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6 efficient ways to promote a restaurant

Editorial Team

4 min read
Café owner looking at tablet
Proud confectioner is working in her pastry shop

Restaurants Canada reports that in 2018 there were nearly 97,000 restaurants open for business across the country, with new ones launching every year. When COVID 19 hit, the food and beverage industry got a whole lot more competitive, forcing many establishments to permanently close their doors. Restaurants that managed to stay open faced new challenges as restrictions were ongoing, and many people remained wary of dining indoors.


With health and safety measures in place, hosting large private events and promoting bustling happy hours aren’t exactly viable options right now, and you may wonder how your restaurant will continue to endure these conditions.

Here are six efficient ways you can creatively market your business and even thrive in the “new” normal.

1. Offer Special Promotions

One way to attract more traffic is to create special offers. Most dining establishments focus on food-related perks – such as 50% off appetizers or family meal deals. Incentivize larger check sizes by upselling, cross-selling, or bundling some of your highest-margin menu items.

2. Increase your restaurant’s capacity

With social distancing rules in place, you likely have less available floor space in which to seat tables. However, you can “expand” your restaurant’s real estate by:

  • Introducing outside seating (if the space exists)
  • Extending your hours (if possible)

Either way, these two restaurant promotion ideas allow you to serve more customers (and help generate more sales) on a daily basis.

3.  Adopt mobile payment solutions

Another way to help increase sales is by offering curbside pickup or delivery. Although these aren’t really restaurant marketing ideas, they both help promote social distancing by allowing customers to receive their orders without entering your establishment. Implementing these options is as simple as adding mobile POS card readers or a virtual terminal solution to your payment environment.

4.  Invest more in advertising

Advertising budgets are usually the first ones to go during hard times. With less money coming in, you may not have as many resources with which to build and maintain a marketing strategy for your restaurant. Yet, because other restaurants are facing the same budget constraints, those that do manage to advertise may end up with the lion’s share of new customers.

One can argue that your advertising spend may go even further during lean times, helping you to earn higher-than-average returns from every dollar invested. In addition to food-related discounts, you can highlight online ordering, curbside pickup, outdoor seating, or any other restaurant promotions you’ve recently introduced.

5.  Introduce a loyalty program

Advertising is what you use to attract new customers, but loyalty programs are how you keep regulars coming back for more. Some say customer acquisition can cost up to five times more than customer retention. Thus, if you’re looking for better returns for every dollar spent, it may be time to launch a loyalty program for your restaurant. The impact of your loyalty program becomes stronger still when leveraging integrations.  If you’re looking to start a gift and loyalty program, Clover’s app store can help grow your business with apps that reward your loyal consumers.  Try Ackroo Gift, an app where gift, loyalty, and promotions can be redeemed; and Loyalzoo where you can create and launch your own loyalty program in under 2 minutes engaging your customers through points, notifications, and promotions delivered by SMS/text, email or push.

6.  Plan ahead and save more

Most restaurant owners focus on generating more sales. The real goal, though, is to generate higher profits. This can be done by buying in bulk, shopping local, and keeping your menu as simple as possible – steps that all help control costs and let you keep a higher percentage of every sale.

Equally important, this simplicity helps to future-proof operations since you don’t have as many moving parts to manage. Buying inventory that never spoils, for example, makes it easier to pause and resume operations if there are future lockdowns.

Looking for a restaurant POS solution?

Whether you need contactless credit card machines for curbside pickup or loyalty program support for your most enthusiastic patrons, we have the tools to help you get there.

To learn more about our complete line of POS solutions for restaurants, schedule a free consultation, and speak with a Clover specialist today.

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