15 Ways to Promote a Restaurant/Café


A famous restaurateur said in an interview that he considers social media an effective promotional tool for the food industry. He also noted that quick and polite responses to criticism help strengthen a restaurant’s reputation.

The peculiarities of promotion in the restaurant business do not stop there. To promote a place, you need to make a portrait of the target audience and develop a concept for the restaurant. Think through corporate identity, choose appropriate ways of promotion and determine the budget for advertising. Be sure to control the quality of food and the level of service.

In this article we have collected tools for promoting a restaurant/café online and offline. Many of them do not require significant costs and special knowledge.

15 ways to promote a restaurant or cafe

1. Map

Add the restaurant to Google Maps. Companies from map services are more likely to be at the top of local search results. Customers who search for restaurants on maps are a “warm” audience. People turn to search when they want to come in to eat out or order delivery. Fill out your profile: add aesthetically pleasing photos, talk about the restaurant’s menu and atmosphere.

2. Social media

This is one of the most effective ways of promotion. It is good if the restaurant has accounts in several social networks. The characteristics of Instagram, Facebook audiences are different. To reach more potential customers, you can maintain pages on several platforms.

What is needed for successful promotion in social networks:

  • Page aesthetics. Format the profile in a corporate style and fill it with beautiful photos. Develop a tone of voice (ToV) of the brand and stick to it in publications.
  • Take photos not only of the food, but also of the staff: show how welcoming and friendly staff are waiting for guests
  • Targeted advertising. Targeting mechanisms allow you to show ads only to potential customers.
  • Collaboration with bloggers. Order ads from food bloggers or local bloggers. It is not necessary to pay for services with money.
  • Offer barter or arrange partner shoots. A blogger can record his or her releases in the restaurant’s lounge in exchange for a mention of the establishment.


3. Own restaurant website

A website helps to tell a wide audience about the restaurant and attract visitors from search traffic. Just like a social media profile, a website conveys the brand concept and allows you to communicate with customers. So think carefully about the structure. Do not overload sections with text, make it easy to navigate through the pages. Adapt the site for mobile devices, add an online booking form and driving directions.

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On the main page a minimum of text, a button to go to the booking form and a link to the travel map
Make a landing page or online business card you can do yourself with an online designer. Such services do not require special skills. The user assembles a page of ready-made blocks in an intuitive editor. Then adds your text and photos. Also, designers usually have many ready-made templates, including for restaurants and cafes.

4. SEO promotion

This is a long-term strategy to improve the position of the site in search results. For this they collect and analyze requests from users. Then form an array of keywords to be included in the texts. Refine the structure and improve usability. The result is an improved page ranking in search engines.

You can start with free ways of SEO promotion, and then lay the budget. It is also important that you have a site that is adapted to mobile devices. Since most search queries nowadays are made from smartphones.

5. Offline promotion

To promote the restaurant, you can use outdoor advertising, exterior design of the institution, branded souvenirs, promotional printing.

For example, if you open a cafe in a business center, put at the entrance to the building portable banner with a menu. Particular attention should be paid to the design of the entrance group, windows or showcase of the restaurant. A pleasant color scheme, soft lighting and interior decorations will attract the attention of guests.

Branded souvenirs raffle off in competitions or give them away when ordering delivery. You can make gifts not only to customers, but also to suppliers. After all, people work there who also go to restaurants.

Promotional printing works if you want to attract the attention of a local audience. A new pizzeria in the neighborhood can order the distribution of leaflets on mailboxes or advertising in elevators.

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6. Advertising by geolocation

This is a geographic targeting, where the display of ads is adjusted for the audience with accuracy to the street or subway station. You can promote a family cafe in a separate residential complex or a restaurant in the business center of the city. The tool increases the cost-effectiveness of the advertising campaign through a more accurate targeting.

Geotargeting can be set up in Google Ads and other advertising systems. This function is also available for advertising in social networks.

7. Mailings via email, social networks, and messengers

If you need to inform your customers about a seasonal promotion, discounts, or the launch of a new menu, you can do email newsletters. Remember that you should only send letters to those who have agreed to receive advertising. For example, discount card holders who filled out a form and left an email and phone number.

The letter for the mailing should be properly designed: make a beautiful layout, add an attractive visual, write a useful text.

8. Listing in directories

Place your restaurant in Internet directories and local directories. To understand where to register, enter “restaurants/cafes in (city name)” into the search bar. See which sites are at the top of the listings and list your establishment on them.

9. Loyalty Programs

Discount cards help you get loyal customers: people appreciate the opportunity to save money. Also, a loyalty program allows you to gather a base of contacts for promotional mailings.

You don’t have to issue physical cards, the discount can be tied to a phone number. The program can be built not only around the discount percentage, but also give tangible bonuses. The “10th cup of coffee free” promotion works on this principle.

10. Online enrollment and on-site chat

Use online chats on the website to communicate with customers. Guests don’t always have the time or desire to read information about the restaurant on the website. In a chat room, the staff can quickly answer questions.

Make table reservations convenient for customers with online appointment services. Add a service widget to the website. Customers will click on the link and choose a convenient time to visit. You won’t lose guests because the phone was busy or the receptionist didn’t have time to answer the call.

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11. Events

Restaurants usually have themed events for the holidays, but you can go beyond that. Workshops, tastings, gastro-dinners and performances of artists will help to attract attention to the institution.

For example, in a family cafe, you can organize a children’s master class on making cookies. In a wine restaurant, arrange a wine tasting of a particular region. Gastro-dinner can be timed to coincide with the beginning of the season of a certain product. Accompany the evening with music from local cover bands.

12. Working with feedback

The site is required to have a feedback form for guests. Feedback helps to improve service and correct mistakes made by the staff.

You should respond to both negative and positive comments. If the client is dissatisfied, understand the situation, acknowledge the shortcomings and offer compensation in the form of a discount or a free meal. If a satisfied customer writes to you, thank them for their appreciation of the restaurant.

You should also respond promptly to feedback from special sites and mapping services. Google Alerts will help you keep track of all new mentions of the restaurant on the Internet. If you don’t have many reviews, you can order reviews on special services.

13. Contextual advertising

This is a tool that adjusts to users’ search queries. Contextual advertising can be set up through Google Ads.

The first three lines in the search results are often contextual advertising. Later, the user will see thematic banner ads on partner sites. Even if the person doesn’t click on the ad, this method works for brand recognition.

14. Publications in the media

You can tell about your restaurant in online media and even in print media if you are in a small town. It can be a native article or a review of a personal business experience. Direct advertising is best avoided. No one will read a long text, the explicit purpose of which is to sell. Write interesting material, and mention the brand as “background”.


It’s impossible to say in advance which promotional tool will work best for your restaurant or cafe. So test different ways, analyze the results, and gain experience. In the end, you will develop an individual strategy.

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