8 Great Marketing Ideas For New Restaurants

8 Great Marketing Ideas For New Restaurants

Market your restaurant to increase your customer base.

Marketing your restaurant is all about understanding and meeting the needs of your customer, increasing customer acquisition and retention and creating buzz for your fabulous food and atmosphere.

To do this, you need a marketing strategy or plan.

Many new restaurants are so focused on their menu, décor, hiring and just opening the doors, they forget about the marketing aspect.

Yet, marketing should be at the top of the to-do list. You can market your restaurant easily and on a budget, and we’re going to show you some great strategies for doing so.

The purpose of any great marketing plan is to move your target audience to take an action. For your restaurant, that would be dining in your restaurant, recommending you to a friend and coming back again.

In this article, we look at eight great marketing ideas for new restaurants.

#1: Start a Loyalty Program

You’ve probably heard that it’s infinitely easier to retain a customer than it is to get a new one. Plus, it costs your restaurant up to five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep your current base.

What’s this mean for your new restaurant? It means that once you fight for and win that new customer, you’ve got to do something to keep them around.

Aside from offering great food and superb customer service, create a loyalty program for your customers.

Make it easy for your customer to earn rewards. For example, buy 10 meals, get one free or earn 1000 points and get a free meal.

You’ll find there are many ways to create a loyalty program. The thing you want to remember is to keep it simple and make the rewards attainable.

Loyalty programs encourage customers to stick around and come back to you again and again to earn their “free” reward.

#2: Build a Website

If you’re reading this article, and you don’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive website that features your phone number, location and digital menu, stop what you’re doing and make plans to build a website.

A website is absolutely vital to your business. If you don’t have one, your potential customers can’t find you online, and you can bet that’s where they are looking for a place to eat.

In fact, the number one mobile search is for restaurants. It’s something everyone has in common – the need to eat. So, you want to make sure your customers can find your restaurant online.

By having a professional website, you show customers that you are serious about your business. You can showcase your menu and customer reviews while offering information about your restaurant.

You can also offer a blog on your website so you can share tips, recipes and videos with your website visitors.

Don’t neglect this absolutely vital task.

#3: Join Social Media

Like your website, social media is fundamental to your online presence. It’s also one of the best ways to build a relationship with your customers.

While you have many social media options, we encourage you to start with a few. Pick the ones where you’ll find your target audience. (tweet this) Here are some top suggestions:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

Don’t get lost in all the options. In the beginning, stay focused so you can really build your presence.

When it comes to social media, it’s about customer relationships. Share things your followers care about. Intrigue them and make them laugh for the best response.

#4: Use SMS Marketing

You look at your texts almost immediately when they come in, right?

If you answered yes, then you are like most people. So, it makes sense to include text or SMS (short message service) marketing in your plan.

Grab your customers on social media or when they dine at your restaurant. Give them a reason to subscribe to this list with an offer like a free dessert or appetizer.

You can highlight this on a table tent, social media or your website. For example, you’d say: text “free dessert” to 789789.

Now that your customer has signed up, you can continue to offer them weekly or monthly specials.

This helps drive your customers back to your restaurant and increase customer loyalty.


Keep the fun in your marketing to entice customers.

#5: Advertise on Facebook

Facebook advertising is a great marketing idea for new restaurants on a budget.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to advertise on this social media platform. From simply boosting posts to sharing special offers and using lead generation forms, advertising on Facebook is great for restaurants.

Plus, it helps increase your reach and engagement as a business page on Facebook.

A budget of $5-10 per day can be quite successful.

#6: Utilize Email Marketing

Email is another inexpensive, yet effective way to keep your restaurant in front of your customers. (tweet this)

Once you have your website, you can include a sign-up form on it so people can register for your list. You can also gather names in your restaurant.

Email marketing allows you to provide valuable information to your customers as well as special event info, coupons and promotions.

#7: Host a Cooking Class

Offer your target audience the chance to attend a cooking or baking class at your restaurant.

You can take reservations through a landing page on your website and in your restaurant. Consider charging a nominal fee to decrease no-shows.

You could also offer this as a contest on social media. For example, you could invite people to enter a drawing to win a cooking class for them and five of their friends.

It’s a great, inexpensive way to bring more people in to your restaurant and generate online buzz.

#8: Offer Online Ordering

Today’s generation is all about ease and accessibility.

Make it easy for your customers to order from your restaurant.

You want your customers to be able to make a reservation online (if you take them) and place their orders online for pickup.

Final Thoughts

With more than 60% of new restaurants closing their doors in their first year of business, and 80% failing within five years, you can see the importance of marketing.

You’ll face an uphill climb and struggle to maintain consistent revenue if you don’t concentrate on your marketing strategy.

Remember, it’s not enough to just have a marketing plan. You actually have to work the plan.

Know your target customer and the best ways to find and meet them. Then, target your strategies there.

Your website is a pivotal piece to your marketing, so make sure it’s up and running before you open your doors to the public. This will give you a competitive advantage and a place to send your potential customers for more information.

Do you have a great looking, responsive website ? Is it user-friendly and enticing to your website visitors? If not, or you’d like a website tune-up and refresh, contact us for your free website consultation. We’ll make sure your website works for your site visitors and is the centerpiece of your marketing.

Images: Alex Munsell and Roman Craft

One response to “8 Great Marketing Ideas For New Restaurants”

  1. Restolabs says:

    Very well written. As said a restaurant website and I would like to add an app if you are QSR are pivotal in a brand’s growth. with more and more interactions happening online, restaurants will need to have a digital equivalent of the hospitality that they can offer online. But its not as easy as said and done, you need to have the right partner for offering online interactions. For example a mobile app with a faster ordering experience would work extremely well for a QSR brand. The app needs to act as a concierge taking care of all aspects, such as making aware of lucrative offers running, what activity the restaurant holds for its customers. The app would need to know the pattern of when and what their customers like so that they can reach out to them at the right time. At Restolabs, such technologies are being developed that make the online ordering experience go beyond, its a deep level inbuilt marketing that never lets your customers forget you.

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