Female coffee shop owner smiling about Small Restaurant Marketing Ideas

Independent quick service restaurants and coffee shops have more power than ever before to attract customers and boost sales. The digital age has leveled the playing field. With a little creativity and the right digital tools, you can now scale your small restaurant marketing ideas to levels previously only available to large restaurant groups and franchises.

Let’s explore seven small restaurant marketing ideas that can help you attract more customers, boost sales, and increase customer loyalty.

Specials and Secret Menus

Offering more than one digital menu, like seasonal specials and secret menus, remains popular among small restaurant marketing ideas for good reason. It works! The reason is twofold: it motivates new customers to come in and entices regulars to keep coming back without getting bored. 

When developing your specials, there are typically three routes you can go: 

  1. New items that you want to try out
  2. Re-imagined items designed to catch people’s attention
  3. Old favorites that you bring back for a limited time. 

And if you really want to impress your loyal customers, consider creating a secret menu with special dishes that only they know about. It’s like having a special club just for them! 

Super Easy Ordering Options

Customers today want options – and that includes how they order. Play to customer preferences by offering a variety of ordering methods, like:

The most important part of this small restaurant marketing idea is to actually promote your ordering options. For example, put information about online ordering on your website and social media pages so that everyone knows how to order from you, no matter where they are.

Customer-friendly Website

Restaurant websites are often overlooked on the list of small restaurant marketing ideas. But here’s the thing, your website is your digital homebase. It’s where people go to learn more about you, check out your menu, and find out where you’re located. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and has all the information people need to decide if they want to eat at your restaurant:

  • Location
  • Hours
  • Menu
  • Contact  

And don’t forget about search engines! A website is only useful if people can find it. To help boost website traffic, use keywords and proper tagging to make sure your website shows up when people are looking for food like yours. 

Stay in Touch with Email

Want an easy way to keep your customers coming back? Send emails! While social media is essential and the core of most small restaurant marketing ideas, time-sensitive information can get lost in the algorithm or might not find the intended audience. 

Email gives you more direct access to your customers and is a great way to let them know about things like: 

  • Upcoming events
  • Specials
  • Changes to hours

Collecting email addresses is as easy as adding a pop-up to your website or asking if customers would like to be added to your email list during check-out. Just be sure that every customer confirms opt-in to your email list to stay compliant with recent CAN-SPAM and other laws. Then get writing!

Get Social on Social Media

Social media is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Not only is social media for restaurants a great way to show off your menu items, but it’s excellent at connecting with customers, building loyalty, and establishing your brand. 

To bring your small restaurant marketing ideas to life on social media, follow these quick tips: 

  • Create a plan for what you want to post and when so that you always have something interesting to share 
  • Spend time every day responding to comments and engaging with complementary businesses or audiences
  • Keep an eye out for User Generated Content (UGC) and repost, repurpose, and reshare that golden content! 

Lastly, don’t forget to tag your location in your posts so that more people can find you!

Keep Your Digital Info Up to Date

Have you ever shown up to a restaurant only to find out they’re closed? Don’t let that happen to your customers! While maybe this isn’t the most sparkly as other small restaurant marketing ideas, it’s critically important to make sure all your information is up to date across all your digital profiles, including: 

  • Google Business Page and Google Map
  • Apple Business Page and iMap
  • Your business website
  • Your business social media profiles

The goal is to make it easy for people to know when you’re open and where to find you.

Take Action

Small restaurant marketing ideas don’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. By focusing on simple strategies like creating enticing menus, making ordering easy, and staying top of mind with your customers, you can make a big impact on your sales. Start putting these ideas into action today and watch your restaurant thrive!

Ready to take your restaurant to the next level? Download our Restaurant and Food Truck Marketing Guide for even more tips and tricks to help you succeed.

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