21 Restaurant Marketing Ideas and Trends that Actually Work!

Shubham Kumar Shubham Kumar
Oct 11, 2020 11 min read
21 Restaurant Marketing Ideas and Trends that Actually Work!

The Food industry is one of the heavily crowded and therefore a competitive industry. Some restaurants are making great profits while some are losing the game. One of the major reasons for the failure of any startup, especially a restaurant or food startup, is not knowing how to market a restaurant. People can buy food from anywhere, then why you? So we have listed restaurant marketing ideas and trends that actually Work! this article will tell you how to do restaurant marketing so that you become the first choice of the customers.

Marketing strategy is a plan of action that is created by the manager to promote the product and sell it. Having the best marketing strategies for restaurants is equally important for a new restaurant or food startup.

It's a unique experience which people remember and visit your restaurant again and again. Over a time you connect and create a bond which also helps you get word of mouth publicity. Now, let's dive into some restaurant marketing strategies and ideas.

1. List on food delivery apps & Marketplaces
2. Build relationship with customers
3. Storytelling in Restaurant Marketing
4. Make profiles on all social media channels
5. Maintain positive reviews on food apps, Google and Facebook
6. Conduct Contests and interact with your audience
7. Customize food to make it your signature
8. Give your own pamphlets in delivery
9. Local SEO is the most important
10. Local audience targeting
11. Token of appreciation
12. Collaborating with other business
13. Try Introducing a Healthy Menu
14. Go Green for Restaurant Marketing plan
15. Membership and referral program
16. Great packaging for Food delivery Marketing ideas
17. Happy hour
18. Keep connected with old customers
19. Tip to increase average food order value
20. Partnership for bulk and regular order
21. Combo offer
22. Food bloggers meet
23. Competitors analysis
24. Additional Tips For your Restaurant Startup

List on food delivery apps & Marketplaces

If you wonder how to market a new restaurant startup, the first thing you need to do is list your restaurant on all food delivery apps like Zomato or Swiggy. They take a commission per order so it's a win-win for both. Try to list popular as well as non-popular (local) apps. After some time you can just focus on the top 3-4 from where most of the orders are coming. Well, there are the top 4 food markets in India which are quite popular: Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats, and FoodPanda.

Here are the factors which affect your revenue from food delivery apps:

Price Reduce Price Increase
Offers Delivery charges
Lesser price Packaging Charges
Marketplace Commission Taxes

You will need to plan and do all kinds of permutation to come up with a strategy to optimize for maximum profits from your restaurant startup.

Build Relationship With Customers

According to data, loyal customers constitute about 53-76% of a restaurant’s business. You should try to retain and build a relationship with customers who visit your restaurant regularly. For that, you can occasionally provide personalized discounts or coupons.

As you are a new restaurant startup, you can deliver their food personally, take a selfie, and put across all social media channels and also ask the customer to do so. This is one of the best restaurant marketing hacks.

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Storytelling in Restaurant Marketing

Try to write story-based articles about your restaurant or hire graphic designers to make comical posts for social media. It's gonna be your best investment. You can share these stories on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Few content ideas on which you can work are:

  • How do we deliver food to our first customer?
  • Why our biryani is best
  • Your conversation with the customers
  • How you helped a customer by delivering food fastest?
  • Special delivery to destinations like railway station, bus stop, etc. to show your reach

Make Profiles on All Social Media Channels

Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram (which draw visual attention instead of text) are a great way to showcase your awesome cuisines. Put mouth-watering images that make people drool for the food. Display your restaurant's cuisines and their uniqueness with quality images.

Click photos of the dishes and upload them with name, price, history from where it emerged. This will help to get shares and will grow your page organically. If possible try to make more videos then images for more engagement.

Maintain Positive Reviews on food Apps, Google and Facebook

After you are done listing on the marketplaces, add your business to Google My Business, Facebook, and other local listing sites. Once you are listed, try to get positive reviews and ratings by asking customers to do so. These are the places where new users check before ordering.

Every rating is important. Here are the things you can ask them to do:

  • Ask them to do Facebook check in when they enter your place.
  • For review ask them to click a picture, tag your restaurant and post.
  • Ask them to tag 3 friends whom they think should visit this place.

If customers are not doing it for free you can try a giveaway, discount, or free drink on their next order. Once they review your food/restaurant, do appreciate their efforts with a thank you reply. You just need to do this for some time until you build a reputation among the foodies.

Conduct Contests and Interact With Your Audience

Contents are a great way to engage with current users as well as get new followers. Ask people to tag your restaurant on Facebook and Instagram and win free food.

A restaurant in my locality takes some random alphabet and asks followers to tag their 10 friends whose name contains all those letters. They can win a free pizza from that restaurant. It does great engagement and brings new followers.

You can also ask old customers to name the new food items that they want to add to your menu.

Customize Food to Make it Your Signature

You cannot convince people to like the whole menu. Try to become a customer's first choice for a particular dish in the market. Make your own signature food by customizing food that no one offers. It creates loyalty in customers and it's like asking yourself a question "why should people buy from me"? Try to make 2-3 dishes famous to build your brand value. Put this food under the star/signature on your menu. It's a long-term view. Eg: McDonald's' burger, KFC's Fried Chicken bucket, etc.

Creative Marketing Ideas Restaurants

Signature can't only be on the basis of taste but also the way you present. Like if you serve Biryani in a printed Handi that will also be your signature. You can replace slow-moving items or low profit-making with innovative style.

Give Your Own Pamphlets in Delivery

Giving your own pamphlets while making a delivery from delivery apps will help your customer to know more about your restaurant. You can add some offers like a 10-15% discount if they directly order from your site or dine-in (You can save marketplace commission here). Β You can put pamphlets on your signature food if the order is not including anyone of those dishes & ask them to try once. Include phrases like "our best-selling item", "more than 80k plates sold" etc.

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Local SEO is The Most Important

Find your restaurant business keywords and check how your competitors are using the keywords. Plan and write relevant quality content around the keywords. Start with free strategy and long term strategy SEO - Keywords, URL structuring, content, good domain name, hosting space, social media optimization, get quality backlinks with off-page strategy, etc.

Neil Patel, one of the most popular digital marketer, explaining some strategies of free local SEO

Focus more on Local SEO, it is the key to winning the restaurant business.

Local Audience Targeting

Create a Facebook and Instagram page and always mention the location of your restaurant through Google Maps so that people can reach you easily. Data from Google Analytics can help you a lot to find users who would be interested in your food.

Do a grand opening/anniversary celebration and invite all local people. Later, you can conduct some local events like food festivals, food testing, cooking classes based on your demographics. You can promote it by posting in a relevant Facebook group. Additionally, you can do sponsored ads based on the pincode of users. If the ad in local newspapers is too costly then try putting pamphlets in the newspapers.

Token of Appreciation

Give a small memento like a small gift piece or a fridge magnet or a beautiful jute bag with the name of your restaurant printed on it. This would generate a top of mind recall. Generally, people associate themselves with these gifts and become your advocate.
You can also order customized name letter keychains in bulk; it will hardly cost you INR 7-10 per piece. You can put your brand logo on one side and other side name letters of the customer. Ask people to post this giveaway on their social media to flaunt.

Collaborating With Other Business

You can tie-up with other businesses like beauty salons and create offers. For an instance, if someone billed more than INR 1000 then they will get 10-20% discount coupons for that particular parlor. You can target kitty parties, where you can give this kind of discount to every woman there.

Try Introducing a Healthy Menu

Try a healthy menu with less oil, no refined flour, and by using healthy ingredients. You need to do research and finalize 10-15 new healthy dishes. Also, focus on having healthy balanced dishes. Brands like Eat.fit and Grow.fit are only focusing on them. Many people nowadays want to have plain food for regular dining.

Go Green

You can use eco-friendly cutlery to make your customers aware of how they can contribute to the environment each time they order from your restaurant. Yeah, it may make the price go a little high but an extra number of orders will balance it out. Today when many people are becoming aware of the need to adopt environment-friendly habits, such a step will surely help you gain customer preference.

Membership and Referral Program

You can have a membership program where each time people come with the membership cards they will get a discount of a certain percentage or a free dessert. Or if someone comes through the referral of any member, he/she will get a discount.

Great Packaging

Do creative packaging and also focus on the quality of the package. Small things like good quality reusable containers, tissue, and a small discount code for the next order goes a long way.

Happy Hour

Well, happy hours are not just for pubs and bars. You can also do happy hours specific to the target a audience say just for kids, old or females on women’s day. This keeps your brand in talk among people.

Keep Connected With Old Customers

Use the emails that you collect from the marketplace/website to send a monthly newsletter/update about your restaurant. You can message the guests about the latest offers, new menus, and other information. You can wish the guests at the festival and on special occasions. It is a great way to engage with your old customers.

 biryani promotion ideas_startuptalky
Best Marketing Ideas For Restaurants

Tip to Increase Average Food Order Value

Tell people that this particular dish is best tasted with this + side dish. So they will order it along with the main dish and hence your total order value will increase.

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Partnership for Bulk and Regular Order

Try to partner with social events and functions for bulk orders. You can also try offices and nearby guest houses where they do not offer food. Build a good relationship for recurring order. Β 

Combo Offer

You can combine low-selling items with something popular and offer them at a little discounted price.

Food Bloggers Meet

Every restaurant should have a good connection with food bloggers. It helps you to outreach to their audience, improves SEO, promotes exclusive events, and signature food. For more engagement, you can also take them to live and ask them to taste the food and give a live review. It works like a charm for restaurant startups. You must consider this as a part of restaurant marketing.

marketing strategy restaurants
Best Marketing Strategies For Restaurants

Competitors Analysis

Keep an eye on top competitors around. Do a weekly checkup and analyze what they are up to. Try to execute those ideas in a better way after some time. You can check out their website, social media, and google for the same.

Additional Tips For your Restaurant Startup:

  1. Always have the best chefs from the industry, Keep him/her happy
  2. Always think how can you improve things, it's your full-time job
  3. Brand consistency
  4. Never ignore loyal customers
  5. Never compromise with the quality of the food


Keep experimenting based on trends, location, and interest. Make a brand in any one item so that people remember you for that dish. Also, if you plan to hire any digital marketing agency to take care of your social media you should set pricing based on performance and engagement not just numbers of published posts. This might be obvious but as a restaurant startup, many entrepreneurs do not have much knowledge marketing. Hence, they become vulnerable to be cheated by small marketing agencies.

Hope you find these restaurant marketing ideas useful! Are you trying something new to market your restaurant? Do share with us in the comments box.


What is a marketing strategy example?

Each marketing strategy can relate to a target market the benefits and features of a product. Apple, for example, has invested in creating advertisements for billboards, television, and magazines that showcase their products in such a way that their customers feel an affinity towards Apple's products.

What are the 4 marketing strategies?

The 4 Ps of marketing is a famous concept that compiles the 4 basic pillars of any marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion.

What makes a restaurant attractive?

Be creative - Original themes and dΓ©cor are one of the hugest attractions in the restaurant business, often more so than the food served. Put a lot of thought into how your restaurant is furnished and do your research into color schemes and items that would make your target audience feel relaxed and inspired.

How do restaurants do marketing?

Some creative marketing strategies for small restaurants is to outshine your competitors on social media!

  • Show off your menu with a video ad. Videos allow you to go more in-depth than photos and can engage potential customers.
  • Make it easy for them to consume information – Use emerging technology.

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