Hospitality Know-how

Marketing for Restaurants: The Essentials for More Success

How important are marketing strategies for restaurants? What measures are available to you and what mistakes should you avoid?

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Restaurant Marketing has become an essential part of achieving success in the highly competitive restaurant industry. In today's world, merely serving delicious food is not enough to fill the tables; your restaurant needs to be visible and appealing to your target audience.

In this article, we will show you the critical role marketing plays in the restaurant industry, outline both traditional and digital marketing strategies, highlight common mistakes to avoid, and provide restaurant marketing tips and ideas:

The importance of marketing to your business

Imagine creating exquisite dishes that go unnoticed because your restaurant is unknown. This scenario illustrates the critical need for marketing – not only to attract guests but to increase revenue and stand out in a competitive market.

Marketing in the restaurant industry focuses on several growth drivers:

👥  Attracting more guests: No customers, no business. Whether it's through strategic location or special offers, the goal is to generate a steady flow of customers into your restaurant.

💰 Increasing sales per table: The cornerstone of sustainable growth is increasing sales per customer visit. With the right marketing strategies you can significantly improve your restaurant's performance.

💚  Enhancing customer loyalty: Building a loyal customer base is critical to your restaurant's continued success. To cultivate a strong emotional connection with your guests, it's necessary to provide an exceptional customer experience, actively seek feedback, and encourage personal interactions.

📈  Increasing the frequency of visit: A good marketing strategy can entice guests to return to your restaurant, whether through a targeted email campaign, an exclusive discount, or an exciting event.

To achieve these goals, it's important to strike a balance between offline and online marketing strategies for your restaurant's success. From traditional methods like print advertising and local collaborations to digital platforms such as social media marketing and email newsletters, each avenue has its place.

However, the best restaurant marketing strategies include a well-organized marketing plan as a roadmap. By seamlessly coordinating your campaign and optimizing resource allocation, marketing efforts can work cohesively to achieve desired results.

Mastering offline marketing strategies

When developing your marketing strategy, it's important to pay special attention to traditional advertising. This includes all approaches that take place outside of the digital realm, including traditional media channels such as television, radio, and print publications. Within these avenues, there are a variety of marketing techniques for restaurants available:

Promotions and coupons

Increasing the frequency of visits is easy with promotions and coupons. These are part of good marketing strategies for restaurants, and here are a variety of ways to do it:

Want to target new customers? A first-time customer discount makes sense! Or do you prefer to reward your regulars? Then offer exclusive promotions like customer cards with various benefits (e.g. free item with purchase).

Introducing a happy hour to your customers is the best way to increase demand at different times of the day and appeal to different groups of customers. The duration and timing of these offers can be tailored to suit your needs, although it is advisable to target off-peak times to generate interest. For example, if your lunch service is slower than the dinner rush, consider offering a lunch menu with a discount in your restaurant.

Holidays are another great time to offer a discount. Restaurateurs can use holiday seasons, national holidays, or even national food days in marketing to attract new customers and retain existing ones with targeted offers.

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By offering promotions and coupons to your customers, you not only increase their loyalty to your establishment, but you also attract new customers by encouraging them to choose your restaurant over the competition.



Events should play an important role in the marketing strategy of your restaurant. Again, there are many examples of what this can look like in practice:

Food and beverage tastings (e.g., wine tastings) not only provide guests with an enjoyable dining experience, but also help to raise the profile of your business. Your guests can also enjoy food pairing events where they can explore unique flavor combinations and culinary creations in your restaurant.

A themed evening (e.g., murder mystery dinners, quiz nights) can also add a special touch to the dining experience. Creating a captivating atmosphere that matches your restaurant's concept enhances the appeal of the event.

Hosting a special culinary event (e.g., cooking classes, barista training) is an excellent way to attract attention and provide value to your customers. By positioning your restaurant as a place of learning, you can share your passion and expertise with your customers.

A street food event can be a perfect opportunity for restaurants to increase their visibility. Jumping on this trend can really pay off, allowing you to reach new customers and expose your establishment to a wider audience.

In addition, holiday specials are an effective way to attract customers and drive sales. Whether it's a romantic Valentine's Day menu or a spooky Halloween event, capitalizing on holidays and special occasions creates excitement and attracts guests looking for a unique dining experience.

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There are many restaurant marketing tactics and ideas when it comes to events. But they all have one thing in common: they offer a fantastic opportunity to increase your company's visibility and leave a lasting impression on your customers.


Offline surveys

Guest feedback plays a critical role in restaurant marketing, benefiting both the establishment and the restaurateur. It serves as a direct line to identify and analyze strengths and areas for improvement.

Surveys within your restaurant can cover a wide range of topics, from food quality to price adjustments, providing a comprehensive understanding of your guests' preferences. By actively gathering feedback, you can tailor your offerings to individual needs, foster stronger customer relationships, and ultimately increase restaurant sales.

Traditionally, offline surveys, including structured questionnaires and in-person interviews, have been the go-to methods for gathering guest opinions.

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In today's digital age, online surveys have become increasingly popular, especially for restaurants looking to engage with younger demographics (ages 15-30).


Surveys in general are essential for targeted improvement. Not only do they help refine food quality and service, but they also provide insight into the competitive landscape and customer satisfaction.

Print media

Even in the digital age, print media (e.g., newspaper, magazine) is still an important part of the business strategy for your restaurant. While online platforms dominate, it's important to remember that not all potential customers are online or active on social media.

Here's our advice on how to use print media in your marketing strategy to connect with your offline audience:

 Flyers are the best choice for promoting your food and beverage offerings, especially for takeout services. Before distributing, consider your target audience, the purpose of the flyer, and the desired response. It's also important to consider the environment when distributing. Choose recycled paper to reduce your impact on the environment. Also, make sure your flyers have an eye-catching design that is consistent with your brand to leave a lasting impression on your customers.

  Menus are often overlooked as a marketing tool – but they're essential! Not only do they list your offerings, but they also serve as an invitation to dine at your restaurant. Make sure your menu has a professional design, is well written and visually appealing. Remember, your menu is your restaurant's calling card, so it is essential to your marketing strategy.

These two examples are just a few ideas of how restaurants can use print to enhance their marketing efforts. Print media is not new, when it comes to restaurant marketing strategy, but it is still essential. By incorporating print into your strategy, you can expand your reach, attract new customers, and solidify your brand presence in the local community.

Collaborating with local businesses

Partnering with nearby establishments can be part of a fantastic restaurant business marketing strategy. By collaborating with local businesses, restaurants can expand their audience and bring fresh faces through the door.

Imagine a restaurant partnering with a nearby beverage brand to feature each other's offerings on menus. This collaboration not only expands beverage options for customers, but also fosters a sense of community support. Or say your restaurant focuses on healthy cuisine. You could partner with a nearby health club to offer customers a special membership discount when they dine with you.

In addition, hosting joint events with local businesses can create buzz in your restaurant's neighborhood. Imagine a delightful wine tasting with a nearby winery or a fun cooking class taught by a local chef. These collaborations not only generate excitement, but also put both businesses in the spotlight, attracting curious customers eager to experience something new.

In essence, working with local establishments not only strengthens community ties, but also helps each other succeed and benefits your marketing strategy.

dark and cozy restaurant with a few customers

Discovering the power of online marketing

In today's digital age, online marketing has become a game changer for restaurants. As technology continues to evolve, advertising and communications are moving more and more into the digital world. For restaurateurs, this opens a world of opportunities to reach and engage with customers in innovative ways.

Here are some examples of online marketing strategies to consider for your restaurant:


When it comes to finding the perfect place to eat, people now look to the internet for answers. This is where your restaurant's website comes into play! Your website is the digital face of your business and an important tool for building credibility. It's not just about having an online presence – it's about using it properly.

At a minimum, your website should provide basic information such as hours of operation and contact information. But don't stop there. Make sure your website is easy to use, functional and optimized for mobile devices, as many customers use their smartphones to browse and search for information.

The best way to increase visibility is to optimize your website for local search queries with relevant keywords and phrases. This will help your restaurant rank higher in Google search results. Consider posting a regular blog to keep your website fresh and engaging for your online audience, which can also improve SEO.

With a professional design and a strategic online presence, your website can stand out from the digital crowd.

Digital menus

In today's tech-savvy world, digital menus are becoming increasingly popular alongside traditional printed menus. Many restaurateurs are turning to tablets, QR codes, and mobile apps to showcase food and beverages online.

Digital menus allow you to update dishes and prices, which is great for seasonal adjustments or special promotions. You can also spice up your menu with mouth-watering images and detailed descriptions, making it easy for customers to choose their favorites.

What's more, with digital menus, your customers can also share their thoughts through online reviews, giving you valuable feedback on the quality of your offerings. It's all about enhancing the dining experience and keeping things fresh and dynamic for your guests.


As you may have guessed, Google plays a critical role in the marketing and success of today's restaurants. As one of the most searched industries in the U.S., a strong presence on Google can make all the difference in attracting more customers to your establishment.

One powerful tool at your disposal is Google Ads, which offers customized campaigns to fit your restaurant's goals and budget:

Search campaign: These ads appear directly in Google search results and on partner sites, targeting users searching for terms related to your restaurant. With a pay-per-click model, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, ensuring cost-effectiveness.

Display campaign: Visual and eye-catching, display ads reach customers based on demographics or interests. They appear on Google's partner sites, extending your reach beyond search results.

Universal app campaign: Ideal for restaurants with mobile apps, this campaign can promote your app across Google platforms to drive downloads and engagement.

Organic listing: This is about appearing naturally in search results based on relevance and quality content, at no cost.

Google My Business is another invaluable tool that essentially creates a virtual business card for your restaurant. Not only does it get you on Google and Google Maps, but it also strengthens your online presence and attracts more customers.

Don't forget to optimize your marketing strategy for Apple Maps, which is widely used for navigation. Keep your online profiles updated with relevant information and engaging images to build trust with potential diners.

Review websites

When it comes to deciding where to eat, many people turn to review sites for guidance. Platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Bing, and Google Reviews are invaluable resources for consumers looking for insight into your restaurant.

Having a presence on these platforms should be part of your marketing strategy, as it can build your restaurant's credibility and attract more customers. It's important to build a profile with relevant information (such as contact details) and make sure your restaurant is listed on as many review sites as possible. This will increase your visibility and accessibility to potential customers.

Review management is key to harnessing the power of these platforms. Promptly follow up with guests who leave reviews, expressing appreciation for positive feedback and addressing concerns raised in negative reviews. By demonstrating that you value guest satisfaction and are committed to addressing any issues, you can enhance your restaurant's reputation and foster positive customer relationships.

Social Media 

Social media platforms provide an invaluable marketing opportunity for restaurants to connect with their target audience in a meaningful way. Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other platforms, these channels serve as active sales channels where restaurants can showcase their offerings and engage with potential customers through engaging visuals and regular updates.

To keep audiences engaged, restaurants can share menu changes, upcoming events, and other announcements while encouraging creativity. Hosting contests and giveaways is a great way to increase engagement and attract new followers, both of which are essential to expanding the restaurant's reach and building a loyal customer base.

In today's digital age, the visual appeal of food plays a critical role in marketing. Investing in the presentation of food to make it "Instagram-worthy" can lead to free advertising and word-of-mouth marketing. Get creative! High-quality photos that focus on plating techniques, vibrant colors, and eye-catching garnishes can make a significant difference in attracting potential diners to your restaurant.

Sharing the restaurant's story and any accolades on social media helps build credibility and forge deeper connections with your audience in your marketing strategy. Whether it's showcasing the chef's journey, the restaurant's commitment to sustainability, or its involvement in the local community, storytelling humanizes the brand and resonates with diners who value authenticity.

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Encouraging user-generated content by motivating customers to share their dining experiences on social media, tagging the restaurant, and using specific hashtags not only boosts online presence, but also provides authentic testimonials from satisfied customers that can be influential to potential diners.


With so many people scrolling through social media every day, restaurants should aim to gain as many followers as possible on their business accounts. Working with influencers or food bloggers can further increase a restaurant's visibility, helping to reach a wider audience and attract more customers.

Guest takes photo of dish with smartphone

Here's a closer look at two top social media platforms to consider:


Did you know that Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the business world? According to DemandSage Facebook currently has 3.05 billion monthly active users. That's a lot of potential customers! 

One of the biggest benefits of Facebook for businesses is its reach. Restaurants can use it to share all kinds of information like their menu, hours, specials, and upcoming events. It's like a one-stop shop for everything related to your restaurant.

Facebook isn't just about posting things; it's also a great way to interact with your customers. You can chat with them, respond to reviews, and even run ads to get more people interested in what you have to offer.

Speaking of ads, Facebook has some interesting marketing tools to help you target the right audience. You can narrow down your ads to reach people based on things like where they live, what they're into, and even their age and gender.

But the benefits don't stop there. Facebook also gives you all kinds of analytics to track how well your ads are doing. You can see things like how many people are clicking on your ads, how many people are coming into your restaurant because of them, and more. These analytics help you make smarter decisions about your marketing and business strategy.

So if you're not already using Facebook or Facebook ads in your marketing to promote your restaurant, it's time to get on board and take advantage of this powerful platform. Facebook can be a game changer for your restaurant strategy!


Instagram has become the go-to place for restaurants around the world to share their delicious food and welcoming ambiance. With 2.4 billion monthly active users, it's no wonder businesses are embracing this visually stunning social media platform.

For restaurants, Instagram provides a great marketing opportunity to showcase their delicious menu items and charming atmosphere. By sharing enticing images of their dishes, drinks, and the cozy vibe of their establishment, restaurants can capture the attention of a wide audience.

What makes Instagram stand out is its wide range of features designed to showcase visually captivating content. From a vibrant story post to an engaging carousel post, restaurants have plenty of options to get creative and interact with their followers. Plus, the mobile-friendly layout makes it easy for users to browse content on the go, making it the perfect platform for connecting with potential diners in real time.

One of Instagram's standout features is the use of hashtags and location tags, which helps targeting nearby customers and attract foot traffic. By using these tools wisely, restaurants can improve their marketing strategy, increase their visibility, and attract hungry customers looking for dining options in their area.

In addition to organic content, Instagram ads offer restaurants a powerful tool to increase visibility and attract more customers. With sponsored posts and stories, restaurants can ensure that their content reaches a wider audience, increasing engagement and traffic.

E-Mail Marketing

Even with the popularity of social media, email marketing remains a vital tool for restaurants. It's a fantastic way to connect with your customers and keep them engaged with your brand at a low cost.

By using a newsletter, for example, you can step up your marketing strategy. By inviting customers to sign up for updates, you can build a mailing list of people who are genuinely interested in what your restaurant has to offer. This means that your email will reach an audience that already has a soft spot for your establishment, making them more likely to respond positively.

So what goes into a newsletter? The answer is simple: anything your audience will enjoy! From mouth-watering photos of your signature dishes to behind-the-scenes looks at your kitchen to interesting stories about your restaurant's journey, it's all about building a sense of community and loyalty among your subscribers.

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But it's not just about showcasing what you have to offer through email; newsletters are also a fantastic way to gather feedback from your customers. Through surveys or polls, you can gain invaluable insight into what your customers love and what they'd like to see improved. This feedback loop is essential for continually improving the dining experience and tailoring your marketing efforts to meet the evolving needs of your customers.


Avoid these 3 common restaurant marketing mistakes

Effective restaurant marketing can be a difficult task, but avoiding some frequent mistakes can make a big difference in your success. Let's look at three of the most common marketing mistakes and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Failure to create a marketing plan

One of the biggest pitfalls in restaurant marketing is not having a solid plan. It's important to develop a clear marketing concept for your restaurant from the start. Without a structured plan, your efforts may lack direction and effectiveness. A good marketing strategy will help you stand out from the competition, connect with your guests, and keep track of your efforts.

2. Underestimating your advertising budget

Another common mistake underestimating your advertising budget. A tight budget can have a significant impact on your restaurant's success, as inadequate advertising can lead to empty tables. Investing in your marketing strategy is critical to attracting customers and keeping your business thriving.

3. Focusing on tactics instead of strategy

It's important to differentiate between tactical and strategic marketing. Strategic marketing involves defining your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, and crafting a tailored message that resonates with them. Only then should you choose the appropriate marketing channels. By focusing on strategic marketing first, you'll ensure that your efforts are targeted and effective.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing a well-planned marketing strategy, you can set your restaurant up for success and bring more customers to your tables.

Essential ingredients for restaurant marketing success

In the restaurant world, marketing is the secret sauce that makes it all sizzle. It's not just about bringing in new customers; it's about keeping them coming back and staying relevant in a competitive market.

The challenge is to attract new customers while making sure your regulars are appreciated. That means offering special deals and hosting exciting events to attract new faces and keep loyal customers happy. Whether it's a discount on a meal or a fun themed night, these offers can create buzz and draw customers in.

But good marketing is not just about what happens inside the restaurant. Having a strong presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as your own website, is just as important to your brand. Online reviews and feedback are also crucial, giving you ideas about what your guests like and what you can improve on.

The best way is to combine traditional marketing techniques with modern digital strategies and get creative. With a few simple tips and creative ideas, you can create a winning formula for your restaurant and achieve the best in restaurant marketing.

→ More strategies for getting more guests into your restaurant

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