Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas

restaurant marketing

Marketing your restaurant in today’s digital world can be challenging, especially when you’re also trying to keep up with the day-to-day tasks of managing a restaurant. Creative restaurant marketing is essential for holding onto current customers and attracting new ones for long-term growth. 

Whether you’re going it alone or working with a restaurant marketing agency, you need to understand your target audience. Are you marketing to families with kids, or to younger people? Remember how different groups will respond to different advertising. If you understand your audience, you can make sure your brand message reaches the right people and you spend your marketing budget in the right place. 

Enable Mobile Ordering and Delivery

More and more customers expect personalization and flexibility in their ordering, so restaurants are having to respond with things like self-service kiosks and ordering from the table with a mobile device. 

The biggest change to ordering is the relationships that restaurants have built with delivery services in order to increase potential delivery. Customers who order online tend to visit a restaurant more often than customers who haven’t. Restaurants will see a lot of benefits from being visible on delivery apps and websites. 

A lot of restaurants add delivery without tracking how much delivery is actually impacting their profits. If you offer delivery or are thinking about offering it, then make sure that the operational software you use at the restaurant can automatically track the financial impact of delivery expenses. This is key so you can make a more informed choice about your marketing priorities. 

Optimize Your Menu Engineering

Your menu is one of the most visible pieces of restaurant marketing, so keeping it relevant and profitable is incredibly important. Creating your menu takes a balance of profitability and popularity, driven by data. Using menu engineering data in your marketing. Make sure that any promotional offers have a high-margin, high-profitability item. This can make sure that make the right food cost decisions that give your customers a good experience and add to your restaurant’s bottom line. 

Menu engineering decisions that increase your profits should be made on two main data points: demand and contribution margin. This will track how different items on the menu contribute to your bottom line. The software will then analyze the best mix of products to determine what changes you can make for the best profitability. Menu engineering is most effective when you have an up-to-date picture of how every item on your menu contributes to your profit margin. 

Use Signs To Your Advantage

Online presence and digital marketing are important. But it’s important to remember the impression your restaurant will have on clients when they visit in person. The aesthetic of your business plays a role in attracting and satisfying the customers that walk through your door. For a restaurant, signage is incredibly important.

Signs can make a difference when it comes to your restaurant’s appearance. Yes, they make a difference in your marketing strategy. Your marketing campaigns will undoubtedly have pictures—or at least a logo—of your establishment. Consistent, well-designed signs contribute to conveying and building your brand recognition. Of course, they also tell people who you are, where you are, what you offer, etc. Use signs thoughtfully, and your signs will help you draw in customers.

Furthermore, signs are often the first impression a customer gets of your restaurant from the outside. This is a good way to market to the foot traffic that walks past your doors. Here you might want to put a logo or name, an open sign, and a menu to tell people what they’ll get inside. Digital signs are often favored, especially outdoor signs.

Using digital signage from providers like is another marketing tool with multiple benefits. It helps customers visualize what they'd like to order, is easy to change with your menu offerings, and is highly visible inside or out. Additionally, the motion capabilities of digital signage make them several times more attention-grabbing than regular signs.

Prioritize Local SEO

Local SEO is when you optimize your local restaurant’s website to rank highly on search engine results pages that people in your local area will search for your area, such as ‘Italian restaurant in Dallas’. To optimize for local SEO, use the keywords that your audience is searching for, which you can with tools like Google Keyword Planner. Concentrate your website development on ranking for these key terms. 

Local SEO is not always easy, but it can really pay off. Most users never look beyond the first page of results, so it’s well worth making the effort to get on the first page.

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