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Home /Blog /Beyond Traditional Advertising: Innovative Marketing Strategies for Restaurant Expansion

Beyond Traditional Advertising: Innovative Marketing Strategies for Restaurant Expansion

Nairi BodroumianNairi Bodroumian
100 articles
7 min read
A restaurant table with a glasses of wine and different plates with dishes.

In the ever-evolving culinary landscape, standing out amidst the flavor-filled competition requires a dash of creativity and a pinch of innovation.

From food trucks that whisk flavors to unexplored corners to cozy cafes that beckon with charm, the secret to success lies in breaking the confines of conventional restaurant marketing strategy.

As an independent restaurant owner, join us as we savor the tantalizing tales of restaurants embracing cutting-edge approaches – from viral social media campaigns to immersive dining experiences – and discover how these delectable endeavors are paving the way for gastronomic greatness and unparalleled expansion!

The Use of Conventional Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Conventional restaurant marketing encompasses a range of traditional strategies and tactics that have been used for years to promote and attract customers.

But do they serve their purpose in the digital era for a restaurant owner?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common approaches used in conventional restaurant marketing and see if they fit in the modern landscape.

Print Advertising: This includes advertisements placed in newspapers, magazines, brochures, flyers, and local directories to reach potential customers in the community. Print ads are said to be replaced by digital prints by 2026. So, while print advertising still plays an essential role in reaching out to local customers, its effectiveness in comparison to digital channels is declining.

Outdoor Advertising: Billboards, banners, posters, and signage near the restaurant or along busy streets are used to capture the attention of passersby. Contrary to popular belief, outdoor advertising can be a lucrative venture.

The global out-of-home advertising market is expected to grow by 10.1% between 2021-2028. And now, as more people spend time outside, especially after major lockdowns, outdoor advertising is said to be a valuable asset for restaurants looking to target customers.

Television and Radio Commercials: Restaurants may run advertisements on local TV channels or radio stations to reach a broader audience.

While TV ads can be profitable since you can reach more people, they also require a substantial budget. On the other hand, radio ads are known to be cost-effective and can reach a broad audience.

Direct Email Marketing: Sending promotional materials, coupons, or special offers through direct mail to households in the restaurant’s target area. The Winterberry Group predicts that direct mail spending will increase from 1.6% to 3.3% of advertising dollars. This can be seen as a good return on investment, especially when you consider how effective direct mail is in reaching potential customers.

Loyalty Programs: Implementing loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat visits or spending, encouraging customer retention and word-of-mouth referrals. Such programs can be easily implemented online and can help customers feel more connected to the restaurant.

Local Events and Sponsorships: Participating in or sponsoring community events, festivals, or charity initiatives to increase brand visibility and goodwill.

In-Store Promotions: Displaying promotional materials, menus, or offering special deals within the restaurant to entice diners to return or try new items.

Public Relations: Engaging with local media outlets to secure coverage and generate positive publicity through press releases, food tastings, or media events. Enhancing your relations with the local press can be a powerful tool in building trust and loyalty.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Encouraging positive reviews, testimonials, and referrals from satisfied customers, which can significantly influence new customers’ decisions.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Highlighting positive customer reviews and testimonials on the restaurant’s website or social media platforms to build trust and credibility.

Traditional Couponing: Distributing coupons through newspapers, magazines, or direct mail to incentivize customers to visit the restaurant.

While traditional restaurant marketing methods remain relevant and effective for many establishments, the industry is continually evolving, and many restaurants are exploring innovative digital marketing strategies to complement or replace traditional approaches.

If you’re already using any of the above restaurant marketing ideas, you might want to sprinkle some 2023 innovation onto your restaurant’s marketing strategy.

In the next section, we’ll look at some of the most creative ways you can revamp your restaurant marketing plan.

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9 Innovative Marketing Tactics for Expanding Your Restaurant

As the culinary world becomes more competitive, innovative marketing tactics can help restaurant owners stand out and expand their reach.

Here are seven creative strategies to consider:

Interactive Social Media Campaigns

According to Statista, there will be about 4.89 billion active social media users in 2023. If you’re planning to expand your restaurant, investing in social media marketing by utilizing social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to create interactive campaigns is a great way to gain visibility.

For example, you could create a contest where customers can share their favorite dish or beverage for a chance to win a free meal. This not only encourages customer engagement but also promotes the restaurant in a fun way.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for increasing brand recognition and driving sales in the restaurant industry. By partnering with influencers in your niche, you can tap into their existing audience and extend your reach significantly.

For example, you could ask an influencer to review a dish or offer a discount code to their followers in exchange for promoting the restaurant on their feed. This is a great way to build credibility and attract customers.

360-Degree Videos

Using 360-degree videos on social media or your website can help create an immersive experience and allow customers to explore the restaurant virtually. It’s a great way to showcase the ambiance, decor, and interior design, as well as the quality of food and service.

Partnering with Multiple Delivery Apps

Online ordering is gathering billions in revenue every year, and partnering with multiple delivery apps can prove to be a game-changer in the restaurant online ordering industry.

Using a consolidated delivery app is a great way to combine different delivery options into one platform. This allows customers to pick the most convenient option, thus optimizing their ordering experience. It also reduces your costs by consolidating multiple delivery service fees.

Optimizing Your Restaurant Online Ordering Website

Having an optimized restaurant online ordering website is essential in the digital age. A well-designed website should be user-friendly, secure, and optimized for mobile devices.

You should also consider implementing a loyalty program on your site, as well as offering contactless payments to ensure customer safety. This will help increase customer satisfaction and boost sales.

Virtual Food Experiences

Embrace the power of technology by offering virtual food experiences. Conduct live cooking classes, virtual tastings, or behind-the-scenes tours of your kitchen. This approach allows you to connect with customers beyond the physical dining experience.

For instance, if you can host a make-your-own pizza night by inviting an authentic Italian chef to cook with participants online. This draws customers in and encourages them to try new dishes.

Geo-Targeted Advertising

Utilize geo-targeted advertising to reach potential customers in specific geographic areas. Use location-based ads on platforms like Google and social media to target nearby audiences and entice them to visit your restaurant.

Remember, this way can only work if your customers are within a certain radius or have their location services enabled.

Subscription-Based Loyalty Programs

Create subscription-based loyalty programs that offer exclusive perks, discounts, or members-only events. This strategy fosters a sense of community and encourages repeat business from loyal customers.

For instance, loyal customers who frequently order the same dish can get discounts or get a freebie on their birthday.

Popup Restaurants and Collaborations

Organize pop-up restaurants in partnership with other local businesses or chefs. These limited-time events create buzz, attract new customers, and give you an opportunity to experiment with unique menus.

Bazars or music events in the summertime are a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and offer something new.

Food Delivery Innovations

Optimize your food delivery experience with unique packaging, personalized notes, or surprise extras. Implementing a delivery-specific menu or partnering with third-party delivery apps can expand your restaurant’s accessibility.

Sustainable and Ethical Marketing

Embrace sustainability and ethical practices in your marketing efforts. Highlight eco-friendly initiatives, locally sourced ingredients, or charitable partnerships to resonate with socially conscious consumers.

Adopt Conventional and Innovative and Boost Your Restaurant

In the ever-changing culinary landscape, being able to stand out against the competition requires a creative edge.

Conventional restaurant marketing and innovative strategies can both be effective in expanding your restaurant’s reach.

Let’s not forget the importance of having a robust restaurant online ordering system and having your restaurant online ordering website optimized.

Whether it’s utilizing social media campaigns, influencer marketing, virtual food experiences, or sustainable and ethical practices, there are endless possibilities to explore.

By combining both traditional and innovative strategies, you can nourish your restaurant’s growth in a cost-effective way. So why not give it a try? Bon appetit!

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