The key to any restaurant ad campaign is to spread brand awareness and bring more customers through the door. There are several different advertising methods, and there is a little bit of trial and error involved with any ad campaign; however, there are some tried and true tips that should increase the effectiveness of your restaurant ads.
How to be Successful at Restaurant Advertising
Take some of the guesswork out of what and where to advertise with these helpful restaurant advertising tips:
- Showcase your food. When advertising for a restaurant, you will want to show some of the food items to whet customers’ appetites. You will also want to use descriptive words that will make their mouths water.
- Be unique. In this increasingly connected world, standing out in the crowd is becoming more and more difficult, but every ad should strive to show your brand’s distinctiveness. Also, the ad itself should be unique and not a copycat.
- Keep it true to your brand. Advertising can be used to change a restaurant’s brand identity, but this can be an expensive and time-consuming process that may not work. If you are just trying to bring more people through the door, focus the advertisements on what your restaurant is best known for. >>Learn More about Restaurant Branding and Design
- Target your customer base. This tip goes along with keeping true to your brand. If the majority of the people coming through the door are college-aged men, the ads should be targeted to that age demographic. >>Learn More about Target Marketing for a Restaurant
- Be specific. If the restaurant ad is so convoluted that the viewer cannot tell what is being sold, then the ad is a failure. For advertising, the simpler and more specific the better. Start with a single theme, like happy hour, and build a short commercial or flier around that.
- Have fun. Restaurant ads that show a little humor or that the people working for or dining at the restaurant are genuinely having a good time will make people want to go to the restaurant and join in on the fun.
- Go online. There is still a place for print advertising for restaurants, but the medium is rapidly becoming obsolete. Online advertising is cheaper than print and has the potential to reach more people.
Restaurant Advertising Ideas
- There are several different types of advertising that work for restaurants. The best ad campaigns include two or more different advertising media.
- Word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to get business. As an advertising method, you can encourage customers to “tell your friends” or have employees talk about the restaurant as a way to get the word out.
- Print advertising. As mentioned before, print advertising is going the way of the dinosaur, but for the next couple of years, it still has a place for restaurants. Examples that currently still work include fliers and magazine ads.
- Internet advertising. Anything that can be advertised in print can be advertised online and for a cheaper price. Banner ads on industry websites, the restaurant’s website and social media platforms are a few places where restaurants can focus on a wider audience and advertise in cyberspace.
- Commercials. Unlike print advertising, video and radio commercials are still an effective way to generate business. If you don’t want to spend money on air time for the local TV or radio station, the commercials can be posted online in hopes that they will go viral.
Restaurant Marketing Promotion Types
Restaurant marketing promotions are all about giving customers an incentive or reason for visiting a particular establishment. Discounted prices are the most popular, and effective incentive, but you can also promise a fun and enjoyable experience as a way to increase customer traffic and check averages.
- Coupons and discounts. The easiest type of promotion, one that most restaurants start out with, is offering coupons and discounts to anyone and everyone. This can be a good way to drive traffic, but be careful, because coupons can become addictive and erode your brand value. If you offer discounts too often, customers won’t think the menu items are worth full price and will not visit a restaurant unless they have a coupon.
- Contests and giveaways. Hosting contests and giveaways let customers have a little fun at the restaurant while allowing you to spread brand awareness. Also, every person that signs up can go into your database to be targeted for later marketing campaigns. >> Learn More about Restaurant Contests and Giveaways
- Loyalty programs. Rewarding regular customers with discounts or free menu items after so many visits is a way to show your loyal customers that you appreciate their business while giving them a reason to keep coming back. >>Learn More about Restaurant Loyalty Programs
- Bounceback promotions. Bouncebacks encourage customers to either return to the restaurant in a short period of time or buy particular menu items. The idea is for customers to spend more money in the restaurant more frequently, to increase revenue and to create more regular customers. >>Learn More about Bounceback Programs in the Restaurant
- Happy hour. Happy hour promotions don’t have to be for bars alone. Restaurants that experience decreased traffic during certain parts of the day can hold a happy hour with discounted menu items to try and bring more people in the door. >> Learn More about Happy Hour Marketing
- Viral marketing promotions. When a particular video or advertisement goes viral, that means it spreads rapidly (like a virus) through existing social networks on its own. There are ways to try and encourage something to go viral, but there is a lot of luck involved. However, if you get lucky, it could result in a lot of free publicity. >>Learn More about Viral Restaurant Marketing
Final Tip: Hire an Advertising Firm
The owners and managers usually play a big role in the marketing and advertising promotions for the restaurant. However, if the restaurant is too busy or has multiple franchise locations, hiring and advertising firm may be the best way to increase awareness for the entire brand. An ad firm can be an expensive investment, but it can take some of the guesswork out of how to advertise most effectively.