22 Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas


Eating out has never been straightforward. That is why there is so much competition among restaurants.

It’s a fierce battle to see who comes out on top. In your bid to be successful over a long line of competitors, you have to up your marketing game with cool and working ideas.

Don’t worry, this article will give you profound ideas you can implement, not just to stay ahead but to keep those stomachs satisfied.

Here are the top restaurant marketing ideas:

1) Get a Website

If you don’t run a website, perhaps you’re a part of the 50% of small businesses that don’t own one.

To market your restaurant, you need to have a website. You can liken that to having a good shop in every part of the world.

Besides, getting one is just the first step. You need it to be as professional as possible because a lot of people are going to go through it.

A website makes things easier for both existing and potential customers. Even if it takes some work to set up, its long-term benefits are rewarding.

Moreover, it’s a free platform to market your venture online without worrying so much about financing.

Still, you can hire a professional to get it done. Make sure your contact and other details are available though.

That is because 44% of users exit websites that fail to display their contact info.

2) Get Busy With Email Marketing

restaurant email marketing.jpg

Email marketing is another important idea to effectively market your restaurant. Need some convincing?

The average expected ROI per $1 spent on email marketing is $42. There are two ways you can go about doing it the right way.

Firstly, you can ask your customers to fill forms in person.

Secondly, they can do that online. Since the Internet rules at the moment, the second option is your best bet.

Efficient and Effective

Email marketing is an efficient and effective way to bait your customers into coming back to your restaurant.

You can show them additions to your menu, current and upcoming offers, and much more.

Remember to seek out an expert should you get stuck implementing this idea.

3) Shake hands and Issue Business Cards

The bottom line in any business is that customers love every recognition they get. Well, except negative ones.

So one of the things you have to incorporate into your business is courtesy via handshakes before handing over business cards.

Always Smile

Smile when doing so and even banter a few words with your customers. That keeps them comfortable and at ease to go on and make their orders.

It’s more like free advertising when you shake hands and tell them a bit about your business

Have a card in tow to give them. It’s very satisfying to be greeted with a handshake or reassuring words.

4) Have a Cool and Functional Online Menu

Many things happen online including searches for restaurants. People take it a step further by actually checking for existing menus they can choose from.

As such, you shouldn’t allow users to struggle to find your menu.

Just get something that’s high-quality, straightforward, and easy to read.

Ensure it’s up-to-date and has some means to interact with someone receiving the orders.

Get it Published on your Website

With your website up and running, you can publish your menu on it.

Users who come across your website will have access to your menu online.

If you don’t have one, don’t blame potential customers for choosing other options.

5) Start a Food Truck

Starting a food truck isn’t for the lily-livered. It’s a huge step but more often than not, in the right direction.

Depending on the kind of truck you want to buy, it can put a dent in your pockets.

However, starting a food truck will let you dish out your food to people you might never normally come in contact with.

Besides, it’s a good idea to greatly extend your reach, build more press, and acquire new fans.

Many people love an ingenious setup built to help them have access to their favorite meals.

Also, in most cases, it means the location has come to them.

6) Community Events

A community event is one of the best ways to market your restaurant business.

There are many advantages to be had when people gather for one reason or the other.

For example, church gatherings, graduations, community sales, and others are fair game to tell people about your restaurant.

Marketing your business locally will put you one step ahead of your competitors.

Promote your Business

If you’re hired to cater to such gatherings, you can take your promotions a step further by showcasing how you handled things through social media.

It will paint you in good light within the community. Throw in a bit of corporate social responsibility and you’re good to go.

7) Have fun With Hashtags

For any restaurant, hashtags present a fantastic opportunity to trend online. You’re not just focusing on gaining more followers for your marketing campaigns.

You’re essentially seeking to make a lasting impression on your diners.

Hashtags will also make things much fun for your users with great lines that give off better awareness for your restaurant.

Involve your Customers

Get your existing and potential customers involved online even if they’re not part of the dine-in experience.

Whether you share photos of your menu items with your restaurant hashtag or a catchy phrase, the fact is diners can get involved.

8) Partner Up With Delivery Services

The Internet enables a lot of businesses including delivery services. Think about partnering up with one to have your goods delivered to eager customers.

Many of them streamline the ordering process to suit the needs of users that might need your services.

Some of the services you can partner with include Seamless and Delivery.com.

9) Reach out to Local Food Bloggers and Influencers

Every restaurant is based in a community. As such, it’s very much a marketing strategy to leverage the network of other businesses.

So as a restaurant owner, reach out to local food bloggers and influencers.

Connect with them and have them share content related to your restaurant business.

As for payment, incentives like free meals and customized menus work a treat.

What you need is the popularity they have to make your business trend.

10) Use Mobile Ads

Restaurants are one of the best candidates for mobile ads because users are always up for nearby dining options.

Further, there are about 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users worldwide at the moment.

That makes mobile ads cheaper than desktop ads. What’s more, the conversion rates are on the high side.

Google Ads

This is a cool way to use all kinds of mobile customization and targeting options.

It helps you get the most out of your bids in key areas like dinnertime or for fast food searches on mobile.

People want their services quick and easy. Going mobile with your restaurant business will give them just that.

11) Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a great way to get a hold of customers.

There are many platforms you could use including Twitter and Instagram. The fact is the average smartphone owner spends 30 percent of their time on social media.

As such, brands are dedicating resources to maintaining a social media presence, and also run ads to build awareness for specific campaigns.

For example, social media giant Facebook generated a total of $15.28 billion in ad revenue in the year 2017.

Your restaurant can key into different social media platforms to achieve the kind of awareness that leads to traffic and subsequent conversions.

12) Coupon and Discount Campaigns

Coupons and discounts are cool options to get people through the door.

Get going with free dishes, percentage discounts or use the ultimate of all restaurant discounts – the buy one get one free offer.

The latter is one of the best performing strategies because people are more motivated for the extra bit they get.

What you’re trying to build is a reputable service that can cater to different people.

If you’re already established, discounts might not work as much.

13) Get Listed on Food Apps

There are many apps online to help you market your restaurant.

Apart from helping people find a suitable place to eat, such apps will help you showcase what you can do.

Have one installed and listing your restaurant as one of the best places to get a great meal.

With practically half of the world online, it’s a good step to maintain some contact with customers.

14) Keep up With Trends in the Food Industry

Running your restaurant entails knowing all about the industry you’ve chosen to operate in.

As such, trends among your diners should let you know how to take advantage and have your business positioned to make more sales.

Tools to Help you

Jumping on the bandwagon of trends makes you stay on top. However, you may be a bit lost sometimes.

In such a situation, Google Trends will help you. It is a free tool that restaurant owners and marketers can leverage when it comes to monitoring search trends based on certain factors.

This includes keywords worldwide, or specific to some places.

15) Collect and use Guest Data

Guest data has the power to redirect your restaurant’s marketing strategy.

You have to follow a pattern that leads to better service for your customers. As such, you can:

  • Keep track of the times guests visit
  • Note their preferences
  • Keep track of key events like birthdays and anniversaries, and much more.

What this does is improve your target marketing. That way, you have a better chance of success than doing some random targeting.

Besides, it adds a personalized touch with more than a dose of hospitality. Also, note that collecting data requires restaurant CRM.

16) SMS Marketing

SMS marketing can work for your restaurant. However, you need to get the target market and messaging right.

SMS also has a high open-rate but the low click-rate is a bother. That is why the emphasis is placed on getting the SMS message right.

What you can do is start with an exciting discount offer. Also, you can focus on local events when you ask people to stop by after attending.

17) Focus on Customer Loyalty

restaurant marketing

Loyalty is important for any business to thrive. What you want is people always coming back again and again.

It shows you’re doing the right things. For this reason, loyal customers cost the least in marketing in terms of getting them to come back.

What’s more, loyal customers are more likely to tell their friends and family about your restaurant.

How to Reward them?

You can actively encourage loyalty through programs and reward schemes.

That should apply to repeat customers or those showing such a promise.

Whether you do that inside your restaurant or with a partner, show them you appreciate their patronage.

Discounts to loyal guests or some form of toppings and free dessert will go a long way.

18) Show off Your Ingredients

Many customers are becoming increasingly inquisitive about what you serve them.

They want to know how you made such fancy and tasty meals.

Well, you can show off your ingredients by highlighting them on your website or blog. Other places like social media come in handy.

The Details

Customers would love to know whether your food is locally sourced, grown organically, and how you put them together.

Many people love DIY so they might want to give your ingredients a try.

What they want is an established quality of ingredients.

19) List on Google Maps

Mapping helps people get more familiar with where they want to go. No one wants to go all over the place just to have a meal.

A map makes things easy particular if they want to visit your restaurant.

Without one, they may have a lot of options along the way trying to find your spot.

Guests also have an easier time arriving at your restaurant when they know exactly where it is.

The fact is that maps have made things easier with a decent amount of the world’s population using smartphones to access Google Maps to find places they’re looking for.

List on the app so that potential customers have an easy route to your spot.

20) Improve Food Quality and Presentation

One aspect of marketing a restaurant is having a product that is tasty, eye-catching, and generally pleasing to the eye.

Besides, individuals want to know that they are getting value for what they pay.

You’re not going to win people over with food that appears questionable at best.

As such, organize your team in such a way that standards are clear.

Let it be known that you value quality above quantity. What’s more, your presentation to customers should be nothing short of clean and simple.

Again, your surrounding, plates, decor, cutleries, and other stuff should have an organized feel.

21) Focus on Service

Service is key in business. That is why you must focus on service delivery to your customers.

It starts from when they first arrive at the scene to everything in between and when they eventually leave.

All through the process, everything you do should be customer-oriented.

If you look hard enough, many restaurants get bad reviews because of factors like bad hosts, servers, and even attitude.

Some tips to help you focus on better service:

  • Listen carefully to problems customers might have with your restaurant
  • Always acknowledge that you can do better
  • Stay calm and maintain eye contact
  • Always ask what they like unless you’re asked to suggest
  • Empathy is key. Don’t attach blames

22) Don’t Let Customers Wait for so Long

how to market a restaurant business

It’s never a good idea to keep anyone waiting. Not in this fast-paced world.

Sure, some orders take time but you should never be known for being late on any count.

Many restaurants have suffered the frustration of watching potential customers choose to go someplace else.

Why? They took too long to serve their clients. Don’t fall into this trap.

Bad Impressions last

If your diners have to sit there waiting for too long for an appetizer or meal, it really won’t matter to them that your chefs make the best steak and meals.

What you’d have there is an already irritated and hungry diner.

It’s hard to win back a disappointed customer so it makes sense to avoid one in the first place.

What you can do

Let your diners know how long it will take to get their orders especially for special cuisines.

If it involves beverages, there’s no excuse for taking more than a couple of minutes to get that sorted.

Being on time can help increase customer loyalty and word quickly gets around.

To that end, you always want to make a good impression at every level. Your team needs to be trained in punctuality for even the simplest of orders.


Put these ideas to practice and you’ve got yourself a restaurant others will struggle to match up to.

Nothing good comes easy though. You’ve got to work to implement these ideas so that your restaurant keeps on growing.