10 Promotional Events for Restaurants to Get Your Business on the Map

promotional events for restaurants

Do you often feel your restaurant gets lost in the sea of other food businesses? The problem may not be your food or service, but the lack of marketing. For how would people know how great your restaurant is if you don’t boast about it?

If you want to see fast results, you must try promotional events for restaurants. You will notice an immediate increase in visibility, number of new clients, and sales.

Check out the following ideas and choose the ones that best fit your business:

What is a promotional event for a restaurant?

In short, a promotional event for a restaurant is a marketing tactic to get more people interested in your food. It is a gathering that has been specifically constructed to shine the light on your menu items, a new location, or anything related to your restaurant.

A promotional event can be both:

  • Online: social media campaign or contest, webinar
  • Offline: cooking demonstrations, tastings, music dinners

Why you should start doing promotional events

Your business’s main goal is to attract more customers and offer them a remarkable experience they will want to repeat. Promotional events for restaurants give you the opportunity to do that and more.

Here are the main benefits:

  • Get more new customers: promotional events will attract people who haven’t visited your restaurant before and you have the chance to convince them to become regulars;
  • Engage with established clients: you can show your appreciation to your loyal clients and encourage them to stay an active part of your community;
  • Increase brand loyalty: not only do promotional events help get the word out about your restaurant, but they also help you form a bond with clients that will keep them coming back.

10 promotional events for restaurants to try right now

We’ve compiled a list with a variety of promotional events for restaurants, both online and offline that will bring you the results you want. Have a look over them and implement the ones that fit yourbranding:

1. Secret discount code on the website

What you will need:

  • A sales-optimized website you can easily edit:t: you need a website that will appear in the first searches on Google to help clients reach you. You must also be able to edit it at your whim to hide the code;
    Increase your restaurant’s visibility with a sales and SEO-optimized website Generate your own in less than 10 minutes Start Now
  • An active account on social media: you must constantly create content on social media to maintain an active community. Amazing food photography and captions that end with questions are a must to generate engagement.
  • An online ordering system with a promotions module: that will help you generate a discount code to add to your website.

Read more: How to Use the GloriaFood Features to Increase Your Restaurant Revenue

How to do it:

  • Add the code in a banner on the website: using the promotions module you can generate a coupon code in seconds. Watch this video to learn how:
  • Encourage people to look for it on social media: make a post on your preferred social media platform where you announce to followers that they can enjoy your food at a reduced price if they find the coupon code on your website. Give them the hint that it is in a banner and the direct link to your website to make it easier;
  • Make it a habitt: If you notice your clients used the coupon code, it is clear they appreciate the discount and the game. Do it often to generate more sales.
    promotional events for restaurants

2. New items launch online promotions

What you will need:

  • An online ordering system with an integrated promotions modulee: you can create a variety of tried and tested promotions with GloriaFood, in seconds. Check out this video:
  • A website to publish your menuu: you will need a place to display your promotions. The most visible place for them is right at the top of your menu, where clients are sure to notice them. A website makes ordering easy for your clients who don’t have to go looking for third-party delivery options;
  • Social media accounts to market promotions: once you set up your promotions, you must get the word out about them and social media will do the trick.

How to do it:

  • Create the desired promotion: To convince clients to try out a new item you can start by selling it at a reduced price. For example, a 30% off in the first days will tempt people to try it and find out how amazing it is. Buy one and get one free can also be a good option for the first day;
    events ideas for restaurants
  • Post about it on social media: use a professionally taken photograph of your new menu item and add a direct link to your menu so hungry clients can order it in a few clicks.

Read more: Implement these 10 best restaurant promotions right now to increase your sales

3. New location party with food influencers

What you will need:

  • A pristine new location: working with influencers will guarantee the success of most promotional events for restaurants. But be warned, they are experts in restaurants, so your new restaurant should be in perfect condition as it will be highly scrutinized;
  • Enough food to account for all invitees: once you get the confirmations, ensure you add some extra portions to your inventory. You don’t want bad reviews because somebody didn’t receive food;
  • Trained employees: hold training for your employees explaining the event and how they should act, including making recommendations;
  • Music entertainment: trying new food is great, but it is better if it is accompanied by music. A local band will keep your guests entertained during the event.

How to do it:

  • Invite influencers to your party: send local food influencers an e-mail invite to your party and ask them to confirm until a certain day so you can get organized. Make it clear the food is on the house and they are free to bring a guest. Let them know what you offer and establish on the details so there are no misunderstandings.
  • Provide space for photo-ops: if you want influencers to post about your event and restaurant, you must give them plenty of photo opportunities. For example, a nicely decorated wall with your restaurant’s name on it and food plating that just asks for pictures;
  • Ask for feedback: food influencers tend to visit many restaurants tend to visit many food places so they could provide valuable feedback that will help you improve. They may also post their positive feedback on your platform and drive clients to your restaurant.

4. Treasure hunt at the market

What you will need:

  • A social media account with many followers: people are always on the lookout for new fun activities. What if you could offer them a free treasure hunt with great prizes that benefit your image? You will need to have a considerable number of followers so some of them will be tempted to participate;
  • A few reserved tables at your restaurant for the prize: because promotional events for restaurants are all about marketing your food, the prize should be an all-expenses paid meal at your place;
  • A collaboration with the local vendors: in the treasure hunt, participants will have to find certain food vendors at a market and get the ingredients that go into your most popular recipe. You must get the vendors to collaborate with you and pre-pay for the items they will give to participants.

How to do it:

  • Establish the terms with food vendors: the people manning the food stalls will be a part of your game so they must know how to play it. Explain exactly what they must do: give any person who tells them the password an item and stop at 15. Give them a contact number in case they have any questions;
  • Explain the rules for the treasure hunt and get people excited about it: any contest must have rules. Start by teasing people with the mechanism of the game weeks prior to create interest. There will be a treasure hunt where they will have to find the ingredients for your most popular dish at the local market. On the day, post the list of ingredients, the name of the market, and the password they must tell the vendor. Explain that only the first 5 teams to get to the restaurant will win the free meal, but the people who participated get to keep the ingredients and try making the same dish at home.
  • Give out the prizes: make the winners feel special by praising their efforts and offering them an amazing food experience;

5. Wine pairing night

What you will need:

  • A collaboration with a winery or a local sommelier: if you have a big enough collection of wines at your restaurant, you will just need a sommelier to teach people how wine should be paired with food. If you don’t, collaborate with local wineries so you can both market your products at the event;

How to do it:

  • Promote the event on social media and encourage people to make reservations: get all your seats filled by marketing one of the best promotional events for restaurants on social media. Make it clear to people that they should reserve a table as you won’t be able to accommodate walk-ins;
  • Offer each client a small consultation on wine pairing: people will have high expectations, so you should ensure they get the attention they desire in order to create an unforgettable experience for them. The wine expert should offer free tastings and tips on how to pair wine at the dinner and in the future.

6. Local artists collaboration

What you will need:

  • An interested local artist: you could choose a variety of arts, but the most commonly used for promotional events for restaurants are musicians and illustrators. Invite them to either play at your place or make illustrations of your food which you can use in your restaurant and sell to clients;

How to do it:

  • Organize a music night: music plays amazingly with food, and it builds a community around your restaurant. The local musician gets a place to show their talent and you get entertainment for your clients.
  • Have an art-dedicated day: for example, if you have your restaurant’s anniversary coming up, you can hire a caricaturist to draw people. Or you can collaborate with an illustrator and have them design a tote for your restaurant you can sell to clients.

7. Cooking classes with the chef

What you will need:

  • Cooking utensils and ingredients for the event: While you will gain exposure and clients for organizing the event, you will have to cover the necessary equipment to prepare the dishes;
  • A big bonus for your chef: your chef should be highly compensated for taking this challenge on.

How to do it:

  • Make it a contest: many people who love eating food, also want to learn how to cook it. And what better place to do it than at their favorite restaurant? For a chance to cook with your chef, have people leave a comment on why they started cooking and share your post in their stories;
  • Choose the winners: better to do it randomly to ensure fairness. Film the way you pick a number online so people can see it was up to luck;
  • Hold the cooking class: it is better to choose only a few techniques and dishes so the chef can easily explain and guide each participant. The class should be no longer than three hours and should end with everyone enjoying their labor in the form of amazing food.

Read more: 21 Restaurant Competition Ideas to Gain Visibility and Attract Customers

8. Happy hour for food and drinks

What you will need:

  • Access to an analytics tool: to choose the happy hours, you need to identify the time when your restaurant is mostly empty. It is usually between lunch and dinner. You can use the Reports module from GloriaFood to access a variety of useful data related to your restaurant.
    restaurant events ideas

How to do it:

  • Display your happy hours: after you choose your happy hours, display them on your storefront, on a blackboard in the restaurant, on the menu, on your website, and on your social media;
  • Invite people to eat and drink at a discount: add at least a post a week on social media where you encourage people to enjoy your amazing food and beverages at a lower price than usual.

Read more: 25 Eye-Catching Social Media Post Ideas for Restaurants

9. Fixed-price dinner

What you will need:

  • A menu creator that is easy to use: printing new menus each time you make a change can be both a hassle and expensive. It is easier to use a menu that allows you to make unlimited changes, like the free one integrated into the online ordering system from GloriaFood. You can have a different menu only available on the day of the event:

How to do it:

  • Offer clients a fine-dining experience: a fixed-price menu is usually something encountered in fine-dining establishments. Offer clients smaller portions so they can enjoy everything from starters, mains, and desserts;
  • Make the dinner available online: some people may enjoy trying a variety of dishes from your menu at a fixed price but aren’t able to come to your restaurant. Allow them to order the promotional menu at home. You can do so easily with an efficient online ordering system:
Make more people happy by taking your promotional events available online Add an online ordering system to your website for free Start Now

10. VIP event for loyal customers

What you will need:

  • Access to an analytics tool: you will need to monitor your sales for a period of time, we recommend a year. Identify who are your most loyal customers and invite them to a special party dedicated to them;
  • Music entertainment: promotional events for restaurants can be made more special by adding music. You can hire a band to go well with your food.

How to do it:

  • Invite loyal customers: choose several loyal customers equivalent to the number of seats you have and require confirmation. Offer them a plus one so they can feel more comfortable;
  • Offer them a free menu: show them your appreciation by paying for all the expenses involved. This ensures that not only they remain loyal customers, but they will also be recommending your restaurant to friends and online.

Final Words

Promotional events for restaurants are a must for any business that wants to increase visibility, loyalty, and revenue. According to your target audience, you can go for either classic promotions like contests or more out of the box like treasure hunts.

Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos is sometimes a content writer, other times a copywriter, but always produces high-quality content that helps clients up their marketing game. She devotes her attention to helping restaurant owners have a successful business with well-documented and SEO-optimized articles.

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