Restaurant Marketing Ideas For 2020

Posted On February 4, 2020

Being in the restaurant business can be tough. It’s competitive and it’s busy. Where do you find the time to promote your business and improve your online presence?

Making your food stand out from the rest seems nearly impossible, right?

Wrong! With the help of a professional digital marketing company, your restaurant’s presence can drastically improve. And, they worry about all the handling of your social media accounts for you! With social media being a huge influencer in this day and age, there’s a huge opportunity to promote your products online and get it seen by billions of people all over the world, Millenials especially! 86% of Millenials will try a new restaurant after seeing its content online. But what’s even more surprising is that 90% of all restaurant visitors will research a restaurant online beforehand. Restaurants receive the most web traffic out of any other business.

So, how can you utilize social media marketing and other techniques to your advantage to reach your business goals? Here are nine restaurant marketing ideas to boost your sales in 2020!

Effective Social Media Marketing Campaigns

The power of an effective social media marketing campaign is unstoppable. They can be used to promote any industry’s service or products across various platforms that have billions of monthly active users, but there’s also the opportunity to gain the trust and loyalty of local customers. In fact,  by posting regularly on social media platforms, you have the potential to see an increase in business almost immediately. People spend an average of three hours on a social media platform every single day! So, if your potential customers are on social, you need to be too!

Marketing for restaurants can increase brand awareness and loyalty, increase your web traffic, improve your conversion rates, and overall improve your customer service experience. But where does your effective marketing strategy even start?

Well, since Facebook has almost 2.5 billion monthly active users and Instagram isn’t too far behind.  Instagram is actually the most popular marketing tool for any industry – one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses and the gender mix is fairly neutral. Even though Facebook has a higher monthly user count, Instagram is actually the fastest growing app in the world. If you’re still not convinced your restaurant needs a Facebook or Instagram marketing campaign, keep reading to learn why it really does.


Every restaurant owner needs to consider creating a Facebook page for their business. Not only is Facebook free to sign up for, but signing up for a Facebook ads campaign is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods out there. Creating a Facebook ad is also one of the best ways to bring more customers to your restaurant since you can target such a specific audience. You don’t just have the option of attracting local customers – you can also target a specific gender, age, interests, previous purchases, education, job role, and more. This can be particularly helpful for restaurants that specialize in creating certain dishes or wanting to attract a certain age group to their restaurants, like university students or businessmen.

Better yet, if you already have a group of loyal customers on Facebook, you can target lookalike audiences who are similar in age, gender, have the same interests and similar purchases, etc., who are likely to also become a loyal customer. Basically, any business that’s on Facebook, including restaurants, have the ability to put their product in front of a bunch of people who have yet to discover you but are searching for similar products.

 Other benefits include:

Facebook sure has a lot of benefits, doesn’t it? So do other platforms and once combined with your Facebook success, you’ll understand why we’ve been so passionate about discussing restaurant marketing strategies.


Instagram is the fastest-growing app in Canada and the second most popular downloaded app in the world. It’s not just for personal use anymore or a platform to share photos. The platform introduced the story feature in 2016 and today, approximately 500 million users all over the world use the feature with 85% of business stories having a completion rate. Creating a profile is also free and when it comes to ads, the platform is owned by Facebook so targeting specific audiences still remains simple! You can also switch your profile to a business profile (again, for free) to keep better track of how many people are seeing your posts, videos, how many shares your content is getting, as well as the age range interested in your posts.

Instagram is a popular platform for Millenials, especially since almost 50% of their “food money” is being spent eating out. Can you say, #foodie!? Speaking of hashtags, they can drastically help improve the level of post engagement, promote your event/contest, and connect with people who aren’t following you. The platform also introduced a new feature in 2017 that allows people to follow hashtags instead of accounts meaning you’ll be noticed even more by a wider audience if you use the proper keywords.

 More perks include:

One billion people use Instagram every month. It’s time you sign up for your free business profile today.

Email Marketing

You’re probably wondering if sending out an email newsletter is still effective since social media platforms are so popular, but we’re here to tell you that yes, they are still effective and the method is still widely popular amongst restaurant marketers. And the best part about it? It’s a very cost-effective tactic. Working with a digital marketing agency who run your email marketing campaigns for you can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 a month or more, depending on your budget.

How exactly does email marketing work? The process is pretty simple. You have the ability to send your existing customers, as well as potential customers, an email reminder about any promotions, specials, etc., and redirect them back to your website. Since most of your existing and potential customers likely use mobile devices, they can easily receive an email right to their phones about a promotion, but in order to increase engagement anymore, each email can be personalized (ex; using their name at the beginning of the email). You can also send deals associated with people’s birthdays, dine deals/coupons and information on how to sign up for loyalty programs (more about this below!)

Email marketing is a great way to convert more leads into sales, especially if your restaurant offers online ordering. With this feature, you’ll be able to get their email and increase customer loyalty even more by sending a followup email asking how their meal was, if service was exceptional and if there’s any room for improvement, etc. But another great perk about working with a marketing agency is they can worry about the copywriting for you. Knowing the perfect thing to say can be hard, but they can capture the attention of your customers and outline your loyalty program or restaurant promotion in the best light possible.

Local SEO Programs

If you want to raise brand awareness and gain new clientele, local search engine optimization programs (SEO) are going to do just that. When done properly, local customers will easily be able to find you, but better yet, they’ll be able to find your address, phone number, website, menu, reviews, and Google My Business posts (GMB posts).

If you’re a new business wanting to gain new loyal customers, the marketing agency you’re working with will likely suggest GMB posts. Not only do they help improve your overall organic clicks, but they can also drastically help with your SEO score. They also share valuable information about your business you really want people to know, particularly promotions, loyalty programs, your specialties, and what your amazing team has to offer! GMB posts can be found under your profile on search engines along with the rest of your information and can be updated regularly to raise your SEO score even more.

Local SEO can also be incorporated into your web pages. For example, if you have a restaurant in Mississauga, it may be in your best interest to include “Restaurant in Mississauga” as many times as the local SEO program sees fit. As a restaurant owner, you’ll want to think about listing your business on multiple listing websites. Citations can help you gain exposure and drive more traffic to your website. Listing sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor, etc., allow restaurant visitors the ability to upload pictures of your restaurant’s dishes, menu, and review their overall experience. The higher your quality review count, the more likely potential customers will want to dine-in! 

Email marketing is a great way to convert more leads into sales, especially if your restaurant offers online ordering. With this feature, you’ll be able to get their email and increase customer loyalty even more by sending a followup email asking how their meal was, if service was exceptional and if there’s any room for improvement, etc. But another great perk about working with a marketing agency is they can worry about the copywriting for you. Knowing the perfect thing to say can be hard, but they can capture the attention of your customers and outline your loyalty program or restaurant promotion in the best light possible.

Organic SEO Programs

What is the difference between organic and local SEO?

The main difference is local SEO is more location-specific, whereas organic SEO is more informational. Some people think of organic SEO as “spammy”, but that’s not the intent, it’s just a way to rank higher on search engines like Google without using “black hat” means. In other words, you’re using the proper methods of getting a higher ranking, according to Google’s policies. These methods could include keywords from keyword research (both location-specific and competitor keywords) as well as using backlinks from other trusted and relevant websites/restaurants. Backlinks are a great way to increase loyalty to your brand since you’ll be linking to other websites that back up the information you’re providing or in this case, the food and services you’re providing. For example, if your restaurant carries locally farmed food or local craft beers, etc., link back to the websites so customers can continue reading about the product and their reputation.

One of the best ways to determine the proper keywords or backlinks to provide is by working with a professional restaurant marketing agency. You’re running a busy restaurant, you don’t have the time to do all this research! They know the right restaurant marketing strategies bound to bring you success, including finding relevant and high-quality backlinks for you, scheduling your eye-catching content on social media for you, create an email newsletter to drive more traffic, and even respond to reviews for you. But more importantly, they know how to use “white hat” SEO methods to get you ranking on Google the right way.

Email marketing is a great way to convert more leads into sales, especially if your restaurant offers online ordering. With this feature, you’ll be able to get their email and increase customer loyalty even more by sending a followup email asking how their meal was, if service was exceptional and if there’s any room for improvement, etc. But another great perk about working with a marketing agency is they can worry about the copywriting for you. Knowing the perfect thing to say can be hard, but they can capture the attention of your customers and outline your loyalty program or restaurant promotion in the best light possible.

Google Ads

When business owners hear Google ads, they immediately associate it with being expensive. While they can be expensive for top-tier businesses who have a large ad budget, it’s quite a cost-effective marketing method for restaurant owners looking to attract new customers.

Google ads can often be confusing. You don’t just pay for, create, and post a Google ad like you would on social media platforms. Instead, it works as an “auction”. If advertisers are using the same keywords in their ad, Google will determine the placement of each of your ads based on the level of quality for viewers. So, even though another advertiser is paying more, that doesn’t mean they’ll get the top spot.

How much will you be paying for your ad? It depends. There are two methods you can use. CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per impression). With CPC, every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay for it. With CPM, you’ll pay for the number of impressions your ad makes. Even though you may have an average amount you want to pay per click, the actual amount will be calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks, so sometimes you could be paying way less than your max budget!

Google ads are an effective method for local restaurants, particularly if someone is searching for your speciality followed by “near me” on their mobile device. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, 75% of online users say paid ads that appear on their search engine make it easier to find the right information and 33% will click on that ad to get the answers they’re looking for. The top three ads will receive the most engagement.

Loyalty Programs

Creating a loyalty program for your customers is a great way to keep them satisfied, attract new customers to your restaurant, and increase sales. There are a few ways restaurants can accomplish this.

Since the majority of your clientele is on mobile, creating an app where they can order food, book a reservation, and maybe even collect points with every purchase seem to be a popular option for restaurants all around the world. It’s also more handy for people to download an app than carrying around a rewards card.

Another popular method restaurants use is encouraging customers to keep their receipts after they’ve previously paid for a meal. Include a link to your website where they can fill out a review form, take the time to answer a few questions, or enter for a chance to win a free meal.

Examples of in-restaurant programs you can offer are free meals on birthdays, free meals for seniors on the last Friday of every month, or, if they share a picture of their meal and tag you on social media, they get 10% of their purchase! The options are endless, so if you can’t decide, leave it up to your customers. Ask for the feedback to determine which loyalty program will work best. Not every reward program will work for every restaurant/business out there. 

Running Contests

Effective social media marketing restaurant ideas include running contests. This can increase brand awareness, get you ahead of your competition, attract new customers, and get your loyal followers more excited about what you have to offer! The more excited they are, the more they’ll share your contest post with their followers who may not have heard of you yet. The most popular platform contests run are Facebook and Instagram (though you must mention the platforms are not sponsoring your contest).

So, how do you run a successful contest?

Team up with a relevant partner/local influencer, like someone who supplies their craft beer to you, or a farmer you buy your meat from. Not only can you team up to help each other gain followers, but you can offer prizes more easily. You should also clearly outline the rules and announce when the contest ends. In your post, specify who can enter, what they have to do to enter (share the post, tag a friend, etc.) what the prize will be, when the winner will be announced, and how they’ll be announced (privately messaged or announced in your story) and follow up with a winner post so your followers are aware the contest has closed and a winner was really chosen. Prizes can include a gift card, a free meal, apparel, even concert tickets, whatever you see fit.

Running social media contests is an easy marketing method you can take on yourself, especially since there are easy-to-follow templates available.

Importance Of Reviews

There’s no doubt about it – your online presence is more important now than ever before. It’s crazy to even think there used to be a time restaurants didn’t even have websites or offer customers the chance to order their food online! Now we can easily pull out our mobile device, browse a menu, read reviews, scroll through social media posts, and decide if we want to visit a restaurant before leaving the house. But even though visually appealing photography is important to showcase your quality recipes, as well as regularly posting engaging content on social media, reviews place a huge role in determining if someone should really visit your restaurant or not. Whether it’s leaving a review on Google, Facebook, or listing apps (like Yelp), 72% of customers will not visit a restaurant (or another business) until they’ve read online reviews. Even more surprisingly, 15% of online customers won’t even consider going to a restaurant/business if they don’t have a single review. That means you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers!

Though Google accounts for more than half of online reviews, it’s still important to gather them on other platforms so they’re even more easily accessible. But the question remains – how do you get your customers to leave an online review for your business?

Keep it simple. By providing them with a link online or on a receipt from a previous purchase, it can take them right to a review form. You can offer a promotion too. If they leave a review and like your social media post they can receive $10 off their next dine-in purchase. And yes, the more Google reviews you have, the higher your search engine rankings will be.


Looking for restaurant marketing ideas to help you reach your restaurant business goals in 2020? Then look no further than these nine helpful restaurant marketing methods. Creating an impressive online presence is more important now than ever before, so your marketing strategy should include some form of social media marketing, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. These are also great platforms for running contests and sharing high-quality photos of the food on your menu.

If you’re looking to rank high on search engines, like Google, utilizing SEO tools can drastically help improve your position, especially if you run Google ads and collect reviews from happy customers. The more you stay active on social media, and the higher you rank on Google, the closer you will be to achieving your 2020 restaurant business goals. Whether you want to implement these methods yourself or hire a professional social media marketing agency, these restaurant marketing ideas are the best ways to advertise your products and services.


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