Two restaurant owners creating a social video with cupcakes heads to promote their restaurant.

If you’re wondering how to market a restaurant, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most popular questions asked in restaurant community groups, such as On the Fly Society.

Marketing is vital to your success as a business, especially a small one, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.  That’s why we’ve gathered eight of the best restaurant promotion ideas that you can easily turn into your own local restaurant marketing plan. Using these marketing techniques can help you boost your business and create a welcoming restaurant that your community will be proud to call their own. 

8 restaurant marketing ideas to boost your local popularity

Luckily, the demand for local restaurants and community hotspots is already pretty high. One study found that 82% of people would rather shop locally than from a big national brand, and that sentiment definitely carries over to local restaurants. All that’s left for you now is to make sure that your community knows where to find you, and thinks of you first when choosing where they want to eat, drink, or hang out. 

Here are eight restaurant promotion ideas to get you started: 

1. Host pop-up events 

Pop-ups are temporary events designed to showcase your restaurant or business at another establishment in town. Ideally, you’d partner with a business that compliments yours—so for example, if you have a coffee shop, you’d pop-up in a donut shop nearby—so the event is mutually beneficial for both businesses.  

This is a great restaurant marketing technique for a few reasons: It gets your name out in the community to people who may not have heard about you before, and it shows that you’re invested in the wellbeing of other local restaurants too. Plus, since pop-ups are for a limited time only, they generate buzz and demand for your product—which you can then use to drive people to your primary, permanent restaurant. 

2. Host your own events

Another local restaurant marketing tip you can try is hosting your own events in your space. This can still be in partnership with other businesses in your area, or you can host them solo. But something out of the ordinary that encourages people to come hang out in your restaurant—like trivia nights, open mics, hosting live music, or having an art show—is an easy way to encourage people to stop by and stay a while. 

3. Participate in local events

If hosting your own events isn’t quite your thing, another restaurant promotion idea is to participate in other events that are already happening. This could look like offering a gift card in a local raffle or as a prize for a game night happening in another spot in town. This gets your name out there and encourages people to come into your restaurant, and hopefully to keep coming back. 

Or, it could look like having a booth at a local fair or farmer’s market. This gives people a chance to try your food or drinks, and seeing your brand out in the community will make your business top-of-mind the next time they’re choosing somewhere to go. 

4. Offer neighborhood promotions

If your goal is to get your local community excited about your restaurant, it’s helpful to give them something unique to get excited about. Try offering a special discount for people who live within a block of your restaurant or to people who work in businesses on the same street or complex.

This generates goodwill and a sense of community in your immediate area, and hopefully those people will tell their friends and generate more traffic for you that way. Word of mouth goes a long way when it comes to marketing a restaurant!

5. Reach out to local media

You could have the best spot in town, but if no one knows about you, no one will come. This is where strategic local restaurant marketing and local media come into play. Reach out to your local newspaper, magazine or TV stations and pitch a story on your restaurant to generate buzz and encourage people who’ve never heard of you to pay you a visit. 

Table Needs partner, Bagel Boy in Foley, Alabama, has done an awesome job of this. You can see in this local TV segment he’s able to feature where he’s been, what he’s doing now, and what he hopes to do in the future. He’s also able to say thank you to the community that’s gotten him where he is today—another great way to get your local community excited about your restaurant! 

6. Be active on social media

A key part of successfully marketing a restaurant is to be active on social media. More and more, people are using social media as a search engine, meaning that you want to have a presence on these platforms so that people can easily find you. 

Show off your food, your space, or the events you’re hosting or participating in on your social media channels. You can run the accounts yourself or you can have it rotate among your staff so they can show off their own personalities too. Part of the draw of a local spot is the members of the community who work there, so if they’re okay with it, get your staff involved. 

7. Offer a coworking space

Another restaurant promotion you can try is offering coworking space. Make sure you have strong WiFi, good lighting and tables near outlets to encourage people to come in and stay a while. 

There are ways you can still be profitable while attracting remote workers and students, and people who feel comfortable and at home in your restaurant are more likely to keep ordering items or tell their friends to come in as well. 

8. Use digital marketing techniques

Email newsletters, SMS marketing, websites, social media—there’s a long list of possibilities for digital marketing, and that list will only keep getting longer. To make sure you’re meeting your customers where they already are, your local restaurant marketing plan should definitely include at least some of these digital marketing tactics. 

For a lot of business owners, managing all these channels might seem overwhelming—and that’s where Table Needs Marketer comes in. Table Needs Marketer allows you to easily manage all these digital mediums, like SMS messaging, your website, and more in one place, so you can focus on making great food and creating a great atmosphere. 
Get started with Table Needs Marketer today to seamlessly manage all the marketing needs of your business.

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