What makes people want to dine at your restaurant? 

Well, good food helps quite a bit and better-than-average service sure helps, but that alone won’t bring customers through your door. Promoting your restaurant is critical to build your customer base, and here are five unique ideas restaurant owners should consider: 


1.       Partner with a local artist. Keep your establishment spontaneous by changing your decorations on a monthly basis. By partnering with local artists and allowing them to display artwork, your restaurant can become more than just a location to dine – it can serve as an art gallery to lure new customers.

2.       Give a gig. Word-of-mouth is a great way to win you customers and making your establishment the go-to place in town is one way of achieving this. Work with local musicians by offering free gigs or open mic once a week to an amateur artist to play for diners. In return, your business can get free marketing through the musicians who invite friends and family to attend. Potbelly, for example, runs a great music program that allows local artists to play at Potbelly locations, with styles ranging from rock, folks, blues and even jazz.

3.       Wine and dine. Consider pairing wine with menu specials. This doesn’t have to be part of your daily menu, but allowing your customers to pair their meals with a special “Wine of the Month” can help drive repeat business.

4.       Get social. Social media has become a way of life and should be incorporated into your marketing plan. Facebook and Twitter are pretty common but there are other social channels that can be beneficial to your business. For example, offering great deals through Foursquare via check-ins can attract a random passerby when least expected.

5.       Implement a loyalty program. A recent survey from EMN8 showed that more than 42 percent of people whose favorite QSR doesn’t provide all types of services would like their favorite brand to use a loyalty/rewards/frequent buyer program. This doesn’t have to get too complicated. For example, a coffee shop can offer a free pastry after customers make five purchases tracked with a small card and hole puncher — simple and sweet.

What unique marketing ideas have you seen at restaurants? Share below.