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Restaurant Marketing Strategies


A recent article from a restaurant marketing firm had some interesting comments about many of today’s restaurant owners. The article mentioned that throughout the years there have been many different trends come and go.

Some restaurant owners are totally in love with new, high-tech driven marketing schemes, some are extremely old-school, and then there is a group of restaurant operational rock stars who do not really give two hoots about any type of marketing at all.

The bottom line, however, is that all of these groups understand what margins they want to hit and they know exactly how many customers they need each day to hit their goals and make payroll.

Most restaurant owners will agree that many of the newer, flashy marketing techniques are simply too difficult and time-consuming to manage and often too expensive.

This article will, therefore, try to explain a few of the easier to execute and affordable marketing techniques that a restaurant may want to try.

Let’s begin with direct mail.

It is important to remember that even though technology may at times seem confusing it does work.

A recent mail campaign for a restaurant in a small town was quite successful. The restaurant paid $2000 for a direct mail campaign that targeted new residents who had recently moved into the area.

In only one month, the new residents brought in their coupons and spent over $7000 at the restaurant. This inexpensive direct mail campaign resulted in a tidy profit for the restaurant.

Another relatively inexpensive marketing strategy is to use influencer marketing.

A restaurant can take advantage of local celebrities who have large social media followings to promote their business via their blogs or whatever.

You can also reach out to any of your cities top food bloggers and offer them an invitation to the restaurant. You may want to provide them with a free meal and a special menu item.

Be up front and let them know that you have an interest in being featured on their social site or blog. Of course, only if they have enjoyed their experience at your restaurant. Roll out the red carpet for them and make sure that you have your chef personally take care of them throughout the entire meal. Your chef should explain everything about the meal thoroughly so that they can write an informative blog if everything turns out okay.

A great way to draw attraction to your restaurant is by special events.

There are many opportunities to have a special event at your restaurant without costing you a lot of money. For example, you could have a special “Daughter / Daddy Night” where fathers bring in their daughters for a special night of food and entertainment.

Perhaps you could make it a Disney Princess theme and have all of the staff dressed in appropriate Disney costumes.

Another awesome special event idea would be the annual anniversary of the restaurant.

You could offer a discount on specific meals and drinks throughout your anniversary celebration week. You could also introduce special days of the week such as “I Love Wine Wednesdays” or “Tortilla Tuesdays.

These type of special restaurant days can bring in an incredible amount of extra profit if implemented properly.

Give back nights are also an economical way to increase restaurant traffic “Give Back Nights” or “Pay It Forward Nights” will allow you to not only increase your profits but you can also help a local school, charity, or whatever.

Make sure that you mention this promotion to the local media so that you can get more exposure and coverage. After all, there is nothing wrong with letting the entire city know about the good things that your restaurant is doing.

One of the simplest ways to introduce more profit for your restaurant is a good delivery program.

Many people do not want to leave their homes but would rather have the food delivered. However, they are often discouraged by the high price that a delivery fee and tip will cost. If you have high enough margins it may be a good idea to offer a percentage discount for delivery. You could also mention that the driver does not expect a tip.

Other inexpensive marketing ideas include

  • Battle of the Businesses
  • Radio Partnerships
  • Text Marketing
  • Social Media Strategies
  • Apartment Coupon Drops
  • And so many others

Obviously, there are many marketing tactics that you can try but do not do them all at one time. Take your time and select only one of them at a time. This will allow you to see whether a particular strategy works or not.

Finally, never give up on trying new marketing ideas to increase restaurant traffic.


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