General Marketing

How to Run a Successful Promotion for Your Restaurant

In the restaurant industry, promotions are a dime a dozen. But putting together a restaurant promotion should never be done willy nilly. The more thought and strategy you put into your promotion, the better the results and data you will get. Over time, you’ll have a data gold mine, which equips you to create promotions that are tailored to your customers.

And, even more importantly, you’ll be equipped to drive revenue in the long-term, not just as a one time thing. 

Know Your Customers

Knowing who your restaurant serves is the key to not just a successful promotion, but really success in general. We’ve all seen confused restaurants that don’t quite know where they fit. Know yourself, know your customer. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where are your customers located?
  • How old are your customers?
  • What motivates your customers?
    • Experience
    • Food type
    • Cost savings

Unsure of the answers? Hop online and start looking at Google and Facebook reviews of your restaurant. You’ll find positive and negative comments and get an idea of what the people who like you enjoy and what you can do better.

Answering these questions will help you better understand your audience and create promotions that appeal to them. 

Choose When To Run Your Promotions

Knowing when to run your promotions is an important part of reaching your people. If your audience is largely made up of working men and women coming in at lunch time, then offer something that they’ll take advantage of.

Your goal should always be to reach the most qualified people. This means that as you get to know your audience you’ll know when they are most active and eager to purchase and can reach those who are most likely to take advantage of your offer. Conversely, you might also want to know when they aren’t super active so you can drive purchases during slow times.


  • Evaluate when customers are most active
  • Find slow times
  • Know what gets customers excited

Determine Your Goal: Revenue or Brand Awareness

Every promotion should have a goal behind it. Your first instinct might be to go for the obvious: revenue. But a good promotion shouldn’t always be motivated by revenue. Brand awareness can be worth its weight in gold.

If you run a promotional deal that’s time sensitive, your revenue will only be impacted as long as the promotion is live. Conversely, if you choose to run a promotion that generates chatter about your restaurant you could be looking at increased orders and foot traffic for months to come. 


  • Be intentional and list what your goal for the promotion is. 
  • Contact the press, local reporters, and even community groups on Facebook to promote your offer–this is particularly important if brand awareness is your goal.


  • Just pick a number out of your hat and discount food at that percentage.

Promotional Planning

So, you know your audience, you know your goals, and you’ve evaluated your margins. Now it’s time to design your promotion. 

Start with:

• What promotion you are offering

• Why you are doing it

• When it will take place

• How long it will last

• How much it will cost you

Promotional ideas:

  • Celebrate your anniversary: if it’s a big anniversary (10 years, 15 years, etc.) make it a big deal with a week long celebration that offers daily deals. 
  • Holidays: use various holidays as an opportunity to bring people in and gain referrals. Christmas is a great time to offer incentives for gift card purchases, which people then give to friends and family to bring new guests into your restaurant.
  • Current events: it’s no secret that COVID-19 is big news right now, particularly among the restaurant industry. Turn this lemon into lemonade. Offer discounts on your food or encourage people to buy gift cards so that they can enjoy dining with you when business can resume as usual.

Offering promotions to your guests shouldn’t take you to the cleaners. If you use any of the top 4 food delivery services to get food to your customers, chances are you’re losing money (or barely breaking even). An online ordering system like eHungry can you help provide a simple and intuitive online ordering process to customers, while paying only 1.9% for each order instead of the usual 25-30%!

Get in touch with us to learn how you can get your custom online ordering site built and start driving more revenue in just two days.