8 Restaurant Marketing Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness

Dive into eight effective restaurant marketing strategies to boost your brand’s awareness and grow revenue while strengthening the guest relationship!
Kamryn Elliott

Guests value on-demand service so much that they expect restaurants to offer some form of online ordering. They prefer to order directly from your brand’s website or mobile app rather than a third-party app. Guests also prioritize speed, placing it as the top factor when waiting to receive their online order, followed by value and then the quality of the food.

What brings back guests to your restaurant is their experience. Your menu, staff, hospitality, and online presence all play a role in the guest experience. Add special offers, loyalty programs, and notifications to keep guests engaged, and they’ll be more than happy to make repeat visits. So how do you develop your online presence and create effective marketing to bring in new guests and turn them into loyal customers? Let’s dive into eight effective marketing strategies that will boost your brand’s awareness and grow revenue while strengthening your connection with your guests.

1) Have a Functional Website and Optimize the Experience

Just like guests enjoy what they see on their plates, they should enjoy what they see on your website as it will entice them to order. Your website should look appealing while accurately representing your brand’s identity and food. This is also a great way to communicate important information about your brand to your guests, like business hours, contact information, restaurant locations, news, events, and updated menus. Remember that your website is often the first place guests learn about your brand and review what you have to offer. A study by Upserve showed that 90% of guests research a restaurant before dining, and 33% view other guests’ reviews.

2) Set Up Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a free service that allows businesses to create and manage their online presence. This tool lets you gain more control over your brand’s information and turns people who find your restaurant on Google Search and Maps into new customers. Once you’ve created an account, GMB will add your restaurant’s details in their search results when users search for you by name. Your restaurant may also appear when users search for your type of cuisine or atmosphere.

3) Utilize a First-Party Online Ordering System

Suppose you’re using third-party apps (Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.) for online ordering and delivery. In that case, you’re missing out on user data that you can use to build a loyal customer base while also avoiding the hefty fees that come with those apps. The best first-party online ordering platform offers multiple features to get your business growing instantly and tracks all the guest, marketing, and commerce data without you having to put in extra manual work. Features include seamless mobile ordering with autonomous upsell recommendations, integrated loyalty and marketing, gift cards, and notifications for customers to stay updated on promotions or events. A first-party ordering system also increases profits as guests spend 50% more on average when they place orders online.

4) Use Email Marketing and Push Notifications

The key to maintaining the guest relationship is to communicate with them consistently. Whether through offers, promotions, news, or events, letting them know what’s going on with your restaurant is essential to driving engagement, increasing sales, and improving guest loyalty. A great avenue for this is email marketing, as it’s low-cost and can be used for email campaigns or newsletters to reach potential and current guests. Another way to reach your guests at any time and from any location is through push notifications. You can use this to notify guests of a special promotion or discount or any restaurant news like a new menu or event.


Marketing Screen


5) Invest and Improve SEO Strategy

You should invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to have the best chance of being in the top search results. Whenever a guest searches for food, i.e., “burgers,” “tacos,” or “sushi,” the search engine will list nearby restaurants. For example, searching “burgers” in Google will result in brands related to the cuisine in Google Maps and Search. Optimizing your website with relevant keywords to your brand leads to more traffic. More traffic means more potential guests. Optimize your site to contain words people are searching for. If you own a coffee shop in Miami and want guests to see your brand appear in the top results, then you should optimize your website to include “coffee shop in Miami” or “best coffee in Miami.”

6) Offer Customer Loyalty Programs

Sixty-nine percent of guests stated that loyalty programs incentivize them to revisit more frequently. If you create a well-thought-out loyalty program, you can drive repeat sales and entice new guests because they will be focused on earning points to redeem rewards. Large food chains like Starbucks, Jersey Mike's, and Chipotle have attracted millions of guests through their loyalty programs. With the right restaurant ordering system that offers loyalty programs, you will be able to turn guests into regulars and reward them for being loyal to your brand!


Loyalty Blog Bullet


7) Hop-On Social Media and Show How Great Your Brand Is

Instagram is the top platform for visual marketing to target a large audience of foodies. You can also connect with them on Facebook with countless food and drink groups to join. Another social media platform to consider is TikTok. A new trend is to promote the top restaurants in a city or local area by creating a video showing the food and atmosphere. Interacting with guests and showing off your establishment and menu items is a great way to increase your online presence. 

8) Make it Easy for Guests to Leave Reviews

Guests always talk about their experiences, whether by word of mouth or leaving a review on sites like Google Maps, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. An in-depth Harvard Business School Study found that a 1-star increase in Yelp rating can lead to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. Create accounts for your brand on these sites and respond to guest reviews, positive and negative, to show you care. Apologies and offering gift cards go a long way to turn negative experiences into repeat visits. To encourage guests to leave reviews, you can generate dynamic QR codes on dining tables so guests can simply scan and be directed to the sites or add a call to action (CTA) button on your website to redirect guests to your GMB page.