Surprise Customers with 10 Fun Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Surprise Customers with 10 Fun Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Restaurant owners understand that to make their business succeed, they must create fun promotion ideas to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Customer loyalty is essential for the success of any business, particularly a restaurant.

In today's climate, social media is an excellent way to build long-term relationships with current and potential customers. By engaging with your audience via social media, you can surprise your customers with cool promotions that keep them coming back for more.

Here is a list of 10 fun restaurant promotions that project as sure-fire winners:

1. Host Giveaways & Contests

To build a lasting relationship with customers, you must provide value to them. This incentivizes people to follow you and stay interested in what you have to offer.

A great way to provide value is by hosting giveaways and contests. This allows you to reward your followers while also letting them grow your following for you. As your number of online followers grow, so will the total of orders at your restaurant. How does this work? By giving something away, you can require followers to “qualify” and enter the giveaway by completing a few quick tasks, such as:

  • Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. (This is another great way to cross-promote your other social media accounts.)
  • “Like” this post. (This increases engagement.)
  • Tag three friends in the comments section of this post. (This increases engagement AND creates the opportunity for those friends to follow your page.)

2. Post Engaging Content

Another way to build a long-term relationship with customers is by posting content specifically created for engagement. How?

Posts that include a call to action, such as telling the audience to tag a friend or asking the audience an open-ended question, are excellent for increased engagement. They lead to fun promotion ideas that will help you reach large numbers of restaurant-goers in your area for a minimal cost.

The more you engage with customers on social media, the more opportunity you have to get their feedback on your menu items and to develop a loyal following.

3. Repost Content from Customers

To engage followers and encourage brand growth, a great idea is to repost photos that customers have taken of your food or restaurant.  These make for great share posts and using content from followers boosts your authenticity in the minds of followers. A whopping 92% of people trust recommendations from other people over branded content in an advertisement. They trust their peers to tell the truth, so take full advantage of content that regular customers post to promote your brand.

4. Have Appealing, High-Quality Photography of Your Food

For restaurant owners using Instagram or Pinterest as a staple(s) of your restaurant's social media campaign, it is imperative to have mouth-watering photos of your food. Instagram not only conveys your story through pictures, but it has also been successful in capturing and retaining the attention of a large audience that seeks visual gratification.

On these platforms, the secret to success is posting content that is visually appealing. That means you need clear, sharp, interesting images. And you should update them on a daily basis.

How do you keep replenishing this need for fresh, impactful images? Here  is a list of techniques to use that will help you take appealing photos:

  • Use natural lighting
  • Look for strong contrast
  • Embrace white space
  • Incorporate a background
  • Have a single point of interest in the photo
  • Experiment with and learn your camera settings (even with a smartphone)

5. Use Unique Hashtags on Instagram & Twitter

Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter rely on hashtags to circulate and focus the content of their messages to the right audience. These hashtags also provide a low-cost way to increase your reach and business growth on social media.

Simply Measured conducted a recent study that showed posts with at least one hashtag receive about 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags. But you can get lost among the millions of posts and Tweets with generic terms like #food, #drink or #restaurant. 

Instead, using your own unique hashtags combined with popular hashtags to build your brand. Using a unique hashtag like #WatersRestaurant will encourage your customers to use it, too. This increases engagement and builds a community around your restaurant. By adding hashtags like #Uptown, #LoDo or #Soho, you make sure that your posts show up in your local geographical area, too.

6. Post Reviews from Customers

Reviews, testimonials, and compliments from customers will go a long way toward building brand awareness and establishing credibility for your restaurant. A recent survey showed that 88% of people trust what friends and even strangers say on Facebook about businesses. In addition, 70% of purchases at local businesses can be traced back to social media.

When you receive a 5-star review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or any other online platform, be sure to share that review on your social media pages. Positive reviews create trust with potential customers and a quick, caring and insightful response to a negative review shows that you care about customers' opinions and are responsive to them. Customers love that.

7. Boost Posts to Increase Brand Awareness & Engagement 

Boosting your social media posts by using paid advertising will further the impact of your fun restaurant promotions. Boosting posts is also a great way to increase your restaurant’s brand awareness and engagement.

With Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, they’ve made it very difficult for businesses – large and small – to gain any type of organic reach or engagement. Facebook has really become a pay-to-play platform for businesses, and you need to have a viable presence on Facebook for your restaurant to thrive.

The best types of content to boost include giveaways, contests, and promotions/specials. By boosting a giveaway or contest, you can guarantee more participation and entries, as well as more likes, comments, and shares – which even further increases the interaction with your post!

If you’re running a contest or giveaway and want to reach as many people as possible, consider boosting this type of post for one month with a $50-$100 budget. For shorter promotions, try boosting it for 5-7 days with a $10-$20 budget.

8. Run Read Ads to Increase Brand Awareness to Local Customers

Another way to increase reach or brand awareness is with reach ads. Around 61% of people need to see something 2 to 3 times on social media before they choose to make a purchase or visit the restaurant.

Reach campaigns are designed to show your ad to the maximum number of people. This is great for when you have an important message you’d like to share with as many people as possible.

Reach ads are best for calls to action such as:

  • “Get Directions” to your location
  • “Call Now” to get in contact with you and your business
  • “Learn More” to get more information on what your ad is about

Reach/brand awareness ads require a dedicated advertising budget to run, usually on a monthly basis. We recommend a minimum of $150 per month because as the foundation for a successful reach/brand awareness campaign.

9. Use Traffic Ads to Drive Traffic to the Website

Traffic ads are designed to direct customers to a website or landing page you’ve created. Similar to reach/brand awareness ads, these are best for a strong call to action.

Traffic ads work well with the call to action of “Learn More,” so you can drive more people to your website or landing page to get more information on what you’re advertising.

For your restaurant, it would be wise to drive traffic to your online menu or to a reservation booking page on your website. That way, potential customers can learn more before making the choice to dine with you. This, in turn, will drive more foot traffic into your restaurant, resulting in more tables sat and orders placed.

10. Offer Specials, Discounts & Exclusive Updates to Loyalty/Rewards Program Members 

Email marketing is another fantastic way to promote your restaurant with fun marketing ideas such as contests, giveaways, weekly specials, discounts, upcoming events, and exclusive updates.

Having a loyalty or rewards program is a great way to increase your sales. One way to get customers into your loyalty program is to obtain customer emails. You can easily do this through a website pop-up or your social media campaign. An effective hook is to encourage customers to keep coming back to get a free dessert or redeem a discount coupon. But they must provide their email address to get the value-added item.

Once you build up your email list, you can begin crafting an email marketing campaign to use some of the fun restaurant promotion ideas we have discussed. Some great things to include in weekly emails to customers are:

  • Current specials – Whether these change daily or weekly, let your customers know of a different one in each email. That way, you can capture their attention and draw them back in.
  • Upcoming Events – If you’re planning on doing a special menu or open event for a holiday or to celebrate your restaurant’s anniversary, let your most loyal customers know first.
  • Exclusive updates – When you launch a seasonal menu item or have a special guest in the restaurant, tell customers who signed up for your email list first.
  • Discounts – Let these loyal customers know how much you appreciate them by offering a discount here and there, such as 10% off your next bill or a free dessert/appetizer with their next purchase of an entrée.

All in all, promoting your restaurant through email marketing is the best way to increase customer loyalty and keep their business for years to come. By implementing these ideas, you can grow your email list and draw your customers back in on a weekly basis.