With many restaurants competing for potential customers’ attention, the food and restaurant industry can be tough to navigate. However, the best restaurant marketing strategies center on your food’s quality and well-placed promotions.
Advertising for a restaurant is extremely important to help you stand out from the competition. Using print and online advertising allows you to target customers and build a local reputation for your brand. You can also use these advertising ideas as a guide to restaurant marketing. Grow your restaurant and increase your sales by implementing these strategies.
Best Paid Advertising Ideas
Digital marketing campaigns are necessary for any business that wants to reach more customers online and increase conversions. Paid advertisement is among the many digital marketing strategies that are increasingly becoming essential for restaurant business owners. Ads have changed in the past few years, with new social platforms, such as TikTok, revolutionizing the industry.
Restaurants can benefit from the following paid ad ideas:
The restaurant industry is constantly changing. Unlike before, restaurant businesses have more access to patrons searching for dining options. Google ads for restaurants provide an easy way for restaurants to reach potential customers, grow their online presence, and build their brand. Google ads can also be targeted to increase local foot traffic.
Below are a few tips for running a successful Google Search ads campaign for restaurants:
Set up Google Ad campaign properly
The success of Google search ads campaigns heavily relies on account setup. Having a good account lays the foundation for delivering targeted and relevant ads that resonate with prospects. Important things to consider when setting up a Google ad campaign include:
- Choose the right campaign objective – restaurant marketers completely control their Google ad campaigns. The first step for a successful campaign is choosing the campaign objective. Marketing managers should choose between various objectives, including increasing sales, website traffic, leads, brand awareness, and location store visits.
- Organize campaigns, ad groups, and keywords – with identified goals and objectives; marketing managers should then set up ad campaigns, keywords, and ad groups. This is probably the complicated part of setting up Google ads for restaurant marketing, and the entire campaign can fail if done wrongly. Choosing the wrong keywords and ad groups can lead to high ad costs and low conversions.
Target local restaurant searchers
Specifying the ad’s geographical area helps find pre-qualified leads within the area. A common mistake marketing managers make when building Google ads for restaurant marketing is not choosing the right audience. Restaurants highly benefit from traffic from local searchers. Organizing special events, weekly lunches, and holiday celebrations can improve the performance of geographically targeted Google ads.
Bid on profitable keywords and high search intent
Google ads provide a great opportunity for restaurants to generate quality targeted traffic. As mentioned, focusing and spending more on ads targeting a specific geographic region improves ad marketing results. Similarly, digital marketers should only bid on profitable keywords with high Google search intent.
Most restaurant owners reluctantly bid on keywords with high search intent because they think they should bid on high-cost keywords. However, bidding on high-cost keywords isn’t profitable because they are too broad. While these keywords can drive a lot of traffic, they are competitive and don’t favor restaurants with a small marketing budget.
Therefore, focusing on keywords that prospective patrons would search when looking for restaurants with specific elements is prudent. Some ideas to build keywords around include:
- Restaurants near me
- Lunch specials
- Food delivery
- Family-friendly restaurants
- Takeout specials
Important things to feature when choosing the right keywords for Google ads include the restaurant’s name, specialty/vegan options, live music, and brunch/Sunday options.
YouTube is the world’s second most popular social platform, with more than 2 billion monthly visitors. Restaurant owners should consider allocating part of the video ad budget to YouTube ads for its vast reach and powerful targeting abilities. More than 90% of respondents to a Google survey said they discovered new brands and products on YouTube, and over 40% have since purchased from those brands.
That aside, YouTube ads are 84% more likely to grab viewers’ attention than TV advertisements. Below are a few reasons why restaurants should capitalize on YouTube ads:
- Reach a wider audience – as mentioned, YouTube receives 2 billion-plus monthly views, and people watch more than one billion hours of videos daily. Paid YouTube ads also receive more attention than other paid ad options. With YouTube ads, marketers can target a specific audience, behavior, or user intention. Ads can also be filtered according to age, gender, and location.
- Unlimited creative freedom – YouTube ads give marketers the freedom to use their preferred advertising approach over other ad strategies. Most successful brands on YouTube use creative strategies that break “marketing rules and assumptions.”
- Cost-effective – small and established restaurant businesses can benefit from YouTube ads because they oversee ad spending. Restaurants can set a monthly budget and stop or adjust where necessary.
- Increased connection – YouTube ads promote a brand’s connection with its audience. Ads make it easy to connect with prospects and loyal customers memorably. Surprisingly, YouTube ads are 1.8 x the potential to create connections than social media platforms.
- Measurable – YouTube ad analytics makes it easy for marketers to view and monitor ad performance. Restaurant owners can track impressions, engagements, clicks, and views from the analytics dashboard.
However, there’s a lot that goes into YouTube ads, making it a challenge for novice marketers. Restaurants facing difficulties should get in touch with our team of marketing specialists at IndoorMedia for prompt assistance.
Facebook ads are an effective paid ad strategy for restaurants looking to attract new customers and convert them into regulars. Unlike other paid ad advertising options, Facebook ads have multiple targeting options, which allows marketers to focus on interested customers.
From the Facebook ads manager, marketers can choose from the following targeting options:
- Location targeting – marketers can target customers within a given radius, area, or ZIP code.
- Age targeting – Facebook allows marketers to choose the age range for their target customers. 18 to 65+ is the default age.
- Gender targeting – ads can be categorized for men, women, and all.
- Lookalike audiences – Facebook can expand ad reach by targeting users with similar behaviors and characteristics as the target audience.
- Detailed targeting – Facebook improves ad targeting based on user’s demographics, interests, and behaviors. For instance, restaurants can set ads to be shown to people who’ve previously liked, commented, or engaged with their pages.
Facebook has many more targeting options available on the platform’s ads manager. Therefore, with such variety, businesses should identify ads that work best for their audience. Below are a few tips for creating successful Facebook ads for restaurant marketing:
- Invest in pictures with salivating food – pictures are certainly the first thing that Facebook users see. Posts with pictures receive 120% more engagement and are what attract users to a marketing ad. Because diners choose restaurants based on food quality, ensuring that the picture used in Facebook ads is appetizing makes sense.
- Advertise new locations – boosting the restaurant’s visibility, especially after opening a new branch, attracts new and existing customers. These ads are great for chain restaurants that regularly open new locations. They are also effective for small restaurants looking to broaden their reach.
- Boost likes – increasing the number of likes on Facebook extends the restaurant’s reach. Likes on Facebook are very useful as they promote organic marketing, boost website traffic, and improves personal relationships. Boosting likes also makes it easier to remarket the restaurant to previous customers.
- Provide coupons – everybody likes good deals, especially when it comes to food. Coupons are a good way of boosting traffic to a restaurant’s website and sales. Coupon discounts provide incentives, encouraging diners to choose the restaurant over competitors. Common deals like buy one get one and other freebies help restaurants build customer relationships.
- Provide a download option – restaurants can drive their omnichannel marketing with a download CTA on their Facebook ads. However, this approach works better for restaurants with an app. Having a mobile app smoothens customers’ dining experience, especially if the restaurant has takeout or delivery options. The app allows customers to reserve seats, order takeouts, find app-exclusive coupons, and accumulate loyalty points.
- Promote seasonal specials – restaurants should also take advantage of seasonal events like Christmas and other dining opportunities. This sends more traffic to the restaurant and builds trust.
- Celebrate birthdays – advertising birthdays and other events on Facebook ads shows diners and prospects that they are valued. Fortunately, Facebook has an ad targeting option that allows marketers to target prospective diners days before their birthdays.
A visit to restaurants and cafés by millennials is incomplete if they don’t take pictures of tasty dishes and ambience. These pictures are often uploaded to Instagram with endless hashtags and brief captions. This habit does half of the job for restaurant marketers. Prospective customers also search for restaurants on Instagram and other social platforms before visiting.
That said, digital marketers should consider Instagram ads from the many Instagram marketing options for restaurants. Sponsored content and Instagram ads allow restaurants to easily reach their target audience. Ads are also available in different formats, from photos, stories, and videos to carousel ads.
Below are a few Instagram ads marketing tips to consider:
- Design mobile-first ads – over 4 billion Instagram users access the platform via mobile devices. As such, restaurants should get creative and design responsive ads that allow for mobile viewing. Simple tips, such as using vertical films, and minimizing text in ads and short videos, come in handy.
- Prioritize branding and messaging – viewers will continue to watch the ad or continue scrolling based on the first few seconds of the ad. As such, starting the ad with a key marketing message is important.
- Use various ad types – with many Instagram ad types to choose from, restaurants should experiment to find the best combination. Marketers should also get creative when rolling out various ads.
- Use analytics to measure results – tracking results is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of Instagram ads. Fortunately, Instagram’s analytics tool offers insights into important metrics, such as ad engagement rate, impressions, clicks, and ROI.
Twitter ads are an effective marketing solution for reaching Twitter users and those of partner networks. Like other paid ad options, Twitter ads allow restaurants to reach new users and promote their dining options to engaged customers. Restaurants should choose from the many ad types depending on their campaign objectives and goals.
Digital marketers can promote an entire campaign or individual tweets designed to achieve specific objectives, such as increasing website conversions, promoting app installation, or boosting video views. Restaurants should consider Twitter ads for the following benefits:
- To network with influential people – startup restaurants can benefit immensely by attracting influential people. Twitter makes it easy for restaurants and marketers to nurture their networks, which spurs growth and expansion.
- Endless engagement opportunities – with over 325 million users, restaurants are exposed to a wide pool of engagement opportunities. While Facebook has more users, Twitter has a higher engagement rate and significantly lower competition.
- Multiple Twitter ads campaign objectives – digital marketers can access and customize their ads to suit various campaign objectives. Each campaign objective is designed to improve performance and achieve unique business goals.
- Low cost-per-click – Twitter ads are more affordable than other paid promotion strategies. Pricing for Twitter ads depends on ad type, bids, and billable actions. Restaurants can create marketing campaigns that suit their specific budget.
Promoted results on reservation apps
Restaurants can also use an online reservation tool to keep their tables fully occupied. These digital reservation apps ensure that restaurants remain profitable. Promoting results on reservation apps allows restaurants to:
- Increase bookings – promoted restaurants are displayed in promoted spots for undecided diners looking for a restaurant to reserve.
- Target their preferred diners.
- Be in control – marketers can choose specific days they want extra visibility.
- Value for money – most reservation apps only bill for seated diners. Restaurants don’t incur additional costs for clicks or impressions.
Best Free Restaurant Advertising Ideas
Restaurants can also benefit from free marketing strategies, such as:
Customers provide free and very effective marketing for their preferred restaurants. Word-of-mouth referrals are like modern-day user-generated content on social platforms and websites. However, besides offering quality services, restaurants should entice their customers by offering discounts, free starters, or desserts for successful referrals.
Reaching out to food bloggers
Getting positive reviews can prove challenging, especially for new restaurants. However, inviting local food bloggers for a free dining experience is a great way of getting into the press. Offer them free appetizers, drinks, and other dining options and encourage them to write a review or share their experiences in their blogs.
Sourcing raw materials and foodstuffs from local markets and farms is another free marketing strategy. Going local is a great way to support the community. Restaurants can also get marketing points for using local ingredients. Customers appreciate restaurants that use locally sourced materials. Local farmers will also unconsciously spread the word about the restaurant.
Partner with food delivery services
Collaborating with food delivery services is another free marketing option for restaurants. Delivery services can expose the restaurant to a new customer base beyond their local customers. Restaurants that don’t have food delivery services miss out on many customers, especially in the current digital era, where people prefer ordering from the comfort of their homes.
Customers often turn to local directories, such as Google, Yelp, and social platforms, for suggestions. Listing the restaurant on these platforms makes it discoverable and helps tap undecided customers looking for nearby restaurants to dine at.
Participate in fundraisers and local events
Participating in local events and food festivals is another free way to increase restaurant visibility. Dine and donate fundraisers provide an opportunity for restaurants to support community activities while interacting with the local community.
This is a potent tool for engaging your current customers and attracting potential ones. By maintaining an email list, restaurants can regularly send out updates about your menu, themed nights, special events, and other updates. Personalized birthday and anniversary offers can also be a delightful surprise for subscribers.
Social Media Marketing
Utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others makes it easy to connect with a vast audience and captivate them through visually enticing content. Sharing delectable photographs of your dishes, videos showcasing the behind the scenes activities in the kitchen, introducing staff members or even hosting live cooking demonstrations are just a few ways to keep target customers engaged.
Online reviews and ratings are crucial in this digital age. Encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experiences on platforms like Yelp or Google Reviews. Responding to both positive and negative reviews shows that you care about your customers’ feedback, helping to build trust and improve the restaurant’s reputation.
Offers and Promotions
Everybody loves a good deal! Seasonal discounts, happy hours, loyalty programs, and exclusive offers can attract more customers. Whether it’s a two-for-one deal, a free dessert on the first visit, or a special discount on the customer’s favorite dish, these strategies can significantly increase foot traffic and make the restaurant more competitive.
Best Offline Restaurant Advertising Ideas
Take your food outside your four walls
Competing for customers inside and outside the restaurant is fierce. As such, restaurant owners should consider taking their dining services outside. A National Restaurant Association and Technical survey found that 78% of restaurant owners currently prefer off-premises programs.
Some inspirational marketing campaigns to look up to when planning offline campaigns include:
- McDonald’s and Red Lobster’s get creative with swag campaign
- Chili’s brings families on board
- Taco Bell opens a hotel
While marketing beyond four walls isn’t easy, it helps restaurants grow their businesses and stand out.
Become a coworking space
Coworking spaces have become popular, especially after the pandemic. Restaurants can increase their traffic, sales, and revenue by accommodating freelancers, small startups, and entrepreneurs who prefer working in their preferred office settings. Restaurant owners can take advantage of the coworking trend by offering solutions to such individuals.
On-Site Restaurant Advertising Ideas
Maximize foot and car traffic
Unlike online stores, most restaurants have physical locations, making it easy for them to maximize foot and car traffic. Restaurant owners should use eye-catching posters and signage to ensure passers-by see their restaurant. Digital signage is an effective way of boosting traffic. Unlike traditional printed signage, digital signage allows restaurants to effect price changes, include new items or deals, and adjust work hours.
Digital signage provides an appealing and captivating way to display menu items, daily specials, promotional offers, and other pertinent information. Its dynamic visual content enhances the overall experience for viewers.
Digital signage can be strategically positioned in different sections of the restaurant including the entrance, dining area, and even the restrooms. Apart from promoting food and beverages, digital signage can also be used to deliver entertaining content, like trivia, fun facts, or local news, to keep customers engaged during their wait time.
Hang your restaurant’s menu in the window
This is probably the simplest on-site marketing strategy that most restaurants should adopt. Displaying the restaurant’s menu by the front door, in the window, or at the entrance ensures prospects and customers see available dining offers.
Potential diners can easily enter a nearby restaurant with a menu displayed on the window if they aren’t sure of their dining choices. Displaying the menu in the window is also a great option to market takeout options and entice customers who weren’t planning to dine in.
Advertise specials in your windows
Restaurant owners can take the previous step further by advertising specials in their establishment’s windows. This is a great option for restaurants in areas with high foot traffic. If there are daily menu changes, doing this makes it easy for those passing by to see the day’s specials without necessarily entering the restaurant.
Take advantage of your sidewalk
Promoting meals on the sidewalk is also very effective. However, restaurant owners should seek permits from local government agencies to avoid trouble. Chalk signs on the sidewalk are affordable and a fun way of advertising the restaurant’s culinary options. Creating a fun chalkboard to attract the attention of passers-by is a creative idea.
Maximize indoor real estate with signage
Restaurants can upsell to prospects and customers by marketing using their interior space. Simple promotional messages, such as asking customers to sign up for an email list or following the restaurant’s social media pages, are effective. Other options include tabletop advertising and marketing messages on check holders.
Better Advertising Helps Your Restaurant Succeed
It’s tough for restaurant owners to retain their customers without advertising strategies to attract attention and foot traffic. A combination of paid ads, social media, flyers, and coupons can help you reach your consumers and deliver relevant information that gets them excited to try your food. Using these restaurant marketing ideas, you can unlock incredible growth potential for your restaurant.