Here are headings of my 51 restaurant promotion ideas and where to find them. These are proven restaurant ideas that I have tried.
# 1 Create Teaser
This idea came from our chef, he saw a pastry franchise hanging little teasers highlighting their specials for that month around a shopping centre. Since we had a Steak Promotion coming up, we printed a picture of a cow holding a sign with words like “”Have u tried our double cut beef “. Click Here Create Teaser
So I thought why not create something to highlight our Italian Specials that the guest will notice once they come to the room. So I created doorknobs with the Italian specials on it. So every afternoon we went around and hung the doorknobs so when the guest came back, they will be sure to notice the doorknob and read it. Click here Doorknobs with your Specials on It
I found a blog where someone posted a crazy idea done by another restaurant, which was a flyer that looked like a police summon. That’s what is so great about the web, its loaded with information. So I created flyers to look like Police Summons. (It was not exactly the same). The summons gave the bearer a 20% discount on a single bill upon presentation of the flyer. Click here Discount Summon Flyers
Another key point towards promoting your restaurant, is the customer service. Its how people like your outlet once they are in it. Your chef may be great, your decoration might be top class, your beverage list might extensive but if the front line is not customer friendly then people will not return. Click here J.B.N -Just Be Nice
Business was great on weekends when the hotel was full and there were live matches. Now I needed a way to get in business on the weekdays. I found out that there were quite a number of avid darters in our area. So I organized on a bi monthly basis small dart tournaments. Click here Do Little Tournaments
After realizing this, we brainstorm on ways to collect addresses and thus increasing our mailing list.
What we needed was to offer something that will entice people to sign up, such as occasional special offers or discounts. We created a card where the guest can fill in their details. We created it as simple as possible cause people are more likely to join your mailing list if they can do it quickly and easily. Click here Collect Mailing Address
If you look around, there are restaurant promotion ideas everywhere that you can use. One great media that I have mentioned my previous post Restaurant Promotion – Some Ideas from the Web is the World Wide Web. Another media that have helped me with some of my promotional ideas is what some people call “The Idiot Box“. For those that is not sure what I mean, its “The Television“. Click here Watch Television
Another great way to promote your restaurant is to be part of the community not another business but a friend or partner. Get to know what activities the local folks indulge in. If they are doing charitable events, join in. I don’t mean only financial support. You can lend a hand, stocking community food banks; revitalize neighborhood parks and many more. Click here Be Community Conscious
You can create Postcards with photos of your restaurant’s signature dishes on the front and put it at the entrance of your restaurant where your customers can take it. They might mail it out to their friends and family or keep it as a souvenir. When they mail it out, they will be promoting your restaurant for you. Just imagine the number of people that will see your dishes cause the picture is not hidden in an envelope. A postcard passes through a few hands before it reaches its destination. Click here Postcard Promotion
# 10 Unique Gift Ideas
A colleague gave me this idea when we were discussing how we can show our local regulars that we value their support. It was for one of our corporate gift that we give to our regulars during festivals. You can read about this in my previous post, Promoting your Restaurant through Great Customer Service. As a majority of our local regulars are Chinese Business Men who are farmers or traders by trade, we had to come out with an idea which they can use and appreciate it. Click here Unique Gift Ideas
Another great promotional tool that is often overlooked is your restaurant menu. Like I have mentioned in my Previous Post “Creating Great Customer Service Culture”, first impression counts. Remember that the entire menu will compliment the restaurant theme. If your menu is not appetizing to look at, people will have the same impression of your food. Most restaurants put fancy words to describe their food. But fancy words and fancy fonts to me can be a deterrent for people to order something different from what they know. Click here Menu
Towards the end of the year, most schools will organise Annual Dinners and Gatherings. They normally start looking for venues to hold their dinners. I normally try to visit the Headmaster or the President of the Parent Teacher Association. But this was not always possible as most of them was always busy and some had classes to teach. I searched the World Wide Web for addresses of the surrounding schools. I send out promotional letters with different types of menus to these potential customers and followed up with a visit where possible. Click here Promotional Letters
#13 Promote through Kids
Did you know that kids choose 50% of restaurant visits and according to a recent study 75% of parents consider their kids preference when choosing a restaurant. This is the main reason why most fast food restaurants target their advertising at children and students. One excelent example is the McDonald’s “Happy Meals”. Their gifts are much sought after by the young and the young at heart. Promotions targeted at kids don’t have to be expensive, there are a lot of cheaper ways to promote through the kids and you don’t need to give them a toy too. Click here Promote through Kids
Most hotels and resorts in Malaysia include breakfast with their room. Ours is one of them. As most families will come for breakfast especially on weekends and public holidays, we took this opportunity to capture the kids. What we did was to have one staff go around giving out colourful balloons on sticks to the kids. The balloons had our logo on them. Kids was happy (I noticed all kids love balloons, my son included) and the parents was beaming. Click here Repeat Business with Balloons
#16 Look Busy
I have in my many years in the restaurant industry learnt that there are some simple methods you can use to bring customers into your restaurant. One of them is where you seat your first few customers. People will normally shy away from a restaurant that looks empty or is very quiet. They usually have the impression that the food there is not very good, that’s why its empty. So a busy restaurant will give the customer a feeling that this place is really good. For me what I normally do is to seat my first few customers towards the front of the restaurant. Click here Look Busy
Take Madam Kwan’s for instance. When you mention Nasi Bojari, the first thing thats comes to most people’s mind is Madam Kwan Restaurant. In the 90’s in Singapore when you mention Chicken Rice, most people will say Chatterz at the Singapore Mandarin Hotel. Their Chicken Rice was the talk of Singapore at that time, so much so it was a signature dish in every Singapore Mandarin Hotel. Click here Create a Signature Dish
One way you can promote your new menu is to publish a recipe book of your signature dishes. Famous chefs have been doing this to promote themselves and their creations for quite some time. Those that had the chance to market their recipe books abroad also attracted tourist to venture to their outlet from afar. Most restaurants don’t like giving out their recipes fearing that people will open another food outlet close by using their recipes or their guest will be able to cook the dish at home so they won’t be dining in your outlet. Click here Publish and Give out Recipe Books
The breakfast, lunch as well as dinner is normally very good. We have another meal period, snack that is between lunch and dinner that is sluggish. Therefore we are left with an empty restaurant, along with staff standing around. This is also the time when people arrive at the resort. What we did was prepare “Restaurant Happy Hours” posters and flyers to put in the room highlighting that two main course sections was 30% off between 3. 00pm to 6. 00pm. Click here Restaurant Happy Hour Specials
I pointed out in one of my article in my blog, Restaurant Promo Ideas in which during one episode of Apprentice with Donald Trump, how a team utilized sandwich boards to get the message to the public. I discovered that if I put up one banner, how strategic the location may be. I will only capture a certain amount of coverage. Promotional bunting is an effective tool to catch the attention of passerby and drawing crowds of people to where they should be, in your restaurant. Click here Promotional Buntings
Instead of doing a buffet to highlight your signature dishes, have you thought of doing a Food Bazaar with stalls promoting several of your dishes that you are featuring in your establishment. This year, we did just that at the resort that I am attached to. We had stalls offering dishes from our various kitchens. We had| local favorites such as Char Koay Teow, Chicken Rice, Murtabak and so forth. From our western kitchen we had Roasted Chicken, Burgers as well as Roasted Beef. From the Pastries there were Waffles, Ice Cream as well as Cakes. All items were individually priced. Click here Food and Beverage Bazaar
My boss liked to use this quote often. He used to say “A Customer is a Person who has Our MONEY in his Pocket“. Then he goes on to say how we are going to take our money from him. If you think that this quote is dishonesty, then you are in the wrong line of business. You have spend thousands on advertising and promotions, you need to get the returns right. Once a customer steps into your restaurant he has set his mind that he is going to eat here. Most of the time the customer has already decided what to eats. In my restaurants I use certain tactics to get the customer to spend more. Click here Little Things to Help your Customers Spend More
The FIFA World Cup is played once every four years and this year in 2018 the World Cup will be in Russia beginning June 2018. There will be millions of fans in every country on the planet following their favorite teams. A written report in the Nielsen website, around 111. 6 million U.S people watched at least 6 minutes of the 2010 World Cup on English as well as Spanish language networks, based on an analysis by the Nielsen Firm. The figure is a 22% increase from the 91.4 million U.S. viewers during the 2006 World Cup. Click here Five ways to Market the FIFA World Cup
Another alternative would be to create certain theme and obtain Chefs from that region to prepare. When I was attached to a beautiful resort in a little village on the East Coast of Malaysia known as Cherating. Each year for a month in September we used to bring Chefs from our sister property in Thailand to do a month long Thai Promotion. We did some fruit carving as well as Thai food cooking classes for our guests. We even hired a Tuk tuk to shuttle guests from town to our resort. It was really fun. Click here Chef’s Night Buffet
In my previous post Restaurant Promo Ideas #24 :- Chef’s NIght Buffet, I wrote about getting a Celebrity Chef to come and promote your restaurant. But if you are not able to engage a Celebrity Chef or Guest Chef, then why don’t you create your very own Hometown Celebrity Chefs. Holding tournaments in your restaurant is a fun approach to create awareness. Coming back to creating your very own Hometown Celebrity Chefs, organize a cooking competition for the locals in your area. Don’t go for the norm of submitting recipes like some competitions require. Do something different as well as enjoyable. Do something from the Reality Shows example the Masterchef, Chopped, Top Chef| or maybe Iron Chef. Click here Hometown Celebrity Chef
#26 Bar Games
Bar games are a good way to maximize your sales with your current guest and also to create an atmosphere of fun and laughter in your establishment. There are a number of bar games that you can buy and use, all depending on the kind of bar that you have and how much fun your customers likes to have. Apart from the normal darts and pool, I have also purchased some table drinking games that can be played at the guest table. Below are two of the games that I purchased recently. Click here Bar Games
With the closing of the year, a lot of business will be looking for appreciation gifts for their customers and regulars. Searching the web, you will find a number of organizations offering to create some sort of year end gifts with your logo on it. For small business owners who are scrambling to meet year-end commitments and running the day to day operations, finding just the right gift for your customers can be overwhelming. But you can still give out memorable year end or thank you gifts. One way is to make it your self. Search the web for ideas, there are various ideas that you and your staff can create by yourselves. Below are some of the ideas. I have done two of it myself and the rest I plan to implement it soon. Click here Year End Holiday Gift for your Customers
Instead of doing just a one day Christmas Promotion, why don’t you do 12 days of Christmas Promotion Activity which will stretch until the Feast of Epiphany. The more days you do a promotion, the more revenue you will receive for your restaurant. To make it more fun, work around the 12 Days of Christmas Lyrics. Here are 12 days of creative promotional ideas that I’ve found along the way. Click here to get the Restaurant Promotion Idea #28 – Twelve Days of Christmas Promotional Ideas
Valentine’s Day, the single most celebrated celebration in the world and is also the second busiest holiday for restaurants. Its not a public or work holiday in any country that I know off. But its an important holiday to pay attention to especially if you are in the restaurant business. Here are some statistics taken from Retail Advertising and Marketing Association on consumer spending habits on Valentine’s Day. This is to give you an idea on the importance of promoting Valentine’s Day. Click here for Restaurant Promotion Ideas # 29 – Valentine Specials
This year other than the usual Candle Light Dinner in the Coffeehouse, I will also be selling Romantic Picnic Baskets. One reason as mentioned in my previous post is that the hotel that I am attached to has a pool in every room. Therefore the idea of having a romantic picnic “Just the Two of You” by your very own pool will surely catch people’s attention. Thus giving us another avenue to increase our revenue. Click here for Restaurant Promotion Ideas #30 – Valentine’s Day Picnic Baskets
Everyone loves receiving gifts how small it may be and giving out little gifts with the company logo is a norm nowadays. So it’s important to give gifts that your customer will eventually use for some time. Most companies give out pens, calendars and key chains. But with the dawn of affordable tablets and smart phones, most of these gifts are obsolete, especially the calendar. Most people nowadays have a smart phone and all smart phones have some sort calendar in them or you can get one on Google Play store. Therefore, I feel the best gifts should be centered around the mobile phone as almost every one owns a smart phone. Here are a few gift ideas that I have seen and have received. Restaurant Promotion Idea # 31 – Unique and Useful Corporate Gifts
Creating a weekly theme dinner party is an excellent strategy to provide your customers with something different . Once a week transform your deco, food and even the staffs uniform to suit the particular theme. Select a theme that will suit with your customers as well as your location. Should you be located in a young housing area such as young working adult, college or university goers. Consider a party theme like Mardi Gras or even Spring Break. If you are located in the vicinity of families then do a fun theme which the kids will love such as a Pirate’s Theme. A properly plan theme party will definitely be a great hit especially during the slow days. Click here Restaurant Promotion Ideas # 32- Theme Party
Based on the research by the National Restaurant Association. Father’s Day is the third most celebrated holiday right after Valentine’s and Mother’s day. They estimate that more than 50 million Americans will dine out on Father’s Day in 2013.
My friend, a chef used to joke that fathers are the ATM machines of families. When the family needs money, they will go to dad to request money. Thus it’s a good idea to create promotional activities in your restaurant for the breadwinner in all of our lives. Restaurant Promotion Idea # 33 – Father’s Day Specials
My boss wanted to add some fun as well as entertaining games in our bar particularly on weekends. Thus he purchased a few items that we could use as party games such as blowpipe, speed stacking and so on. He wanted a variety of games in which the guest may take part during the band’s break.
So as usual I turned to the ever so wise World Wide Web for party games ideas. Instead I stumbled upon a great Restaurant Promotion Idea. Instead of holding a single game why don’t we hold a Pub Olympics.
Here some ideas on how I organized our First Pub Olympic in our bar. Please Click here Restaurant Promotion Idea # 34 – Pub Olympics
By utilizing digital displays you can do away with printing of posters to promote your specials as well as products. You can even add a few different promotions and just allow the display to play the pictures. If you were to use the traditional printed poster you would need to print several different posters intended for various promotions. Besides to placing them around the restaurant hoping the customer will see it. A moving picture show will catch people’s attention as opposed to a static poster. You can even change your promotions and specials weekly and fast. Please click here Restaurant Promotion Idea # 35 :- Digital Display to Market your Specials
Posters are a great way to get your messages across to your customers without breaking the bank. Strategically placed posters is sure to grab attention of people walking by, For me I like to use large, yummy images to make passers by hungry.
Here are some of my favourite posters and the site that I got it fromRestaurant Promotion Ideas # 36- Unique Poster Ideas
In one of my post a long time ago I wrote about Bounce Back Vouchers to encourage customers to return during the sluggish season.
Here are some suggestions on making giving out the Bounce Back Vouchers fun. Some of it that I have tried and some of it I am going to try. Restaurant Promotion Idea # 37 – Bounce Back Voucher Ideas
Besides creating signature dishes or beverages. You can also create fun as well as unique challenges. This will make your restaurant stand out above your competition.
Many may have watched Adam Richman on “Man vs Food”. Adam goes around The United States searching for unique and outrageous restaurant challenges. The challenges vary from eating the largest burger or pizza, eating the highest number of oysters or chicken wings at a specific time. The winner will receive a restaurant souvenir along with their picture on the wall. Do something like that to create awareness for your restaurant. Restaurant Promotion Idea #38 – Fun and Unique Restaurant Challenges
This is sort like a sequel to my earlier post Restaurant Promotion Idea #38 – Fun and Unique Restaurant Challenges. I got this video on my Facebook page. Its a crazy bar challenges. They call it the “Military Shots”. We modified the idea a bit. What we did was instead of the military hat, we used a construction hard hat. We referred the challenge to “The Hard Hat Challenge”. To know more, please click here Restaurant Promotion Idea #39 – Unique and Crazy Bar Challenges
The resort that I am presently attached to, just purchased a mini bus. To transport their guest as well as employees to and fro the resort. Of which I felt could also benefit my restaurants too. So I came out with a special package Specially for Corporate Companies to dine in my restaurants. Besides Menus and Beverages, we also provided transportation from their office to the resort. This is for a group between 20 to 35 person, we will pick them up from their company or office in our bus. As well as send them back to their office. We plan to do this during the lunch period, which is generally very slow for us. So this will bring some incremental revenue to us. Since the bus is equipped with a karaoke system we let the group use it. Restaurant Promotion Ideas # 40 – Literally Drive Customers to Your Restaurant
New Year’s Eve day, is an opportunity to let your hair down as well as party with friends. There are lots of reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve. You can say to celebrate a fantastic year thats passing. Or perhaps you can say goodbye to a not so good year and hope the coming year will be better. Most people will start searching for party venues early. Thus begin early to promote your restaurant or bar to be ahead of the rest. Get your entertainment plan early. Cause this is when the good entertainers get booked early. Make sure you have enough staff as well as beverages. Do you need to have any special food? Pretty much everything in place, you still need to plan some activities to make your New Year’s Eve party even awesome. So people will come back next year and the following year. Here are some ideas on how to amp up your party. Some I have carried out and some I am going to try. Restaurant Promotion Idea # 41 – Make your New Year party Memorable to keep them coming back.
I noticed some unique car stickers on car windows from Starbucks and 7eleven. This got me thinking that it is a great advertising avenue for my restaurants. Cause cars are moving around, so you got a free promotion billboard moving around your city. So if your sticker unique as well as eye catching, people notice your logo. Make sure you put your address on it. In cities, there is traffic jams and also massive parking lots. So people will have time to take down your number or your website address. Restaurant Promotion Ideas #42 – Let others Promote your Restaurant with Car stickers
Don’t only post photos of your food, it will get boring after a while. Post pictures of your staff in action. The chef preparing the dishes or the bartender juggling some bottles. Click here on how to get that amazing shot. Restaurant Promotion Ideas #43 – Take Amazing Food Photos and Share It
Though our bar is not of an Irish theme or not situated in Ireland. Or the simple fact that St Patrick’s day is not widely recognized in Malaysia. Nonetheless we did a St. Patrick’s day promotion. Well we were taking after what Steve Jobs quoted. “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Click here to find out how we created a simple Restaurant Promotion Idea # 44 :- Simple St.Patrick’s Day Specials
Once our Executive Chef suggested that we do a “Around the World Buffet“. He was a well travelled Chef, so he wished to feature food from countries that he visited. The buffet was featured every Sunday to attract families. We came out with an unique Loyalty Program. What we did was printout cards that looked like a passport. Made different rubber stamps with the country we plan to feature on the buffet. Every guest that came for the “Around the World Buffet” got this food passport. So everytime the customer presented the card when they came for the “Around the World Buffet“. We then stamped the passport with the featured country stamp. When the customer have five stamps on the card, the sixth buffet is free. Restaurant Promotion Idea #45:- Repeat Business with Unique Loyalty Program
When most people think about Christmas cocktails they think about egg nog. But with people avoiding raw egg due to salmonella, its not the best choice. As always when I need creative cocktail or decoration ideas I turn to Pinterest. As Christmas is also for the kids, we created some Mocktails for the kids too. So here is a list of cocktails and mocktails that I havr found on the web that you could use in your restaurant or bar. Click here to get Restaurant Promotion Idea #46 :- Christmas Cocktails Ideas
Very well coming back to dinner, you have sold your Romantic Valentine’s Dinner. Thus how do you increase your average check. It is simple, sell extra items like beverages. Rather than offering wines, create special cocktails or mocktails to match the occasion.
Here are some interesting Romantic Cocktails that I found on the net, that you could use in your restaurant. Restaurant Promotion Idea #47 :- Valentine Cocktails Ideas
I have always worked in Beach Resort geared to families. I am always on the look out for ways to draw in families to dine in my} outlets. Marketing to families are a different ballgame. You have to attract the kids first. So our busiest business comes during the school break when families go for holidays together. Marketing to kids is very profitable nowadays but you have to do it properly. As quoted in the National Restaurant Website “Recent Kidzsmart survey asked children what they like most about going out to eat with their parents. Their top answer was spending time with their family (60 percent), followed by fun (48 percent) and the food (43 percent).”. So your promotions should be geared in creating the spending time experience with parents. Click here for some ideas Restaurant Promotion Idea #48:- Attract your Little Customers
Summer the hottest of the four seasons, falls between spring and autumn. The warm temperatures of summer will bring people out. Most countries especially the US have month long summer holidays. Thus most families will travel. If you are in a popular summer vacation spot. You have to come out with fun and creative restaurant promotion ideas to draw people in. Otherwise they will go somewhere else. Summertime is time for you to run a long promotion.
Here are some ways to boost sales and build your summer revenue. Restaurant Promotion Idea #49:- Summer Promotion Ideas for Restaurants
Before for special occasion like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day we used to hire a photographer to get photographs for the customers that dine in. But you could only do that on special occasions. As the price of hiring a photographer was expensive. Which was not recommended to do everyday. Which means you’re limited to only certain days. But nowadays its easier, with the introduction of the self service photo booth. Here a hassle free picture taking device. You need to set the photo booth at a specific location. Your customers only needs to pose and snap their picture. They can either print, download to their mobile phones, share it with their friends or even on social media. Restaurant Promotion Ideas # 50- Giving Sweet Memories with a Photobooth
Recently a friend of mine opened a little bistro. It was a mix between a snack and dessert bistro together with a juice bar. I guess he must have read my juice bar post.
Well being a new little bistro, his advertising budget was small. He was not able to print custom packaging. So he needed to purchase conventional takeaway boxes and cups. Along these lines he required a cost effective way to put his logo on his conventional takeaway boxes and cups. One option was to buy stickers but stickers comes with additional expenses.
I found this cost effective idea in the Pinterest site. Its a very simple cost effective way of putting your logo on your packaging. By using Custom Rubber inking stamps. Its simple yet keeping expenses low. Restaurant Promotion Ideas #51 – Branding Stamp Logo and Marketing