4 Ways Digital Marketing Can Help Your Restaurant Thrive

4 Ways Digital Marketing Can Help Your Restaurant Thrive


It goes without saying that the restaurant industry is one of the toughest and most competitive in America. Building a loyal customer base takes time and effort, as does training and retaining skilled staff in both the kitchen and front-of-house. This is before you even add in the high-pressure of hungry customers looking for great food and fast service.

All that said, when restauranteurs finally catch their breath and think about strategy, many don’t know what road to take with their marketing efforts. Traditional media can help establish name recognition and awareness for eateries first opening their doors. The question is, how can a restaurant stay relevant and top of mind amongst a sea of competitors after their initial offering? For many, the answer may lie in digital solutions.

Geotargeting Can Deliver Nearby Customers

A good marketing plan is as essential a piece of restaurant equipment as an oven or dishwasher. Without one, you won’t succeed for long. The precision and immediacy of digital advertising are a perfect fit for the service industry. Geotargeting is one of the best examples of this. 

Let’s say your establishment is located near a sports arena along a row of other restaurants and bars. If you invest in a simple geotargeting campaign, you can serve ads to patrons of the sporting event on their smartphones to try to persuade them to choose your business over their other options. Geotargeting places banner ads, animated .gifs, or video pre-rolls in apps and websites that potential customers may be accessing nearby. If your call-to-action is compelling enough, you may breakthrough and convince them to stop in!

Social Advertising Can Promote Daily Specials and Deals

Imagine you run a corner bakery in the business district of a large town in the 1950s or 60s. You have hot, fresh rolls coming out of the oven every few hours but, of course, they don’t stay hot for long. What if you could send a message to loyal and potential customers when the rolls are ready, telling them to come to get them while they’re hot? 50, 60, or 70 years ago, this would have been the stuff of fantasy, but now it’s easily accomplished by purchasing modest social media schedules.

Many people mistakenly think that only large corporations pay for ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Really, almost any business can afford boosted ads or paid social. It’s just a matter of smartly focusing on your goals and audience. Social can deliver incredible results because it can deploy ads to people based on very specific demographics from location, to gender, to income or interest level.

This can help restaurants build awareness and promote specials to new customers without ever lifting a finger. The minimum investments are low, especially compared to traditional media. 

Geofencing Can Create Awareness and Buzz

How many times have you said goodbye to a satisfied customer by saying “Tell your friends about us”? What if you could encourage your guests to do that and more by offering a hashtag and photo/video frame on Instagram or Facebook to show their friends where they were? 

Wedding venues have embraced the value of this, and there’s no reason it can’t translate to restaurants as well.

Digital Marketing is a Powerful Recruitment Tool

As we’ve already discussed, turnover, retention, recruitment, and training are always major concerns in the restaurant industry. When you lose someone or need to add staff, why not have a digital ad ready to go? You can boost it on Facebook or buy a paid social schedule in a matter of minutes. A digital ad’s reach will likely go farther than a print ad or a sign in the door, and you can target it to the people you need to see it.

Digital marketing has changed the way business works in the 2020s. With so many advantages, there’s no reason to leave your restaurant’s advertising in the analog age. Invest in digital and you may be astonished by the results!