5 top promotion ideas for your restaurant (and how to get started)

In this 7-minute read:

  • What are promotions?
  • Top promotion ideas for restaurants
  • Ways to announce your restaurant promotions

Creating promotions for your restaurant is a great way to grow your customers and increase your revenue. Coming up with the right ideas can be tricky, and knowing how to implement can present an even greater challenge. 

But don’t fret. In this article, we’ll provide some awesome promotion ideas along with tips for getting started and getting your promotions out in front of an audience. 

With Womply Email Marketing, you can turn customers into regulars and get more repeat business with targeted emails that send automatically when customers transact with you. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

What are promotions?

Promotions are the methods a business uses to communicate a new product or offering to their audience. The goal of promotions is to share news these new offerings with as many people as possible to help create brand awareness and increase sales. 

The traditional marketing activities you may think of—radio advertisements, social media ads, influencer marketing, etc.—are all different ways to get your promotions out there. 

Top promotion ideas for your restaurant

Before you can engage in any outreach activities for your restaurant, you need things to get your customers excited about. These promotion ideas will give you the content for your promotions, and then we’ll talk about how you can get the word out. 

Launch new menu items

If you’ve recently added new menu items, that is a great time to create a promotion for your restaurant. Get customers excited to try your new items. Think of a few ways that you can kick-start this new offering. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Give the first 100 people that try the new menu item a coupon or free meal
  • Offer buy-one-get-one deals for the new menu item
  • Give the new menu item to people for free if they come into the restaurant wearing a sports jersey (or whatever artifact you choose)

How to get started

Once you have your idea for the launch of your new menu item chosen, you need to create some materials to help announce that promotion. Create flyers, social media ads (Instagram is great for new menu items), a banner on your website. 

Determine a timeframe that this promotion will take place and start announcing it a few weeks in advance to build up the hype. 

Customer loyalty programs for restaurants

Customer loyalty programs are a great way to get repeat customers, and there are tons of different ways you can do this.

Some common customer loyalty techniques include:

  • Punch cards—buy 10 meals get your 11th free (this can be a physical card or virtual using loyalty software)
  • Point systems—every dollar spent gets your customer points which they can later redeem for menu items
  • Rewards for new customer referrals
  • Monthly prize drawings for loyalty members

How to get started

Think about the types of loyalty program that you would want to implement, or that would be the most appealing to your audience. Then, check to see if your point of sale system has customer loyalty integrations. This is the easiest way to get started. 

There are also other programs you can use to start customer loyalty campaigns, like Capterra and Kangaroo. 

If you want to keep it simple, have a graphic designer help you create punch cards, print them out, and start handing them out to customers. (Make sure your staff have unique stamps or whole punches on hand so customers can start using these.)

Learn more:

Special restaurant deals (happy hours, BOGO, etc.)

Everyone loves a deal. Determine when your slow times of the day or week tend to occur and start a regular deal to get more customers in at that time. Happy hours where you offer discounted drinks and appetizers, buy-one-get-one deals, and straight-up discounts on specific items are all great ways to do this. 

How to get started

Determine which types of discounts are likely to bring more customers in during slow times. What are your most popular menu items? Try using those for your deals. 

Decide how frequently you want to offer this deal—daily, weekly, monthly? Set a regularly occurring time for the deal to get customers excited about coming in at that time. 

Create materials to announce these deals. Social media posts and ads, flyers, and email campaigns are a great place to start. 

Hold events at your restaurant

Hold events at your restaurant to capture new customers who are interested in those types of events. This can be as simple as karaoke night every Friday that’s open to the public or letting your customers rent out a portion of the restaurant for work parties or wedding luncheons. 

How to get started

Determine what kinds of events you can realistically offer. Your menu and ideal customer can help you narrow this down. If your restaurant is a fast-food restaurant or whole-in-the-wall burger joint, you won’t likely be holding fancy wedding events, but you could get away with hosting a SuperBowl party. 

Plan your event and start making materials to get the announcement out to your customers and potential customers who might be interested in the event. 

Get involved in community events

Get involved in community events is a great way to do good for your town while spreading the word about your restaurant. Putting up a stand at a local fair or sponsoring a cancer awareness run are great ways to create awareness for your restaurant and help support your community. 

How to get started

Determine which community events you want to be a part of. Find out who the leaders of those events are and reach out to them. 

Most large local events will either have their own website or Facebook event page or be hosted by a city organization. Start in those places to find out who you need to get in touch with. 

Once you have the details and are officially a part of a community event, get the word out through your marketing channels (social media, website, email, etc). 

Ways to announce your restaurant promotions

No matter what type of promotion your restaurant is running, it’s not going to get very far if you don’t announce it. The idea is to spread awareness for your restaurant and offerings and get new customers.

Use these methods to get the word out. 

Email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to get word out about new promotions to your current customer base. You should be collecting customer emails through your sales software and on your website and then sending out regular emails to them to announce your various deals and promotions that are taking place. 

If you created a flyer for your new promotion, upload a PDF of that to your email marketing software and blast it out to your contact list. 

More email marketing tips:

Social media

Social media is another great way to reach your current following (with all of the page likes you’ve built up through your social media marketing efforts) but it’s also a great place to reach new customers, especially for food-related deals. 

On Facebook and Instagram, you can create sponsored posts (paid ads) that announce your new promotion. If you are having a weekly BOGO deal, make sure to publish a sponsored post each week on that day to try to drive more sales in your restaurant. Target local audiences so that you make sure you are reaching people who can realistically make it to your restaurant. 

More social media tips:

Your website

Your website should be the hub for all of your online marketing efforts, and it should very much be coordinated with your on-site promotions. Share your new promotions on your website and use a landing page to link your social media and other online ads to. 

Maybe you recently started online ordering for your restaurant. People should be able to get to that from your website too. Make sure all of your promotions are accessible and announced on your website. 

Online ads

Beyond Facebook and Instagram ads, you can announce your promotions in other online outlets. Places like Spotify, Pandora, and other high-traffic entertainment platforms where the general public spends a lot of their time are great places to announce your restaurant promotions. 

Check out this article to learn more: 5 places to advertise online besides Google and Facebook

Need help with your restaurant’s promotions? Try Womply!

Womply has an automated email marketing engine that can help your restaurant announce its promotions to current customers. Create customized messages that keep your customers coming back for more. 

Another way to capitalize on happy customers is to stay on top of your online reviews. Womply Reputation allows you to monitor and respond to your online reviews from a simple dashboard. And you can even set up customizable auto-replies if you choose. 

Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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