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Restaurant Marketing 101: How to Get Your Restaurant Noticed

What captures your customer’s attention? Is it your restaurant’s menu? Location? Or maybe it’s catchy marketing?

For many of today’s consumers, their attention needs to be grabbed quickly and then action needs to be taken to keep it. With restaurant experiences changing and consumer habits evolving, we need to find new ways to engage with customers. Our day to day restaurant marketing strategy efforts needs to be nimble and ever-evolving.

Why is this important? The goal is to be top of mind, increase your credibility, and gain your customers’ trust. Your customers care about the message you’re sending, online and in-person.

Here is your Restaurant Marketing 101 course: 8 things you can do to get your restaurant noticed: 

1. Start with Your Staff

First things first, a great business begins with an excellent staff. Your front of house staff is the first thing noticed when guests come into your restaurant. They are the face of your restaurant and need to be remarkable. When you have a memorable staff that goes above and beyond standard service, it won’t go unnoticed.

The goal with a strong staff is to build relationships with your customer so they continue to return to your establishment. Having your servers personalize the guest’s experience is critical.

Simply addressing your customers by name can go a long way. This allows your staff to build genuine relationships and gain customer loyalty.

2. #SocialMedia

Did you know 82% of millennials look online to plan their next meal? It’s time to begin engaging with your consumers on platforms that they love, social media.

Restaurant owners need to understand there are different needs and preferences for each group of consumers. In order to reach Millennials and Generation Z, you must establish a relationship with them on social media. This is an outlet that allows for more reach and engages with them.

Managing social media when running a restaurant can feel overwhelming. It’s important to keep your posting strategy simple and focus on platforms where you can excel.

There has been an extreme rise in mobile technology and social media comes with it. Social media is a great outlet to share artistic food specials, upcoming events, and your guests having a good time in your restaurant. Follow your local regulars, foodies and more to engage with them.

Tweet your way to the top with these specific social media marketing tips for restaurants.  

3. Partner with an Organization and/or Charity

Another idea to get your restaurant noticed, is to partner with an organization or charity. For example, on a certain day, you could donate a portion of your sales to this group.

This shows your restaurant supports the mission of this organization and is passionate about helping. People will come into your restaurant to support the cause and this enhances your standing in the community. Establishing this strong bond with the community will encourage people to return to your business.

4. Host a Food Challenge

Does your restaurant offer something on the menu that sets you apart from the competition? Consider providing your customers with a food challenge. This intrigues guests to come in to take part and bring their friends for support.

A food challenge allows your guests to feel special when all the attention is on them. This also gives your restaurant a great opportunity to be the place where everybody wants to go for fun.

Most challenges include an outrageous amount of food that needs to be eaten under a certain amount of time. Challenge winners then receive prizes such as a free meal, t-shirt, and a small amount of fame (only in the restaurant). Are you up for the challenge?

5. Collab with Local Restaurants

We’re all about the support of everybody in the restaurant industry, right? Put competition aside and invite a fellow chef from a neighboring restaurant to yours for a collaboration dinner.

Both restaurants create a special lineup of cocktails and food that equally represent both of their styles. A collaboration dinner helps build your business as well as expand your customer base.

If you have a bar, get your restaurant involved in a pub crawl. This is a time where large groups of people travel to different bars and restaurants throughout the day for a good time. This is an opportunity to create a fun drink special that captures everyone’s attention.

Supporting local restaurants and chefs boosts community spirit and encourages integration.

6. Location is Key

Location and accessibility to your restaurant are just as important as the food and service. There are lots of important factors that come into play when customers are choosing a restaurant. You want your restaurant in a location that gets lots of foot traffic, has easy visibility and is approachable to all.

Having a prime location spot for your restaurant can lead to a lot of fun opportunities. It gives you a chance to get creative with your surroundings.

If you have space for a large mural on the side of your building, this can draw people in to take photos and tag your restaurant. Have an outdoor chalkboard sign that’s fun and grabs people’s attention, the possibilities are endless.

7. Get involved with your community

To keep your restaurant at the forefront of people’s minds, you want to get them into your establishment as much as possible. It needs to be inviting to the community and a place where your customers create great memories. This can serve as a chance to host special events that draw in more people than usual.

One idea that you could try out is inviting local bands to come to perform at your restaurant. It gets people together for a fun shareable experience with great food and entertaining music. You can also have your guests join you in an exclusive dinner. Prepare a menu with different food courses, each with wine or beer tasting that compliments the dish. This offers something different than the traditional night out and will likely be remembered.

8. Sell your brand

It’s right there in the name. If your restaurant has a distinctly recognizable logo, make the most out of it.

Get shirts, stickers, hats, and anything else you feel your customers would like made so people can wear them. It’s walking advertising and easy marketing.

Having a strong brand is essential in the foodservice industry. Branded merchandise capitalizes on customer loyalty and increases brand awareness.


Hopefully you found some value in this information from Sysco. Talk to your BFS sales rep or email us if you need product information.