Marketing tips and ideas for restaurants

There are so many creative and unique marketing ideas and tips that one can use to increase sales for a restaurant, and they’re not necessarily expensive. I’m busy doing research for a new client and I have so many ideas spinning around in my head – so I thought I’d jog down some of my marketing tips for restaurants.


  • You need to have a solid online presence. The basis of this presence will be your website. Make sure that you have your correct menu uploaded (with prices!) and that it’s easy for website visitors to find. Include links to your social media profiles and if possible, incorporate a blog on your website. This can add some personality to your brand.
  • Keep your social media profiles updated and share interesting content on these platforms. Through your social media platforms you can share your restaurant’s ‘personality’ or ‘uniqueness’ with fans and followers – so make sure that your updates convey this.
  • Turn in-store customers into regular customers by inviting them to connect with you on social media or sign up for your newsletter. Here you can tell them about special offers on a regular basis and hopefully entice them to visit your restaurant again.
  • Offer your regular customers rewards. Do you have a customer that goes out of their way to promote your restaurant? For instance – did they rave about the amazing coffee or good food? Reward them – next time give them the coffee on the house or throw in free drinks. Word of mouth is the best type of marketing there is. If no-one is talking about your restaurant, ask them to and reward them if they do.
  • Would you like to increase foot traffic during the breakfast slot? Come up with a special promotion (like a takeaway coffee and croissant for R20 or similar) but really make it worth the customers’ while. Your most likely competing with many other restaurants in the area so you really need to entice customers.
  • Is your restaurant in a high foot traffic area? Make use of a black board outside your door. This may seem like such an obvious tip but so many restaurants don’t do it. Be creative with your messages on the board and change them at least two or three times a day – during the morning focus on coffee and breakfast specials and so forth.
  • Do you offer free wifi? Tell people this! Many people use restaurants as meeting spots and they appreciate free wifi.
  • Don’t run the same specials or promotions over and over again. Plan ahead and tie your specials in with local events or public holidays. Get creative!
  • Are there many businesses around you? Offer a free delivery service within a certain radius. Deliver your menu to these offices and be sure to make the most of the advertising space you have. Try to get these professionals to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter so that you can target them just before breakfast or lunch with interesting specials or photos of what you’re offering that day.
  • Related to the point above, offer discounts on tables that are 8 or more (or whatever amount you prefer). Many professionals eat lunch with their coworkers and will be enticed by a group discount.

If you have specific marketing goals like increasing brand awareness or increasing sales, you can get creative with how you make your marketing tactics work together. Be sure to stand out from the crowd and include strong calls to action.

Work on a bigger plan (like a three month plan) and then break it down to what you’re going to do on a daily basis. This can be a tedious task but if you have a plan of action, it’s very easy to follow. Set a few hours aside and get the planning done – and make sure that you include all elements in your plan: website, blog, social media profiles, advertising, flyers, board outside and so forth. Also make sure that you include measurable marketing objectives and determine how you’re going to measure the success of each tactic. You want to know what tactics worked so that you can build on them, or what didn’t work so that you can remove it from your plan.

I hope you found these marketing tips for restaurants useful, if you have any questions chat to me in the comments.