27 Restaurant Marketing Ideas: How to Market a Restaurant #7 #11

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There are over 100,000 restaurants in the U.S., from dive bars to Michelin five stars, fast food to fusion, sandwich to steakhouse, I could go on for days.

There are over 100,000 restaurants in the U.S., from dive bars to Michelin five stars, fast food to fusion, sandwich to steakhouse, I could go on for days.

In other words, competition among restaurants is fierce, so you need a bullet-proof restaurant marketing plan. Well, my friend, you’re in the right place because this all-in-one restaurant marketing guide is going to provide all of the creative, strategic, and competitive inspiration you need to attract, gratify, and keep customers coming back.

Restaurant marketing guide table of contents

How to market a restaurant

There is no one “best way” to market a restaurant, as it all depends on your category, audience, location, and more, but these are the foundational steps any food-friendly establishment should take:

1. Develop your restaurant’s brand identity

Your brand identity is more than just your brand colors. It represents your business’s personality, the tone of your content, the emotions you want to inspire in your customers. “Happy” is not enough. Think about the most popular restaurants:

  • Taco Bell: humor and wit
  • Cheesecake Factory: indulgence and extravagance
  • Panera: health and freshness
  • Olive Garden: family and comfort

So first and foremost, understand your target audience, then further segment that audience into individual buyer personas with interests and lifestyles you cater to. Establish a theme and feel that works well with all your personas, and then consistently express that in every piece of content you create and every action you take.

how to market a restaurant - brand identity examples

Four different taquerias with four different looks and feels.

For more help with developing your identity, use our tips on how to brand your business.

2. Get a website

This is non-negotiable. At the bare minimum, you need a homepage, about us, menu, and contact page. But ideally, you’ll want a reviews page, photo gallery, blog, and even a FAQ page. We’ll talk more about optimizing your site later, but the important thing to note here is that your website is the go-to for current and potential diners, and it needs to be professional—first impressions matter!

Already have a website? Find out how you can improve it with the LOCALiQ Free Website Grader.

3. Establish your mission statement

This goes along with your brand identity, and should be a documented statement expressing the purpose of your business. Is it to make healthy food more affordable? Is it to encourage family bonding? Promote sustainability? Your mission statement should state what you provide, where/to whom, why you do it, and how. You can gain inspiration from these mission statement examples.

how to market a restaurant - sweetgreen mission statement example

4. Set up your socials

Next on the list for building your online presence is your social profiles. The most popular social media platforms for restaurants are Facebook and Instagram, but TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and even LinkedIn have their place for many brands. You can use our complete guide to social media marketing to get your profiles and strategy going.

5. Get listed on restaurant apps

Dining and restaurant apps are among the best free restaurant marketing tools, as getting found on one of these means getting found by people with high intent. Dining apps allow users to filter very specifically, so the key to these is adding as many details as possible, including:

  • Category (There are far more than the eight in the Thrillist chart above.)
  • Website
  • Address and phone
  • Store hours
  • Menu
  • Price Range
  • Photos, and lots of ‘em
  • Attributes: wifi, outdoor seating, parking, special diets, etc.
how to market a restaurant - yelp search results

As for which apps to get listed on, these include:

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