Unlocking the Restaurant Goldmine: 65 Proven Strategies to Skyrocket Your Customer Base

In an industry as competitive as the restaurant business, standing still is the fastest way to get left behind. You’re not just competing with the eatery next door; you’re vying for attention in a digital landscape cluttered with social media buzz, online reviews, and endless marketing gimmicks. So, how do you cut through the noise and not just attract but also retain customers? The answer lies in a multi-faceted approach that combines traditional methods with cutting-edge strategies. In this comprehensive guide, we unveil 65 creative, data-backed restaurant promotion ideas that promise not just to bring customers to your tables but also to keep them coming back for more.

Print and Direct Marketing:

Direct mail isn’t dead; it’s just evolved. In the United States, direct mail still boasts a 4.4% ROI, outperforming email’s average ROI of 1%. Here are some print and direct marketing strategies to consider:

Door hanger flyers within a 2-mile area
Scratch-off cards for next visit prizes
Coupon Mailers for a 2-mile radius
EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail
Print and have available specialty catering menus
Door knob specials and menus

Digital Marketing:

In a world where 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, your restaurant can’t afford to miss out on digital marketing opportunities. Here’s how to make the most of the digital landscape:

Short video ads for lunch and dinner pick-up
New reviews on Facebook and Google
Google My Business
Weekly text specials
Simple Facebook video strategy
Guest wifi with a marketing twist

Customer Engagement:

A Bond Brand Loyalty report reveals that the average U.S. household is enrolled in nearly 15 different loyalty programs. Engage your customers through:

Great customer service checklists
Talk with current top customers
Customer Loyalty Programs and Contests
Ask for customer feedback
Collect customer information
Drawing for free lunch on Facebook

Community and Partnerships:

Community involvement can significantly boost your brand image. A Cone Communications study found that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. Here are some ideas:

Fundraisers for community groups
Mascot for curb waving or birthdays
Samples to fire stations and police
Mentorship and Chamber of Commerce
Sponsor a little league or church league
Discount for church bulletin
Free coffee for law enforcement

In-Store Experience:

According to a PwC report, 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Enhance your in-store experience through:

LED Lighting for storefront
Kids eat free on birthdays
Deals of the day
Student Discounts
Clean and welcoming atmosphere
Well-maintained restrooms
Employee stories in media
Sign-spinner on sidewalk
Inflatable dancing streamers
Welcome every customer

Media and Advertising:

With the U.S. podcast advertising market expected to reach over $1 billion by 2021, media and advertising can’t be ignored. Consider these options:

Radio Spots overnight
TV Commercial for local area
Your location is paramount in your restaurant success.
Be sure to listen to the Jon Taffer Podcast for additional tips and insights on growing your restaurant business.

Special Offers:

Limited-time offers create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. According to a study by Invesp, 48% of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized. Here are some special offers to consider:

Top Selling Item with free drink
Buy 10 Get 1 Free
Packages and grouped items
Special Items, discounts
Special events and menus
Holiday Specials


Sustainability and local sourcing are becoming increasingly important, with Nielsen reporting that 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable or socially responsible brand. Here are some additional strategies:

Spend at least 10% on marketing
Hire a local band
Offers and coupons in to-go bags
Guerilla Marketing with free samples
Better for you, organic, local supplier options
Easy address and directions posted
Create and use a musical jingle

Find Your Next Restaurant Location

On this episode of The Barron Report, Tim is interviewed by Paul Barron, to discuss the latest trends in restaurant real estate and how an operator can effectively select a new site.


Feel free to use this article as a resource to guide your restaurant marketing strategies. I’ve worked with the most successful restaurant chains in the United States and start-ups. With these 65 ideas, you’re well-equipped to create a comprehensive marketing plan that caters to the diverse and ever-changing U.S. consumer landscape.


Who is Tim“Hi I’m Tim, and I love the food business! I’ve been helping large and small companies and entrepreneurs achieve success for decades. My consulting projects have contributed to major successes for my clients, including many with 100%+ year-over-year growth rates. I enjoy sharing my expertise, and hope you find these blog posts enlightening. Please reach out to me with any questions or comments.”

Best Choice
Million Dollar
Thinking Tactics for a Bigger and Better Food Company
Everyone Got A Recipe Book
Get Your Copy Badge

Share This Story

Leave A Comment

Tim Forrest

Let’s Talk

If you would like to discuss our proven food industry solutions, speaking opportunities or global outreach efforts in more detail, let’s schedule a call right now.

Book a Call

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you would like to join our mailing list or send a personal note, please fill out the form below:

Retail Marketing Glossary Terms
Understand retail terminology so you can speak confidently with any buyer. (Success Series Book 3)
Orders processed via
Buy Now
Walmart Glossary and Terminology
Over 1,500 terms and 100 pages of Walmart Specific Marketing and Analytic’s Terminology
Orders processed via
Buy Now
Search this site

What We Do

Welcome to Tim Forrest ConsultingWe help food entrepreneurs and established companies get their products onto shelves and into the hands of consumers. Through personalized collaboration, you’ll learn to succeed using a proven path of marketing, sales, merchandising, distribution and business growth strategies. We’ve generated over $1 billion in revenue and company valuations for our clients. Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Recent Posts