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Top Restaurant Marketing Ideas – How to Promote Your Restaurant Online?

Restaurant Marketing Tips

Are you a restaurant owner? Do you want to attract people in your neighborhood? And increase footfalls in your restaurant?

It’s no secret that online marketing can be your secret sauce to popularity. Plus, beat your competitors fair and square without much investment.

I have for you some proven and highly effective restaurant marketing ideas.

You could easily implement these restaurant marketing ideas yourself or take the help of a freelancer to do it for you.

Here it is:

Google My Business – this is where your restaurant marketing starts

Your online local marketing should start from and end at GMB (Google My Business).

It’s a game changer!

I mean it.

If you fail to use it effectively it may harm your business. Or if you learn to ace it then you’re the winner.

You will need an effective GMB strategy to increase your footfalls. There are two important things you can do with GMB:

Manage your reviews

GMB enables your target audience and customers to easily locate you. But above all, GMB allows your customers to rate you online.

Your g00d ratings and reviews on GMB can help you attract more customers. However, if you’ve more negative reviews it may affect your business as well.

I have talked at length how you should be managing your reviews in “review strategy” section below.

Moreover, good ratings on GMB helps you stay on top of your local searches on Google Search Engine and Google Maps. But also it convinces your prospects to choose the highly rated restaurant. If you’re not then you most probably losing a lot of business. 

Using the new posting feature

GMB has added a new posting feature, which is posting on your business listing.

You could use this feature for:

  • posting your daily or weekly discounts
  • special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, the celebration with staff etc.
  • festivals greeting such as Christmas, Diwali etc.
  • special sports match such as Fifa World Cup, Davis Cup etc.
  • special offers or contests

Use Actual Photos

Get your restaurant clicked by a professional photographer. I recommend you to cover almost all the corners of your restaurant. And try making your restaurant a happening place, where people smile, lightning is bright, and the ambiance is cool.

You could add 360-degree photos to your Google My Business page.

Try adding exterior photos as well because that will allow your customers to easily locate you.

Add at least 10 photos. I personally recommend you to add 25 photos of your restaurant interior and exterior including photos of your menu and marketing collaterals.

Add Detailed Content

Often the restaurant makes a mistake by not updating their restaurant details properly and in detail.

You should be adding the content as much as possible using local keywords. I’ve talked about the local keyword to the next point.

Detailed profile though low on ratings have higher chances of getting into the top searches for local keywords. Also, your content shows up in the Knowledge Graph of Google search engine

Tip: There are n-number of ways you could use GMB posting feature. And the best thing about is that it will reach your local audience.

Local Keyword Targeting – it will help you reach your target audience

Local keyword targeting has to be the holy grail of your online restaurant marketing. Because without it you will not be able to reach your target audience.

Where will I find local keywords?

Generally, your Google Webmasters tool can help you a lot. You could use it to find out the best local keywords that suit your business and help you reach the right audience. Apart from Google Webmasters, you just have to think from your audience perspective.

For example: if you want to eat pizza and you happen to be in New Delhi near Connaught Place. Then most probably your prospective customer will search “pizza outlet in Connaught Place” or “pizza near Connaught Place”.

How to use local keywords?

Everywhere in your content. Whether you’re writing for your own website or you’re just filling up your profile content on Facebook. Try using local keywords wherever it is possible. GMB is another excellent place to use local keywords.

Any precautions to take?

Yes, you should not overuse local keywords. Ideally, local keywords should be used naturally without seeming to stuff your content with keywords.

Facebook Groups – the hidden gem in the closet

Facebook Groups are not just for gossiping. It can be an excellent place to generate sales and leads.

So, before you get down to use Facebook groups for marketing, you need to take care of a few things:


A restaurant should be targeting those Facebook Groups, where they will find their local target audience. For example, local community groups, college goers’ groups, party animal groups, food blogger groups etc.

You just shouldn’t target Facebook groups randomly.

Moreover, you will need to follow each group’s community policies for advertisement. Because, if you don’t then moderator or administrator may well ban you or report.


You could use Facebook groups for group posting for the post published on your Facebook page.

Also, you could share photos of events, festival celebrations, behind-the-scenes, special customer visits, and others in Facebook groups. People love to see celebrating, cheering and smiling faces.

Food Porn – people want to visit your restaurant not just for a great time but most importantly for food. You could share tasty food porn videos on Facebook. Foodies just love watching it!

While sharing content make sure that you use your business name, contact details, website links wherever possible.


I am not a big fan of Hashtags. Nevertheless, Hashtags can help you make your content easily discoverable by your target audience.

But, for Hashtags to work for you, you will need to properly target and use Hashtags that your target audience might be using.

Restaurant can use following hashtags #foodlove, #foodporn, #foodshare, #foodreview, #restaurant, #foodlover etc.

Nevertheless, I suggest you do some local research to find hashtags popular in your area or region.


Engagement is the key to Facebook group marketing success.

Start the conversation, join discussions, answer the questions, and share interesting things in your target Facebook groups. These activities will help you to directly reach your target audience and convince them to convert (buy your product or services).

As you head start and initially target only 10 or 15 Facebook groups. Thereon you could expand further.

Precaution: do not overdo, because Facebook nowadays often quickly blocks for spamming.

Restaurant Listing Websites – you should explore these sites!

The restaurant listing websites are really helpful for building the brand and generating sales online. However, you should be having the right strategy to exploit it.

There are a lot of restaurant listing portals such as Zomato, Food Panda, Swiggy etc.

restaurant listing siteRestaurant listing websites are important for two factors. First, they’ve huge direct targeted traffic and have their own engagement ecosystems that are beneficial for both consumers and restaurant owners. Second, often these websites grab the top searches on the search engine for popular both national and local keywords.

How to use restaurant listing websites for restaurant marketing?

  1. Manage your reviews – it is important that you manage your restaurant reviews on these websites much like GMB. You could manage your GMB review strategy in conjunction with restaurant listing websites. Check the next point for more details on managing reviews.
  2. Add your restaurant photos – hiring a good photographer or honing your photography skills will come in handy. People want to see your beautiful restaurant interiors, the food you serve, and happy faces all around.
  3. Add your content and keywords – target your local keywords while writing in detail about your restaurant.
  4. Beat your nearest competitors first – it is better to target your nearest competitor first than to compete with town’s most popular place online. You could do it easily by managing your reviews, regularly share your creative content and be engaging with customers.
  5. Keep your listing updated and regularly share content – you could share your content regularly on restaurant listing websites as well. Also, make sure that any changes in your menu, address, phone number etc. are updated in your listings in time.

Online Reviews – you need to deal with it intelligently

Biggest to smallest restaurants want positive reviews! Because all restaurant owners know that negative reviews can spoil their reputation.

Just one grudging customer with legit reason can make a huge impact on your brand.

Dell faced it way back in 2005 when a disgruntled customer wrote a huge negative blog on Dell. Eventually coaxing Dell to not just improve but reinvent customer services and delivery.

So, how do you go ahead in managing your reviews:

Managing negative reviews:

Sometimes ignorance is bliss but sometimes it isn’t. If you get a negative review, first make sure that negative review is genuine.

Because, you could face situations, where people just make up things for no discounts or trivial things. If you find that negative review is fake, then counter it with evidence. Or if you don’t have evidence then contact the portal or site, where you got that review.

If you fail to get it removed, then I would recommend you to just ignore it or write a one-line reply “fake review”. Don’t waste your time clarifying everything.

Now, for genuine reviews, there are two things you could do. First, be apologetic and show your consideration to amend it by offering a discount in return and accepting to improve your services. Second, be unapologetic and counter with facts instead of lame excuses. Or finally, you could again choose to ignore it.

There are a lot more ways you could manage negative reviews. However, in my opinion, people are not interested to read negative reviews in detail until they’re controversial.

Managing positive reviews:

Your maximum efforts and energy should go into increasing and managing positive reviews. If you’re starting out, then you may have to virtually beg for the reviews.

You could do the following things to get positive reviews:

  1. Use QR Code and URL Shortener: you could use Google URL Shortener to generate shortened URL and the QR code that directly takes your customers to review page. Now, you could use shortened URL on bulk SMS and use QR code everywhere on your print materials such as business cards, menu, door hanger etc. ask for the reviews.
  2. Offer freebies or discount: it often works to offer freebies or discount to a customer who’ve posted reviews. Though many restaurant listing sites and GMB label it illegal. But at the end of the day, the business of reviewing is in itself is flawed and lopsided.
  3. Ask your friends and family: it is as simple as that you could ask your friends and family for positive reviews. You could share the shortened URL for reviews on SMS with them.
  4. Pay for it: we have done it for many of our clients. You could do that too. It’s easy just ask your staff to post a review and get reviews posted by their family and friends. In return, you could offer some monetary reward for each review.
  5. Use the loopholes: you could create new fake ids to post reviews on restaurant listing sites and GMB. However, it may not work always. Nevertheless, be smart to use Tor browser to make sure that you do not get caught by the restaurant listing sites and GMB.

Take advantage of Food Porn movement

Food Porn – that’s actually a thing.

People just love watching food making and food eating videos online.

You could create food porn videos or click pictures at your restaurants and then use it with your content.

As you will need to create videos and click pictures at regular intervals, therefore, I recommend you to learn some photography, videography, and Photoshop. Or you could hire somebody to regularly do it for you.

Food Porn pictures and videos often go viral on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Therefore, I recommend you to use these platforms initially.

Some restaurants such as Vancouver based Earls Restaurant Ltd. Encouraged their customers to click nice pictures of their food and often assisting them in this. Moreover, they suggested their customers use #FoodPorn that may get them maximum likes and visibility online.

You could do that too.

I recommend you to do the following to effectively exploit #FoodPorn:

  • Come up with a plan and schedule to regularly share pictures and videos. Just set number of pictures and videos you will be posting each week.
  • In advance, make a special place for special events and occasions such as festivals, seasons, sports matches etc.
  • Sharing a recipe could be a great idea. You could innovate here.
  • Offer a day’s discount on a food porn picture.
  • Ask your customers to click pictures for you and tag your restaurant on that. In return, you could share their pictures on your Facebook page.
  • Take extra care of colors, presentation, and props while clicking pictures and creating food porn videos.

That’s all folks.

I hope you find these restaurant marketing ideas useful and relevant.

If you’ve more to add to it or have queries, then please feel free to comment below.

Kanishk Matta
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Kanishk Matta
Kanishk Matta
I’m a digital marketing expert, entrepreneur, and trainer, who loves to: 1. Help businesses get online and win at marketing 2. Train people in digital marketing 3. Create, experiment, and innovate with new ideas

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