How Restaurants Can Easily and Effectively Market to Customers Online

This content provides ideas for restaurant owners to improve their marketing strategies, including updating Google listings, being active on social media, and running online contests.

By Kenny Goranson ・3 min read
Best Practices
Business & Marketing Strategy
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Folks in the restaurant industry know that it can be difficult to stand out in a crowd. From coming up with new menu options to all of the day-to-day operations that come with running a restaurant, marketing is often put on the back burner (no pun intended). Luckily, we have a few ideas to take some of that work off your plate (OK, that one was intentional).

Make sure your Google listing is up to date

Did your hours change? Do you now offer delivery? Make sure your Google listing, and anywhere else your restaurant shows up online, has the most current information. These listings are often the first place people go when they want information about your restaurant, so it’s important they’re accurate.Updating this information is easy-peasy. Here’s a help doc from Google explaining how to make changes to your business listing.

Create a landing page or website

Next, create a landing page or website (if you don’t already have one) to give your restaurant more legitimacy. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Your location, menu and a few pictures of your restaurant and food are perfectly acceptable. Oh, and if you have them, be sure to include links to your social media for your fans.

Be active on social media

Speaking of social media, having business accounts for your restaurant can be extremely beneficial.It’s best to be active on the platforms that are popular with your customers. Sure you could have accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, etc, etc, but if folks are really only engaging with you on Facebook and Instagram, then it’s best to focus on those channels.Unsure how to engage with customers on social media? You can start simple. Post specials, share pictures of new menu items, make regulars feel special by posting pictures of them enjoying a meal (with their permission, of course), and announce any upcoming events.

You can also try simple social contests to promote engagement. You could give away gift cards, special discounts/coupons, free appetizers or entrees, restaurant swag, the list goes on and on. Some ideas include:

Comment-to-enter contests

Post questions about your restaurant, ask people what their favorite foods are, get feedback on an upcoming menu change, whatever floats your boat. Encourage your followers to leave their answers on your posts for a chance to win prizes. Learn more.

Branded hashtag contests

Boost your brand’s social media presence by creating your own unique hashtags for your followers to include when posting images to social media. Encourage folks to post with your hashtags by running a contest with different themes related to your restaurant (e.g. photos of your food, pictures of people enjoying a meal at your restaurant, selfies with your restaurant’s sign). Learn more.

Retweet contests

Reward people sharing your posts on Twitter announcing new dishes or a special offer with a chance to win prizes. Learn more.

Run online contests

Contests are a good way to increase brand awareness and build your email marketing list. From sweepstakes to photo contests, instant win giveaways to recipe contests, there are a ton of different contest options restaurants can take advantage of. For some ideas, check out our blog post 5 Contest Ideas to Build Your Restaurant’s Brand.

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Create a user-generated content wall

Display user-generated content (UGC) collected from your customers on your website. Add the images of your restaurant, food and drinks that people post to social media or share with you in a photo contest to a single gallery. You could even collect testimonials and ask people to submit reviews.

Send emails to your list

Have you been collecting email addresses when running contests or otherwise building an email marketing list? Have you been sending emails to those folks? You should be! Send emails to your list that include:

  • Special offers/coupons;
  • New menu items;
  • Special event announcements;
  • Restaurant-related news; or
  • Details about upcoming contests and prizes.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help kick your restaurant’s marketing up a notch and increase engagement with your audience. Did you know that you can do a lot of these things in ShortStack? Find out more.

About the author

By Kenny Goranson ・3 min read

Kenny is an integral part of ShortStack's small but mighty support team and brings a lifetime's worth of education and experiences to the table. He holds a degree in Marketing, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and has worked for organizations both large and small.

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