Diving Deep Into Advertising for Eating places (My Takeaways)


I’m lucky to dwell in a metropolis that has a thriving restaurant scene (it’s most recognized for its barbecue and Tex-Mex, if that offers you any trace). And whereas I don’t take into account myself a meals connoisseur by any means, I used to be a meals journalist in a previous life, so I proceed to remain on high of the most recent tales and tendencies surrounding the restaurant business.

restaurant ideas in action at a business

To do that, I comply with quite a lot of eating places on social media. I additionally subscribe to their newsletters, attend their particular occasions, enter their giveaways, and join their rewards packages.

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And since my advertising and marketing mind by no means shuts off, I can’t assist however be interested by these restaurant advertising and marketing methods. How effectively do they work? Which channels do these eating places carry out finest on? How do established eating places preserve curiosity after the grand opening buzz wears down?

To determine the solutions to those questions, I’m digging deep into restaurant advertising and marketing concepts, methods, and real-life campaigns.

Restaurant Advertising Methods That Work

I needed to get extra perception into the world of restaurant advertising and marketing, so I spoke with Rachel Ayotte, the founder and CEO of Bread and Butter, a communications company that works with hospitality purchasers.

Why do eating places of all sizes want a advertising and marketing technique? What does an efficient marketing campaign appear to be nowadays?

“In New York Metropolis alone, there are over 25,000 eating places, which might take the typical individual 22 years to attempt,” shares Ayotte.

She provides, “With an enormous stock of choices and a comparatively quick time to succeed, folks should know your restaurant not solely exists however can be someplace they wish to go.”

That is why having a restaurant advertising and marketing technique is crucial.

If you wish to stand out on-line and produce extra folks into your restaurant, listed below are examples of profitable restaurant advertising and marketing methods and campaigns to take inspiration from.

Buyer-First Content material

A necessary restaurant advertising and marketing technique is to focus in your clients. This is applicable not solely to the way in which you market your restaurant but additionally to the menu gadgets and merchandise you create.

One inventive instance of that is Chipotle’s restricted version Serviette Holder, which is impressed by its clients.

Marketing strategy for restaurants examples: Chipotle’s car napkin holder in action.

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Right here’s the backstory: It’s widespread for Chipotle clients to seize a stack of napkins to retailer of their automobiles on their method out of the restaurant.

As an alternative of reprimanding its clients for stocking up on napkins, Chipotle created a chance for elevated model loyalty by making a branded automobile serviette holder.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: Chipotle created a limited edition car napkin holder inspired by its customers.

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As a bonus, the marketing campaign launched across the holidays, making it an ideal gifting alternative. Every serviette holder additionally got here with a present card for a free entree to encourage clients to go to a restaurant to “restock” their serviette provide.

Chipotle’s restricted version Serviette Holder was not solely a wonderful customer-inspired product, however the marketing campaign was additionally an ideal instance of social listening in motion.

By taking note of their clients’ behaviors and what they’re sharing on-line in regards to the restaurant, Chipotle was capable of create a viral second out of it.

Chipotle’s aim on social is to “meet [their] followers the place they’re,” in accordance with Candice Beck, the restaurant’s director of social, influencers, and Web3, and this marketing campaign fully aligns with that technique.

To make use of this technique, get to know your clients on a deep degree. Immerse your self within the platforms they spend their time on, whether or not that’s Instagram or TikTok, and make notice of their pursuits, behaviors, and targets.

Nostalgic Advertising

To today, I can’t hear the phrases “child again ribs” and never consider Chili’s. That’s as a result of I, like many millennials, grew up listening to the enduring “I need my child again ribs” jingle on TV and the radio.

Chili’s has tapped into its Y2K previous and created a number of nostalgic advertising and marketing campaigns this 12 months to focus on its now-adult millennial viewers.

The campaigns embody a industrial that introduced again the restaurant’s well-known jingle, now sung by Boyz II Males (one other popular culture fixture of the 90s and 2000s).

Utilizing nostalgia in advertising and marketing has been a well-liked technique in recent times as many companies’ goal audiences are rising up. In the event you’re a longtime restaurant, don’t be afraid to rehash the previous.

This might imply bringing again an outdated menu merchandise, promoting merchandise with retro branding, and even sharing flashbacks from all through your restaurant’s historical past.

Nostalgic advertising and marketing works not solely as a result of it faucets into folks’s reminiscences and feelings but additionally as a result of it serves as a reminder of how lengthy you’ve been round.

Social-Pushed Content material

In my expertise, eating places that prioritize social media of their advertising and marketing technique are inclined to generate quite a lot of on-line buzz.

An instance of a restaurant that creates social-driven content material is Austin-based El Arroyo. Although El Arroyo is a Mexican restaurant, you received’t discover any footage of meals on its Instagram.

With virtually 700K followers, the restaurant is as a substitute recognized for its real-life marquee signal that shows cheeky jokes and ideas, typically submitted by followers.

The account shares an image of its signal with a brand new message every single day on Instagram.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: Austin-based restaurant El Arroyo is famous for its marquee sign that displays cheeky sayings and jokes.

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El Arroyo has constructed a big following round its every day signal, giving its viewers one thing to look ahead to seeing — and sharing — every single day.

The restaurant additionally makes use of its signal to tie in present occasions or make main bulletins. For instance, when the hit Netflix present, Queer Eye, was filming in Austin, El Arroyo partnered with the forged to generate buzz.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: The cast of Queer Eye poses in front of El Arroyo’s marquee sign to promote the show.

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If you wish to use social media to drive visitors to your restaurant, create one thing shareable. This could possibly be a mural or an indication that individuals wish to take footage of or a novel menu merchandise that may stand out within the feed.

Signature Model

After I consider a restaurant with a signature, distinct, and memorable model, the primary place that involves thoughts is Taquero Mucho.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Austin-based Taquero Mucho infuses its signature pink into everything from its dining tables and chairs to its margaritas.

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The Austin-based restaurant is thought for utilizing the colour pink in every little thing — from its decor to its margaritas — even the tortillas are pink.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: A plate of Taquero Mucho’s signature pink tortilla tacos.

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Pink is splashed throughout its model imagery, making it unmissable on-line and in social media feeds. The colour pink typically evokes a sense of playfulness, optimism, and femininity, that are all phrases I’d use to explain Taquero Mucho.

Creating a robust model is a good way to make your restaurant memorable, as a signature model basically markets your restaurant for you.

Model Partnerships

“Certainly one of our favourite and simplest advertising and marketing concepts for eating places to maximise consciousness is a partnership with a like-minded model to faucet into their viewers,” shares Ayotte.

Ayotte says it is a low-lift method to attract on what you have already got — an amazing restaurant and an amazing menu. You’ll be able to “leverage that by way of one other model that shares an analogous ethos and has entry to clients the restaurant won’t,” she notes

An instance of a profitable partnership Ayotte’s staff developed and executed was between the dessert model, Girl M Confections, Netflix, and Pearl Studio upfront of the discharge of the extremely anticipated musical Over the Moon.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Dessert brand Lady M created a limited edition mooncake lantern in partnership with Netflix.

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To have a good time the discharge, Girl M created a mooncake lantern. As soon as the partnership was able to be introduced, Ayotte’s staff reached out to media and influencers to share the information, in addition to samples of the mooncake lanterns.

“The partnership was a convincing success,” Ayotte remembers. “It [resulted] in an enormous bump in gross sales for Girl M [and generated] over 1.7 million impressions and 19,804 whole social engagements.”

10 Restaurant Advertising Concepts for 2024

Primarily based on the methods above, together with extra perception from Rachel Ayotte and my private encounters with restaurant advertising and marketing that works, listed below are ten restaurant advertising and marketing concepts and finest practices to do this 12 months and past.

1. Construct a easy but efficient web site.

Whether or not I’m looking for a restaurant close to me on Google or I’ve found a brand new place by way of Instagram, my subsequent step is all the time to take a look at the restaurant’s web site. Having an internet site in your restaurant is a necessity.

“Even when a restaurant has one of the best service and finest meals on the earth, friends want a approach to discover out info and join ultimately,” states Ayotte. “In our expertise designing web sites for eating places, we emphasize the necessity for recurrently up to date, user-friendly codecs that make it straightforward for friends to see the menu, hours, location, and how you can make a reservation.”

Restaurant marketing ideas: A simple website for the restaurant Bodega in San Francisco. The web page includes contact information, hours, and a reservation link.

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What we like: The excellent news is you don’t have to have web site growth abilities to construct an efficient web site. “Eating places don’t want a vastly complicated web site to achieve success,” says Ayotte. “An internet site will be comparatively easy if designed effectively.”

2. Handle and replace your Google Enterprise Profile.

Along with their web site, one other factor I instantly check out when looking for eating places is their Google Enterprise Profile.

Your Google Enterprise Profile is the profile that pops up on the proper facet of the display when somebody searches for what you are promoting. This snapshot of what you are promoting creates a primary impression to searchers who wish to see what kind of meals to anticipate and what the environment is like.

It additionally shows info they’re most certainly in search of straight away, comparable to hours, location, and critiques.

It’s vital to maintain your profile up to date so clients have essentially the most correct and up-to-date info. Eating places that actively preserve this info get 89% extra calls, web site visits, and route requests, and 79% extra critiques, in accordance with information from Cellular.io.

Right here’s an instance of a Google Enterprise Profile for an area pizza restaurant right here in Austin referred to as Through 313:

restaurant marketing ideas, via313

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The profile contains the restaurant’s important info comparable to location, hours, and cellphone quantity. Nevertheless it additionally contains issues that may assist diners make their choice, just like the menu, service choices, critiques, and loads of pictures.

Professional tip: You’ll be able to add your personal pictures to your profile when you don’t need it to solely characteristic photos from buyer critiques.

3. Monitor on-line critiques.

“Individuals like to broadcast damaging experiences and critiques,” Ayotte states. “This will hang-out a restaurant for years.”

When you can’t management what folks write of their critiques, you may select the way you reply. Take the time to learn and reply to each optimistic and damaging critiques.

Right here’s one other instance from Through 313, the pizza store I discussed above. The restaurant takes the time to thoughtfully reply to each buyer assessment on Google, even acknowledging their suggestions when clients share it.

Restaurant marketing ideas: A five-star Google review for Via 313 that includes a response from the business owner.

Greatest for: Monitoring your restaurant’s on-line critiques isn’t solely so you may keep on high of damaging critiques. You can even use buyer suggestions to enhance your restaurant service, get inspiration for brand spanking new dishes, or gather optimistic critiques as social proof in your web site and social media posts.

4. Share UGC (user-generated content material).

For me, seeing posts created by different accounts and clients helps persuade me to attempt a restaurant. That is referred to as user-generated content material, or UGC.

UGC establishes social proof, which is the idea that clients are influenced by different clients’ experiences, conduct, and suggestions.

For instance, the Reel under was created by a meals influencer sharing their expertise on the New Orleans-based restaurant Willa Jean (which, by the way in which, I can verify is a good brunch spot within the metropolis!).

The restaurant shared the video by itself web page to amplify the influencer’s optimistic advice.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: An influencer post that Willa Jean, a New Orleans restaurant, reshared on its Instagram page.

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What we like: Not solely does UGC present social proof in your restaurant, however it additionally provides you loads of content material to share, so that you by no means run out of issues to submit.

5. Be a part of a reservation platform.

If you wish to get clients within the door, you need to make it straightforward for them to return. This typically means assembly them the place they’re, which, within the case of upscale eating, is on the reservation platforms.

Reservation platforms like Resy or Tock are nice channels for eating places to extend their discoverability and get in entrance of recent clients.

On the shopper facet, these platforms are handy. Reserving platforms typically curate eating places for patrons, organizing them into classes comparable to “Prime Rated” or “Greatest Brunches” so folks can navigate their choices higher.

Resy, as an example, even has a class referred to as “Guide Tonight” that shows openings for last-minute reservations.

Restaurant marketing ideas: Reservation platform Resy displays restaurant availability for quick and convenient booking.

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Professional tip: In the event you provide reservations or group eating, make it straightforward in your clients to e-book a desk by including a reservation web page or plugin in your web site.

6. Have interaction clients immediately with electronic mail advertising and marketing.

In 2023, I had one in every of my most memorable eating experiences at Bar Marilou in New Orleans. From the library-inspired inside design to the mouth-watering bites and flavorful drinks, the expertise has caught with me for almost a 12 months.

So, in fact, anytime I see the identify “Bar Marilou” pop up in my inbox, I instantly open the e-mail simply to be reminded of my magical expertise.

Restaurant marketing ideas: An email newsletter from New Orleans-based restaurant Bar Marilou. The email includes a high-quality photo of plated dishes, CTA buttons to see the menu or make a reservation, and information about two upcoming events.

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That is the ability of electronic mail advertising and marketing. When executed proper, emails can be utilized to extend buyer loyalty and function a reminder of your story, your menu, or your occasions. E mail is a approach to attain your clients immediately, whereas social media posts can get misplaced in a sea of content material.

Bar Marilou solely sends out emails as soon as a month (generally much less) to share upcoming occasions or updates. This cadence is sufficient for me since I don’t even dwell in the identical metropolis and may’t simply drop in at any time when I need.

Nevertheless, when you’ve got sufficient information in your clients, you might ship extra customized emails relying on their areas, demographic, and eating historical past with you. As an illustration, if your clients’ birthdays, you may ship them rewards to redeem on their particular days.

Greatest for: If you wish to talk vital info or share upcoming occasions together with your clients, electronic mail advertising and marketing is usually a extra direct channel than social media.

7. Create shareable moments.

Shareable content material is essential to succeeding on social media. Whenever you create content material that pulls and resonates with folks, they’re extra prone to share it and enable you to enhance your restaurant’s on-line attain.

There are just a few methods to create moments or content material that individuals wish to share. A technique is to make your dishes Instagram-worthy so clients are compelled to take footage and share them.

Right here’s one other instance from the pink restaurant, Taquero Mucho, I discussed earlier. The restaurant creates a enjoyable new drink each month and shares it on Instagram. This one aligned with the Barbie film that premiered final summer season.

Creative marketing ideas: A pink Barbie-themed drink from Taquero Mucho Austin.

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One other method is to design your restaurant in a method that’s share-worthy by creating an Instagrammable spot inside or exterior of your house, like a mural.

8. Begin a loyalty or rewards program.

Everybody loves free stuff. A rewards program is usually a enjoyable approach to encourage clients to develop into frequent guests to earn free meals and drinks.

McDonald’s affords an amazing instance of how you can execute a rewards program. To encourage folks to make use of its app, McDonald’s affords clients free giant fries after they make a purchase order.

The extra orders you make within the app, the extra factors you get and may use in the direction of future orders.

Restaurant marketing ideas: McDonald’s

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However you don’t have to have a flowery app or be a big restaurant chain like McDonald’s to begin a loyalty program.

My native espresso store, Sorrento’s Espresso, affords a rewards program that’s arrange by way of its POS system, Sq..

Each time you purchase a drink, you get factors. 140 factors get you one free drink. (Which jogs my memory — appears to be like like I’ve a free espresso or two ready for me!).

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: An overview of my local coffee shop’s customer loyalty program which involves earning points for free drinks.

Greatest for: Loyalty packages are supposed to reward frequent clients. In my expertise, the rewards packages I’ve been most certainly to take part in are locations that I already frequent.

These packages work nice with espresso outlets or lunch spots in a busy workplace space — anyplace the place you’re prone to see the identical clients regularly.

9. Create branded merchandise.

Creating bodily merchandise or branded merchandise is a good way to let your clients do your advertising and marketing for you.

Just like the Chipotle marketing campaign I shared above, branded merchandise is a good advertising and marketing thought for eating places with a loyal buyer base. The important thing to creating branded merchandise is to create a product that not solely displays your model however can be one thing your clients would get pleasure from.

For instance, El Arroyo, the restaurant with the well-known marquee signal, additionally affords a full line of merchandise that’s synonymous with its signal. The cheeky nature of the signal lends itself effectively to different gift-type gadgets like doormats, coasters, and enjoying playing cards, just like the merchandise under.

Creative restaurant marketing ideas: El Arroyo sells products like doormats and coasters with its signature messages on them.

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What we like: Branded merchandise is a good way to encourage clients to advertise your model for you and enhance word-of-mouth.

10. Accomplice with related manufacturers.

As Ayotte talked about earlier when speaking about restaurant advertising and marketing methods, model partnerships are an efficient approach to amplify your model by getting it in entrance of recent audiences.

To get essentially the most out of your model partnership, associate with a model that has a distinct but like-minded viewers. It doesn’t even must be one other restaurant or meals model. The aim is to be launched to a brand new viewers that may profit from or get pleasure from your product.

As an illustration, when you’re a small native restaurant that simply opened in your city’s major avenue, you might associate with different small companies on the block for an in-person occasion or a social media giveaway.

Professional tip: Model partnerships must be mutually useful. Think about what the opposite occasion will obtain in return for partnering with you if you make your pitch.

What I Discovered About Restaurant Advertising

The largest factor I’ve discovered from digging into totally different restaurant campaigns and methods is that there’s a ton of room to be inventive with restaurant advertising and marketing.

There’s no proper or improper method. Eating places can incorporate tendencies of their social posts or keep on with publishing high-quality photos of their dishes. They will attempt to get in entrance of recent audiences by partnering with related manufacturers, or they will construct loyalty with present clients by way of electronic mail advertising and marketing.

The important factor your restaurant must succeed is an internet site with the next key info:

  • Menu
  • Hours
  • Location
  • Telephone quantity
  • E mail
  • Reservations (if relevant)

The very best restaurant advertising and marketing technique is to grasp your model and your clients. From there, you may experiment with totally different on-line and in-person channels to execute your imaginative and prescient and produce extra folks into your restaurant for years to return.

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