50 Restaurant Marketing Ideas & Strategies

Updated: Mar 9

Whether you are in the process of setting up an eatery or have been a local favorite for decades, restaurant marketing should be a priority for you if you intend to bring in profitable revenue for your business. The restaurant business is something a lot of people contemplate investing in prior to actually doing it because considering the rate at which new ventures pop-up every day, how does one differentiate themselves from their competitor? Furthermore, when it comes to putting your restaurant out there, what are the best restaurant marketing ideas which you could put into action to sustain your business?

As a business owner, your utmost concern is increasing customer footfall in your restaurant and then ensuring high-quality service is provided. There are many different creative marketing ideas for restaurants that you could implement to increase customer footfall in your restaurant. Some of them have to do with changes you could make to your restaurant’s interior, while others capitalize on smart marketing online. Below we have listed 50 best marketing ideas for restaurants that are guaranteed to show you visible results as soon as you begin implementing them. These ideas can be applied to restaurants of any scale, and in actuality will most likely help you scale up if they are properly put into effect:

1. Hire a professional photographer

Consumers nowadays are always consuming visual content in the form of images or videos. That is why one of the best ways of restaurant advertisement is to have someone take professional images of your food. Even a freelance photographer with a good portfolio can capture stunning photos of your restaurant dishes, which will make consumers drool once they see them.

2. Answer consumer queries online

If a consumer has a question regarding your restaurant and leaves an online comment on a social media website or review website, answer his or her question there. Leaving queries unanswered is bad restaurant marketing since it will put off that consumer from trying out your restaurant if he or she is unsure about something.

3. Have correct business info online

Often restaurants will not ensure that the data regarding their address and contact details is correct online. Nothing will put off a consumer like having to keep digging to find your correct number or address. Furthermore, the more effort the consumer has to put in to find these details, the more likely he or she is to abandon the idea of visiting your restaurant.

4. Get involved with your neighbors

One of the restaurant marketing ideas that is not used very often is that of getting friendly with other businesses/stores around you who are not your direct competitors. If other people working in your community find you amicable, they are more likely to come and dine at your restaurant, especially if they are looking for options close by.

5. Take part in community policymaking

Another underused but very effective marketing strategy for restaurants is to get involved in the local policymaking process related to eateries. This will only create more visibility for you amongst opinion leaders in the community and also go on to show that you are concerned about community well-being and not just business profitability.

6. Market through text messaging

Considering that most consumers leave a contact number while making a reservation, marketing for restaurants through text messaging is one of the most effective restaurants advertising ideas. Imagine if a consumer is contemplating where to eat in the evening, and he or she receives a message from you about an ongoing deal - it is bound to be convincing.

7. Get local newspapers on board

Partnering with your local newspaper team will help you boost your message reach within your community. You could work with one of the writers to incorporate a food feature section that would alongside other restaurants do write-ups of your restaurant too. Having your bestsellers written about in the local paper is definitely one of the best restaurant marketing strategies.

8. Explore different Instagram features

Instagram has become a very popular platform for consumers to view content on. However, Instagram has quite a few features which can be used for creative marketing ideas for restaurants. For example, one of your chefs can go live through your Instagram page while he or she is preparing and plating a dish to show consumers the process of preparing what they eat.

9. Learn how to use Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the most effective ways of advertising online and is great for restaurant marketing. You can run display or text ads to attract consumers to view your website or social media pages. Once a consumer is on your website and is impressed by what he or she sees, they are more likely to visit your restaurant.

10. Look for collaborative opportunities

Another possibility of a restaurant advertisement is to partner with other community spaces in your area. For example, if the local school is hosting a theatre play, you can offer a dinner discount coupon alongside a ticket purchase. The entire audience will most likely not show up to dine at your restaurant, but even if a significant percentage does, that is revenue for you!

11. Optimize your website for mobile viewing

One common mistake a lot of business owners make is not optimizing their websites for viewing on cell phones. Considering how mobile the current generation is, it should come as no surprise that any restaurant marketing strategies you execute online will probably be viewed by the consumer on a cell phone. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize your website as much as possible.

12. Become visible on Facebook

For businesses not marketing on Facebook, they are missing out on a huge consumer base they could spread their message to. Some of the best restaurant marketing ideas include sharing content regularly and engaging with users on Facebook. It is a great channel for having conversations with consumers and also collecting feedback from them.

13. Monitor your Yelp rating

Nowadays, Yelp is where everyone heads to when they need a second opinion on whether to avail a service or not. Because the current generation of consumers requires a positive opinion to help persuade them to make a decision, review websites like Yelp have become very popular. Therefore, it is important to monitor the reviews that consumer leaves on your Yelp page.

14. Study and master email marketing

Email may sound like an outdated form of communication to you; however, thanks to email marketing alone, entire businesses have been built. Having an email subscriber list filled with your target consumers to share promotional offers with is a great marketing idea for restaurants.

15. Hire the right resources

Often restaurant owners might think that they do not need to invest significantly in their staff due to the expectation of high turnover in this line of business. However, hiring the right resources, especially to execute the marketing strategy for a restaurant, is only going to affect the revenue in-turn positively. A marketing resource that knows what he or she is doing is very valuable.

16. Broadcast your wins

Sometimes, as a restaurant owner, you might be overwhelmed with positive feedback from a customer. Perhaps you will be humble about, thank the customer for their compliments and leave it at that. This is not a good idea because other consumers out there need to hear what you are doing well too! It is important for restaurant marketing to highlight your wins everywhere!

17. Study your consumers

As a restaurant owner, just like any other business, you must have access to data about your consumers. This data can vary from engagement online to offline data such as frequency of visits in your restaurants. If used correctly, it can help you understand which restaurant advertising ideas are working in your favor so that you can benefit from them even more.

18. Reward your loyal visitors

Every restaurant has them - the lot of people who keep returning because there is something about your restaurant that appeals to them. It is important to reward these loyal consumers to ensure that they continue to feel incentivized to visit your restaurant. One way to do this is to create a loyalty program whereby these consumers get discounts. This form of marketing for restaurants has existed for a while and is even used in other retail formats.

19. Fill tables with street visibility first

Whenever someone walks into your restaurant, you might be tempted to seat them in the most attractive part of your restaurant. However, place a priority on filling the tables which are visible from the outside of the restaurant first. If consumers believe that the restaurant is full, then they automatically equate that to popularity, which is an excellent method of restaurant advertisement.

20. Easy to understand the menu

Often restaurants get carried away with fancy but difficult to read names for the dishes on their menu. Especially with restaurants that specialize in cuisines which are not indigenous to the community, you must make sure to display dishes in an easy to understand manner. Your menu is the first pitch to the consumer once they come to your restaurant, and making it complicated is not a good marketing strategy for restaurants.

21. Partner with an online delivery service

Online ordering is on the rise, and an increasing number of people have a preference for just ordering in instead of dining at the restaurant. Whether it is getting food delivered to work for lunch or just to your home for a movie night, that is what consumers are choosing now. Partnering with an online delivery service and being present on their platform only increases your reach and is one of the most effective new restaurant marketing ideas.

22. Localize the ingredients

It is always great to support local producers even if it may come at an expense to your inventory cost. This helps the community understand that you are not there to exploit them but will also help other local businesses grow. In turn, this leads to higher equity for your brand and, thereby, higher revenue. Although more expensive, it is still a creative marketing idea for restaurants.

23. Don’t make water free

Although it may seem courteous to offer all guests water when they come in to dine, this decreases the chances of them ordering a beverage from the menu. Therefore, although it might seem unconventional, not serving water complimentary to guests is actually a creative marketing idea for restaurants that want to increase their beverage sales.

24. Showcase your bestseller

Often restaurants will have a dish or two that they are considered famous for. It is that dish that you could never imagine taking off of your menu, or it would cause public outcry. This is why one great restaurant marketing idea is to have a separate but visible display area for your bestsellers. That way, the consumer can see it when they walk in and order it as well.

25. Have a social media contest

People love competing in contests online, and what better way to increase your online engagement than having a contest on your social media channels? This is one of the most creative marketing restaurant ideas since consumers will be commenting and tagging other friends on your posts to increase your reach, and you can reward some of them with a free meal.

26. Repost user-generated content

Social media is rampant with images of food now. It has become a trend for people to photograph their food before they eat it, and although some might find it annoying, most people do it religiously. Why not take advantage of the images of your consumer's post and share those on your social media as well with their positive food reviews? It is free of cost restaurant advertisement for you!

27. Use trending hashtags

This trick in the social media marketing toolbox has been around for a long time, but a lot of businesses still do not use it effectively. You need to observe trending hashtags in your area and also relevant to your industry. Pairing them together is a great idea as a marketing strategy for restaurants if it is implemented effectively.

28. Choose locally relevant SEO keywords

A lot of times, while advertising online, restaurants might be using the right keywords but not locally relevant keywords. Consumers are more likely to search for restaurants in their area along with the name of their area to find suggestions close to them. Therefore, one useful restaurant marketing idea is to have SEO keywords like “Italian restaurant Irving” rather than just “Italian restaurant.”

29. Create a visually stunning website

Often restaurants will not invest in building a website for their brand, and if they do, they will most likely create a sub-par one. Investing in a good and visually stunning website will only play in your favor because it will be easy to navigate for consumers. Consumers can view your menu and pictures of your dishes online to help convince them to order from you.

30. Run paid campaigns on Social Media

Keeping your social media channels updated with content is a great thing, but have you thought about running a paid campaign on social media for your restaurant? If not, then it is the best time for you. Paid marketing campaigns are one of the best marketing ideas for restaurants since you can target the right consumers online who prefer the kind of food you serve and convince them to make a purchase even online!

31. Collaborate for guest website blogs

There are tons of food blogs that are read religiously by foodies from around the world. If you want to get some international exposure for your restaurant and become a tourist hotspot, you can always write a food blog as a marketing strategy for restaurants.

32. Make use of Pinterest

Pinterest lets you scroll endlessly through a sea of images. What if you pinned your food images from your website or social media onto Pinterest for your restaurant marketing? That would redirect viewers from Pinterest onto your channels and possibly be converted into a sale as well!

33. Sign on some influencers

Influencers have become the equivalent of opinion leaders in the community. If one of them says that he or she loves your food, his followers are bound to follow suit. Therefore, it is a good marketing strategy for restaurants to have some dedicated influencers that they have partnered with.

34. Make the food look picture-worthy

Following up on the point of sharing user-generated content, consumers are likely to post about your food if they consider it Insta-worthy! What that means is that if it looks good to them, they will post about it. Try some weird or innovative plating technique, which is one of the many creative marketing ideas for restaurants!

35. Introduce your staff online

There is nothing better than going into a restaurant where the staff feels familiar to you. You automatically feel more comfortable in that space. That is why it is a good idea to introduce your staff online on your website and social media channels to help consumers connect with the people who serve them too!

36. Monitor your online performance

A lot of businesses upload content onto their social media channels regularly but rarely get around to monitoring their metrics to see how well their content is being received. Therefore, to make sure that you have an efficient approach to restaurant marketing, it is very important that you also keep a close eye on the statistics that depict your performance online.

37. Schedule your social media posts smartly

Often you might just schedule all your social media posts at the same time because it sounds convenient to you or you are estimating when your target market will be online. However, studying when your consumers are actually active online will help you schedule posts more efficiently!

38. Create a brand identity

You might have been running your restaurant for decades, but if it still lacks a brand identity, then your approach towards marketing for restaurants has gone entirely wrong. It is important that your consumers can identify a distinct brand identity for your restaurant.

39. Offer discounts on special occasions

Occasion centric offers are a great marketing strategy for restaurants. Offering deals or discounts for Valentine’s Day, for example, when people are more likely will definitely convince people to visit your restaurant.

40. Curate occasional pop-ups

Just because someone cannot come into your restaurant to try your food, does not mean they should not be able to. Organizing a pop-up in another location can drive people from that area to your restaurant and is a great way of restaurant advertisement.

41. Cater for private/business events

Another option for increasing your reach is to offer catering services for business events or private parties. You could possibly secure clients to cater at other events and also direct some people towards your restaurant!

42. Have a business card giveaway

Although it may sound like an outdated method of running a giveaway, it is an excellent way of collecting details about your consumers to add to your email subscriber list or to use in restaurant marketing campaigns online.

43. Collaborate with food apps for high-value deals

There are lots of online food apps that are more convenient for people to order food through since there are more options available. Partnering with these apps to create attractive deals exclusive to their app is a good marketing idea of restaurants.

44. Create a gamified app for your restaurant

A little unconventional, but a very creative marketing idea for restaurants is creating a game for consumers to play, helping you reach top-of-mind awareness with them!

45. Use retargeting ads on your website & Facebook

You are losing out on so many consumers who come onto your website or Facebook page to order but abandon their cart for some reason or the other. Use your data to show them retargeting ads to convince them to make the final purchase.

46. Promote on Google+

Google+ can help you increase your reach significantly because your online community expands every time someone shares whatever you post is. It is a great way to amplify your reach for restaurant advertisement!

47. Consider switching to online reservations

An increasing number of people just prefer to do everything online. An online reservation feature may increase the number of people pre-booking their availability to dine at your restaurant.

48. Send out regular newsletters

Sharing periodical newsletters through email is also a good way of getting your consumers to remember you. Utilize your growing email subscriber list through this method for marketing for restaurants!

49. List your restaurant on travel apps

Another way to attract tourists is to have your restaurant present on travel apps. You are bound to attract people visiting who want to try an authentic local experience and is great for restaurant marketing.

50. Keep your audience engaged

Finally, the most important marketing strategy for restaurants at the end of the day is to have your consumers constantly engaged with your content, even if they are not dining at your restaurant. It is always best to be memorable!