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Restaurant Marketing in 2017

restaurant marketing guide.jpgRestaurant owners certainly have their work cut out for them.

According to a recent study, 60 percent of new restaurants are forced to shut their doors within their first year of operations and 80 percent close within five years.


There are many reasons why restaurants fail. Maybe they open in the wrong location. Maybe they hire the wrong people who aren’t able to give customers great service. Maybe business is going along just fine until a competing restaurant opens up nearby, taking a huge slice of revenue away. Maybe the price of food shoots up unexpectedly and customers aren’t willing to pay the difference. The list goes on and on.

As a restaurant owner, you can’t control how many people decide to dine at your establishment. But by making the right investments in marketing and developing the right strategies, you can increase the chances that your restaurant sees more foot traffic.

What might a successful restaurant marketing approach look like in 2017? Let’s take a look.

Proximity Marketing

Thanks to mobile technology, it’s now possible to leverage GPS to market to prospective customers who are in the vicinity of your restaurant.

Imagine one of your loyal customers has downloaded your restaurant’s app. That individual is running some errands near your store. All of a sudden, a push notification pops up on that person’s smartphone advertising a 10 percent discount on a drink and an appetizer if the coupon is redeemed within the next two hours.

There are all sorts of tools—like Gimbal and Proxama—that can help restaurant owners turn nearby customers into extra revenue.

Local Ingredients

The farm-to-table restaurant movement has entered the mainstream. Instead of sourcing ingredients from anywhere, many forward-thinking restaurant owners have decided to support local farmers—and, by extension, feed their customers with fresh food.

There are a number of reasons your restaurant should consider using local ingredients and advertising that fact. Local food is fresher and it often tastes better. Additionally, customers who eat local food understand that they are supporting their community and the local economy.

Start serving local food and not only will you attract new customers, you can forge long-term partnerships with local farmers—working with them to develop unique offerings your customers won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Happy Hour Specials

Lure new customers into your establishment by advertising lucrative happy hour specials.

Not only should you offer discounted drinks, you can also put out some free food—like chicken tenders or nachos—to convince folks to pop in during lesser trafficked hours.

Social Media

What does your restaurant’s social media presence look like?

If you’re not taking pictures of your specials and posting them on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong. While you don’t need to be on every single social platform, you should set up shop on a couple of networks to lure new customers in and get people talking about your establishment.

To generate traffic on social media, consider launching contests or sweepstakes in which the prize is something like a free cocktail or a free appetizer. You’re certain to get traffic that way.


If potential customers are looking for somewhere to eat, will they be able to find your restaurant after a simple Google search?

Let’s say you run a steakhouse in Chicago. When prospective customers get hungry, they might run a quick search for “places to get steak in Chicago,” for example.

Figure out what customers are most likely to search for and create content that includes those keyword phrases. That way, they should have an easier time finding your business—which should send more foot traffic your way.

Fundraisers and Events

When local groups are putting together fundraisers or hosting networking events, raise your hand and volunteer to donate some food or drink to the cause.

Not only are these gestures tax-deductible, they’re a great way to raise brand awareness and convince new customers to give your restaurant a try.

To learn more about how you can take your restaurant marketing game to the next level—attracting new customers and growing your business—check out our Ultimate Restaurant Marketing Guide today! Get inspired and start delivering even better experiences to your customers.

Download The Ultimate Restaurant Marketing Guide »