Evergreen Restaurant Promotion Strategies | Complete Marketing Guide

Are you looking for a restaurant promotion strategy? You’ve come to the right place! This article will teach you everything you need to create a successful restaurant promotion plan. We are going to see timeless marketing strategies which are evergreen. You can use it today, tomorrow and forever. Let’s implement the best marketing strategies for your restaurant and make your customers pay you the money you demand to have your offerings. Promotions not only help you to increase your sales, but it is a great way to build brand loyalty among customers. Before we jump into the strategies, we shall cover some fundamentals.

  1. Understand the importance of Restaurant Promotion
  2. Create an Effective Restaurant Marketing Plan
    1. Leverage the Power of Review Site
    2. Optimise your website for Local SEO
    3. YouTube or Instagram Influencers
    4. Host Birthday Parties
    5. Organize a Common Event
    6. Offer Freebies for a Cause
    7. Organise Food Marathon
    8. Marketing via Packaging
    9. Unlimited Food Offers
    10. Use WhatsApp to Send Instant Offers
    11. Marketing via Free WiFi
  3. Choose the Right Restaurant Promotion Platform
  4. Implement the campaign and Measure Results

Understand the Importance of Restaurant Promotion

Restaurant promotions are one of the most effective ways to attract new customers and retain existing ones. A well-planned restaurant promotion will help you reach out to more people while increasing sales and profits. As a restaurateur, you should understand the importance of restaurant promotion. It is not like you will attract the masses by simply opening an outlet in a crowded space. You may get customers, but retaining them will be complex without a proper promotion strategy. Another factor is the internet. The Internet is changing the way how people communicate with each other. A restaurant away from a busy street can beat the sales volume of a restaurant in a prime location if that restaurateur understands the importance of restaurant promotion.

You need to create value and add more strength to your brand power. The brand is the first factor which could attract the masses. Remember, the restaurant business is one of the most competitive industries, yet you can win if you offer value products with good marketing strategies.

When you take a rough survey about the area where you have your restaurant or where you plan to have your restaurant, you might see many competitors. If not, new competitors may arrive at any time. You should not think the chance of surviving in this competition is thin. A proper promotion should help people see your restaurant in the spotlight and improve your brand value over time.

Without building a brand, you will not be able to scale up your business, or you shall forget your dream of adding franchise partners. You need to have a blueprint for your promotions. 90% of restaurant owners copy the pricing strategy from nearby restaurants. Exactly copying your competitor’s strategies might help you to some extent, but when you have your unique strategy, you will be remembered for a long time. So it is always worth spending your quality time planning your promotional strategies.

Create an Effective Restaurant Marketing Plan.

Before creating any marketing plan, you should know the actual cost per unit you sell. You can successfully build your brand when the cost is carefully made. The first step in accessing the cost per unit should begin with daily inventory usage. This is a dynamic factor as prices of vegetables fluctuate daily. Apart from the cost of items used from your inventory, the cost of creating a pleasing ambience, support staff and other miscellaneous expenses should be considered. Convert your monthly expenses to daily so you can easily understand your P & L for the day.

Let’s assume you are selling your food items at a premium cost by skipping the cost calculation. Even though you’ve premium pricing, there are chances that you may still fail when there is no solid marketing plan. Some customers might feel you are super costly, and the value of your service might not be recognized. I’m not saying you shouldn’t sell your food items at premium rates, you can sell your food at a premium cost, but you should make sure your customer gets value for their money through different aspects such as Packaging, Taste, Quantity, Number of serving etc.

Understand how PepsiCo sold Lays like anything by advertising “No one can eat just one“. Set an expectation about your food/service and stick to the plan.

Let us dive deep into the vital segment “Creating an Effective Restaurant Marketing Plan.”

You can use several strategies to promote your restaurant both online and offline. Each of these methods has its benefits and drawbacks, you have to do well-documented experiments to ensure which strategy works fine for you.

#1 Leverage the Power of Review Site

People make purchase decisions by referring to review sites, especially on public forums like Facebook and Google My Business. Review sites play a crucial role in the restaurant business also. When planning to eat outside, I use my mobile to see the list of restaurants on Google; I look at pictures of their interiors and customer reviews to understand. When a restaurant has poor or average ratings, I just skip it and move on to the next restaurant. These review sites can bring you, new customers, as people who are using the review sites are new to the city or have less exposure to the outside world (Eg: A Software Engineer who works from home and explore the outside world little 😂)

Leverage the Power of Review Site - Restaurant marketing strategy

Ensure you actively respond to the ratings you receive on these review sites. Even if you get a negative response, ensure you are addressing it positively so potential customers might consider your point of view and decide to visit your restaurant.

#2 Optimise your website for Local SEO

Local SEO is essential for any business that needs people to visit their locations. Make sure your website uses the correct structured data. You can use this Schema Markup Validator to check whether you have structured data. Secondly, optimise your Google My Business Account. Add your website to the Google My Business page. If you optimise, GMB can offer good online visibility and provide the adequate sales you need. Local SEO should be among the mandatory list of restaurant promotion strategies you should follow. If your restaurant is located in one city, try to add the city name next to your restaurant name for the website title area. H1 Tag (Heading 1) is indexed by Search Engines hence web page title is highly important to optimise. If you don’t have a restaurant website, get one by taking the Gleeca Business Website Add-on.

#3 YouTube or Instagram Influencers

Imagine some YouTubers making an excellent video about their experience with your restaurant and publishing it on YouTube. You’re getting tons of views, and people will remember your brand. Outreach the influencers with good numbers of subscribers on YouTube or Followers on Instagram using Direct Messages or by writing an email. Big influencers could charge you high. Some small YouTubers or Small Instagram Influencers never charge you or charge less. So initially, invite small influencers.

When a video is published on these video-sharing platforms, the video stays as it is till the creator of the video decides to remove it. So you get organic traffic regularly. Some influencers are good at content creation, whereas others might have good popularity. So you need to understand and choose the right influencers for your restaurant brand. I recommend you try 2 or more influencers who are food bloggers.

Make sure you interact with the content creators in choosing the proper heading and description of the video. Select the heading and description of the video by understanding the trend.

#4 Host Birthday Parties

host birthday parties as a part of your restaurant marketing strategy

Allow your customers to host a Birthday Party. Offer a small discount on their bill if someone throws a birthday party with a minimum audience size condition (Example: 10 People). 

Also, arrange a complimentary cake and take a video of the cake-cutting event. Publish it on Social Media. Make sure you have a background setup with your restaurant name and logo. This could give others an idea that they shall host their birthday parties at your restaurants. Your users may also share that video which will surely reach their network. Thus you get free publicity. 

This idea is possible if your restaurant can accommodate a decent number of seats.

#5 Organize a Common Event


Restaurant Promotion Strategies - Organize a common event

Think of the events when people visit restaurants. For example, you shall organize events on New Year, Diwali, etc. Announce the event on social media and promote it to people who live in the city where your restaurant is located. When someone sees the offer menu, they may visit your restaurant for Dine-in or Takeaway. All you need is a graphic banner containing the offer information and the right promotion strategy on Social Media Platforms. To help you achieve this, Gleeca extends its Graphic Designers to create an awesome banner for your restaurant and also offers a free social media strategy to promote it. Contact us for more information.

#6 Offer Freebies for a Cause

Offering freebies is not about wasting money; you will be seen as a brand with a heart. This will increase your brand value significantly, as no one does this often. Lets us consider IRCTC as an example. When booking a ticket, you might have noticed a message that “Indian Railways recovers only 57% of the cost of travel on an average”. This means 43% is given as a subsidiary by the Government. So how can you do something similar and win the heart of your customers?

Whatever food is being cooked, that is not sold or the raw materials which have to be consumed in a day but not used are just going to landfills as food waste. We strongly recommend you to make a network of people who runs orphanage or old age homes. Those people are working hard to feed the people who are in need. You can ask them to visit your restaurant and collect the raw materials/unsold food items by asking you over the phone at a specific interval. Food items cooked for breakfast shall be sent to the charity houses around 11 am as no one eats breakfast items past 11 am. Similarly, fix timing for lunch and dinner.

If they are in an emergency, give a generous discount by collecting the recovery cost (Cost of workers + Raw Materials + Infrastructure cost).

Choose a prominent place in your restaurant and display content like “Congratulations! Because of your support, we can donate 10000+ plates of food since March 2022”. You can show these using a TV so that you can accommodate more data, such as

  1. Food donated Since March 2022 (Start month of your freebie program): Actual Figures
  2. Food donated this month: Actual Figures
  3. Food donated yesterday: Actual Figures
  4. Subsidised Food worth INR 100000 issued since March 2022 (Show the discount value which you are offering here)

Some restaurants offer certain foods for cancer and diabetic patients (with valid identity proof) for free or at subsidised rates. In Coimbatore, there is a canteen called Shanthi Social Service. They offer Free Lunch for people who are very old and helpless. They are a non-profit organization, and I’m not insisting you be like Shanthi Social Service, as we run restaurants for profit. My idea of cause marketing is to make your customers feel that they are indirectly contributing to the donations/subsidy made on your restaurant’s behalf by eating at your restaurant. Even your employees will feel proud of your actions. By creating an impact, you are making your brand remembered, bringing you more sales as the person who sees your message may visit regularly and recommend to others to visit your restaurant.

This is called Cause Marketing for Restaurants (Best among the other Restaurant Promotion Strategies). Even though your food cost is equal to or greater than your nearest competitor, people may still choose you because of the cause you’re supporting. By doing this, we can stop food waste and convert our actions into marketing that automatically fuels our primary business.

#7 Organise Food Marathon

Choose a food item and define a target. (Example, Burger Marathon: Eat 5 Burgers in 30 minutes and get a 100% waiver of your bill) If your customer met that target, then waive off the bill. Collect a small marathon entry fee to cover the raw material costs; the losers also have to pay the bill for which they ate. Run this contest on special days so that people in your locality may be aware of your contest and participate.

Record the participants and publish the video on social media handles by tagging them. Have an excellent background poster with your restaurant name and the title of the contest you are conducting. You will get free publicity as the people in the participant’s network will see, comment and share.

#8 Marketing via Packaging

See KFC or McDonald’s; they invest heavily in packaging designs. When customers understand your brand themes, such as Colour and Logo, their brain will trigger your logo whenever they see similar colours. Also, plan some social messages which they will remember easily. Some examples are

  1. Don’t waste food
  2. We planted 1000+ saplings to neutralise carbon emissions. Together let’s fight against climate change.
  3. Donated 1000+ meals to needy people in India

Your customers will remember your brand when they hear or read similar messages.

#9 Unlimited Food Offers

Some restaurants offer unlimited lunches. I used to go to restaurants where there was no cap for refills. We generally can’t eat more than our tummy can handle. So there is no risk in offering unlimited food for certain dishes. (Eg: Rice)

Highlighting unlimited refills in your menu will make your customers choose the dish.

#10 Use WhatsApp to Send Instant Offers

Curate the offers of the day whenever your daily sales figures are not met. Give discounts like 30% or 50% on some food items so that you can stop food waste. Mention the offer deadline in hours. For example, Get Panner Butter Masala+ 30 other items at 60% off. Order food online at mogaacafe.gleeca.com and use coupon code PANEER60

When you broadcast this message on WhatsApp, your customers will know the offer and try to grab it before it ends.

If you don’t have a restaurant online ordering system, you should signup for a Gleeca Restaurant Management System.

#11 Marketing Via Free WiFi

Have you wondered why some Restaurants offer Free WiFi in Restaurants? Scaling your business is easy when you have your customer data. The user data will help you increase recurring visits as you can retarget your customers with offers.

You shall grant access to your free Wi-Fi if they check in on Facebook by automatically tagging your restaurant. This shall be done using some WiFi application. Or you shall use OTP to validate their mobile number or email address and allow them to use free WiFi Automatically. (Contact us if you need this, we shall connect you with our WiFi Partners for the best deals)

If you aren’t a techie, design a poster with catchy phrases that make your users take a selfie and post it on social media by tagging your restaurant page to get the password. In this case, appoint an admin who needs to track the tags and send passwords to them on their respective platforms.

Choose the Right Restaurant Promotion Platform.

If you’re planning to run an effective restaurant promotion campaign, you should choose a platform to help you reach your goals. You must be in all possible channels, including offer cards/notices, social media advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and mobile app development. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a restaurant promotion platform:
1) How much does it cost?

  • Some Platforms charge you for clicks (Eg: Google Ads), and others charge you for ad impressions (Facebook and Instagram)
  • Some platform does not have a minimum daily budget, whereas, on Facebook and Instagram, we have a minimum daily budget requirement.
  • Some platforms charge you for every email sent or for every customer you have (Eg: Email Marketing Services)

2) What kind of results do you expect?

You need to select the objective of the campaign carefully. Make sure you get leads/online sales. Don’t forget to use your website or Gleeca Subdomain while promoting.

3) Does it integrate with other platforms?

For example, you can promote your content on Facebook and Instagram using Meta Business Suite. Using Google Ads, you can automate your Microsoft Ads Campaign using the import campaign feature. If you want to sell some popular food with good search potential, use Google Search Ads. If not, you need to focus on demand generation using Facebook, Instagram and Google Discovery/Display Ads. With some tools available online, you shall save time significantly.

Implement the campaign and measure Results.

To ensure your restaurant promotion campaign is successful, you must measure its results. There are several ways to do so, including tracking online mentions, social shares, conversions on websites or phone calls etc. Make sure you monitor the campaign performance across all platforms. Some popular tools I recommend are Statcounter, Google Analytics and Uber Suggest. The first 2 will help you to understand the campaign performance, while the last one will help you to formulate a content strategy for your brand and tracks organic rankings on Google.


Alagu Rajeshwaran

Co-Founder of Gleeca | CEO of Hyrrokkin Branding Services Private Limited.

Connect with me on Twitter.

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