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    12 Proven Restaurant Marketing Ideas from Brand Marketing Pros

    logopoppin Published: January 26, 2024 14 min read

    Discover How an Expert Branding & Marketing Agency Helps Your Restaurant Stand Out

    The restaurant industry is a brutal one. No matter where you open up a restaurant, its highly probable that there are a dozen or so competitors nearby, with many of them well-established in the local community.

    While the overall food and beverage industry is highly competitive, restaurants often have a difficult time of it. That is because the pool of consumers remains the same, and the more businesses vying for their attention, the smaller the potential slice of pie. So, most restaurants fall back on employing various restaurant marketing ideas and tactics in order to stand out in the market, and carve themselves a bigger piece from the consumer base.

    Despite that, many restaurants fail to sustain themselves, and end up either stagnant or closed altogether. The few that survive and thrive though, are the ones that understand the importance of letting a pro marketer work their magic.

    So, the question is – can expert brand marketing services really help your restaurant that much? Or can you get by with DIY marketing? And if you do go for DIY marketing, what are some marketing ideas for restaurants that you can incorporate in your strategies?

    Let’s find out.

    DIY vs. Pro Marketing – How Does Hiring an Expert Marketer Help Your Restaurant

    Aesthetic food photography for marketing

    Nowadays, owner-chefs operate most new restaurants, or at most, have an investing partner alongside them. And while this is good to some extent, it does cause some issues. For one thing, marketing, like cooking, is a technical field that requires skill and experience for maximum effectiveness.

    And even at the best of times, a person can perform only one job effectively. As owner-chefs are primarily experts in the food part, it makes sense that they should focus on that. The partner, as a businessperson, would focus on the management and bookkeeping aspect. In that case, we see that the marketing and branding for that restaurant suffers. So what is the restaurateur to do in this case?

    The answer, as the famous Sherlock Holmes quote goes, is quite elementary. When you have three jobs requiring experts, and you have the right people for two of them, the simplest solution is to get an expert for the third job too. That means that the restaurant should hire a professional marketer in that case. Not only does it help your restaurant brand grow and promote better, but it also allows you as a chef to focus on the food itself, rather than dividing their time between the two jobs.

    Think of it like this. The restaurateur has little to no idea about effective branding. So, everything they create, from their restaurant logos to their slogans, would fail to have the desired impact. A professional marketer on the other hand, would have extensive experience dealing with that, and as such, would be able to leverage each branding element’s maximum potential.

    One of the reasons many of the smaller establishments do not hire a professional marketing services, is that they believe that its too expensive, and that their limited revenue is better spent elsewhere. However, what they fail to understand is that good marketing pays for itself and more. Not only does it help your restaurant attract more consumers, it also helps increase its brand worth. That means that over time, its helps you grow the intrinsic value of your restaurant’s brand, making it worth more than it was initially.

    Therefore, we can say that hiring a professional marketing agency like Logo Poppin is more effective than DIY marketing, especially in a competitive industry like restaurants.


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    12+ Restaurant Marketing Ideas from Marketing Experts Proven to Boost Growth

    Now that we have established that getting a professional marketer is better for your restaurant in the long run, you might be wondering about what are some of the more effective marketing ideas to use. Basically, whatever restaurant marketing ideas you use, they can be categorized into three main categories:

    1. Marketing ideas that are centered around in-restaurant activities
    2. Social media marketing for UGC, testimonials, engagement, promotions, and consumer outreach
    3. Website-based marketing and promotions for brand recognition and development

    In-Restaurant Marketing Ideas

    Instagrammable dishes

    The first category of marketing ideas for restaurants deals with promotions and branding inside the restaurant itself. Basically, it refers to providing opportunities within the restaurants that allows the business and its consumers to promote the restaurant’s brand, making a great place to try restaurant signage ideas.

    Some of the most popular in-restaurant marketing ideas include:

    • Create some sort of loyalty or rewards program for consumers to entice consumers and repeat business.
    • Create dishes that will be popular on social media. Add a few dishes that are “Instagrammable”, allowing for word-of-mouth marketing.
    • Get your staff to stand out and be memorable, so that consumers are enticed into coming back due to the awesome service.
    • Go for an organic hook, such as on-site butcher for the visual factor, or promote locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, which builds local loyalty and community connection.

    Social Media Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

    Hi res restaurant images

    The next category is that of social media marketing for restaurants. As you can see from the previous category, no category is truly separate from the other. That is because all of them are connected together somehow, as part of an overall marketing plan. However, there are some marketing ideas than can be categorized in one or the other set.

    Some of the more popular social media marketing ideas for restaurants include:

    • Curate high resolution and high quality images for posting.
    • Work with food influencers and reviewers to grow your social profile.
    • Promote social engagement from your consumers by sharing polls and similar activities.
    • Build a brand persona that complements your brand vibe, including some catchy and timeless restaurant slogans.

    Web-Based Restaurant Marketing Ideas

    Professional food photography

    One of the most important marketing avenues nowadays is the web. Businesses today, including restaurants, cannot do well without websites. It allows these restaurants to promote their businesses to wider set of potential consumers, as well as allows you to have a virtual storefront that represents your business 24/7, 365 days a year. That is why, restaurants can use a variety of restaurant website ideas to suit their specific business needs. 

    Some of the popular web-based restaurant marketing ideas include:

    • Establish a regular email newsletter to keep your brand fresh in your consumers’ minds.
    • Integrate an online reservation function, along with an attractive online menu.
    • Share customer testimonials on your website.
    • Focus your efforts on optimizing your website’s local SEO for better local reach.

    Restaurant Marketing – How Does a Marketer Promote Your Restaurant’s Best Features

    So, let’s say that you have decided that you need to hire a local marketing company to promote and market your restaurant. So, you are interviewing various marketing professionals and agencies to figure out which one would be the best fit for your company. However, budgetary constraints aside, how can you figure out the best choice from the candidates?

    Well, you first need to know the common mistakes made by DIY marketers. If a prospective candidate makes one of these mistakes, then you know they are not the right fit for you. After that, you need to know that you have a marketer that understands one simple rule of restaurant business today – go deeper, not wider. But more on that later. First, let’s take a look at those common restaurant marketing mistakes often made by DIY marketers.

    Common Mistakes in DIY Restaurant Marketing

    Café menu board with too many offerings

    One of the most common complaints from restaurant owners is that while Fridays and weekends are quite good in terms of customers traffic, Mondays and Tuesdays are comparatively quite slow. Now, these owners think that by focusing an aggressive marketing plan on those days would help remedy that.

    However, a smart marketer known to look at the big picture. They would evaluate a number of metrics, including consumer behavior, to understand the root cause behind the slow consumer turnout on those days. And what they will figure out is that slow days and times are something common across the board for all restaurants, as it is basic consumer behavior. And its better to promote and grow the popular days, rather than invest effort and cost into promoting these off times.

    Another common mistake made by restaurants is that aim to try to please everyone. And often the result is that they start losing what made them special to their existing customers. Let’s take the example of a local ramen restaurant in LA that just sold two types of ramen, with everything made from scratch. But so great was their attention to the taste and customer experience, that you would often see people lining up in front of their restaurant night after night. And their small restaurant became a local hot spot.

    However, after some consumers suggested that they start offering a greater variety of food, they opted to introduce more options like tempura, wagyu sandos, omurice, and more. What they didn’t bank on was that the load of additional prep work would affect the effort they put into their specialty. Soon, their regulars started to notice too, and they started losing consumers.

    Had they consulted an experienced marketing professional before taking this step, they would’ve understood that no business could satisfy everyone. That is why the concept of target consumers is so important in business and marketing. With their expertise in ramen, they could’ve focused on leveraging that, investing in bigger seating areas, packing ready-to-heat frozen ramen kits etcetera.

    Promoting Your Restaurant Effectively – Go Deeper, Not Wider, For Better Brand Value

    Small ramen restaurant

    Both of these mistakes can be dealt with using one type of business strategy – go deeper, not wider. What that means is that rather than fanning out and trying to cover everyone, your restaurant needs to stick to its expertise, and work on that to grow the business.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that your menu or marketing strategy should be one-dimensional. However, you need to understand that in the restaurant business, nothing beats originality, consistency, authenticity, and quality. The best strategy is to focus your restaurant marketing ideas and strategy around what your consumers would expect from you.

    Basically, before you make any big decision, ask yourself this – is this something your regulars’ desire from your restaurant? And if the answer is no, then that isn’t something you should implement.

    Now for someone who isn’t in the marketing industry, this might seem odd. However, it is for this exact reason that its recommended that you employ a marketing company experienced in the food and restaurant industry, like Logo Poppin.

    Restaurant Marketing Ideas –Benefits of Viral Marketing to Help Your Brand Stand Out

    One popular marketing strategy is employing viral marketing campaigns to boost brand hype of a new restaurant on the market. You will often see restaurants offering lucrative deals like half-off meals for opening week, or other exclusive perks to get consumer traffic flowing.

    However, planning and executing a successful viral campaign for your restaurant takes a lot of effort and expertise. In order to maximize the ROI, you need to carefully research about elements that will resonate with and attract consumers to your restaurant or café.

    The question, however, is whether it’s one of the suitable restaurant marketing ideas for you. Let’s take a look at some benefits provided by viral marketing, which entices restaurants into trying it out.

    Why Do Professional Brand Marketers Go For Viral Restaurant Marketing

    Viral sale on walk-in diners

    As we know, the reason restaurants opt for viral marketing strategies is to boost their brand awareness, or promote something special about the restaurant, such as a new franchise, anniversaries, and more. some of the primary benefits that attract restaurateurs include:

    • Boosting traffic towards the restaurant, in long and short term both.
    • Boost market awareness, and grows your restaurant’s brand reputation.
    • Increases the conversion rates as milestones are testaments to your restaurant’s success.
    • Boosts consumer engagement with the restaurant’s online brand.
    • Despite costing little, viral campaigns soon become automated after reaching a critical point.
    • Helps you grow the community of your target consumers.

    While there are many more benefits, these common benefits are what urge restaurant owners into opting for viral campaigns.

    Restaurant Marketing Ideas – Types of Viral Marketing Strategies (With Examples)

    Taco Bell taco giveaway viral campaign

    So now that you’ve decided that you want to incorporate viral marketing strategies into your restaurant marketing ideas, let’s take a deeper look at it. When it comes to planning a viral campaign, you can choose from one of two style – guerilla approach, or the professional approach.

    Both of these are quite effective in getting results, with the only difference being that the approach you use depends on your restaurant style and consumer vibe. Let’s see how each of these approaches leverage consumer emotions to convert them.

    Guerilla Marketing Approach

    Xbox & Taco Bell viral campaign to win Xbox Series X

    As its name suggests, the guerilla approach prefers non-traditional marketing style. The aim is to do something so different and outrageous, that consumers are intrigued into remembering your brand. think about the Taco Bell campaign from 2007, called “Steal a base, steal a taco”. Taco Bell announced that if any player from either team in the World Series match stole a base, everyone in the US would be entitled to a free taco.

    And when the Boston Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury stole a base in Game 2, Taco Bell came through. And while they did set some limitations, such as the taco could be claimed between 2 and 6 PM, as well as one taco per person, the result was that people who never tried Taco Bell had it for the first time. And so successful has been this campaign that Taco Bell has repeated it nine times between 2007 and 2020. 

    The Professional Approach

    The Scarecrow promotional short film

    Professional viral marketing makes use of traditional techniques, but with a slight twist. These campaigns focus on highlighting some special aspect of the restaurant brand, such as its carbon neutrality, responsible sourcing of ingredients, local community support, and more.

    One example of this style is the short film called “The Scarecrow” released by Chipotle. Released a while back, it has been quite successful at highlighting the restaurant’s drive into responsibly sourcing its ingredients, from meat to vegetables. And it does so by educating people about the dangers of pesticides and hormones in livestock and produce, as well as the benefits of ethical treatment of animals.

    Shareability and Word-of-Mouth in Viral Marketing

    Shareable new dish for viral campaign

    The reason why viral campaigns are so popular as restaurant marketing ideas, is because it helps promote the brand, and helps expand their reach. Experienced marketing companies like Logo Poppin often adds shareable content to its clients’ viral campaigns, as a way of promoting word-of-mouth marketing and boosting brand reputation.


    So, to conclude, we have established that in order to create and implement a marketing strategy consisting of the right restaurant marketing ideas, you need to hire a professional marketer. That is because they will be able to leverage and maximize the return on investment of your marketing efforts, by using their expertise to analyze the market and consumer metrics for better responses.

    And if you are looking for an experienced marketing agency for your restaurant, then Logo Poppin is here to help you. With our team of expert marketers and media creators, our team will help boost your brand value, and increase footfall, digitally, as well as on your restaurant’s premises.

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