Restaurant Marketing Strategies: What You Should Use

Marketing 20 minute read 5th June 2024

Marketing a restaurant is a long-term job. Whether you’re just opening a restaurant or are looking to relaunch a pre-existing business, restaurant marketing strategies are valuable. These are the ways that you’re going to connect with customers and get people over your threshold. This way, your business can remain profitable and thrive for years.

Marketing strategies for restaurants are tactical and necessary investments. Strategies could involve using social media to share Reels and run competitions. You could run email campaigns pushing loyalty programs and newsletters. You could even launch SMS or flier campaigns. You’ve got a lot of options.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the reality of marketing your restaurant — whatever stage you’re currently at. We’ll cover the benefits of marketing your restaurant, typical and ultimate marketing plans, and more. Get ready to be a pro in under 15 minutes.

restaurant marketing strategies 1 (2)

What Is Typical Restaurant Marketing?

Typical restaurant marketing relies heavily on location, Google My Business (GMB), and word of mouth. Shockingly, only a few restaurants invest in routine, formal marketing. This is very likely the reason why the general restaurant failure rate in the first year of opening is 30%.

If we are speaking about restaurants that do invest in marketing, though, here’s what you should know:

  • Most restaurants have a social media page or two.
  • Many restaurants rely on their location.
  • Occasionally, restaurants still rely on handing out flyers and renting billboards.
  • Some restaurants may invest in WiFi marketing.
  • Some restaurants may run email marketing campaigns.
  • Some restaurants run SMS campaigns.

When picking marketing strategies for restaurants, it’s mostly down to what’s best for individual restaurants. You need to consider the target audience and, specifically, what restaurant marketing ideas suit the brand.

Because of this, you’ll see lots of variation in the “typical restaurant marketing” amount around. While there’s a general list of the most popular strategies to choose from, it’s usually a pick-and-mix at best.

Let’s just say that your creativity and extra research are a great idea. This could help you stand out from the crowd.

Introducing Loyalty Programs for Restaurants

Loyalty programs are a big deal for restaurants and a huge part of building a loyal customer base. The clue is in the name, right?

Loyalty programs reward customers for each interaction with their business. For instance, they could collect physical stamps or digital points for every purchase. Totaling these up, you’d then offer certain rewards for certain milestones. Or certain rewards for different numbers of points so they can “buy” their rewards in exchange for their reward currency.

restaurant marketing strategies 2 (2)

Introducing Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

We’ll cover social media in more detail in our best methods section. However, it’s such a significant topic that we decided to address it individually first.

Social media is one marketing strategy that can help your business launch out of nowhere. It can seem like entering the lottery (going viral is partly luck). However, there’s a method behind the madness: the algorithm.

Social media algorithms change regularly but are well worth tracking. It’s worth noting that your strategy should never be random. You should be consistent and prioritize results by adhering to algorithm optimization as much as possible. These are just a few social media platforms you could use:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • BeReal

restaurant marketing strategies 3 (2)

Introducing Proximity Marketing for Restaurants

Proximity marketing is a little more advanced, and only some places use it. However, it can work well if you are in a mall or have heavy foot traffic.

Proximity marketing often works via Bluetooth signals, triggering a proximity beacon that sends a notification to the individual’s phone. Otherwise, you can link it to an overall WiFi network, like mall WiFi. When the individual joins the WiFi, they’ll get a notification enticing them to your restaurant.

You must play on a customer’s impulsivity to succeed with this strategy. Your notification should be something like, “You are so close, so come here now to get a great deal.” Think: “You are just 100m away from us, and we’ll give you a 60% discount on a cocktail.”

restaurant marketing strategies 4 (2)

How To Market a Restaurant: 4 Best Methods

When it boils down to it, you’ve got to put how to market a restaurant into practice. What are the best types of restaurant marketing?

Of course, there’s some flexibility with this, as the optimal marketing methods vary depending on your business and its goals. However, these are the four best methods to consider.

1. Location Marketing

We are crossing our fingers that it’s not too late for you to consider the location. You should analyze this before signing a rental contract or buying a property. Location can make or break your restaurant business, and we certainly don’t want it to be the latter.

The vast majority of successful restaurants have great locations. You can get creative by looking for views rather than centrality and convenience. However, as an underlying rule, your restaurant’s location has to make sense.

If it is too late, analyze your location’s strength and play into it when marketing. For instance, if you’re near a train station but not within “organic finding” distance, invest in a billboard or sign. It might be too late to invest in a savvy location. However, it’s never too late to use nearby locations to advertise savvily.

One of the greatest investments you can make is in restaurant location marketing. It is all about getting people over your threshold, which is what you need for success and longevity.

And on that note, milk your location for all its worth on Google Maps. A Google Business profile doesn’t only advertise restaurants as a location-based search engine. It also allows guests to leave reviews. You can collect positive reviews and use your location to draw in customers —- it’s a winner.

2. WiFi Marketing

According to Market Scale, 74% of restaurant customers want WiFi. That’s huge and pretty scary when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s a tough one, as you want to keep potential customers and loyal customers happy. But to meet that demand, you must have a secure WiFi network; otherwise, it could all backfire.

The answer is investing in WiFi marketing. WiFi marketing uses captive portals to block immediate access to your network but also collects customers’ information for future marketing. When customers go to join, a web page opens. This web page contains a form of your creation, meaning you choose what information you want in exchange for access.

Once the customer complies, they move forward and get full WiFi access for their restaurant experience. It’s one of the most simple but effective marketing efforts you can make, especially considering the demand for WiFi.

Another reason WiFi marketing is one of the best strategies is that it facilitates other future strategies. You can collect information like email addresses. You then just transfer this data to the relevant email marketing tools to run a separate campaign.

Collecting data through WiFi is great because it allows you to build a backlog of contacts for other campaigns. You could invest in SMS and email marketing without worrying about sourcing contacts. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is huge. Having an online presence is a fantastic way to attract new customers and widen your brand awareness. Social media is a near-uncapped growth platform, and there’s great potential for viral posts, especially through reels. Social media platforms are great to invest in and tap into a whole section of potential customers.

We’d suggest picking one — at most two — platforms to hone in on. TikTok and Instagram are good matches if you want to duplicate reel content and target a younger demographic. Instagram and Facebook are equally good matches for targeting the young and middle-aged demographic. You can actually sync postings in Meta so that your Instagram posts automatically share on Facebook, which is handy.

It isn’t just about attracting new customers; social media marketing can help you build a loyal customer base. It keeps people in the loop, whether about a new menu item or fancy new decor. Running social media accounts helps you build character and reinforce your branding.

If you get stuck doing this marketing yourself, plenty of freelancers and full-time social media marketers are out there. You could pay for user-generated content (UGC) or splash out on outsourcing help.

4. Event Marketing

Event marketing is a killer marketing strategy for restaurants. It uses the allure of upcoming events to catch new customers’ eyes and re-attract previous customers simultaneously.

It boosts brand awareness, spikes profit, and opens the door to other marketing strategies. Say hello to a flood of WiFi marketing opportunities with all those people in the building! Event marketing gets a bunch of target customers in the building at the same time, which is perfect.

You could run events on anything. You could celebrate awareness-style months like Pride. You could celebrate religious holidays like Christmas, Ramadan, Diwali, or Easter. You could create your event entirely, like a quiz night or tasting event.

It all depends on your brand and your own preferences. However, event marketing is one of the best things a restaurant can do. This restaurants marketing strategy uses fun, special events to get people over your threshold. Dining out is something we associate with celebration, connection, and community, so it’s a perfect match.

8 Steps for an Ultimate Marketing Plan for Restaurants

Who doesn’t want to have ultimate restaurant marketing? You don’t want a middle-of-the-road strategy; you want something amazing. You can research ideal restaurant marketing templates online, but we’ll make it easier.

Here are the steps we’d take to form an ultimate restaurant marketing plan for restaurants:

  1. Choose a great location for your restaurant so you get as many organic visitors as possible. If you can’t change your location, invest in location-savvy marketing, like an advert at a nearby train station.
  2. Open a Google Maps account so that people can find you and start to collect reviews.
  3. Open a website and invest in search engine optimization, again increasing its visibility to potential customers. Update it with blog posts as part of a growth strategy. Or leave it with occasional optimization and menu updates to run passively.
  4. Offer great WiFi and sync it to a captive portal for collecting data for a WiFi marketing campaign.
  5. Run one or two social media accounts, ideally syncing them to minimize workload. Update these 2-3 times a week at a minimum.
  6. Stay exciting with special events running throughout the calendar year.
  7. Keep in touch through SMS or email campaigns, even if it’s just once or twice a month. To keep it simple, you could sync these with a loyalty scheme and invest in marketing software.
  8. Review your marketing results regularly.

restaurant marketing strategies 5 (1)

3 Benefits of Investing in Restaurant Marketing Strategies

There are tons of benefits to investing in a strategy for restaurant marketing. We’ll give you a solid overview of the leading three things you’ll notice when you invest in active restaurant marketing.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Many Marketing Strategies Boost Guest Experience

This is an often overlooked benefit, but many strategies simultaneously boost guest experience. Take WiFi marketing. WiFi marketing means offering guests WiFi, which is what they want.

This also means the WiFi is more secure thanks to a captive portal. Because it has become a useful tool, you’re more likely to keep it speedy and good quality. You may even invest in smart marketing.

Similarly, email marketing can facilitate loyalty programs. Loyalty programs make the customer experience more exciting.

2. You Grow

Who doesn’t want business growth? Growing your business is a top highlight, and it means increasing profit, too.

The more business you get, the more money you get. And the more money you get, the more your business is financially viable.

3. You Get Customer Insights

Customer insights are crucial to long-term business success. They help you target the right people long-term, which is essential for growth and building loyal customers. You want to be barking up the right trees.

Having customer insights also helps you make business decisions, like cutting a menu item based on customer engagement.

restaurant marketing strategies 6 (1)

Beambox: WiFi in Restaurant Marketing

Remember how effective WiFi marketing is for restaurant marketing? Well, the good news is that it’s one of the easiest forms of marketing to set up for restaurants. Because so many people already have WiFi set up, it’s simply a case of nabbing that captive portal.

You can sign up for a $20 to $100 monthly subscription to a captive portal. Ideally, this would include a database or marketing software to store the data you collect. Alternatively, you could find a low-cost platform to sync with your portal.

WiFi keeps guests happy. And if you’re keen to get WiFi marketing results quickly, we can help. At Beambox, we provide all-in-one WiFi marketing software with a personalizable captive portal.

Store your data securely for future marketing, create an irresistible captive portal, and watch the results flood in.

Start your Beambox free trial today, and we’ll have you up and running with zero upfront financial commitment. We don’t call WiFi marketing the leader of restaurant marketing strategies for no reason; it’s fantastic for quick results.

Grow your business and customer loyalty with guest WiFi!

Related posts