15 Quick Restaurant & Bar Marketing Ideas

So, you have a great restaurant – delectable food, loyal and satisfied customers and wonderful employees – but you crave for more. You envision the potential of your establishment soaring beyond your originally projected goals. Marketing your establishment is the first step toward attaining this goal, but it does not have to be expensive or time-consuming thanks to technology and the ever-important social sphere.

We’ve come up with 15 easy ways to market your bar or restaurant in 30 minutes or less.

Retweet/reply to people talking about your restaurant via Twitter

Using social media management tools like Hootsuite make it easy to track conversations about your bar or restaurant, even when your handle isn’t mentioned. Jumping into these conversations, especially without being prompted, is a quick and effective marketing tactic. RT means retweet, FYI.

Respond to negative feedback

Just as you should never ignore reviews, you shouldn’t ignore negative feedback via social media. Engage customers with complaints by responding with suggestions or solutions.

Post a photo of a special dish/drink

Engage your visual fans by posting photos of a menu or drink special on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Not only can a photo spark conversation, it can also spark appetites!

Hand out business cards or free sample items at a local hotspot 

According to the Young Entrepreneur Council, people still love face to face communication. Taking a half hour to venture to a local community event can be a quick and cost-effective way to market your bar or restaurant.

Launch a Foursquare deal

Foursquare deals are super easy and work. Use Mashable’s user-friendly “How To” guide to launch one quickly with little effort. Let customers know about the promo by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.

Offer a complimentary appetizer to the first 25 people to “like” your Facebook post

Create a Facebook status offering a complimentary appetizer or gift card to the first 25 people to like or comment. You are engaging your fans, and their friends will see the interaction in their newsfeed, creating an even wider ripple effect.

Offer a “secret” menu item, only available to those who mention a Twitter/Facebook post

Channel your followers’ inner spy like Safe House does and offer a special only available to those who know the secret code. When customers mention a specific Facebook status or tweet, offer a special item not available to the general public. This will also help keep your customers checking in on your social channels more often.

Post a poll on Facebook

It takes seconds to create a poll on Facebook. Ask a question and get your customers to weigh-in with their opinions. Questions like “which seasonal entree would you like to see added permanently to the menu?” give you relevant feedback while engaging your Facebook fans. What’s even better? If you implement a change based on the feedback you receive…

Share positive press on social media outlets

It seems intuitive, but many bars and restaurants don’t take advantage of positive press that they receive. If you are mentioned in a news outlet, spread the word by sharing it with your fan base.

Give kudos to employees

Take a few minutes to recognize your employee of the month or to share a quick anecdote about an employee who has recently gone above and beyond the call of duty. Sharing positive news about your staff not only boosts morale but reflects well on your bar or restaurant.

Write or promote a blog post

Research local bloggers and invite them to a special night at your restaurant. Offer a free appetizer or dessert and ask if they would mind mentioning your establishment in their next post. Building positive relationships with various local outlets will most certainly help you in the long run. Perhaps in a year from now, you will host an event that aligns with the blogger and he or she will showcase your event on their blog. Hey, free advertising!

Set up Google Alerts

Google alerts are a simple and free way to get regular updates about something that interests you. To be an effective thought leader, you want to be on top of news and happenings that interest you and your business.

Make sure your restaurant’s information is listed correctly online

Approximately 97% of customers search for local businesses online. Be sure your business is listed on Yahoo and Google, the two most popular search engines. Google offers a service called Local Business Center, while Yahoo offers a similar service called Yahoo! Local.

Weigh-in on a (non-controversial) current event, share a video – don’t just sell

Be more than just another money-hungry business by finding a way to be more interactive with your customers. People love pictures, videos and events that evoke emotion. Humanize your establishment and remove the disconnect between you and your profits, we mean, customers.

Hold a “beat the clock” contest

 The “beat the clock” theme is popular and widely used amongst many bars and restaurants. Hosting such a contest is a great way to increase sales and incite excitement in your atmosphere. Consider pricing drafts at 50 cents per draft starting at 8 p.m. and increase prices by 25 cents each hour until midnight. Competitive customers will truly indulge in this type of event.

The current generation has been submerged in the traditional outlets of advertising and promotion. Every single day, we are bombarded with innumerable messages across multiple platforms. So, how can you approach the situation and employ non-traditional, creative and cost-effective measures to promote your establishment? We hope this article sparked a few ideas.

What go-to marketing tactics do you utilize in your operations?

Thousands of Bar and Restaurants Run on Buzztime. Here’s Why Yours Should, Too…

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Buzztime is the preeminent partner to best-of-breed hospitality chains and enterprising, on-premise, emergent bar & restaurant brands like yours. Whether it be our measured marketing services, proven promotions, proprietary digital games or signature live events, Buzztime can deliver revenue and returns through a transformative and translatable experience in your venue and through targeted messaging.

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Thank you for reading! Buzztime has helped businesses like yours increase guest count, customer frequency and average check size with Interactive Tablets that expertly blend best-in-class interactive entertainment, seamless and powerful marketing, and secure, convenient self-service dining and payment functionality to create an unrivaled experience

Trusted by thousands of bars and restaurants in North America since 1984, Buzztime integrates trivia, card, sports games and live events with innovative tablet technology. While we don't take ourselves too seriously, this is pretty serious business.
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