Trivia might be one of the most popular restaurant promotion ideas, but it’s not the only one.

Trivia is big. There’s no arguing the fact. It’s a popular way to bring people into your restaurant, and it’s a relatively easy event to host, especially if you hire someone for it. But trivia isn’t right for every restaurant. Maybe you don’t have space. Perhaps that’s not where your audience is. Or it might not be your preferred aesthetic.

The good news is that there are plenty more restaurant promotion ideas available that can work for you. With the right tools and a little creativity, you can draw new people in, and get your current customer base to come in more often.

This is the second article in this series on restaurant promotion ideas. Here’s the first article on restaurant promotion ideas.

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Restaurant promotion ideas that work

Yelp- 7 Engaging Restaurant Promotion Ideas Beyond Trivia Night1. Take advantage of Yelp

You can’t control the reviews that you get on your Yelp page, but you can do as much as possible to help the website work in your favor. If it’s not already there, add your website, phone number, and hours to your page. Ensure your address is correct. Include pictures, and provide a link to your menu. Respond, professionally and politely, to bad reviews, and thank users for leaving positive reviews.

2. Instagram

Easy, right? Well, that depends. Taking food photos can be tricky. Good lighting and a decent camera are critical. And it’s important to be true to your branding. If you’re a high-end restaurant, you’ll need professional-quality photos. If you’re a greasy spoon? Not so much, but you do still want your pictures to look good. Before you send your post out to the world, take a minute and answer honestly if you would see that picture and think the food looks good. Try these simple tips to make your food photos look better:

  • Make sure your scene is clean and free of crumbs, wrappers, and similarly distracting elements.
  • Use contrast to your advantage.
  • Close up shots work well as long as you have good light.
  • Make sure your shot is in focus.

Icon- 7 Engaging Restaurant Promotion Ideas Beyond Trivia Night3. Send out an email newsletter

Your newsletter can be simple. Mailchimp offers an easy solution with predesigned templates. All you have to do is upload your email addresses, fill in your content, and you’re done. And don’t worry, you don’t have to send emails all that often. A monthly email is sufficient to remind your customers how much they miss you. Share updated menu items, weekly or monthly specials, a new brewery that’s on tap, highlight your team, or share your favorite kitchen story.

4. Work with a local charity

Do you have a big event or a favorite charity near you? Work with them to raise money and promote your restaurant at the same time. Schedule a day where a percentage of your sales goes directly to an organization of your choice. Public schools are always a good partner, since many of them could use cash, and (assuming they promote the event) there is a built-in audience.

5. Host community events

If you have space, host community events on slow nights to help boost your sales. Book release parties, small seminars, Scrabble tournaments, and club meetings are all possibilities. At a minimum, most people will at least buy a drink or two, and if you aren’t filling the space anyway, that’s an excellent way to get a few people in your seats.

Chef- 7 Engaging Restaurant Promotion Ideas Beyond Trivia Night6. Host a guest celebrity chef

Invite a local celebrity chef to host a dinner. Let them plan the menu, and be sure to heavily promote the night on your social media feed, in your newsletter, and even through ads in your local newspaper.

7. Start a loyalty program

Loyalty programs work. According to an article posted by HubSpot, “a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit for your company.”

You can approach this in several ways. Some restaurants offer a credit every time a customer spends a certain amount over time. For instance, for every $100 a customer spends, they get a $5 reward. Coffee shops are famous for the “buy ten get one free” approach. Maybe it’s a free entrée for every tenth meal, or a free round of drinks when your customers spend more than a specified amount for dinner.

And don’t forget, for all these restaurant promotion ideas, and any others you try, don’t forget to post them on your social media feed and display them on your social wall.

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