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How to Create a Successful Restaurant Marketing Campaign


More than a million restaurants operate in the United States, and they compete not only with one another but also with less expensive dining options like a home-cooked dinner.

Restaurant operators must ask themselves one crucial question: “Why should consumers spend their hard-earned money to eat our food?” in light of the numerous alternatives to any one establishment.

For consumers who are starving, effective marketing provides an answer to that query; nevertheless, restaurants don’t simply sell goods; they also sell feelings and experiences.

What is Restaurant Marketing?

Restaurant marketing is a methodical, quantifiable procedure for raising brand awareness, luring in new clients, and producing money. Any restaurant business plan must include consistent marketing strategies. Particular promos, digital engagement initiatives, local search optimization, and traditional advertising are a few examples of effective restaurant marketing strategies.

How to Market a Restaurant the Right Way

Let’s first discuss some general characteristics of successful methods before getting into more detail about restaurant marketing advice. The following are the best restaurant marketing campaigns:

  • Assessable: Marketing strategies require precise, quantifiable objectives. You can’t tell what worked and what didn’t for your campaign if you can’t measure the results. Make sure you are aware of the distinction between value metrics and vanity metrics.
  • Diverse: You can’t choose just one of the channels that today’s consumers use to get content or view adverts. A campaign that is solely distributed on broadcast TV, for instance, may be missed by a significant portion of your audience as only 42% of millennials watch live TV.
  • Local focus: Restaurants, with a few notable exceptions, typically serve local customers. Understanding regional market dynamics and pertinent client expectations are crucial.
  • Emotional: Life and food are entwined. Meals often evoke powerful feelings of warmth, love, and family for many people. The best restaurant marketers promote experiences rather than just food.

Let’s examine some tried-and-true restaurant marketing strategies while keeping these essential elements in mind:

How it works: User-generated content shows that consumers believe in your brand. More than any other kind of media, user-generated material is trusted by millennials by 50%.

It is indisputable evidence that your products are worth talking about when you allow your customers to share your brand narrative with the world. Reviews, Instagram Stories, and posts, as well as blog entries, are all examples of this type of material.

Loyalty Programs

From your current client base, loyalty programs encourage repeat purchases. About 80% of adult Americans participate in loyalty programs.

People love receiving incentives; it’s in our DNA. Loyalty programs stimulate repeat business from your clients, which generates a steady income.

restaurant marketing

Business Profile on Google Maps

People are likely to use a navigation app to find the closest restaurants when they are hungry. Google Maps is six times more well-liked by smartphone users than other apps.

Local SEO’s growing significance is enabling small firms to compete with national corporations. Your restaurant is more likely to be found on search engine results pages if it has a comprehensive Google Maps profile.

Working with local Food Bloggers

Gaining a local food blogger’s endorsement dramatically expands the market for your restaurant.

Customers who want to spend their money on a memorable dinner can get assistance from food bloggers. It demonstrates your willingness to risk your reputation on the quality of your offerings when you invite bloggers to eat at your restaurant.

Responsive online Menus

Modern consumers demand simple digital interactions from the companies they do business with. Customers may easily learn about your brand by using menus that are digitally friendly.

Customers can decide to eat at your restaurant more quickly if they are aware of what to expect from it. Instead of photographing your actual menus, think about creating a digital version that works well on mobile devices.

Using Digital Coupons

A voucher might be useful for clients who are choosing between two or more restaurants. 90% of shoppers reportedly use coupons.

Traditional coupons are more difficult to use, while digital coupons make it simpler to track coupon analytics. When potential clients might otherwise be hesitant to enter, they offer a fantastic opportunity to entice them.

Delivery Service Partnerships

By offering delivery, you can attract customers who don’t just want to eat out. It has been demonstrated that collaborating with a third-party delivery service increases restaurant sales volume by 10% to 20%.

Smaller businesses have typically had to decide between providing an internal delivery service and concentrating only on serving customers in the dining room. More flexible service possibilities are facilitated through third-party delivery apps.

Outreach to Local Businesses

You’ll have a devoted lunch crowd if you can win over the patronage of the nearby office workers.

Getting in touch with nearby businesses can create a new consumer base for your restaurant. Options for outreach might be as informal as a discount agreement or as professional as a fishbowl for business cards.

Most of these concepts are applicable to both fast-casual eateries and fine dining businesses. However, how can you determine when to employ each strategy? And how many strategies should you employ simultaneously? Long-term success is largely dependent on integrating several marketing concepts into a coherent strategy.

Examples of Restaurant Marketing Strategies

When a marketing strategy lacks a defined structure, it frequently fails. You can never genuinely advance if all you do is respond to market conditions. For instance, you might swiftly put out a plan to quickly win them back if another restaurant opens up nearby and starts stealing all of your lunchtime customers.

Instead of responding to external variables, you may gradually increase your consumer base by planning your marketing from a growth mentality.   

Content Marketing

Digital content aids in brand discovery for potential customers. Content comes in a variety of formats, including:

  • Blog articles.
  • Podcasts.
  • Videos.
  • Email.
  • Infographics.

By answering frequently asked questions, showcasing your best dishes, and assisting customers in developing a connection with your business, each of these assets kinds can assist clients in making a purchase decision.

For instance, you might write a series of blog posts outlining the history of each item and demonstrating to clients how you came up with your menu. Then you may make supplemental movies that depict actual consumers enjoying meals. You may also develop an email marketing campaign to reach your present clients with your content.

Social Media

Food is naturally social. The act of making and sharing food with others is a human custom that transcends geography and culture. Social media is therefore a great fit for the restaurant industry.

While you might not be able to convey the mouthwatering flavors and captivating aromas of your food online, you can display mouthwatering pictures that draw people to your restaurant.

Additionally, social media gives you a way to distribute user-generated content. You could, for instance, post customer images to your Snapchat story.

Local Search

When compared to other business categories, restaurants stand to gain a lot from local search optimization. People are probably searching for an instant and close solution when they search for restaurants.

Consumers can find your brand more easily and determine whether they want to test it out faster thanks to reviewing websites like Yelp, Google Maps, and others. See how straightforward it is for locals to locate you by performing a fast search for your brand name.

It’s time to create a formal marketing plan once you’ve chosen your approaches and put them together into a strategy. You can track your progress and modify your strategy depending on your findings by developing a documented plan with specific objectives.

Examples of Restaurant Marketing Plan 

A written marketing strategy can help you stay accountable.

The fundamental components of an efficient marketing strategy are as follows:

  • A value proposition: You must establish the value you provide to your clients before you can effectively sell your restaurant. Never forget to consider your brand’s entire experience, not just the food it serves.
  • Customer personas: Effective advertisements target particular consumer groups. Personas assist you in identifying the psychological requirements of your clients. You can make social media postings that feature families eating together if your typical consumer is seeking for a family-friendly restaurant.
  • Measurable goals: Before you can get somewhere, you must first know where you want to go. You can change your marketing plan as necessary by monitoring your goals over time.
  • Channels and tactics: Pick two or three complementary marketing channels to prevent overextending yourself. For instance, you might decide on two social media sites and start a blog. Next, schedule the strategies you’ll employ to draw in customers using a calendar.
  • A budget: Once you’ve created your perfect marketing strategy, it’s time to estimate the cost. Choose a budget that works for your company and follow it religiously.
  • Examining some of the most effective restaurant marketing initiatives will motivate you to take your own brand further.

Examples of Successful Restaurant Marketing Campaigns


The McDonald’s U.K. advertising campaign expertly adheres to Simon Sinek’s “Start with why” maxim. The structure is broken down as follows:

  1. The advertisement opens by showing sympathy for its intended audience—busy parents. With their hands stuffed with toys, keys, and bags, we observe a couple juggling train travels and shopping expeditions. This explains “why.”
  2. The parents then make their way to a McDonald’s restaurant, where a host inquires about their interest in trying the new table service option. We start to observe what the restaurant will do to fix the issue.
  3. The contented family is seated as the commercial concludes. The parents now have free hands as a result of the new service, which they naturally use to enjoy scrumptious McDonald’s hamburgers.

Taco Bell

In its April 2019 marketing campaign, Taco Bell invited customers to protest Taco Tuesdays. The campaign, which had an 80s vibe, included a TV advertisement, a branded hashtag (#reBELLion), a discount for online orders, and a range of goods.

Together, these strategies offered devoted customers a variety of options to participate in and gain from the campaign. It is a fantastic illustration of multichannel marketing.

Longhorn Steakhouse

The popular Instagram account of Longhorn Steakhouse features photographs of succulent steaks, loaded potatoes, and other grilled treats.

The business asked its social media followers to submit their “hot thoughts” on steak for the new year. They made an Instagram video with the top quotes after gaining tremendous interaction on Twitter. The campaign not only gave customers a way to interact with the business directly but also promoted social media platform cross-pollination.

Recommended reading

The best eateries don’t usually become famous overnight. They are successful due to their driven and dedicated owners. Motivated restaurant owners don’t allow failure to get in the way of their goals; instead, they use it as motivation to improve next time.

With the help of these highly recommended books, stay inspired and motivated:

The 1-Page Marketing Plan

This book offers advice on how to make your existing marketing strategy more sustainable if you think it’s a little disorganized.

Restaurant Success

The marketing strategies outlined in this timeless text are extremely applicable to the restaurant industry.

Restaurant Owners

This book offers crucial insights into how to succeed in the food industry and is full of advice from successful restaurant operators.

At dinnertime, customers with hunger have a lot of possibilities. Utilize our free template and advice to create a solid restaurant marketing strategy.

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