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5 Unique Marketing Tips for New Restaurant Owners

December 10, 2019

With new restaurants popping up every day, it’s now more important than ever for restaurateurs to market themselves creatively in order to build a loyal client base and increase revenue. So, how do you stay competitive within the culinary world? By branding your business as a must-visit restaurant that uses inventive ways to attract customers and food journalists. Creative Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

Opening a new restaurant and looking for unique marketing strategies? Our wholesale restaurant suppliers share innovative ways to draw new customers to your door. 

1. Build a Website that Tells Your Story

The most effective websites provide more than general information – they tell a story. Just like filmmakers draw up storyboards before shooting their new blockbuster, think of your online presence in similar terms. What is the mood of your restaurant?  It’s personality? It’s action? The goal is to make sure your customer’s user experience highlights your restaurant’s uniqueness every time they visit you online. Here are some examples to inspire your website design: 

  • Have a vegan or vegetarian restaurant? Consider drawing on the vibrant colors of produce for your main color scheme. Use elements like screen-changing backgrounds to highlight your use of fresh fruits and veggies to entice customers.
  • Offering high-end cuisine? Think of your website as an art gallery of the food world: refined, expressive, and innovative. Create a homepage slideshow that combines images of your expertly composed plates with your restaurant interior and exterior to create an immersive online experience. 
  • Is molecular gastronomy your style? Try designing a restaurant website with edgy, unexpected, and totally unique elements that respond to your restaurant’s aesthetic. Let your website be a journey for your customers. 

2. Go Behind the Scenes on Social Media

Let your customers be a part of your kitchen even before they’ve arrived at your restaurant. Share photos and videos of your team in action on social media, YouTube and your website. A short video of your executive chef sharing a few steak grilling tips, or a photo of delicate asparagus before it hits the sauté pan. Doing this showcases how much work goes into each plate and establishes a personal connection with your potential customers. 

3. Connect with Food Bloggers

Enlisting the help of food writers can drive more interest in your new restaurant. Make a list of the top writers in your area, and get to know them by researching their blogs. Does your restaurant serve Paleo focused items? Or are you a high-end vegan restaurant? Discover bloggers and writers who are well versed in your unique cuisine. Personally reach out to specific writers and let them know why you are excited to partner with them.  Once you have your list, try a few of these best practices to create meaningful connections between your restaurant and food critics.

  • Invite the food blogger to dine at your restaurant every day for a week for a complimentary meal. Allow the writer to pick a convenient time, serve your best dishes, and encourage them to post photos of their dining experience online. Don’t forget to cross-promote their posts on your social media platforms too. 
  • See if a food journalist is interested in adding your restaurant to an upcoming food tour. If they don’t have one planned, propose one.  Participating restaurants can film short clips of their chefs in action or create a “best of” tasting menu. The writer may then showcase these vignettes on their food blog to drive interest, and business, your way.
  • Create a video “lookbook” online. In the fashion world, a lookbook provides glimpses of the hottest new trends of the upcoming season. Why not offer some tantalizing videos of your signature items? Offer quotes from your chef about each item to add more flavor to your content.

4. Keep Your Menu Fresh and Create Buzz

Build buzz and get people talking about your restaurant by innovating your menu. Highlight seasonal items, new dishes, hip new ingredients offered at your restaurant by using the following tips. 

  • Reimagine your menu cards. Much like a dynamic website, modern menu layouts go beyond sleek fonts and bold color schemes. Is your establishment known for its cozy Alpine vibe and wood-fired cuisine? Why not print out your menus on thin wood sheets? A powerful menu design makes a lasting impression on your customers. 
  • Reveal upcoming specials or share one of your trade secrets through an email newsletter. If you have built an email list full of customers who love your brand, entice them with your new menu items. Give them the exclusive scoop on your savory galette, then offer them a coupon for being one of your first taste-testers. 
  • Market inside your own restaurant through dynamic digital menu boards. You can change up your target images with ease, shifting from videos of your hearty lunch items to close-ups of your most popular dinner entrees to give your customers an elevated dining experience. 

5. Connect with the Community

Make your new restaurant the hub of your area by hosting community-centric events. Schedule an edgy art show, invite the hottest local musicians to perform, or plan an exclusive winemaker’s dinner. These unique restaurant promotion ideas can help transform your establishment into a fun destination that will draw patrons to your door. And then keep them coming back for more delectable food.  

While an online presence and social media are crucial marketing tools for your new restaurant, don’t ignore personal networking. Create meaningful connections with members of your restaurant community--from fellow restaurateurs, foodies, to your restaurant food supplier. These relationships will always inspire and keep your finger on your area’s culinary pulse. 

Your Wholesale Restaurant Supply Store Partner

Now that you have your restaurant marketing strategy down, let Smart Foodservice take care of your new restaurant’s needs. We offer fresh produce, quality meats, cleaning supplies, and more at wholesale prices. At Smart Foodservice, our customers are our partners!  Set up a new business account, order product for pick up, or take advantage of our professional services


Restaurant Promotion Checklist

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