It’s no surprise that people take to the internet to find new restaurants, browse menus, make reservations, and write reviews.

In today’s digital world, marketing your restaurant can sometimes be tricky.

That means you need creative and new restaurant marketing ideas to grab customers in and keep them coming back again and again.

Before you dive into popular marketing ideas for your audience, you need to define your target customers.

Are you targeting millennials, families with kids, or the older generation?

This step is most important before you can begin marketing with your popular restaurant marketing ideas. Without defining your audience, you can’t possibly build a winning advertising campaign.

So, the more clearly you define your target customers, the easier it will be to create ads, content, and emails.

For instance, if you are a restaurant marketing to millennials, you need to produce content that attracts them.

Chipotle posts target millennial eaters, who are always coming up with new ways to express words.

Their posts are humorous and get the point across that their food is still yummy no matter how you eat.

Using relatable expressions help your brand align with your audience and help your restaurant marketing.

I can bet, if you are craving a burrito, this ad will be on your mind.

No matter where your restaurant is located, the restaurant business is highly competitive. There are dozens of competitors nearby that are all fighting to target the same customers. That’s why it’s essential to use unique and creative marketing ideas to stand out from nearby restaurants.

So to help your restaurant get noticed, here are 11 creative marketing ideas.

1. Social media Contests and Challenges

Do you love winning free stuff and contests on social media? I know your answer would be “yes.” It’s a fun way to promote your food brand.

Experiment with a giveaway contest where you can ask foodies to tag their dining partners.

This will help you grow more followers, boost your restaurant visibility, and get more customers to try your food.

If the winner has never tried your restaurant before, it will give them a chance to try your food risk-free.

2. Use of Hashtags

Why are “Hashtags” important for your restaurant marketing?

Hashtags are a great tool to help you build your brand awareness, get new customers and increase engagement.

When your potential customers see your restaurant name or logo, they want their minds to know

  • what your restaurant/brand stands for.
  • What type of food do you serve?
  • Where to find your restaurant.

If you are using your restaurant hashtags consistently, it will encourage your customers to use them as well. And this results in building a community of customers.

Once your hashtag gains popularity, you will grow your customer base and get your online followers walking in your doors!

Pro Tip: Always use popular hashtags combined with your niche hashtags. Because if you only use the most popular hashtags, your post will get lost in the millions and never stand out.

3. User-Generated Content

Content that your followers post can make your life a whole lot easier; you save money and time.

Research shows that 92% of people prefer and trust recommendations from their community over marketing content.

Usually, people don’t appreciate sales content from marketers. They trust words of mouth. So share content that people post to promote your brand awareness.

You will likely have tons of user-generated content as a restaurant because people love to take and share food photos.

Content or posts by customers is typically an indicator of a reliable and trustworthy brand.

Using your followers’ content helps you interact with people on a human level and shows authenticity as a restaurant.

Let me tell you a real story. Starbucks, in 2014, wanted to make a new design for their limited edition “coffee cup.” So, they decided that instead of wasting their money and time designing, they would ask their loyal customers to create one for them.

They asked their consumers to submit photos of their cups with the hashtag #whitecupcontest.

And they announced that the winner would receive $300 as well as have their cup featured.

Don’t you think it’s an ultimate combination of creative restaurant marketing ideas?

4. Don’t ignore the Local SEO

If you are looking for a creative restaurant marketing idea, don’t miss that out!

Local SEO for restaurants is very important because when potential customers search their local area and don’t show up,  you won’t be able to get much business.

What should be your goal for Local SEO?

To rank in your local area, let’s say when users search a specific keyword like “best burger,” your restaurant should be on the top 3 Google map spots.

Only the top 3-5 restaurants will receive the most traffic because they appear first when a user searches specific keywords

5. Get good reviews

Good reviews build trust in your potential buyers. So, encourage people to review your business on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or all the other platforms you use.

6. Web design for restaurants

A top-notch restaurant web design lets you begin the dining experience before the customer even walks into your restaurant.

Use your website to show diners the ambiance, as well as your menu items. Also, make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Create Sponsored Ads or Boost Posts

If you’re creating posts on social media, you also need to create sponsored ads or spend some bucks to boost your posts. Facebook is more like a “pay to play” site.

Some of your customers may see your post, but you need to have an advertising budget to spread the word about your brand.

Moreover, when you boost your posts, you can choose your location,  target audience, and much more.

Pro Tip: If you have ever spent money on newspaper ads, magazine ads, or billboards, your social media ad budget will be less as compared to these old-school forms of advertising.

7. Social Media Monitoring

SMM consists of checking your feedbacks and reviews on various platforms, reading comments, and replying to tagged posts.

You should know what people are saying about your restaurant on social platforms?

As a restaurant owner or manager, you need to double-check anything your restaurant is tagged in or any comments. This is crucial to filter out spam comments or correct misleading info posts.

8. Loyalty Program to Increase Your Sales

The best way to start a loyalty program with your customers is to obtain their emails.

No doubt, loyalty programs help you to increase your sales.

You can obtain your customers’ emails easily through a landing page pop-up, social media campaign, or website.

Do a giveaway for anyone who makes 10 consecutive purchases, a cup, or you can offer FOOD discounts for six months.

9. Pin your food photos on Pinterest

Pinterest allows you to pin your favorite food photos to link to your social platforms or website.

This is a great marketing cycle for your restaurant, as pins are constantly being pinned and repined.

Don’t forget to attach your restaurant name to your pins; this will help people discover your brand.

10. Work with influencers

Now tap into your foodie market and get them to post food photos. Influencers are the public figures who already have a huge following that typically listens to their suggestions and advice.

Invite influencers to come and try your restaurant and ask them to post food photos or their reviews about your restaurant for their followers to see.

Getting a food influencer in your restaurant can give you the upper hand in your competition.

11. Insta-worthy Food

Millennials go to restaurants and bars just to photograph the food for their Instagram.

In short, If you post beautiful food photos on your page, you can attract your target audience and build authority.

Always come up with something unique and creative that other restaurants haven’t done yet.

Have a signature drink that stands out, also take a fantastic photo of it.

Do you need some food photography tips?

  • Make sure photos of your food to be clean, clear, and sharp. A low-quality photo lacks professionalism, whereas a high-quality food photo will make your audience want to try your food.
  • Don’t post the same pictures over and over again with different dishes.

Pro Tip: Don’t just share pictures of your food; make sure to capture and show the atmosphere and ambiance as well.

Bottom Line:

Lastly, one of the most important tips or creative restaurant marketing ideas I’ll give you is to stay flexible in marketing.

Sometimes these popular marketing techniques might not work.

So, don’t get stuck on one idea or limit yourself. If something isn’t working, change it, research, and try new ideas.

What other popular restaurant marketing ideas have I missed so far? Let me know in the comment section.

Focused Keyword:

Restaurant Marketing Ideas


Nikita is an expert SEO Content Writer, with expertise in creating unique write-ups in DIGITAL MARKETING.