How to Market Your Restaurant Locally

posted by Zack Spear
Read time 5 minutes

As a restaurant owner, you know that you have to advertise your restaurant. But how? The capital that is needed when you first open a restaurant is extreme and marketing is usually not top of mind when you're trying to pull together everything else. 

ICS has helped restaurants grow their business through marketing since 2009; here are five low-cost ways to market your restaurant locally to get people in the door and make sure they keep coming back!

Get active on social media

Social media is a great way to market your restaurant. It can help you build your brand, your reputation, and reach new customers.

  • It’s important for restaurants to be active on social media because it can help you build your brand. If people are talking about how great the burgers are at one specific restaurant then you better believe they will be looking to social media to read reviews, see pictures, and customer feedback.

  • Social media is also important because it allows you to reach new customers by advertising deals and specials through social networks like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. 


Make your restaurant accessible online

  • It seems obvious but a lot of restaurants don't have a website. You don't necessarily need something elaborate when you first open but you certainly need to showcase hours, menu, and location. 

  • Include online ordering options. Online ordering can help drive traffic in your restaurant during off-hours when orders might otherwise be slow, and it also gives customers another convenient way to order from you after hours (or on weekends). This will only work if you have a responsive design that works well across all devices though—so make sure that's part of the plan!

  • Include a map of your location on your site and in any other marketing materials you use to get people into the store; this includes signage at every entrance as well as printed menus. If someone has never been there before but knows what street address they're looking for, it'll be much easier finding them with this info available pre-visit rather than having them search around town once they arrive at their destination point.

Use e-mail marketing to stay in touch with your customers

E-mail marketing is a great way to reach customers who may not have heard about your business. It’s also an easy way to turn slow days into busy ones by reminding customers about your restaurant and new products.

Looking for easy ways to build your list? You can use social media to encourage people to sign up for e-mails by offering exclusive specials and coupon codes only available through the newsletter.

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Reward customers with a loyalty program

A rewards program is a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them. You may be able to start with something as simple as a punch card, where customers get stamps for every visit, and after five visits receive a free dessert or appetizer. Or go the more complex route and put together a points system: if customers buy one item from each category (drinks, appetizers, entrees) three times over the course of three months, they'll get their choice of dessert from the menu on their next visit. 

Publicize your restaurant's unique selling point (USP) in every promotion you do

A USP is the one thing that makes your restaurant different from all other restaurants in your area. It's what makes people want to visit you instead of their local chain or fast food joint, and it's what helps you stand out from the crowd.

Here's an example of a USP: "Our burgers are made with free-range meat." As long as people believe that this is true—and not just another marketing gimmick—they'll go to Burger Hut instead because they feel good about spending their money there.

But here's where things can get tricky: If everyone knows about your USP and believes it, then it stops being unique! So if everyone knows that Burger Hut uses only free-range beef, then why would they still choose Burger Hut over another restaurant? They should be able to find another place with better prices or more convenient locations (or both). To avoid this problem, keep up with new trends and practices in the food service industry so you always have something new to offer customers who might otherwise consider going elsewhere for lunch tomorrow morning.

If you want more restaurant customers, you have to be creative in how you reach them.

You need a marketing strategy that's both consistent and persistent. You should be patient and flexible too—and most importantly, remember to always keep things fun! Your marketing should be a direct reflection of your business. 

If you're not sure where to start when it comes to marketing your restaurant, don't worry: we've got some ideas that might help.

The Takeaway

Now that you know some of the best ways to market your restaurant, it is time to put these ideas into action.

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