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Marketing Tactics for Restaurants

Proven Marketing Tactics for Restaurants

Today, we are here with some useful insights and proven marketing tactics for restaurants. Of course, staple marketing tools like social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, blogging, and traditional marketing methods apply for restaurants, too. However, what we will be sharing today are the tactics that are specific for restaurants, bars, cafes, and other food serving establishments.

1. Give Your Guests Free Wi-Fi

Offering free Wi-Fi at your restaurant is a potent and low-cost way to improve your restaurant marketing. With a special Wi-Fi marketing software or platform, you will gain insight into how your patrons behave when they are at your place. You may also collect their email data for using at your email marketing campaigns as opting in for marketing emails would be an acceptable trade-off for most people to access free Wi-Fi.  

You’ll see data like daily traffic counts, average dwell times, first-time visitor counts, visit repeat rates, visit times, and more. This is very much like Google Analytics but for your offline place of business. This behavior data allows you to easily see occupancy rates, the strength of your staffing, table turn times, and even track the results of all your marketing campaigns.

Wi-Fi Marketing is also a great way to quickly and easily create awareness and interest in your restaurant. It will help you improve customer loyalty as well as your online ratings and reviews.

2. Run Loyalty Programs

Loyal regulars tend to spend more and generate larger transactions. So, what’s the best way to keep your patrons happy and coming back for more? No doubt, you should offer great food, atmosphere, and customer service; however, nothing entices a new customer to return quite like a restaurant loyalty program that consistently rewards them. Diners are more likely to continue spending at restaurants that have a customer loyalty program.

The key for a successful restaurant loyalty program is ensuring the balance between customer satisfaction with the rewards and your profitability. You should determine an optimal threshold for a free meal or a discount that will make it worthwhile for you while making the customer happy.

3. Offer Daily Specials and Happy Hour Discounts

A restaurant has a considerable amount of fixed costs like rent, utilities, and staff, that continues to add up even when your business is slow. Therefore, it would be wise to run promotions and offer discounts on certain items during slower days or run happy hours during weekdays. It will draw customers in when your restaurant is near empty, and staff is underutilized.

You may also consider combining your popular menu items with less popular ones and offer them as discounted combo offerings during slower days which will help you better manage your inventory as a bonus.

4. Develop Kids Specials

If you’re a family-friendly restaurant, offering something special for the kids will make you stand out. If you already don’t, you can start offering a kids’ menu, or smaller size versions of your regular menu at a discounted price.

Some extras you may consider as a means to attract families are kids-eat-free days, kids’ play corner at your restaurant, free ice cream after a meal, or small toys or books to be gifted – McDonalds has been doing this for a reason. It takes only a couple of steps to give families a reason to choose you, so start making your calculations on what you can offer for your little guests.

5. Offer Neighbor Discounts

Consider offering a neighbor discount card for people who live or work within a few-block radius of your restaurant. A small percentage off the cost of their meal, paired with a short walk, is an easy choice for lunch or after a long day at work.

6. Organize Special Events

Organize events on special days and holidays that will inspire your patrons to share, link, and tag you in the event content they post on their social channels. Create an event that’s so special they can’t resist to post about it — and bring their friends back next time. Whether it is a Halloween Party or a Mother’s Day special event, make them worthy of sharing.

Alternatively, you may host events organized by local organizations. This will help you tap into their network, and they’ll do all the promoting for you.

7. Get Local Media and Influencers Review Your Restaurant

Invite restaurant columnists writing for local newspapers or food bloggers with a local outreach to your restaurant and host them with your best food and service. Their reviews will reach a wider audience than regular social media accounts and probably invoke an interest in your restaurant.

8. Make the Most Out of Third-Party Delivery

Cost and operational requirements of organizing in-house delivery may be a hurdle for small-scale restaurants. Thankfully, third-party delivery providers can be helpful with delivering your food. However, considering the high commission rates of such platforms, you need to ensure that you make the most out of your partnership with them. Make sure that you use all available functions and marketing tools they offer.

For example, load real photos of your menu items to attract first-time customers, tag your menu items for dietary restrictions (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, halal, kosher), and run well-planned promotions with them to make your name heard.  You may also slip your dine-in/take-out menu in delivery bags to let your customers know about your regular prices to attract them to your place (as most restaurants have to add some markup on delivery menu prices).

These are some proven tactics that are worth trying. Not every one of them may suit your business, but if you make your calculations, you’ll see that you can use at least a couple of them. If you need a more in-depth marketing analysis for your food-serving business, we’ll be here to help you with it.


Contact us if you need professional help for your marketing or book a free consulting session to discuss your specific business needs.

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