How To Promote a Restaurant: Rapid Business Success

Marketing 19 minute read 29th March 2024

Promoting a restaurant is a necessity when you want to build real success. Without promotion, how will people even know to visit your business? A restaurant business is all about getting people over your threshold. As a business owner, you need promotion to bring in profit. It is the step between empty tables and being booked out. So, how do you tackle restaurant promotions? Where do you learn how to promote a restaurant?

You can approach it from all different angles, from social media to physical direct mail marketing. You may think that passersby may find your restaurant organically, but truth be told, there’s location marketing in play. And that’s without mentioning the obvious: the restaurant’s exterior design.

In this guide, we’ll teach you how to promote your restaurant in the best way possible. We’ll cover some ideas, a rough budgeting plan, and why you should even care in the first place. Get ready, because we are going to spill all the details. Here’s our complete guide to restaurant promotion.

how to promote a restaurant 1

Why Should I Promote My Restaurant?

You should promote your restaurant because you want it to succeed. That may sound redundant or even a little sassy. However, you’d be surprised at the number of restaurant owners who don’t know the importance of a solid marketing strategy. You might be doing great without it, but if you are, just imagine how good you’d be with proper marketing.

If you aren’t promoting your restaurant already, you are likely cheating yourself out of business success. Of course, nobody wants that. You might be doing great now, but proper promotion could double or even quadruple your customer base. Investing in promotions also attracts a better crowd, with customers who align with your ideal customer profile.

It isn’t just about how many customers you attract but the quality of the customers you attract. Take a vegetarian restaurant, for example. You might have 100 people walk by a day; sure enough, some may pop in. Or, if you’re lucky, you may get word-of-mouth recommendations. However, of those 100, not everyone will be a vegetarian.

If you invest in restaurant promotions, you could easily target 100 local vegetarians on the same day. Therefore, you’ve got a better chance of getting loyal customers and better engagement rates. Furthermore, you attract a customer base you’ll resonate with, which is a huge bonus.

If you’re proud of your restaurant and your branding, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops. Trust us; you’ll see the results.

how to promote a restaurant 2

How Much Does It Cost To Promote Your Restaurant?

Asking how much to budget to promote your restaurant is like asking how long a piece of string is. It ranges from $50 to $50,000 but massively depends on your personal preferences.

Do you feel confident tackling certain promotions yourself, like running a social media page? Do you have a knack for words and feel able to tackle SEO yourself?

Before forming a budget, take a really honest look at yourself and your skill set. Then you should also consider your time. After all, it doesn’t matter if you’re an SEO whizz or reel mastermind. If you don’t have the time, it’s better to outsource so the promotions get done.

In short, the budget depends massively on what promotions you want to invest in. You can do things as cheaply or as elaborately as you’d like. Here’s a rough idea of the budget per typical promotion project:

Website Design and SEO Marketing

You could pay as little as $200 to create your restaurant website on WordPress. Alternatively, you could spend $2,000 hiring a web designer.

Similarly, you could spend 2 hours a day writing blog posts and carrying out SEO research. Or you could spend $100 a day to hire an expert to do so for you.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another excellent example of how you could invest nothing but your time or hire an expert. You could launch your social media campaign independently; Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are free to run.

If you hire an expert, freelance social media marketers can charge between $35 to $350 an hour.

The Budgeting Summary

We’d recommend crunching your existing budget and evaluating your skillset and free time. If you have the free time and basic skills, we’d suggest teaching yourself things to keep your budget low. If your budget is high, go ahead and outsource. It is tax deductible anyway.

You can invest in some form of restaurant promotion for around $250-500 a month, with things like Facebook ads. At the top end, you could spend $2,000 a month. For instance, hiring a high-charging social media marketer for 1.5 hours a week.

how to promote a restaurant 3

How To Promote a Restaurant: 6 Key Ways

There are many ways to promote a restaurant; our six best ideas are ready for you. As a business owner, your main marketing concern should be connecting with potential customers.

You also want to know how to retain customers and convert one-time diners into loyal re-bookers. And that’s where a great restaurant marketing idea or two comes in.

Here’s how to promote a restaurant.

1. Utilize Google Maps

Not enough people appreciate Google Maps for what it is: a location-based, practical search engine. This fabulous tool is a great way to promote your restaurant, especially once you start gaining positive reviews.

Many people in the food industry search for restaurants using Google Maps. If you’re in a touristy area or popular stopover place, utilizing Google Maps could be a winning idea.

You simply set up a Google My Business account and create a listing. Then, whenever someone hovers over your area, they’ll see your restaurant. It will also appear in relevant search results, like “restaurant near me.”

how to promote a restaurant 4

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is popular for a good reason. It is a great way to send out deals and build customer loyalty - hello, customer loyalty program (more on that later). You can also send out notifications of new menu items and upcoming events. It is the backbone of modern customer-to-business communication.

Even things like booking confirmations via email hold great value. It conveys a level of trustworthiness and establishes your brand as reliable.

You can collect email addresses at the point of booking, like through a booking platform or verbally over the phone.

how to promote a restaurant 5

3. Event Marketing

This is a fun way to promote your restaurant. You could run fun events, like wine tasting, festive celebrations, or even cultural events like a Cinco de Mayo party.

Event marketing is great as it re-establishes your restaurant’s brand and creates positive associations amongst your potential customer base. It also gets people over your threshold, which is honestly half the battle.

Once you have some attendees, you can use WiFi marketing to stay in contact with them. More on that in a short second.

how to promote a restaurant 6

4. WiFi Marketing

WiFi marketing is all about taking advantage of your time with customers. As discussed above, they’ll want WiFi when they dine with you or attend events. When they go to join, you set up a captive portal to meet them.

This blocks their entry until they provide specific details, which you can customize using captive portal software. You can ask for things like email addresses for email marketing. And if you have a restaurant full of event attendees, you can keep that communication open. WiFi marketing is more about retention and facilitating future promotions.

how to promote a restaurant 7

5. Create Novelty

This is another really fun way to promote your restaurant. You encourage organic marketing if you can build a reputation for a novelty menu item or service element. How many times have you excitedly told a friend about a crazy experience? Or shared a snap of it on social media?

Think about the cat cafe trend. This really took off because of the novelty element. Creating novelty is one of the most single-handedly effective ways to promote your restaurant. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get people promoting it.

Consider how your restaurant business can create a sense of novelty. Could you offer some trending menu items, like the pink drinks that took off during Barbie’s release? Or could you offer something so distinct that it sets you apart from the crowd, like the cats?

6. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the be-all and end-all in our day and age. Gone are the days of only Facebook; short videos and reels rule supreme now. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are where you can find the most “viral” potential.

You can create your reels, paying close attention to trending audio, strong calls to action, and reel trends. Social media marketing is a great way to target a broader customer base. For instance, you can target people worldwide who are planning on visiting your city but not local. Social media is fantastic for branching out and spreading your message further than it would otherwise go.

Social media is also free, making it one of the best low-cost ways of promoting your restaurant business. You don’t need to break the bank to get traction online and learn to snap great content. And it’s a skill anyone can learn, or you can outsource if you have the budget.

how to promote a restaurant 8

Examples of Successful Restaurant Promotions

It is always worth looking at restaurant promotions that work. It is inspiring, reassuring, and offers some sort of guidance. After all, you don’t want to invest all that money into marketing without some kind of success story for inspiration. Here are a few examples of restaurant promotions gone right to help motivate you on your marketing journey:

  • McDonald’s Happy Meal promotion is perhaps one of the most famous. It has been around since 1979 and shows no sign of slowing down.
  • $5-foot-long subs at Subway were all the rage in the early to mid-2010s. The catchy deal has also returned a few times to boost the chain quickly.
  • McDonald’s healthy snack promotions are another big success for the chain. They are a great example of how good promotions can actually reverse negative stigma and reputation. This strategy helped McDonald’s survive its health-bashing 2004 documentary, Supersize Me.
  • Pizza Express ran a fantastic student discount promotion, offering students 30% off with a valid ID. This helped the pizza chain attract a younger crowd and keep customer numbers high, especially with their traditionally urban locations.

If you are struggling for motivation, just look at the difference that these success stories made for these restaurants.

how to promote a restaurant 9

Beambox: How To Utilize WiFi To Promote Your Restaurant

Using WiFi to promote your restaurant is one of the smartest things you can do. What’s the first thing most people, sadly, do when they sit down at a restaurant? Often, they scan a QR code to see menu items. They check their phone to browse social media or check public transport times. They snap a few pictures with friends or a loved one.

The point is that you also offer a WiFi service when you run a restaurant. The two have come hand-in-hand. You already know this and provide a high-quality guest WiFi system. But what if you could make that WiFi mutually beneficial?

Offering WiFi isn’t just about keeping customer satisfaction levels high. You can also use WiFi marketing to promote your business, and the best part is it’s easy. At Beambox, this is our area of expertise. We offer an all-in-one WiFi marketing software that uses captive portals to make offering WiFi useful for business owners.

When customers click to join your network, a web page appears requesting details in a form. These details could include an email address for email marketing or specific social media engagement. This allows you to request that customers enable or actively promote your restaurant to access WiFi. What more could you want?

Start your Beambox free trial today and use WiFi to promote your business. Knowing how to promote a restaurant is an excellent skill within the industry. And with WiFi marketing under your belt, you are on your way to success.

Get Started With Free WiFi Marketing

Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.

Sign up for 30 days free

Grow your business and customer loyalty with guest WiFi!

Related posts