5 Contest Ideas to Build Your Restaurant’s Brand

5 Contest Ideas to Build Your Restaurant’s Brand

It can be difficult to set your restaurant apart from others in your city. While your food may be different, oftentimes the marketing is either lacking or is too similar and does not reach the number of people it should, or could, be reaching.

ShortStack can help set you apart from your competition by creating a bond with your customers that your competitors don’t have.

Check out the 5 contest ideas below to see which one(s) work best for your brand:

1) Recipe contests promote engagement

A recipe contest can be a great way to engage with your current customers. There are quite a few ways to run a recipe contest, but my two favorites are a reveal a recipe contest and a recipe submission contest.

With a recipe reveal contest, you ask the public to vote for a dish from your menu that they’d like to learn the recipe for. Share beloved menu items that your customers could attempt to make at home. Don’t worry, even when you offer this option, they’ll keep coming back because you’re the only place in town that makes them ‘just right.’

Template used: Recipe Contest with public entry disabled

Alternatively, a more traditional contest where people submit their own recipes is also an option. Give entrants a theme for their recipes, such as featuring a specific ingredient (e.g. beef, tofu, strawberries, corn) or cooking in a specific style (e.g. Italian, American, Greek). Folks could vote for their favorite recipes to help get the word out about the contest and your restaurant.

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For a prize, you could feature the dish on your seasonal menu, giving the winning MAJOR bragging rights (and maybe a bit of a discount). Winners are sure to bring their friends in to have a taste and show off.

Template used: Recipe Contest

2) Crowdsourcing contests increase customer buy-in

Make your customers feel like one of the team by asking them which recipes they like best. Or, perhaps you want to know which recipes they would like to see added to the menu. Heck, you can even get people’s input on some new furniture or an updated logo for your restaurant. In return for their opinion, you can enter folks into a drawing to win a gift card or a free meal.

Regardless of what you ask, crowdsourcing information from your customers allows your restaurant to give your customers a chance at being heard. Doing this is not just a fun way to engage with your customers, it allows them to have a say over the direction your restaurant takes, which gives them a sense of ownership.

Template used: Vote to Enter

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3) Photo contests encourage sharing

Food and photos are a perfect combination. Think of how many times you’ve stopped to check out a culinary magazine or drooled over a tasty-looking dish on Instagram. A photo contest is a great way to attract new customers and entice old ones to join the fun.

For a traditional take on the photo contest, let your customers show off their skills and recreate their favorite menu items. Ask them to submit the entries via a form, then invite them to rally folks to vote for their submission. Those entering the contest can share their entries with friends and family on their social media channels, bringing more eyes to both your campaign and restaurant.

Template Used: Photo Contest

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You can take your photo contest a step further and add a hashtag feed. One idea is to encourage your followers to show off your restaurant for you! Have them take photos at your restaurant of your food and post them to social media with your branded hashtags. This allows word of your campaign to spread from those involved while also spreading awareness of your brand.

After the contest is over, keep your gallery current by asking people to continue sharing their content with your branded hashtags.

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4) Knowledge quizzes make quality time with your brand fun

Test your customers’ food knowledge with a quiz! Quizzes increase the amount of time people spend with your brand online, which makes it more likely they’ll remember your restaurant the next time they want to grab a bite to eat.

You can make your quiz as informational or fun as you want. Educate folks on anything from food safety to culinary techniques, facts about your restaurant to the origins of specific dishes. After they are finished answering questions, ask people to submit their email address to see their results, and maybe even enter to win a prize.

Template Used: Knowledge Quiz

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5) Mixing and matching contests keeps your content fresh

Combining different contest ideas can be a great way to keep your followers interested. By having one contest roll into another you allow for constant engagement from your audience which will increase their bond with your business and set you apart from your competitors. For example, a recipe reveal contest could lead to a photo contest where folks try to recreate the dish revealed.

Another idea is to hold continuous sweepstakes where people can enter again and again for a chance to win a gift card. In addition to a continuous campaign, you could sprinkle in other crowdsourcing contests or a quiz to increase brand awareness.

BONUS: Newsletter sign-up campaigns pay off

A newsletter can be a great way to get the word out about your menu changes, specials, coupons, or any other news about your restaurant. Include the option to sign up for your newsletter when running contests where you ask for an email address. This allows you to continue to reach out to folks long after your contest is over.

Template Used: Subscribe Form

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Excited to give one of these ideas a try? Use one of our templates to make it happen. Just click on the featured template to get started. You can customize the template with your restaurant’s logo, photos of your food and other content that reflects your business. If you need any help, our support team has your back: theteam@shortstacklab.com

5 Contest Ideas to Build Your Restaurant’s Brand
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