15 creative marketing strategies to boost your restaurant

We’ve all heard how the saying goes — If you have a good experience in a restaurant, you tell 2 people, but if you have a bad experience, you tell 10 people. This works not only for food and drinks but also for the image that your business projects. After all, before sitting at the table and trying the food— restaurants have to catch your eye, don’t they?

Stay tuned and let’s learn about marketing strategies and tips for your restaurant, ready?

How to market a restaurant

In today’s bustling culinary landscape, where restaurants seek for attention and diners have an abundance of choices, effective marketing is the lifeline of any successful dining establishment. In the following paragraphs, we’ll delve into proven strategies, both online and offline, to help your restaurant not only survive but thrive by attracting new patrons, fostering customer loyalty, and ensuring a steady stream of reservations.

Create your restaurant’s branding 

First and foremost, show what makes your restaurant unique and worth giving a try by building its identity. Because of course, food and the quality of the services play a big role in it, but earning your potential customers’ trust via your image and appearance, has to be amongst the top three priorities. 

That’s why creating your restaurant’s brand identity has to be the first step of the way. And if you want to learn more about branding, check out our “7 branding tips for your small business” post — you won’t be disappointed!

Collection of editable templates from Wepik's collection that showcase the amount of branding options online

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Get a professional website

You might be thinking that having a website is more of a luxury than a necessity when it comes to owning a restaurant, but it’s quite the opposite! Having a page where clients can see pictures of the venue, contact info, different menus, and even an “about us” tab to introduce the team and chefs, will radically boost their trust. 

This website will also work as a portal to show off your brand and corporative identity, with your logo and also links to the rest of your platforms — whether they are social media accounts, or places to leave a positive review or gastronomical opinion.

Make an accessible online restaurant menu

Nowadays, with everything right in the palm of our hands, it is not a strange thing to have clients checking the menu of a restaurant before even making an appointment! If your menu is a patchwork of appetizers, main courses, desserts, and drinks, it might be time to re-think it and re-stylish it.

Including an attractive menu design, easy to read and share, where you can include your dishes and prices, as well as your logo and identity, will help in earning the client’s trust. If you’re looking for a new menu, take a look at Wepik’s variety of menu templates, fashionable and very easy to edit. And by saving them in your account, you can modify them and add new dishes as many times as you need!

Once you’ve got that design all set, you can select how you share it! Uploading it to your website, linking it to your Google Business profile, but also saving it as an image and uploading it to Instagram and Facebook Stories. And don’t get us started on the effectiveness of having your own QR code, and how easy it is to make them!  

With one very simple decision, you’ve covered a vast amount of ways that your clients can use to take a look at your menu. Amazing, huh? 

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Online restaurant marketing ideas

As the restaurant industry continually adapts to evolving consumer behaviors, understanding the intricacies of online marketing is essential. We will explore the full spectrum of digital marketing techniques tailored specifically for restaurants. From search engine optimization (SEO) to social media management, content creation that engages your audience, and the judicious use of online advertising to target your desired customer base, this discussion will cover it all.

We will also learn strategies for online reputation management, email marketing to keep patrons informed, and the use of emerging online technologies like online ordering and delivery apps. Whether you’re a seasoned restaurateur or a newcomer to the industry, these innovative ideas and actionable tips will empower you to successfully navigate the online restaurant marketing landscape and experience the rewards of a well-executed digital strategy.

Establish your social media platforms

Social media play a huge role when it comes to engaging as well as connecting with soon-to-be customers and those already loyal. Instagram and Facebook are the two most popular platforms where your restaurant has to have its place.

Both offer the business profile option, with additional features where you can include pre-made answers to questions via message — a great tool to share opening times —, a phone number button to make bookings, and the cherry on top, sharing delicious and mouth-watering photos of your dishes and daily specials!

Want to have people keeping an eye on your profiles? Don’t go sharing our secret, but we recommend giveaways and raffles in which someone can win a dinner for two or a bottle of fine wine by simply sharing the contest post. This will also make your content reach a wider audience—it’s a win/win strategy!

Online editable collection of customizable templates for restaurants' social media

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Create “instagrammable” dishes

In today’s highly visual and interconnected world, the significance of crafting “Instagrammable” dishes in your restaurant cannot be overstated. The allure of a visually striking, camera-ready plate transcends mere aesthetics; it has the power to resonate with a vast and diverse audience through the captivating medium of social media. When your dishes are photogenic, they become not just culinary creations but also works of art that can be instantly shared with the world. As customers snap photos of their exquisite meals and share them on platforms like Instagram, your restaurant gains free and highly effective advertising, reaching a broad network of potential diners who are drawn in by the sheer visual appeal of your offerings.

Moreover, creating Instagram-worthy dishes is a powerful tool for engaging with a younger and tech-savvy demographic. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are known for their penchant for sharing their culinary adventures online. These diners often trust the recommendations and experiences of their peers on social media, and by making your dishes inherently shareable, you position your restaurant as a destination worth visiting.

You, as thhe restaurant owner, also play a pivotal role in amplifying the impact of Instagrammable dishes. You can actively contribute to the content creation process by sharing high-quality images of these dishes on the restaurant’s official social media profiles, showcasing their presentation and enticing attributes. Additionally, employing customizable templates or branded overlays that complement the restaurant’s aesthetic can further enhance the consistency and professionalism of the visual content, fostering a strong and recognizable online presence that bolsters the restaurant’s appeal to a wider audience.

Organize social media contests

Implementing social media contests is a strategic move that not only amplifies your restaurant’s business but also fosters a sense of community. By encouraging user-generated content and participation, social media contests have the dual benefit of expanding your restaurant’s online visibility and strengthening the bonds between your brand and your customers. They inspire patrons to share their experiences and achievements with their social networks, effectively turning them into brand advocates. This not only attracts new customers but also instills a sense of belonging, transforming one-time diners into loyal, engaged members of your restaurant’s community. In a world where word-of-mouth recommendations and authentic social proof hold immense value, leveraging social media contests can be a winning strategy to not only boost business but also create a dedicated and passionate following for your restaurant.

Collaborate with food influencer

Influencer marketing is a great strategy to elevate your restaurant’s visibility and reputation. By partnering with individuals who have built a dedicated following with a shared passion for culinary experiences, you tap into a pre-established audience that trusts and values their recommendations. This not only entices potential customers but also serves as a powerful testimonial, reinforcing the credibility of your restaurant.

In particular, partnering with micro-influencers, who typically have a smaller but highly engaged following community, offers distinct advantages. These collaborations often come at a lower cost, making them an attractive option for restaurants with more modest marketing budgets. While their audience may be smaller in numbers, micro-influencers tend to have a more intimate and responsive relationship with their followers, which translates into higher levels of engagement and trust.

Launch your Google Business Profile

Google is not only the place to be but the place to be noticed. The more content you share about your business, the more it’ll benefit you. Creating a Google Business Profile is a top-notch decision, as it shares lots of information with customers and potential clients, and also positions your restaurant.

In your profile, you can personalize information about opening times, closing hours, telephone numbers to contact and book appointments, but it also offers a platform where customers can review the experience, as well as ask questions regarding the location, parking tips, and even the temperature of the venue! It is also a great way to share pictures of your dishes and meals, to open the appetite of those getting to know your business.

Boost your local SEO

Local SEO, directly linked to the Google Business Profile, is paramount for a restaurant’s success in the digital age. In a world where customers often turn to their smartphones to find nearby dining options, ensuring your restaurant ranks prominently in local search results is the key to attracting a steady flow of hungry patrons. By optimizing your online presence for local SEO, you make it easier for potential customers to discover your restaurant when they search for specific keywords like “best Italian restaurant near me” or “seafood restaurants in [your city].” This not only increases your visibility but also enhances your restaurant’s credibility, as being featured in local search results signals to users that you’re a reputable and accessible dining choice.

Expand your restaurant with food apps and food trucks

Social media and Google can take your restaurant anywhere, but unfortunately, not the restaurant itself. A great tool to get the word of your business out there is taking your business out there! Food trucks are all the rage nowadays, and by simply having a vehicle and a selection of your top dishes, you can go anywhere and share your goodies with everybody. If this sounds appealing to you, get these food truck menu or food truck flyer templates and plan your next adventure!

However, indeed, food trucks may not float everybody’s boat, but speaking of going further, having profiles on review apps such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or Zomato will allow an even bigger amount of people to find out about your restaurant. Maybe somebody’s planning a trip to your city, and because of your Yelp reviews, your restaurant is their to-go option!

Offline restaurant marketing ideas

Offline marketing is a multi-faceted approach that encompasses various strategies designed to draw attention to your establishment. These can include hosting community events, partnering with local businesses, employing traditional advertising methods such as direct mail and local newspapers, and nurturing your restaurant’s in-person customer relationships.

The aim is to create a lasting impression in the minds of local residents and visitors, reminding them of your restaurant and enticing them to dine in your establishment. By effectively integrating offline marketing ideas with your digital efforts, you can achieve a holistic marketing strategy that maximizes your restaurant’s reach, both in the virtual world and within your local community, ultimately leading to increased foot traffic and a thriving restaurant business.

Design Posters with Exclusive Local Offers Available

We’ve talked a lot about all-things-internet, but we can’t miss what happens within our community, after all, they’re the most loyal customers! It’s okay to have them hooked via social media, but who doesn’t love bumping into a poster in the street with a great offer for your favorite restaurant? 

With Wepik’s selection of restaurant posters, you can share deals and exclusive offers such as a 2×1 on dinners, a 20% discount by showing a picture of the poster itself, or even announcing season-related events like Oktoberfest, St Patrick, Christmas, or that super important football match!

Collection of 6 customizable and printable poster templates from Wepik collection

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Advertise Dishes for a Limited Time

Nothing gets people more interested in a product than exclusivity. Your restaurant can do the same with its menu and meals. So how about having a special dish only available on Tuesday nights? Sharing this information with your most loyal customers will spark an interest in visiting your restaurant on a date they would normally not. 

This strategy can also be used, just like the posters, with special events and dates, as well as seasons — some frozen desserts that are available only during summer — it’s a way to keep your menu dynamic, and the interest in your business, active.

Reward your Customer’s Loyalty 

Customers that become like family and stay loyal and committed to a restaurant, have to feel rewarded and valued. But that’s a tricky thing to do until you find the perfect tool — a loyalty card!

Loyalty cards are, as the name indicates, personalized and stylish cards that have a number of symbols to complete in order to obtain a price. If your restaurant is all about pizza, you can make loyalty cards where after every five pizzas, you get one for free. Or if it’s all-things-coffee, buy nine coffees, get the tenth for free! 

A very effortless and gratifying way to connect with clients with a very simple and cheap tool. Looking for one? Take a look at Wepik’s loyalty card designs.

Editable restaurant loyalty card template with a black background
Online editable Restaurant Loyalty Card template by Wepik

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Ask for Reviews and Answer Them

We’ve also talked about how important it is to provide a space where customers can share their opinions and leave reviews, but it shouldn’t be a one-way channel or monologue. Restaurants and businesses that answer to comments show that they care about their customers, especially when they address negative comments in a respectful way. 

But sometimes, getting people to post a review can be hard! That’s why offering a free drink or dessert if they leave a comment, proves to be a helpful strategy where the clients feel heard and taken into account.  

Final best 10 tips for your restaurant marketing

Now that we’ve taken a stroll through the internet and its many tips and tricks to boost your restaurant and its branding identity, it’s time to re-phrase the top concepts

  1. Stand out from the crowd with a unique and personal logo and identity.
  2. Yourestaurant.com has to be on the plate! — Get a professional website.
  3. Don’t be an online ghost! — Create and set your social media presence.
  4. Google Business is your ally — Start a profile and watch it grow.
  5. Make your menu available, complete and easy to find online.
  6. Get on all those food apps! Boost your engagement with reviews.
  7. Paste your custom posters all over the town and attract clients.
  8. Limited offers! Share exclusive meals and dishes to draw attention.
  9. Reward your most loyal clients with tailored prices and loyalty cards.
  10. How was your experience? Ask for opinions offline and online.

And that’s the end of this post and the many lessons we’ve learned! But remember, ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. 

Stick around for more tips and lessons on easy and effortlessly marketing strategies with Wepik, where we take design and make it easy for your business.