The Ultimate Guide on Restaurant Marketing

High quality and effective restaurant marketing ideas should help you to reach new potential customers, as well as create loyal customers. While there is an abundance of marketing strategies and platforms such as social media marketing, google ads, loyalty programs, and email marketing, don’t forget that the campaign content and campaign mechanics are just as, if not more important than the platform chosen to carry out these restaurant marketing strategies. To illustrate some examples of restaurant marketing campaigns that work, here are some actual case studies of completed campaigns and strategies that work. 

Cross Channel Marketing: Gingerbread Making Workshop (Christmas Campaign)

Here is an example of a cross channel marketing campaign between a restaurant and a milk supplier, who are both well recognised brands among the parent and family demographic segment. Happening during the lead up to Christmas, both brands collaborated to run a gingerbread making workshop, targeted at bringing parents and kids together for a fun filled activity. 

These sessions were marketed online via the respective brand’s social media platforms, and allowed loyal customers from both brands to attend, thus introducing them to the other partner brand as a result. On site, the consumers were shown how to prepare the gingerbread dough using milk from the milk brand, as part of a demonstration led by one of the operation team members of the restaurant. 

After that, participants had the chance to decorate their own gingerbread designs using multi-coloured icing that was prepared for the session. Due to the time investment needed by the participants to attend the session, the participation was also of higher quality, representing a more engaged consumer that had a better chance of being a new potential customer. While there are some other brands in the restaurant business that offer baking and cooking classes, it is normally seen as a revenue channel and a way to make direct sales. 

However, in this particular instance, the emphasis was on the quality of engagement and was used more as a restaurant marketing strategy as compared to a revenue driver. 

Key Restaurant Marketing Strategies Used:

  • Cross channel marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Social media marketing

Partnership Marketing: National Coffee Day (Coffee Redemption Campaign)

Here is a good example of partnership marketing where a coffee roaster and its network of partner cafes teamed up to provide a free coffee redemption campaign. Consumers were entitled to one free cup of coffee from each partner merchant. The result was that more than 10,000 new customers were introduced to new restaurant brands by trying their coffee. 

The campaign was marketed by all partners via their respective social media platforms, while also employing the use of social media marketing strategies such as advertisements. For this restaurant marketing idea, the redemption vouchers were housed on artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot running on Facebook Messenger. 

Here is how to get Free Coffee in Singapore

How to enjoy Free Coffee in Singapore: 

  • Click the Free Coffee vouchers here 
  • Simply open up the e-voucher in Messenger
  • Present the selected e-voucher at the outlet of your choice
  • Enjoy your free coffee!

Through the use of this chatbot, consumers were able to find and locate participating restaurants, receive latest campaign news and updates, as well as share the redemption vouchers with their friends and contacts. The use of a mobile-friendly platform was key as most consumers are constantly on their mobile devices throughout the day. 

You might be thinking that giving out free coffee to thousands of consumers sounds ridiculous, but actually it is not. Because of a carefully crafted social media advertising strategy, coupled with the word of mouth mechanisms of consumers sharing the redemption vouchers with their friends, most of the participating restaurants saw a good number of new-to-business customers coming into their outlets. 

As there were smaller follow up campaigns running for an entire year, brand recall and customer loyalty were also high, with a large number of repeat users visiting the outlet for other purchases. To materialise such a campaign, the most time-consuming activity will no doubt be finding the right partners, pitching the idea to all the partners, and convincing all the partners to come on board. 

Not to mention, if you do not have any existing partners, then this activity may take an even longer time to create as you will need to build your partner base from scratch. To save precious time and probably quite a lot of money, it is a good idea to engage a partnership consultant, who would already have a good network of potential partners for you. 

They will also likely be able to position the partnership to their partners better than you can and get better results. Most importantly, they will take away the strain of spending countless hours sitting through multiple rounds of meetings. 

Key Restaurant Marketing Strategies Used:

  • Partnership marketing
  • Chatbot marketing
  • Social media marketing

Community Marketing: National Curry Day (Community Campaign)

Numerous merchants in the restaurant business joined in for this event, where a multi-racial community used their common love for the curry dish to celebrate Racial Harmony Day in Singapore. 

During this event, the food and beverage players set up booths within the festival grounds to give out food samples of their signature curry dishes for the consumers to enjoy. During the day, thousands of consumers had the opportunity to try curry dishes from 4-5 different brands, some of which were new to them. 

There was even a national record set for the most number of people eating curry puffs at the same time. Together with this event, there was also a publication released, which took the form of a curry guide, which introduces consumers to numerous restaurants and merchants who were renowned for their curry dishes. Centring around the consumer’s common love for curry, it would also be a great idea for a campaign with another dish at the focus. Imagine celebrating National Burger Day, or National Pizza Day in the same manner. 

Key Marketing Strategies Used:

  • Community marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Product sampling marketing

Event Marketing: Waffle Stacker Challenge (Eating Competition)

This was one of the most quirky restaurant marketing ideas as it involved consumers working in pairs to scoff down a massive waffle stack that is loaded with bacon and scrambled eggs in the fastest time possible. 

As a build-up to the actual event, which took the form of the grand finals, there was a month of qualifying carried out at various outlets of the same restaurant business. From all the attempts, the best eight timings were invited back to the grand finals, to battle it out for a top prize of $1,000 in food vouchers and other prizes. The event was marketed via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram with an element of social media advertising with specifically selected demographic groups to ensure the highest quality leads in the form of potential customers. 

In event marketing, a possible stumbling block will likely be the logistics and operations of creating the event. As the operations and logistics portion of the campaign can be very time consuming, it will definitely take your attention away from other important aspects of the campaign such as online marketing, social media marketing, and other restaurant marketing strategies. A good way to save time, yet still ensure a high-quality event, is to work with an event partner or event planner who can help you to iron out the nitty-gritty logistics details to ensure a smooth and successful event. 

Key Marketing Strategies Used:

  • Event marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Incentive marketing

Influencer Marketing: Souffle Pancakes (New Launch Campaign)

For the opening of a new Taiwan-style take and go souffle pancake outlet, there was a lot of emphasis on marketing using social media platforms. Due to the insta-worthy nature of the souffle pancakes which featured artistic and beautiful presentation, along with the jiggly texture of the actual pancakes, Instagram was a key component of the social media strategy. 

One of the key restaurant marketing ideas used to advertise the launch of this new restaurant business, key opinion leaders and influencers in food and lifestyle industries were invited for a tasting session, where they tried the souffle pancakes, took photos and shared their experience via Instagram stories. 

Similar to the way a consumer may read online reviews about a particular restaurant, consumers were able to view the experience of the influencer in an immersive and visual manner, which could potentially be more engaging and more effective in producing loyal customers. After the tasting session, each influencer was also given vouchers which they could give out via their own respective Instagram pages. 

Winners of these vouchers could come down to the outlet and enjoy a free souffle pancake for themselves. To better engage the consumers who are on mobile devices, the vouchers were digital vouchers that were on a chatbot running on Facebook Messenger. 

During this campaign, many of the consumers also posted about their experience and tagged the restaurant, leading to plenty of user-generated content on social media. Like all other restaurant marketing strategies, there is usually one element that is particularly time-consuming. In this case, because of the millions of Instagram profiles out there, it can sometimes be difficult to find and curate a list of the correct type of influencer you wish to have at your tasting session. A good way to mitigate this is to work with a restaurant marketing agency, who already has an established network of influencers whom they know, trust, and fit into the right profile. 

Key Marketing Strategies Used:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Word of mouth marketing
  • Product sampling marketing
  • Chatbot marketing

What can you do now? 

We hope this guide on restaurant marketing have given you some ideas on how to better market your food and beverage outlets. We will add on more case studies every other week, so do check back to learn about our other marketing campaigns. 

If you want to run a campaign and is still clueless on how to do it, drop us a message and if there is a cross channel campaign with available slots, we will put you in without any charges. So, you can run a campaign without any cost outlay on your side! 

So, drop us a note and check if you can join our next marketing campaign.  

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About US | OCM Profile

OCM ( was started in 2007 with the first webpage about coffee machines. And for a number of years, we focused on helping people find their desired coffee machine (we still are helping folks with that! So, if you are looking for coffee machines for office or restaurants - check out the link). 

In 2010, we started getting enquiries on restaurant marketing and we start to help food and beverage brands with their marketing. Below are campaigns and events that we have done over the years: 

OCM's campaigns: F&B Marketing Ideas by OCM 

OCM's Events: F&B Industry events by or with OCM

Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

Since then, we have also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of these modules are still running in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes, below are some snippets of our lectures and workshops: 

OCM’s F&B workshops: Food and Beverage Marketing Lectures | Workshops - click to watch classes on customer journey map, JTBD and more. 

So, if you are looking for industry practitioners to help you scale your coffee or F&B businesses, do drop us a message or book an appointment. Do also check out our various social media platforms on regular F&B and coffee market updates: 

For regular coffee (F&B) related videos: OCM Youtube

For Daily Coffee Inspiration (fun coffee content): OCM IG

For insights into the coffee (F&B) industry: OCM LinkedIN 

PS: For the coffee lovers, we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners).

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