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34 Best Restaurant Marketing Ideas & Strategies to grow your Restaurant Business

Updated: Jul 24, 2023



What is Restaurant Marketing


Restaurant marketing is the way of showcasing your business and services to your target audience group. Marketing owns the driver’s seat for any business.


Restaurant marketing is all about being where your ideal customers are and letting them know that your business exists, by making them familiar with your offerings and eventually helping them make a purchase decision when they are ready to buy.


Why Marketing is important for every restaurant:


Your future customers spend their time in different ways. It includes walking, jogging in the morning, visiting local shops to buy things, surfing on social media, etc. What if you can be virtually present in those moments and grab their attention?


That is exactly what we are going to be covering on this topic. We will help you find out new marketing channels, and how to use them effectively to improve your restaurant business.


We have a list of 34 Best restaurant Marketing ideas & strategies that can make real wonders:


To help you navigate easily throughout this blog, we have categorized them under 9 main sections. You can click any one of them to jump directly to that particular section.

  1. Restaurant Website Marketing

  2. Google My Business for Restaurants

  3. SMS & Email Marketing

  4. Restaurant Social Media Marketing

  5. Restaurant Advertising Ideas

  6. Offline marketing ideas

  7. Restaurant Co-Worker Marketing

  8. Marketplace listings

  9. Restaurant Marketing Software


Restaurant Website:


1. Create a restaurant website


We live in the digital era, where every piece of information we consume influences our decisions. If you own a restaurant, you may also need a website to showcase your menu, ambiance, customer reviews, to attract new customers. Creating your website is the first step of marketing your restaurant.


Here are 6 handpicked restaurant website builders that you can use to boost your own restaurant marketing immediately.


  1. Wix

  2. Squarespace

  3. Duda

  4. Weebly

  5. WordPress

  6. Shopify


Do not think of your restaurant website as an unwanted spend. Instead, look at it as an investment. A well-designed website and neatly organized content can do real wonders to your restaurant business by attracting online visitors and eventually increasing revenue.



2. Online ordering system for restaurants:


Create an online ordering system and table booking reservations for your restaurant using Thrive now or Dotpe.


This way, you can allow customers to order directly from your online ordering URL and not from third-party food aggregators.


Using these platforms, you will get unrestricted access to your customer information like restaurant name, phone number, food preferences, sales insights, and Business performance, etc.


Share this Online food ordering links to your customers through SMS, Whatsapp, Website, Facebook page, Instagram bio, Youtube description link, etc.




SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You have to optimize your restaurant website for search engines like Google, Bing, etc., so that whenever someone searches for restaurants your website will appear at the top of the Search Engine Results.

The monthly search volume for the keyword “restaurants near me” is 20.4 Million.


In simple terms, in a month there are 20.4 Million people searching for “restaurants near me” in Google.


In the United States, 20.4 million people search for the term “restaurants near me”


Restaurant SEO monthly search volume for restaurant near me in US


In India, 1.2 million people search for “restaurants near me”


Restaurant SEO monthly search volume for restaurant near me in India



And the numbers get even more interesting as we go further down the cities and areas.


City: In Chennai, 9,900 people search for “restaurants near me”


Area: In Chennai, almost 4000 people search for “Restaurants in T Nagar”


Imagine if you could have your website or Google My Business listing at the top of the Google results when someone searches for this.


The outcome is fairly simple.


More people will see your brand, and they will use Google Maps to find your restaurant location or they will directly order from your website. Either way, you get new customers, make more sales and reach a wider audience than before.


Note: You can reach out to me to know the actual number of people searching for restaurants in your service area or zone.


Please mention your business name, restaurant type, area, state, and country.


I’d be really happy to help you :)



Without owning a restaurant website for your business, you are missing out on huge business opportunities that are more likely to become customers

Here are a few quick tips to optimize your restaurant website for SEO:


  1. Give appropriate Title Tags for your web pages (ideally 55 - 60 characters)

  2. Add meta description (about 160 characters) to describe your page and what the searchers can expect when they enter into your website.

  3. Add relevant keywords into your content


Here is an example of one such restaurant appearing in search results.


Restaurant SEO Titles & meta description examples


The Title tag gives out a clear message and the meta description is also well constructed by including “impressive views of the Bay of Bengal” thereby informing the searchers what they can expect.



Google My Business for restaurants:


4. Create a Google My Business account


The three Restaurant links that you see below are Google My Business profiles of the respective restaurants.



Restaurant Google My Business listings


Here is a simple explanation of how Google My Business works for restaurants:


When someone near your business outlet searches for something like “Restaurants near me” or “Cafe near me”, you may show up at the top of the search results.


There are only 3 factors for Google to determine the local rankings:


  1. Relevance - How well your business matches with the search query.

  2. Distance - How long is your business outlet from the searcher's location.

  3. Prominence - How well known your business is.


To create your new account, go to Google My Business and enter your restaurant business information.



5. Update business information in GMB:


Once you create your Google My Business account, enter your restaurant’s business information without any errors, as it is important to show the right information to your potential customers.


Select Restaurant as your business category and provide your exact address. After filling in all relevant details, your account may be activated within 1 or 2 weeks.


Under the website link, add your restaurant website URL or online booking URL thereby allowing potential customers to order right away or book online table reservations.


Add quality photos of your menu, interiors, ambience, and exotic dishes. Offer them a visual treat so they won’t refuse to order from you.


Add a few relevant keywords like “Restaurant in {city name}”, “Restaurant in {area name}”, and a few more to resonate with your customers.


Here are 4 important tips to optimize your Google My Business profile:

1. Add relevant & exact keywords in the title.

2. Add additional keywords in the description.

3. Post your restaurant’s images like interiors, exteriors, food, menu, kitchen, etc.

4. Post regular weekly updates to keep your profile warm.



6. How to Get 5 star reviews and ratings from your customers:


Google loves reviews. So do your customers. Try to get as many positive reviews from your customers during checkout.


After they complete their meal, ask for quick feedback. If they’re satisfied with your dishes and service they will be willing to drop you a positive review in Google my business.


Incentivize your customers who drop a positive review by offering them complimentary dishes, reward points, or some sort of a discount in the next order.


Encourage your customers to write a brief review about their experience with your restaurant. The more positive ratings & reviews you get, the more chances of reach and visibility among searchers.




7. Respond to negative reviews (1 star reviews)


It is inevitable. It’s not guaranteed that you can get positive reviews every single time. You can’t satisfy everyone.


If they are a disgruntled customer, ask them how and where you could improve, whether it could be service, quality of food.


If an angry customer leaves a negative review, do not take it personally. Accept it as constructive feedback and figure out how you can prevent it from happening again. Knowing how to handle customers and nurturing relationships are some of the prominent aspects of restaurant management.


Respond to them in a polite manner and start off with an apology. Assure them that you take their feedback seriously and make sure that it wouldn’t happen again.


Try providing them a complimentary dish or a small discount as a positive gesture and turn their negative review into a positive one in the future.


You don’t really have to reply like this 🤣



Restaurant negative review


SMS & Email campaigns


8. Run SMS campaigns


People believe SMS is dead. Actually, it is not. Here are some cool SMS stats from eztexting to help you understand the significance of SMS marketing for your restaurant business.


  1. 83% of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them

  2. Consumers are more likely to open text messages before any other form of mobile communication

  3. Among the 18 to 34 year old age bracket, text is the preferred channel for notifications from businesses.


By now, you would have considered SMS as one of your marketing channels for your restaurant business.


Use SMS marketing to its fullest by sending promotional messages like encouraging an online order or table booking.


Also, send transactional messages like payment information, and order status, etc. If you would like to learn more about this, Simpletexting has these super cool use cases for restaurant SMS marketing. Go ahead and check them out.



9. Run Email campaigns:


According to a recent study conducted by Litmus, email drives an ROI (Return On Investment) of $36 for every $1 spent, which is higher than any other channels out there.


Before you hit your customers with email campaigns, ask for their consent and be a complete package. Don’t just restrict your restaurant to being projected as a business. Instead, send out weekly informational content.


Educate them on how different food is made and the history behind them. Send them newly added dishes in your menu and give them a reason to try it out.


Send promotional coupons, discounts, birthday offers, and other special occasions. Remind them that you care about them and your restaurant is probably their go-to place for good food and some great time.


If you want more people to signup for your email and newsletters start incorporating email-only offers and make them feel special



Restaurant email marketing


Source: automizy


If you are just starting off with email marketing for your restaurant, you can use some cheap and reliable tools like ConvertKit for your restaurant’s email marketing strategies.


It costs absolutely $0 for up to 1000 email subscribers, which is the best deal for any small business that is trying to get its hands on email marketing.


If you have more than 1000 email subscribers, they also do have pricing plans suitable for this.


10. Use SMS & Email templates for important events


Once you get into SMS & Email marketing, it’s important to use the right set of templates to attract and retain your customers.


Here are some of the cool templates that you can use for your restaurant marketing strategy.


Events:

Hey [First Name]!


Join us this Friday at 7 PM for live music and a special Happy Hour menu featuring craft cocktails, local beers, and new appetizers. Visit our website to learn more. Hope to see you there!


<Insert Website link>


Source: zipwhip



Birthday offer templates:

"Happy birthday month, {First Name}, from {Restaurant Name} Team


Please show this message to your server on your next visit this month and you’ll be treated with a free appetizer.


Can’t wait to have you here!"



11. Create restaurant offer messages to attract customers


Offer messages work for all sorts of businesses. Right from Salons to Software companies; Restaurants to Large enterprises. Everyone loves offers, provided there’s no reduction in quality or service.


Template 1:


Hey {First Name}, Long time no see.


Get 15% OFF when you book a table tonight. Bring your friends and one of you will get a free dessert!


Book now: <Insert table booking link or website URL>


Template 2:


20% OFF on No cooking Tuesday!


Order your favourite dishes from {Restaurant name} and treat yourself.


Order now: <Online ordering link>



Restaurant offer messages sms templates


Source: tatango


Restaurant Social Media Marketing ideas:


Create a Facebook profile and business page account for your Restaurant business. Updating all the fields with the right information is the first step for restaurant Facebook marketing.


Invite your friends and acquaintances to like your restaurant’s Facebook page.


Add high-quality photos and videos about your restaurant.


Here are a few ideas for your Facebook posts:


1. Customer food review or testimonial


2. Restaurant food preparation video clips


3. Restaurant offer messages


4. Restaurant online ordering posts


5. Restaurant quotes


6. Food quotes


7. Food history informational posts


8. Q&A sessions on Facebook stories



13. Visually appealing Instagram posts


Instagram is a visual medium. Although most of the social media platforms in this digital era are built for the visual medium, Instagram stands ahead of all.


The best part of Instagram is the ability to convey the message in one single image or a carousel or a video.


Unlike Facebook, you cannot make a writeup that’s highway long.


Whatever idea you may get, you can only convey them via visuals. And that’s the reason Instagram provides a richer experience compared to other social media platforms out there.


When you create visually pleasing posts, you will get the best engagement rates which will boost your post’s performance in explore feed.


The main limitation in Facebook is the reach you get because only the people who follow you will receive your updates. Whereas in Instagram, there is a dedicated section “Explore” where the best and curated public content will be available for the users and it is highly personalized.


For example, your restaurant food history post is highly likely to be seen by a user who has already seen or engaged with a similar type of post than someone who is only watching cat videos and sports car-related posts.



14. Effective usage of hashtags


Instagram hashtags are the best way to get more reach for your posts. You simply have to add relevant hashtags at the end of your post to give an idea about what the post is all about.


For example, if you’re a restaurant based out of Chennai, you need to use hashtags that have the term “Chennai” in them in order to be specific.


Here are some of the hashtags that Chennai Restaurants can use


#chennairestaurant - 13100 posts

#chennairestaurants - 5000+ posts

#chennaifoodies - 118000 posts

#chennaifoodspots - 742000 posts


If your restaurant provides Chinese cuisines, go ahead and add the following hashtags


#chinesecuisine - 652K posts

#chinesecuisines - 5000+ posts

#chinesefood - 7.1M posts

#chinesefoods - 114K posts


Instagram would automatically suggest you more hashtags as you start adding them.


15. Create reels


Reels are the new black. Short-form videos are addictive and grab the user’s attention at the finest levels.


Reels are everywhere now. Facebook, Instagram reels, Tik Tok videos, Youtube shorts.


Reels are simply adding songs, original audio, and other audio to the video and we can literally see the world is getting more into short-form videos that are short and pique the user’s attention.


The best part about reels are:


  • You can shoot them on your mobile phones

  • People love vertical videos

  • Adding a trendy song to go viral



16. Using IGTV feature to its fullest


IGTV stands for Instagram TV. This is yet another fantastic feature in Instagram that allows you to publish videos that are about 1 to 59 minutes long.


Here are a few IGTV ideas for your restaurant:


  1. Restaurant opening

  2. Restaurant working process

  3. Restaurant reviews

  4. Customer testimonials

  5. Behind the scenes videos

  6. Cooking videos


17. Whatsapp Marketing:


Whatsapp is the best medium to win recurring customers. Unlike other channels, that are used to attract new customers to your restaurant, Whatsapp is dominantly used to provide multiple touchpoints for customer experience.


Turn your Whatsapp account into a Business account and enter your menu in the catalog section.


Add your customers’ mobile numbers into Whatsapp Broadcast List for mass communication. You can have upto 256 contacts in one list. You can also create different lists based on the segmentation. For example, Adults, Families, etc.


If you are a relatively new business, you can also send your curated menu individually to your customers or encourage them to have a look at the catalog section and select their favourite ones.


The best part of Whatsapp is that it comes with integrated payments. Meaning, they can directly pay you without leaving the app.


Here is a fantastic case study on how Accra Restaurant Uses WhatsApp Marketing to Keep 6,000 Customers Coming Back



18. Create & highlight stories on social media


Uploading stories on a daily basis helps your audience to recall your brand quite often. Stories are, by default, visible for 24 hours after posting. You can also have a featured section of your posts & stories


The idea is to not spam your audience by posting low-quality stories that are not relevant to them.


Post your daily offers that are applicable only for that day and encourage your audience to take action by making online orders or table reservations.


You’ve to ensure that you post the best stuff in your stories as they’re the first thing a user will get to see on your page.


After you create some handful of stories in your Instagram handle, start categorizing them under different sections like


  • Dishes

  • Cooking videos

  • Reviews

  • Testimonials

  • Contests





19. Using your restaurant online booking & online ordering URLs in social media posts, Facebook & Instagram bio, etc.


The main idea behind Social Media Marketing is to build brand awareness for your restaurant business and thereby encourage your audience to try your restaurant once and eventually turn them into brand loyalists.


To make all this happen, your posts, captions, hashtags, emoji game, quality visual assets, online ordering URL and everything else has to fall in the right place.


Use your Online Ordering & table reservation URL in your social media posts, Facebook page CTA button, Instagram bio, Facebook & Instagram stories, etc.



20. Run contests on social media


Running social media contests is a quick way to gain traction and get more followers.


The process is really easy. You simply make an offer that people can’t ignore with a relatively easy question so that a lot of people will participate in the contest.


Here are some sample restaurant contest ideas to inspire you:


1. Tag a friend to win a free dinner!

2. Like, comment, and share the post in your story to win a free meal

3. A general quiz contest 4. Trending topics

5. Local trending topics

6. Trivia about movies, music, etc



21. Create a restaurant tour video


As much as your customers love your food, they equally value your hygiene measures and brand’s story.


Pick up your mobile or camera, and provide a virtual tour of your restaurant. Include your kitchen, and let the chefs give a small talk on what’s cooking, inventory, restaurant ambiance, and possibly a customer testimonial.


22. Use Restaurant quotes in your marketing messages


Restaurant quotes are widely available all over the internet.


Use the quotes across different channels like SMS, Email, Facebook & Instagram posts, etc.


When used for social media posts, always use super cool food images of your dishes and use the quotes to resonate well.


These restaurant quotes in addition to food quotes can be motivating, funny, witty, and induce cravings.



Restaurant Advertising ideas

23. Create Facebook Ads


Facebook ads are easy to implement and help you reach a wider audience with their extensive targeting options.


To create Facebook ads for your restaurant, create your Facebook page and get into Facebook ad manager.


Follow these 4 simple steps to create Facebook ads for your restaurant:


  1. Create a new ad campaign. Name them as you like. (Example: Christmas offer)

  2. Create a new ad set within the campaign. Give it a name as well. (Example: 20% discount)

  3. Now it’s time to create ads. Add visually appealing creatives like a single image, video, or carousel.

  4. Add a Call To Action (CTA) based on the objective of your ad campaign.


If you’d like to increase Facebook followers for your page, use the “Follow” button as CTA.


If you’d like users to order from your website, use “Order Now” as a CTA.


Don’t forget to add the right destination URL that you want to take your users to.



24. Create Instagram Ads


The easiest way to run Instagram ads is to promote your best-performing post. This is similar to Boost the post which is available on Facebook. But, it comes with a slight disadvantage that you cannot customize your ads as you wish.


This can be solved when you run ads using Facebook ad manager. With your Instagram business account connected with Facebook, you can create a new ad campaign and launch it on Instagram using the same steps while creating Facebook ads.


Make sure you add the right placements, targeting options, Call To Action buttons, appealing creatives as Instagram is a visual medium.



25. Google Ads

Creating and launching your own Google Ads is pretty much straightforward. It’s no rocket science.


All you have to do is, visit ads.google.com and choose “Get started” if you are creating a new Google Ads account or select “Sign in” if you are an existing user.


Choose your advertising goal from any one of the three available options:

1. Get more calls

2. Get more website sales or sign-ups

3. Get more visits to your physical location





Let’s say, if you would like to have more customers in your restaurant store, you can select option 3. If you have a nice website where customers can order right away, choose option 2.


Followed by your restaurant business name and website





Write attractive & catchy headlines for your ad copies followed by 90-word descriptions



The next step is to add the right keywords. This means, your ad will be eligible to appear when someone searches for these terms in Google.


A few keywords for your restaurant business can be:

1. Restaurant near me

2. Nearby restaurant

3. Best restaurants near me

4. Best restaurants in <city name>

5. Restaurants open near me


You can use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research. It helps you with tons of relevant keywords that you can make use of.


Select your address and you can advertise near your business location or you can choose to advertise to specific zip codes, cities, or regions.


Set the daily budget that you are willing to pay for advertising in Google.


Add your payment information and you are ready to go live with your Google Ads.



26. Partner with a restaurant influencer


If you have logged into Facebook, Instagram, or even Youtube, you would have come across food vloggers who review a restaurant and its dishes in a video format.


Food vloggers and influencers are now an integral part of your restaurant marketing. A newly opened food business can partner with an influencer and they can make a video or a post out of it.


Of course, they will charge and it depends on their audience size and marketing potential.


If you are a newly opened restaurant, an influencer can give a super nice push to your business and fantastic marketing.




Offline ads for restaurants:

27. Partner with local shops & retailers


No doubt, it is the digital era. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget the traditional modes of marketing.


Many restaurants still follow the old-school method of marketing and still see its worth.


One easy way is to partner with local shops like Supermarkets, Salons, and other retailers.


Their customers will get an awareness of your restaurant business during the checkout process, receiving coupons, etc. You can offer a special discount to customers that come from local partnerships.


28. Print advertising


Advertise in your local newspaper, provide coupons and business cards to other local businessmen.


Distribute paper pamphlets or flyers to all houses near your restaurant location.


Create restaurant signage in front of your restaurant and a few other banners nearer to your location, more like navigation to help people around your business find your outlet.



Restaurant marketing via restaurant co-workers


29. Teach them about the art of cross-selling, upselling and social media


Cross-selling means adding extras to the order. More like suggesting a dessert at the end of the meal.


Upselling means upgrading the existing ones. An example would be adding extra cheese to a burger. Or a combo of burger & fries.


Both the techniques require practice and basic knowledge on effective communication, people etiquette, soft skills, helping tendencies, and not being so salesy.


It is essentially important to suggest the right menu item that suits their requirements.


Encourage your chefs, and restaurant staff to have social profiles and post about their work. Their followers can see that they are passionate about what they are doing and would love to give your restaurant a try.


30. Gift card sales


After the meal, let the waiter/waitress ask the guests if they would like a gift card as it is the best time. You can either use a physical plastic gift card or a digital gift card that is integrated with your POS or Restaurant software.


Through effective communication, diners can easily buy a gift card and make them recurring customers.


Make sure to provide gift cards for every guest as it not only increases sales but also improves your brand awareness among their friends & relatives.



31. Creating Loyalty programs, memberships


Track the spending of your customers and assign loyalty points that can be exchanged for discounts, super special offers, free menus, and other special experiences.


The study says it costs 5 times higher to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer.


How do you retain your customers? It is probably the toughest question of the century. With loyalty programs like reward points and memberships, you can deliver memorable customer experiences around the year.


Send them unique offers. Make them feel special, more like a snowflake. Everyone likes to be treated well.


32. Restaurant advertising checklist:

When it comes to restaurant advertising, follow this list of best practices to avoid unnecessary spending and junk traffic


1. Targeting the right audience & geolocation


Always run ads only within a 5 to 10 km radius. Choose the right demographics, if you own a restaurant that is only suitable for families, choose married people or a specific age group. This further enhances your targeting.


2. Proper messaging


If your restaurant is highly suitable for teens and young people, choose more of a quirky tone. Speak their language. Stick to the trend. Don’t be so pushy. Let them decide.


3. Including stunning images and captions


It is the most crucial part. Both Facebook & Instagram are the destinations for visually pleasing posts. Use high-quality real-life creatives. Edit it to be vibrant or within your brand’s guidelines.


Add relevant captions that will add context to your image or video.


4. Appropriate CTAs


If you are running ads to encourage users to make an online order, choose the purchase button.


If you’d like to take them to your website, use Learn more


If you’d like to make them call your business, use Call Now option.


There are a lot of options to choose from. Use the right one that makes sense.



33. Signup for Restaurant Marketplaces:


If you are operating a restaurant, you are most likely to come across this strategy. This is well known and a pretty common one - sign up for restaurant marketplaces.


Marketplaces or Food aggregators have captured a huge market of online food ordering and delivering it directly to customers.


Some of the dominant players in the industry are:


  • Zomato

  • Swiggy

  • Uber Eats

  • Dunzo


Having your restaurant listed on their platform will be highly beneficial in your target customers’ mindshare and brand awareness.


Even if someone doesn’t order from your restaurant, they would remember your brand and probably visit for a dine-in if you’re located nearby.



34. Use restaurant Marketing Software:


Choose a software that has customer profiles, data segmentation, marketing features, marketing campaign execution, campaign reporting & analytics.


Here are some of the restaurant marketing software that can be useful for you:

  • Posist

  • Poster

  • The Digital Restaurant


Implementing all the 34 restaurant marketing strategies can be a real daunting task, especially when you have a business to run. We would suggest you go for the quick wins at first. Select a few strategies that would require a very little amount of your time and work on them.





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