Restaurant promotional activities are a must for any restaurant – whether it is new or already existing. Fortunately, there are several options and ideas that can be executed to bring in the diners and fill seats.
Some restaurant owners are anxious about offering specials and promotions thinking that it will affect their bottom line. But, the truth is, when executed correctly, promotional deals can increase revenue, bring in new diners and build customer loyalty.
Here is a list of the best restaurant promotional ideas that you must give a try. Although it is not a fit-for-all concept, you are sure to find a couple of ideas that can be tried out at your restaurant.
PROMOTIONS AND SPECIALS FOR A RESTAURANT
1. Restaurant Opening Promotion
If you are yet to open your restaurant, then its opening is the most welcoming opportunity to introduce your new business and start building a customer base. You can use either grand or soft opening ideas for your restaurant. But, also offer a promotional deal to facilitate foot traffic.
Provide discounts, free giveaways, or any other special offers that will attract people in large numbers.
2. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs will encourage people to come back to a restaurant after their first visit. Ensure that loyalty programs are a perfect balance between an attractive offer for the customer and a good profit margin for the restaurant. Do not be too generous with the discount and lose money in the long run.
Example – Buy 9 products, get the 10th one free – this is suitable for items like beverages or desserts, but not the full course meal. Bars can provide loyalty points for those attending a certain amount of happy hours.
3. Happy Hour Specials
This is the most popular special used by restaurants these days. It can include beverage discounts, food specials, or even both. Usually, happy hours are provided by restaurants or bars serving alcoholic beverages. But, non-alcoholic happy hours can turn out to be lucrative too.
Create different types of happy hour specials for each day of the week to showcase some creativity and greater choices for customers. Use a blanket discount or discounts for particular drinks or food items. Happy hours could even be restricted to weekdays as weekends are usually busier than weekdays.
4. Weekday Specials
As mentioned above, different specials can be offered on different days. This can also coincide with the happy hour or be a standalone special.
The names of the specials can be made catchy and easy to remember by using alliterations – for example, Mayo Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. Use such specials only to promote days/time periods when the crowd is lean and not during busy days.
5. Lunch Specials
Some restaurants can fill all their seats during dinner, but struggle to be successful for lunch or breakfast. If you are looking to attract more diners during lunch hours, offer a special promotion during those specific hours. Restaurants mostly offer soup, sandwiches, salad combo deals, or any other light fare to fill up the restaurant during its quiet hours.
6. Weekend Brunch
Saturday and Sunday lunch has gained extreme popularity. So, hop on to this trend and offer bottomless mimosas or bloody Marys. Since the diners are looking at opportunities for brunch, they will buy food and a drink to keep them full. This will attract more crowds and increase the number of food sales. Just check the local and state laws for compliance issues before offering ‘bottomless’ drinks. If there are legal restrictions, offering a discounted brunch drink would do.
7. Holiday Promotions
Holiday promotions are very effective as people actively lookout for the best holiday dining options. The calendar is full of holidays that can be used wisely for a restaurant holiday promotion. Examples are Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.
Offer seasonal deals during Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than day promotions. This is because people prefer spending time with their family rather than dining out. In fact, your restaurant might be closed too.
8. Charity Promotions
Charity or community events are great because they are crowd pullers without any effort on your part. The organization that you partner with will promote the event on your behalf. All you have to do is sit back as the crowd pours in. Ensure you price the donation amount wisely. Do not lose money by conducting the event on your premises.
9. Local Event Specials
Conduct big, grand events in your area as a crowd puller. If you run a sports bar, just play games on your television sets. Throw deals and discounts during the game or any other sporting event. If your restaurant is near a concert venue, announce pre and post-concert deals. Also partner with any big event that is going to take place in your area. You can enjoy the benefits of their marketing activities and audience to popularize your own brand.
10. Menu Item Promotions
Specific menu items can be promoted on a specific day or even a full month. Offer exciting, rotating menu items. Create an innovative, signature dish for your restaurant and offer it at a discount for a limited period. By doing so, more people will be inclined to make a visit. If you are running a burger outlet, you could start a ‘Burger of the Month’ kind of promotion. Share news about it on your restaurant website and social media to draw crowds.
11. Food Blogger/Influencer Events
Bring in food bloggers from the locality or conduct events to draw in the influencers. If you offer them free or discounted food, they will provide you with a worthy amount of publicity on their websites and social media channels, that too, free of cost. Your message reaches a food-based audience, making it extremely worthy, especially if you are just starting the business.
12. Business Card Raffle
Although this is an old-school type of promotion, it still holds good. Customers can be asked to drop their business card in a bowl or any dropbox. One card can be picked every month and the winner can be rewarded with a free meal or a substantial discount. If your reward is bigger, you can reduce the frequency and vice-versa.
Raffles can bring customers to the restaurant repeatedly, thereby, building customer loyalty. It also helps collect authentic information about customers. With the email addresses collected, you can use them for your valuable email marketing campaigns, informing them about promotions and offers, thus encouraging them to keep making visits.
13. Industry Night
This means offering a discount to restaurant employees, restaurant owners, or other staff in the hospitality field. If your restaurant is situated in an area with lots of local businesses, you can also choose to offer special discounts for business owners in the same community as yours.
By organizing and hosting industry nights, you build camaraderie among other local businesses and hospitality industry staff. Industry nights can help you build a good standing with business neighbors and also bring in repeat customers.
14. Coupon Redeemed During Next Visit
To encourage diners to walk into your restaurant once again, offer them a discount during their next visit, that too after they finish their meal. Make it a one-time loyalty program. The coupon might force them to return to your restaurant and avail of the discount. But, eventually, if you serve them good food with great service, they are likely to turn into regular customers. Even a $10 or 10% discount coupon is an attractive incentive to make people return for their second meal with your restaurant.
15. Online Order/Delivery Promotions
If you offer door delivery or partner with a third-party food delivery app, give promotions on delivery to ensure a constant inflow of food orders. You can give free delivery or a $5 off. With delivery fees skyrocketing, people who order food are always on the lookout for deals. Even small discounts can increase your revenue.
Most of these promotional ideas can suit your restaurant business. But, you will have to learn through trial and error what suits best for you and the revenue of your business.
To let the world know about your promotional activity, specials, offers, and discounts in style build your own restaurant website using the templates of Restaurantify. The aesthetic and customizable templates are a visual treat and full of utility. Also enjoy the benefits of Online food ordering, website analytics, customized content, and digital marketing for a minimum extra fee.
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