Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas

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For the uninitiated, restaurant marketing can seem like a daunting part of running your business. But it doesn’t have to be! Marketing can be as easy as hosting a wine tasting, sending an email or creating a frequent diner program. Here are ten ideas to get your business on a healthy marketing path.

1. Get good press.

It may seem like getting good press is out of your control, but there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure the local media takes notice of your business.  To get good press, you can try helping the community, making creative changes and thinking outside of the box.

2. Utilize your website.

More and more, consumers across the nation are turning to the Internet to decide where they will eat out next. If your restaurant does not have its own website, you may lose a lot of potential customers. If you already have a website, make sure it is pulling its weight. Can customers easily find all important information, such as hours, location and the menu?

It is also essential that your site is mobile friendly. More and more consumers are finding out about restaurants on the go, and if your website uses Adobe Flash or other applications that are incompatible with smart phones, it can seriously impact your business.

3. Redesign the menu.

Your menu is your best merchandising tool, and a boring, outdated or ugly menu can cause customers to perceive a lower value for your restaurant. Make sure your menu is fresh, well-written and enticing. There are also several tactics you can use to influence customers’ choices and sell more of your most profitable menu items.

4. Implement frequency marketing.

Regular guests are your most valuable resource. Not only do they typically provide you with 1/3 of your revenues, but they also help market your restaurant through word of mouth. To get the most profits, you need to increase your number of repeat customers.

5. Host events.

Turn your restaurant into a venue for tastings, community and business gatherings, parties, live music shows, stand-up comedy and other events. This will help you to attract new customers and give your regular customers a reason to keep coming back.

6. Try up-selling.

Increasing the average check size at your restaurant is one of the smartest ways to improve profits. By teaching servers or cashiers to read the customer and suggest appropriate side dishes, drinks or desserts, you will simultaneously increase your sales and improve the customer experience

7. Market your take-out and delivery service.

Offering take-out or delivery does little good if no one knows about it. Use flyers, suggestive selling, your website and take-out and delivery menus to market these services.

8. Promote through email.

When compared with direct mail marketing, email marketing is faster and more efficient, saves paper, reduces marketing expenses and is more likely to convert to a sale.

9. Commit to going green.

Implementing eco-friendly practices will help your profits by lowering utility costs and giving you an edge over the competition. Market your green restaurant to show customers that you conserve resources and reduce pollution.

10. Involve customers in a contest.

Having customers sign up for a contest or giveaway at your restaurant is always a smart strategy. It will help you build your marketing database, and it will also give customers a reason to come back.


1 Jim Heimann, May I Take Your Order: American Menu Design 1920-1960 (Chronical Books, 1998).
2 National Restaurant Association, 2009 Restaurant Industry Forecast <www.restaurant.org> (accessed January 7, 2009).
3 “Restaurant Industry – Facts at a Glance,” National Restaurant Association <http://www.restaurant.org/research/ind_glance.cfm> (accessed January 27, 2009).
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