The 4 most important types of marketing first-time restaurant operators overlook

There’s a lot to juggle when launching a new restaurant. While you’re perfecting the menu and securing an all-star staff, make sure you don’t forget to get the word out.

Creating your restaurant's own social media content

It seems almost too obvious to say, but we’re going to say it anyway just in case: create social media accounts on all the major platforms, then—and this is the important part—use them! (If you’re muttered “yeah, duh,” feel free to skip ahead to the next section.)

But if not: there’s no shame in starting now! Strongly consider claiming profiles for your business on Instagram and Facebook and use those channels to publish content about your operation, staff, and offerings. Get in the habit of capturing photos and videos of anything and everything that will help you build an authentic connection with your audience. Some ideas to get you started: 

  • New dishes that are going to be on the menu soon

  • Behind-the-scenes work, like ingredient prep, sourcing trips, and meetings with key vendors

  • Regular customers & beloved employees (with their permission, of course!)

Many of your followers on these platforms will be potential customers, and demonstrating the unique culture and community of your business via social media can differentiate you when they’re thinking about where to eat next. 

Here are the most overlooked types of marketing you can use to get more diners through the door. 

User-generated restaurant content

User-generated content (or as it's often shorthanded, "UGC") is just a fancy way of saying photos, videos, reviews, and more that your guests and followers produce about your restaurant. The content can be in the form of a glowing Yelp review or someone sharing and Instagram post of their delicious meal. 

Once it’s out in the open, you can use these user-generated posts to market your restaurant. It can be as simple as reposting a positive post on your Instagram story or adding a testimonial section to your website. Studies show that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. Integrating UGC into your marketing not only gives a vote of confidence but allows you to connect with guests in a new way outside your restaurant. 

Restaurant email newsletters

Whether it’s an option on your website or when people are paying their bill, you should have a way for guests to join your email list. Email lists naturally build a pool of customers who are already familiar with and interested in your restaurant.

Schedule a regular time to send an email newsletter out to your subscribers. It can be weekly, monthly, etc. but the key is to be consistent. Include updates on your menu, upcoming events or new e-commerce offerings. You can also provide incentives like promo codes or special deals that are exclusive to your newsletter to incentivize people to join. 

Partnered events between your restaurant and other local businesses

Two mouths are better than one, and that’s what makes partnered events so powerful. When you partner with like-minded organizations and vendors, you extend your reach to a new audience due to cross-promotion. 

Think about having a tap takeover night with your favorite brewery, a special winemaker’s dinner, or even a regular trivia night. Just find partners that will champion the event along with you, marketing to their network on social media, email, signage, etc. 

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels