The best menu in town won't make a profit if no one knows about it. Promotional ideas for restaurants and bars get new customers in the door. Once they're inside, it's up to a strong menu and top-notch customer service to keep them coming back. Balance your time between effective promotional activities and perfecting the restaurant or bar offerings for the most success.
Building a presence in the community works well to promote the restaurant or bar. When the community feels a personal connection with a bar or restaurant owner, they are more likely to frequent the location. Participating in community events, donating gift cards to a charity and supporting a local youth sports team are examples of ways to establish a positive impression in the community. The name of your bar and restaurant becomes prominent in the community through the free advertisement of the charitable actions.
Special promotional events at the restaurant or in the community entice new potential customers into the restaurant or bar. Themed celebrations for different events add an entertaining aspect to the special promotional events. Hold a Mardi Gras party or host a Super Bowl party. A similar option is to offer samples from the menu at a community event. Depending on local laws, consider setting up a booth for food sales at local farmer's markets or other festivals. This option gets your food out to a new potential audience who may visit your restaurant if they like what they taste.
Social media isn't just for online businesses. Many restaurants and bars use Facebook, Twitter and other social-media outlets to promote their businesses. These social-media websites are free, making this an affordable promotion idea. Offer special discounts or deals to your followers on the social-media websites. Share a recipe or two from your menu. Social media allows you to develop more of a personal relationship with your customers, which makes them more loyal.
Customer-loyalty programs keep new customers coming back. In larger cities, there is a lot of competition for diners. Even with a quality menu, you might be competing with several different restaurants in your immediate area for repeat customers. Set up a loyalty program that somehow rewards customers for returning. A coupon for a discount on the next meal, or a similar type of promotion, is a simple idea that doesn't take a lot of work.
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