15 Restaurant Advertising Ideas That Works [2024 Update]

Restaurant advertising ideas

When it comes to advertising for your restaurant, you have 2 options: (a) Paid advertising, and/or (b) Organic advertising.

Paid advertising or Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as its name suggests involves spending running an ads campaign. The restaurant who is the advertiser pays each time a user clicks on their online ads.

Organic advertising is sometimes referred to as free advertising. Restaurants can take advantage of search engines, social media platforms and other online sites to reach their potential customers.

Organic advertising is inexpensive or free while paid advertising is quick and provides better control of reach and information. Restaurants can leverage both organic and paid advertising to meet their business goals.

In this article, we share 5 paid advertising and 10 organic advertising ideas for restaurants to take advantage of depending on its business goals and advertising budget.

What Are Paid Restaurant Advertising Ideas?

Here is list of 5 restaurant pay-per-click advertising ideas that we think will be a hit for your business.

(1) Facebook Location Ads

Okay, this first one is big and it is still relatively new. That means there is a huge opportunity for you to corner your local market and set your restaurant apart from your competitors.

Last year, Facebook rolled out location ads that are aimed at targeting people within the vicinity of your restaurant, track whether they saw the ad and whether they visited. Pretty sweet, right?

facebook restaurant ads

It gets better. The main call to action on the ad is to get directions. So if you can create a mouth-watering, eye-catching ad, users will be guided to your restaurant without leaving the app. That means there’s nothing to distract them from getting to your restaurant.

(2) Instagram Ads

You are probably using Instagram as a free tool to promote your restaurant. But are you paying to have your ads promoted? Chances are you probably should be. Instagram ads are a great way to promote your restaurant to thousands and thousands of users in a certain area.

The platform is particularly useful for accounts that don’t have a lot of followers. Paying for an ad can mean an explosion in your follower count and a chance to reach more users for free further down the line.

Make sure your pictures look as delectable as possible. But don’t make them unrealistic. You don’t want to disappoint customers when they get served food that doesn’t live up to unrealistic expectations.

(3) Google Ads (Formerly Adwords)

Paid advertising on Google and Bing is a huge part of the marketing strategies of a lot of companies. But it is under-utilized by many restaurants.

Image result for google restaurant ads

A lot of restauranteurs either don’t want to spend the money on the ads or don’t see the value in them. But more people turn to Google for restaurant-related searches than you think. Up to 1000 people search for “New York Pizza” each month, for instance. And because a lot of restaurants don’t believe in using Google Adwords, there can be very little competition on some search terms. When competition is low, you will be able to pay a lot less for every click.

(4) Waze Ads

You may not think it but Waze, the community-based GPS app, is secretly a really good advertising platform. If you’ve ever used the app before, you’ll have noticed the location-based ads that appear occasionally on the screen. While these can be annoying, you can’t help but take notice of them.


And, best of all, they offer a relatively cheap way to reach people who are quite literally around the corner from your restaurant. These can work particularly well if you run a casual restaurant where customers don’t need to spend over an hour eating. Create and launch an ad on their easy-to-use platform and you could soon have hungry drivers parking up outside.

(5) Digital Billboards

With the advent of digital billboards, they provide a better cost effectiveness at PPC advertising. Billboards with LED’s are rented by minutes, and each ad is shown for 8 seconds. Pay Per Blip means you will only be charged when your billboard ad is displayed. You decide how much you’re willing to spend for each impression.

Digital billboards combines aspects of digital advertising with out of home advertising to make billboards available on any size budget.

Billboard ads

So far all of the options we have discussed have involved restaurants spending at least a bit of cash on advertising. But what about free advertising? Don’t think it doesn’t exist!

What Are Free Restaurant Advertising Ideas?

(6) Word of Mouth – Have your customers advertise for you

Your customers are all the free advertising you will ever need. Where once they were a great source of word of mouth referrals, the advent of social networks means that they are even more valuable.

We urge restaurant owners to make the most of their customers’ social media accounts by encouraging Instagram posts and hashtags. One effective way to do this is to offer a discount, free dessert or free starter if customers post pictures of their meal to Instagram with a hashtag that includes the name of your restaurant. You don’t have to give away a lot and many customers, particularly millennials, will be more than happy to post to Instagram in return for a little extra.

(7) Website SEO – Optimize for search engines

Improving your restaurant’s search visibility will drive more hungry customers into your restaurant or place online to-go orders.

Investing in SEO is a must for restaurants today irrespective of customer demographics. You can use locality, structured data, and more to your advantage and boost the rankings for your independent location or multi-location restaurant chain.

(8) Local Directories – Optimize your online presence

More and more customers search on various local directories and search engines such as Yelp, Google, Facebook and other popular directories and social platforms when they are looking for new restaurant places to dine at.

Optimize your online presence in the online directories by completing your profile in each of these sites.

(9) Email marketing

Building a customer email list is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways for restaurants to connect with their customers effectively and re-market to them. The key to engagement and conversion is building a quality email list and sharing relevant content to ensure high open rates and click-thru rates.

(10) Social media presence

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest provide a great way to engage with customers and stay on top of mind. Your customers all use different social platforms, so it is important to be on more than one.

To stay top-of-mind requires an ongoing conversation on relevant topics in addition to the regular posting of food specials and deals that customers see. The key is to create a loyal following on these platforms and ensure you reach people every time you share something.

(11) Participate in Local Events and Fundraisers

Participating in food festivals and local events such is a great way to provide visibility for your restaurant and reach out to a new audience.

Look for opportunities to sponsor or participate in fundraising programs at your local school, college, church, service organizations and sports teams. Many have “Dine and Donate” fundraiser programs, where a certain % of the dinner check is a contribution to the fundraiser program. These are great opportunities to get visibility and creating buzz. Donate your food at such events for free for people to sample your food.

(12) Reputation Marketing

Cultivating a positive online reputation for your restaurant will help your business stand out among local competitors and can make the difference between a packed house or a slow night.

Consumers are looking at a restaurant’s online reputation and reviews before they decide to visit. Invest resources to make reputation management a daily activity by managing and responding to online reviews actively.

(13) Loyalty Rewards

Loyalty marketing refers to building trust among repeat customers, rewarding them for continually conducting business with your restaurant. For many restaurants, 80 percent of all their business comes from 20 percent of their loyal customer base.

(14) Offers & Promotions

Coupon offers have been a proven way to increase foot traffic to your restaurant. If you place an incentive in a local magazine, newspaper or direct mail campaign it will cause more customers to go to your place of business than a regular advertisement without coupons.

(15) Four-walls marketing

Four-walls marketing, also known as neighborhood marketing is a way of concentrating your advertising efforts towards the customers who have the most impact on your restaurant success, primarily using employees, your existing customers and resources you already have available to focus your efforts within a 10-15 mile radius of your restaurant.

Need help with your restaurant advertising?

If online advertising is getting too much to handle, we can help. The Digital Restaurant team knows what it takes to advertise your restaurant online in a cost-effective manner. We can build a custom strategy that provides the best return on investment possible. Give us a call today to find out more.

General FAQs

How do I advertise my restaurant?

You can advertise your restaurant through paid advertising or organic advertising. Organic advertising is inexpensive or free while paid advertising is quick and provides better control of reach and information. Restaurants can leverage both organic and paid advertising to meet their business goals.
Get more ideas on advertising your restaurant.

How do you attract customers to your restaurant?

Provide a strong incentive for customers to try your restaurant for the first time. The incentive could be a attractive coupon, food tasting and events. A high rating in online reviews is critical to attract new customers looking for dining options.
Get more ideas on advertising your restaurant.

How can I increase sales in my restaurant?

Increasing sales in your restaurant involves 3 strategies: (1) attracting new customers to your restaurant through high online reputation and promotional offers, (2) engaging with existing customers on online channels to be on top of their mind when they are hungry, and (3) providing an incentive for your most loyal customers to drive repeat visits.
Get more ideas on advertising your restaurant.

How can restaurants do digital marketing?

Restaurant do digital marketing on social media, email and mobile platforms to engage with customers and drive visits to the business. Leveraging search engine optimization of the restaurant website and local directories, the business can increase online visibility which helps with being found by online customers.
Learn more about restaurant advertising.

How can a restaurant increase sales without advertising?

Restaurants can increase sales using organic advertising which is free or very little cost. Restaurants can take advantage of search engines, social media platforms and other online sites to reach their potential customers.
Learn more about restaurant advertising.

How do you increase takeout sales?

Restaurants can increase takeout sales by building a functional website with online ordering and leveraging multi-channel marketing via social media, email and mobile channels. NGAZE is the best platform to run multi-channel promotions with ease.
Learn more about NGAZE marketing platform.

How can I improve my dinner sales?

The key to improving sales during the dinner segment is driving repeat visits and being on top of your customer mind. Having a loyalty rewards program is essential. Designing a relevant weekday dine-in specials and running a multi-channel campaign can help with dinner sales.
Learn more about NGAZE marketing platform.

How can I increase my lunch sales?

Increasing lunch sales can be done with lunch specials menu, office catering packages and promoting weekday specials.
Learn more about NGAZE marketing platform.

How do you promote a restaurant?

To effectively promote a restaurant, you need to do branding to increase visibility and build an effective online presence. Using a multi-channel marketing platform such as NGAZE, you can run effective promotions on social media, email and mobile channels to stay on top of your customers mind and drive repeat visits.
Learn more about NGAZE marketing platform.

How do you promote a new restaurant menu?

One of the easiest ways to spread the word about your new menu launch is to get the local press involved. Send a press release. Invite influencers to a free tasting. Launch a multi-channel campaign (social, email and mobile) to get the word out.
Learn more about restaurant marketing tips to launch your new menu.