Ahhhhh, spring. It’s finally here and in full swing. Whether your winter was extra-difficult or milder than usual, everyone is ready for the season’s promise of fresh, new things. Where better to find those fresh, new things than at your restaurant? With a little creative restaurant marketing, you’ll be drawing a crowd in no time.
Use affordable direct mail postcards to entice both new people and existing customers with mouth-watering pictures of featured spring dishes. Use multi-channel promotions that combine social media and postcards to reach people on the go as well as at home. Tweet alerts to watch their mailbox for your special offers.
Go green, in two ways.
Proudly promote shopping locally, the restaurant way. The “farm to table” concept is extremely popular, because locally-sourced seasonal fruits, veggies and meats are always the freshest and best-tasting. As a local business supporting other local businesses, you’re helping your community be more economically sustainable and helping save resources that would be wasted on transporting food long distances.
Retire the hearty comfort foods and replace them with lighter, leafier fare. Salads are wonderfully versatile, on their own as a grand collection of interesting greens and raw veggies or serving as a foundation for meaty variations. Salad specials will hit the spot with diners of all ages, so organize a spring series of salads and promote them via social media, your website and email as well as in-house.
Spring restaurant marketing should promote summer, too.
As the weather continues to warm, people will be spending more time outdoors. Promote your box lunches or dinners-to-go for patrons who want to dine al fresco. If you cater or have a banquet room, spread the word for business meetings and private parties and receptions, indoors or out.
Host a party of your own on-premise to preview new menu items. Make it exclusive for your best customers or link up with a local charity and make it a fundraiser – an excellent way to introduce your restaurant to new people.
Need more ideas?
- Text or tweet last-minute food specials or alerts about new food or beverage items.
- Invite customers to opt in to receive mobile coupons and/or your email newsletter with monthly specials.
- Hold a “name that dessert” contest.
- Invite customers to post photos on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest of their favorite meal at your restaurant or their favorite way to eat whatever fruit is in season.
- Host a kids-only cooking class, along with a wine or microbrew tasting for Mom and Dad.
Use any excuse to add some fun and set yourself apart.
Did you know that virtually every day is a designated holiday of some sort? Capitalize on that and capture far more attention by zeroing in specialty food holidays that match your restaurant’s style and menu offerings. Or pick some non-food dates and give them your own restaurant twist. For example:
- May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day. Who wouldn’t show up for a cookie promotion?
- May 16 is National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day.
- May 17 is National Walnut Day.
- May 18th is National No Dirty Dishes Day – what could be more appropriate than a related restaurant marketing promotion?
- May 29 is National Coq au Vin Day.
- May 30 is National Mint Julep Day.
- June 2 is National Leave the Office Early Day – the perfect tie-in for a happy hour promotion.
- June 10 is National Herbs and Spices Day – hold a contest to name the secret ingredient in your new appetizer or bar drink.
- June 17 is National Eat Your Vegetables Day – need we say more?
- June 18 is National Splurge Day – this begs for a joint promotion with your favorite local spa.
And by the way, June is National Great Outdoors Month. The biggest restaurant marketing winner for spring (and summer and fall) is opening your sidewalk or patio for food and beverage service.
Interested in marketing techniques for restaurants? Read our blog: direct mail vs. digital influence for restaurants.