10 Restaurant Marketing Strategies That Work

Thomas Watson Sr. had it right: something happens once a sale is made! How do you make a sale happen and then continue to happen? Most newbie entrepreneurs avoid these essential questions at the start of their business. They find them unattractive. Nonetheless, both questions are crucial to business success. The latter is more important for a restaurant business. Why? Your business needs repeat business from loyal customers to thrive, not just one-time sales.

It’s impracticable to expect to continue to see your business grow if you put excellent marketing strategies in place. If you’ve been a restaurant owner for a few months or years, you almost certainly know this: a conspicuous display of your brand’s neon sign is no guarantee that you will have a booming business. There must be more than a lengthy listing of appealing delicacies on your restaurant menu. You need to understand marketing basics to convert potential customers into paying clients. And even more, work with a systematically crafted marketing plan.

One’s business would profit greatly when they employ the services of a restaurant marketing firm. Nonetheless, it increases your resourcefulness as a business leader to understand the nitty-gritty of marketing.

What is marketing?

Here’s a trick question. Is marketing advertisement? Is marketing and advertisement the same? When the word marketing is mentioned, an advertisement comes to the heart of most entrepreneurs. That couldn’t be more inaccurate. Without question, advertisement is an essential part of marketing, but it’s not all there is to marketing.

Marketing involves identifying, anticipating, and satisfying the customer’s needs profitably. Advertisement, therefore, is a subset of marketing. Vital marketing questions include: What are the customers’ needs? How can we meet customer’s needs profitably? This sparks the statement that marketing begins as business planning begins.

Let’s look at ten marketing strategies that help explode your sales. The first 3 points focus on essential but often ignored aspects of marketing and the last seven focus on advertisement.

10 restaurant marketing strategies that work

1. Be clear on Your Value Proposition. What makes your restaurant so different from the one in the next block? Why should anyone choose your restaurant over your competitors? The answers to the above questions are contained in a clearly defined value proposition. Every business must know what its Unique Selling Points (USP) are. Clarity on your USP gives you the edge you need to compete in an over-saturated market.

You need to understand your USP to try to be everything to everyone. And that is a recipe for business failure. Everything gets easier once you are clear on your USP. Defining your USP would help you qualify who your ideal customer is. Once you focus on the demographics and the wants of your clients, you can then concentrate on thoroughly satisfying them.

2. Focus on Creating an Unforgettable Experience for your Customers. The idea is to give customers experiences worth talking about long after they have left your place of business. Please give them a happy memory! Doing so gives them a story they would be more than glad to share with friends. This careless whispering of a customer’s experience with you could make news about your business go viral. Now imagine creating several of those! This technique has been termed Growth Hacking.

You may focus on delighting customers with the taste of your meals, promptness of delivery, excellence in customer service, or a combination of these factors. But whatever you do, strive to exceed customer’s expectations.

3. Empower Your Employees. Remember to consider the value of empowering your employees. Please give them the freedom to make decisions and the wisdom to make the right ones. The payoff of empowering your employees is seen in the excellent customer service that employees invariably deliver.

Here’s the value: Reports reveal that excellent customer service has been identified as an underlying factor fostering customer loyalty. Everyone likes being excellently served. If you empower your employees and get them to deliver excellent customer service, customers will return to you.

4. Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Provided you did the other three things well, by now, you would have an army of happy customers eager to share the word about your business with others. While you can expect this to happen naturally, telling your customers to refer your company doesn’t hurt.

For obvious reasons, word-of-mouth marketing has been lauded as the most effective of all marketing options. A friend’s testimony of a great experience is far more effective at convincing a potential customer than any sales pitch you can give them. And in all its goodness, this advertisement option costs you nothing extra (in monetary terms).

5. Get a Website. Even if you choose to operate as a brick-and-mortar business, an online storefront is a must-have in the 21st century.

Technology has forever altered the way we do business. Today, customers not only use search engines to find the best restaurants to visit in their locality; they also expect to have access to their menu, opening hours, address, or phone number. Could you make sure that your website has this information?

You can also create reservation tools on your website. Once you have a website, you can allow people to download free e-books on food recipes, how to save on food, weight loss meal ideas, or whatever purpose comes to mind.

10 restaurant marketing strategies that work

6. Run a Food Blog: Running a blog allows you to create another platform to interact with potential customers and provide them with valuable content. You can improve the visibility of your blog by using relevant keywords while creating content. The technical term for this is search engine optimization.

For example, your blog can include posts on food recipes. This allows your posts to be visible to people searching online for these recipes. They get attracted to your blog, and if they find valuable content, they will return. You are, in so doing, creating awareness about your restaurant.

7. Embrace Digital Marketing– Digital Marketing is an umbrella term that uses online tools and resources to promote your restaurant products and services. These tools could be any social media platform, email marketing, listing your business with food apps, or advertising with food bloggers in your locale.

The benefits are numerous. You can do geo-targeted ads for your potential clients at a relatively low cost. You could share menus and exclusive deals, say happy holidays, or keep followers engaged with meaningful content related to your business.

When you choose digital marketing, please ensure you have experts handling it. For all its benefits, digital marketing handled by an amateur could be money ineffectively spent. There are several restaurant digital marketing agencies you could employ. Please make sure you do your best.

8. Partner with delivery companies. Convenience is and will continue to be a thing of importance. Customers love it when we make life easier for them. So you can partner with delivery companies and allow customers to have their meals delivered to them anywhere within your locale. It makes it even better if you can perform with speed.

9. Reward customer loyalty: Appreciate customers for doing business with you. Everyone likes applause; you should give it when they deserve it. Not lip service, please. But unpretentious, genuine appreciation. Ensure loyal customers know you notice their consistent patronage and reward them. Also, run promos, contests, and giveaways.

10. Take feedback: How does taking feedback help with marketing? One, positive feedback can be used as content material for marketing. Even negative feedback that has been dealt with can be used to show how quickly your restaurant addresses the complaints of customers! Taking feedback also gives customers the impression that you genuinely care about them. There’s no marketing strategy better than that!

So, place suggestion boxes in your restaurant. Set up online feedback forms. Start paying close attention to how your customers would have you better delight them.

10 restaurant marketing strategies that work


I want you to know that the bulk of your profit is not to be made from one-time sales but from repeated patronage by customers. If you succeed in rounding up an army of loyal customers, you will have locked them in your business ecosystem and profit over their lifetime with you.

As a business owner, there’s no substitute for marketing knowledge in moving your business forward. As your business grows, you must consult a skilled restaurant marketing agency for technical advice. Nonetheless, you must understand marketing basics and have a few strategies. This knowledge would help you innovate your business in new, exciting ways.