Apr 28, 2016 / by Will / In Marketing / Leave a comment

Free Restaurant Marketing Tips & Tricks

Setting up and running a restaurant or pub can be hard, and a lot of start-ups will fail within their first year. I love start-ups, I think there’s something magical about the enthusiasm start-ups have, but the success or failure of restaurant doesn’t lie in enthusiasm, it lies in:

  • Great Service
  • Great Products
  • Great Marketing

It’s “Great Marketing” we can help you with! This blog is designed to help your restaurant, pub, bar or club achieve great marketing. We’ll be discussing what you can do to market your establishment online, offline and other tips and tricks.

Let’s start online, with the greatest tool you’ll need in your arsenal, a website.


A website should be at the core of you digital marketing, with users coming to it to find out your opening times, view the menu and book a table. The design of your website could be the difference between somebody booking their 30th Birthday Party at your place or at your competitors. Check out the website we build for the Hales Bar Harrogate.


Search Engine Optimisation is key to the success of a digital marketing campaign, it helps you appear higher in the list of search results, if there’s major competition in your area you’ll need some major SEO. Simple things such as submitting a site map to Google, registering your establishment on Google places and keeping your information up-to-date helps massively with SEO.


How many times have you visited a website, couldn’t use it properly and left? If your website isn’t user focused, your user will loose focus. Here are some of the things to consider on your site:

  • Mobile Friendly – if it’s not mobile friendly, it’s barely worth having! (I have a tendency to rant about how important mobile friendly, or responsive, websites are. It’s 2016! Get it sorted!!!)
  • Easy to Navigate – Make it clear where everything is, chances are the user is on the site for a particular piece of information, help them by making it clear in the navigation menu.
  • Opening Times – I regularly Google venues to see when they open and closed, make your opening times prominent.
  • Location – Let’s say you’re out of town and you’re meeting friends, you know the venue, so you go to the website to find out where it is. If you don’t have a link to Google Maps or easy directions then this user is annoyed and less likely to spend lots of money in your establishment. The customers experience doesn’t start when they enter the establishment!
  • Easy to Book – Integrate a simple booking form into the website, don’t make the user phone up if they don’t have to. If you use a digital booking system in house already, you could link that up to your website.
  • Updated Content – Get yourself a blog, it’s great for SEO, brand awareness and social media content. Read more about The Benefits of a Blog

Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Create a brand voice that shows off your brand personality. For instance, I write everything for MooMooSheep in a very informal, relaxed style. That’s because I want my audience to relax and understand that digital marketing is easy and put their confidence in us. This brand voice should appear in your blogs, website content, social media and even on your menus.

Social Media

It’s so important to get this right and get a decent following. If you’re just starting up, don’t wait until you launch to do your social media campaign, do it as soon as you’ve got the deeds to the place. Put pictures up of the work you’re doing, pictures of the food that you might be putting on, make it personal to the followers.

Advertising with Facebook couldn’t be easier, and what’s even better is you can narrow your adverts right down to your target audience. You could advertise to anyone who likes your competitors page! #Cheeky!

Run some competitions on social media, such as a free-bottle-of-fizz-if-you-like-and-share-this-post, raffle. They help with reaching out to your audience’s friends and creates positive engagement.

Social Media videos; if you have an event night, put a video up of that night so people know what they’ve missed!

Newsletters and Email Marketing

Email marketing and newletters are a fantastic way to engage with your followers, but remember the golden rule:


As tempting as it sounds, if you buy email addresses you only end up becoming that annoying company that spams people. Instead, offer an incentive to sign up to the email address list; “15% off your bill when you sign up”, and automatically send emails out as soon as people sign up. You can send over exclusive offers to the email list and inform them of events and dates.


User generated content is the best type of content. If you’re buying a product off amazon, you read the reviews; they’re honest and reliable. Same goes for Trip Advisor, Facebook, Google Places etc. The more reviews you get the better. Don’t despair if you get the odd bad review, just reply to it, apologise if necessary and offer them an opportunity for you to redeem yourself. Honesty really is the best policy.


Get some local bloggers to do a review, offer them a free meal and in return, get them to do an honest review. If you have a local, popular Vlogger, that’s even better because it puts you on another social media platform.

Offline Marketing

Brand repetition, brand repetition, brand repetition. Keep your colours, fonts and brand the same across all media; online and offline. Brand repetition is how you establish popularity. Remember that when you create flyers, posters, menu’s, signage etc.

Visible Menu

Make sure your menu is visible from the outside of the venue, your customer wants to know if it’s the kind of food they want before they walk in; it’s super British to be so polite that you order something you don’t want or can’t afford because you don’t want to walk out without ordering something. Make your customers comfortable by advertising the menu and pricing outside the venue.


Check with your local council, but on a sunny weekend it might be an idea to set a little table up outside and have samples to give away with a voucher for a discount on a bill, this kind of marketing stunt is important for start-up’s who want to let the locals know they’re open.


Quirky stunts are a great way to get people talking about your venue. Why not offer a phone custardy? Offer a box with a pad lock on it, get the people dining to put their phones in it and if they survive the whole meal without getting their phone out, they get a discount. Fantastic publicity stunt that could get you the recognition to stand out from your competitors. (P.S. If you use this, please make sure no-one else in the local area is doing the same. If it looks like you’ve stolen the idea off a local competitor then it will look awful).

Menu Design

There is nothing like a well designed menu, it can make or break a purchase decision, so I will leave you with a few things to consider when you’re designing your menu:

Easy to Read – Make sure you can read your font, I’m not just talking about the size of the font, but if it’s too decorative then the font won’t stand out and your customer will be confused.

Excellent Descriptions – Make the descriptions entertaining, not just a list of ingredients. Instead of “Steak cooked to your liking with seasoning, served with mash” turn it into: “Obviously the right way to eat Steak is so rare that a skilled vet could bring it back to life, but we’ll cook it how you like it, with some of the finest seasonings our little chefs could get their hands on. Served with creamy mash; just like Grandma used to make.”

Photographs – You don’t need them for every item, but if you have a best seller, then get it photographed professionally to show how good it is!

Forget the £ – Some research suggests that your customers are less likely to think about the money their spending when you leave the “£” sign out, example; “Steak & Chips……8.50”.


Marketing, offline or online, isn’t a one time thing. It’s an on-going project that requires planning and dedication. Hopefully this blog will have helped you come up with a few ideas, but if you need a helping hand getting your marketing off the ground, then get in touch, we’d be happy to help.

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