactics will steer restaurant operations in the right direction. It’s an important strategy to manage and will greatly impact your business.
Importance of Restaurant Marketing
Whether you’re working toward boosting the restaurant profit margin or need to cut back on restaurant expenses, it's necessary that every restaurant owner properly markets their business. It’ll quickly become the key driver of revenue, which is vital for operations.
Restaurant marketing tactics come in many forms and will differ from one to the next. However, there are several ideas that you can tailor to suit your brand and audience. In fact, there are ideas that you’ve most likely come across from some of the best eateries of all time.
Restaurant Marketing Ideas
So, do you want your restaurant to boast high ratings and serve happy customers? Let’s take a look at several creative restaurant marketing ideas you can begin right now.
1. Restaurant Specials
Optimize your restaurant menu design and offer enticing specials. Is there a meal that the chefs get right every time? Or, has there been a dish that customers keep returning to order? Scale your restaurant by prioritizing these meals.
Maybe advertise the meals your restaurant is known for on paid ads targeted to local residents. If you opt for mobile food ordering apps, you can make sure it’s front and center upon clicking your restaurant’s menu. Depending on the positioning of your restaurant, you can get creative with how to offer various dishes.
From happy hour to brunch, drink menus also help to grow profits. Plus, alcohol has the highest markup compared to every other inventory good.
Does your restaurant serve various types of alcohol? Let the bar staff or each bartender create unique mixed drink recipes. Though popular cocktails are always a go-to, it’s important to differentiate your menu from others.
2. Restaurant Promotions and Discounts
Who doesn’t love receiving a discount? If you’re trying to generate traffic to your restaurant, creating promotions is one of the most effective ways to do so.
Utilize your POS system to verify the busiest days of the week. Once you decide when you can offer deals, it’s time to check your financial status and determine what you can offer customers.
When you’re organizing restaurant marketing campaigns, it can be easy to get ahead of yourself by offering huge savings. You know it’d bring in many customers, so you might assume it’s inevitable to generate a profit. However, make sure that you calculate operational and overhead expenses beforehand.
Once you have a game plan, create marketing collateral to advertise such promotions. Whether you promote your discounts on social media or in print ads, make sure that the language is clear and the imagery is on-brand.
3. Unique Restaurant Menu
If a restaurant is inclusive, there’s no reason a patron can’t check it out. Find ways to cater to dietary restrictions and preferences to ensure you generate as much traffic as possible.
Content and ad copy about various menus will also serve as eye-catching content for social media. By serving food to a niche market, your customer base will skyrocket in no time.
Restaurant marketing initiatives should revolve around becoming the go-to option for everyone in your area. By offering limited menus, many potential customers may avoid dining at your restaurant.
Different menu types that your restaurant can offer include:
- Dairy and lactose-free
- Vegan and vegetarian
- Nut-free or allergen-friendly
Depending on the size of your restaurant, you can get creative by sectioning off parts of the establishment. For instance, some eateries with multiple levels in cities like New York and Nashville serve a unique menu for each floor.
While some restaurants are upscale and others offer a more casual dining experience, not every menu type will suit your brand. If this is the case, try to diversify the options as much as possible.
Though not every restaurant or bar layout is designed for this kind of blueprint, it’s definitely something to consider if you have the space.
4. Operate 24/7
One of the many reasons quick service restaurants do so well is that they operate 24 hours a day. In recent years, more formal eateries have begun opting for a similar business model.
From late-night travelers to night shift employees, there are numerous reasons why people order food during unconventional times. By setting up a schedule that runs 24/7, your business has the potential to draw a significant amount of customers.
Plus, many suburban towns don’t offer late-night service. If this is the case in your town, you have an opportunity to be the leader in your market.
If you’re concerned about not having enough wait staff to offer the entire menu 24/7, consider narrowing it down to a limited “after hours” menu. Not only can this type of menu be used to promote your extended hours, but offering exclusive items or lower prices can be other ways to draw new customers.
5. Develop An Online Presence
Social media is essential for businesses but even more vital for restaurant marketing tactics. The biggest reason this is the case is that social media consists of photo and video-centric content. With this in mind, optimize your profiles by highlighting the aesthetics of your restaurant.
To boost a restaurant’s digital presence, consider the following content pillars:
- New menu items
- Restaurant menus
- Drink specials
- Gift card giveaways
- Restaurant events
- Catering services
Make sure that the restaurant manager or marketing specialist knows how to calculate social media ROI to monitor results. Social media algorithms can change on a daily basis. Plus, you’ll need to reevaluate your tactics as your brand generates more awareness.
As you use social media for restaurant marketing operations, consider investing in paid ads. Not only can you choose exactly who sees your sponsored posts, but you can center it around your best-performing content that drives traffic to your business.
6. Conduct Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts
Once you establish your brand identity and optimize your website, SEO tactics should begin generating results. As people look for nearby restaurants, yours will begin showing in the search results.
SEO marketing efforts take time, so be patient. And remember that when it comes to SEO, slow and steady wins the race. The longer you can maintain results, the more of an impact they'll have.
7. Create An Email Strategy
An email marketing strategy is vital for any business. Aside from physical mail, emails are the most direct form of contact you can have with consumers. Plus, they're sure to receive them.
Gather an email list by hosting contests, adding pop-ups to your website, and selling event tickets. After a while, you'll be able to dissect segments from your main list. At this time, it's beneficial to create targeted messaging campaigns.
8. Launch a Restaurant Loyalty Program
Nothing will incentivize customers to return like rewarding them for their spending habits. Implement a customer rewards program that integrates with your POS software. This way, customers can collect and redeem points with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Marketing
What Is the Best Marketing Strategy For a Restaurant?
Regardless of the kind of business you operate, word-of-mouth marketing will always be the most effective form of promotion. With this in mind, try to generate as many reviews for your restaurant as possible.
Upon making a website, we highly recommend creating a Facebook page and listing your restaurant on Google. These are two places people frequently visit seeking reviews. Plus, they filter local businesses based on the total number of reviews or the ones with the highest ratings.
If you’re wondering how to accumulate more reviews, consider the following options:
- Host giveaways for new reviews
- Offer discounts upon showing their review
- Make it a CTA within social media content
- Simply ask for them at the end of each meal
How Can a Restaurant Increase Their Marketing?
First, evaluate what your restaurant is currently doing to promote it to the public. Then, fill in the gaps with any strategies you have yet to implement.
Some restaurant marketing strategies include:
- Promotional events
- Paid advertising
- Half-off appetizers
- Offer food delivery
How Can You Advertise Restaurant Food?
Promoting your restaurant menus will be the best way to advertise the food you serve. High-quality content on social media and QR codes in print advertisements are just two of the most effective ways to showcase to potential customers what you have to offer.