5 Restaurant Marketing Ideas That Work

5 Restaurant Marketing Ideas That Work
Now more than ever, diners are looking for new places to try. Here are 5 ways you can market your restaurant and catch customers' attention.
by Maya Rollings Jul 15, 2024 — 4 min read
5 Restaurant Marketing Ideas That Work

Marketing your restaurant can be challenging due to industry changes and changing customer needs. As the industry prepares to hit $1.2 trillion in sales by 2030, it’s important that restaurants engage their customers in new ways, rethink their messaging, and adapt to changing customer preferences to encourage business growth and capture sales. 

Gone are the days of relying solely on third-party marketplace platforms, like UberEats, to raise awareness of your business. While third-party marketplace platforms can be helpful with discoverability, they can also hinder your business from reaching new prospective customers.

So what does that mean for restaurants? From loyalty programs to new offerings, here are five restaurant marketing ideas for your business.

Reach customers through your restaurant’s social media.

Social media marketing can be your best friend for connecting with existing customers or acquiring new ones, but building that customer relationship can take time. Posting a new menu dish and logging off isn’t enough.Think about why this new menu dish is important and, more importantly, why customers should care. Was the idea born out of joy? An extension of a family recipe? Is it just fun?Incorporate these elements into your introduction to craft a story that customers can relate to. If there’s already a slew of positive reviews or interesting user-generated content you can add, even better.

According to Oxford Academic, storytelling is imperative to marketing because it helps customers connect with your business on an emotional level. This emotional connection helps to build trust and credibility, and in a crowded industry, this can set you apart from competitors. According to Square data, restaurateurs agree with this sentiment.


of restaurant owners across restaurant types use social media platforms to foster a sense of community and loyalty to their brand, according to the 2024 Square Future of Restaurants report.

Furthermore, 52% of consumers are interested in local businesses that use social media to communicate with them. With competitors using social media channels to their advantage and consumers open to meeting businesses there, leverage these channels in unique ways to build your online presence and grow your audience.

Consider new revenue streams.

It’s no secret that customers want more from the businesses they frequent. In fact, 80% of customers are somewhat or more interested in trying a new type of offering from a business known for something else. From adding merchandise to cat adoption centers to game rentals, restaurants are drumming up ways to keep customers coming back for more. Keeping customers engaged with new revenue streams increases time spent with your business and could drive sales, growing your overall business and diversifying your customer base.

Orrman’s Cheese Shop sells boards and kits along with gift boxes to bring about more sales. “It helps to ensure that if one side of the business is particularly slow, another side is helping to round out sales. Cheese is the focus, but in addition to selling cheese by the wedge, we also showcase the cheese in several different ways,” said co-owner Rachel Klebaur. Orrman’s Cheese Shop is just one of the many businesses seeing the benefits of diversified growth. 

The 2024 Square Future of Commerce report found that 77% of restaurants are planning to expand with noncore offerings. As restaurants seek to set themselves apart more and more, consider unique and authentic noncore offerings that can help promote your restaurant and market them creatively to customers.

Bring your restaurant to life through live events.

Incorporating live events into your restaurant can make it the perfect two-for-one special. Imagine a customer who wants to create the perfect date night for their partner, and they can’t decide between a candlelight dinner or a jazz show. But if they choose your restaurant? They get both.

Not only does this sound like a dream, it’s one customers are craving. The 2024 Square Dining report revealed that 55% of diners are interested in different experiences, such as live music, at their local restaurants. 

Implementing new experiences is not only a good business choice, but also a good way to jazz up  marketing for your business. It gives new customers something to look forward to on their next visit and a way for returning customers to interact with your business online and in person. Leveraging your space for live events online or in person could open up your business to a new set of customers.

Invest in a restaurant loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are another way to offer rewards or promotions to customers based on their spending and dining habits with your business, and they’re a great way to further your restaurant marketing strategy.

Several restaurants market loyalty programs for diners as a way to obtain free menu items, exclusive coupons, or discounts. Research shows that offering a restaurant loyalty program can encourage diners to sign up and, in turn, to drive more sales and repeat visits. Square data shows that customers enrolled in a restaurant loyalty program spend 46% more and visit 57% more often.

Loyalty programs can offer valuable insights into what your repeat customers are looking for, helping to strengthen the customer relationship and lead to deeper customer satisfaction. Square Loyalty helps you track customer activity to understand how customers are using your business’s loyalty program most. For instance, you can track how often they come, their average spend, and more to understand how to improve the program. The tool also shows your most loyal customers, giving you a chance to reward them with a little something extra. 

Craft the marketing efforts around your loyalty program in a customer-centric way to help your target audience understand the benefits, making them want to indulge.

Interact with your community.

Not all marketing happens online. In fact, some of the best marketing can be through word-of-mouth recommendations that loyal customers pass on to their friends. You can build this loyal customer base by showing your repeat customers that you value them and the things they value. A few ways to encourage word-of-mouth marketing are:

Marketing your restaurant and getting customers excited to come back can feel stressful, but the most important thing to remember when building your restaurant marketing plan is to have fun with it. You want your customers to feel eager to enjoy your restaurant and excited to keep coming back


Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.


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