July 26, 2022

Why Digital Marketing Is Vital for Restaurateurs

If you aren’t taking advantage of digital marketing, you’re doing your restaurant a disservice. Not only are you missing out on opportunities to attract new customers and retain current ones, but you’re also stifling your efforts to build a well-known brand.

The many pathways to digital marketing success can be overwhelming. But this post can help get you started. Read on for digital marketing best practices restaurateurs of all levels can use to connect with customers and drive more business. 

Grow Your Presence on Social Media

There’s a massive hole in your digital marketing strategy if social media isn’t a part of it. Social media marketing offers restaurateurs a unique opportunity to share their restaurant atmosphere, food, and other creative content with a vast audience.

Spend time growing your social media presence. Craft original content that’s valuable to your customer base. Ensure images for social media, like ads or banners, are formatted and sized correctly so they show up as they are supposed to on your pages. Your content should also be visually appealing, a mix of media types, and distributed on a consistent publishing schedule. 

Engage with your followers, as well. Answer every direct message. Respond to every comment. Acknowledge every tag and shoutout. And go live to show a day in the life of your restaurant, behind-the-scenes content, or special events. Ensure social media plays a significant role in your overarching digital marketing strategy to have the best chance at deepening your customer relationships and growing your brand.

Start an Email List

Email marketing still generates one of the most significant returns on investment in digital marketing. In addition, it’s a fantastic way to nurture customer relationships and inspire people to become regulars at your restaurant.

Create a landing page for your email list signup, and share the link on your website and social media pages. You could also get people to sign up when they visit your restaurant. Share exclusive discounts, event invites, and updates relevant to your customers at least a few times a month. 

Starting an email list can help keep your restaurant top of mind for customers when they’re ready to venture out for fantastic food in your area.

Use Cross-Media Marketing

Digital marketing is one of the easiest ways to reach a broad audience but especially the younger generations. Generation Z, in particular, spends a lot of time online, including for making purchases and managing their finances. The stronger your digital presence, the more credibility you have with them and the more likely Gen Z will spend money at your restaurant. 

That’s where cross-media marketing comes in. It refers to when you distribute a marketing message in multiple different forms across various channels. 

For example, putting the link to your email list in your social media bio is cross-media marketing. You may also create a video, flyer, and restaurant blog post for an anniversary event and distribute these across different channels.

Lean into cross-media marketing to create a more robust digital presence. Find ways to promote your social media via your email list and vice versa. Give those on your email list discounts and coupons for visits to your restaurant. And link to your various online channels on your website.  

When you use each digital marketing channel to drive traffic to one another, you can incite a constant influx of potential and recurring customers.

Focus on Brand Consistency

Many restaurants are capitalizing on the power of digital marketing for their businesses, making standing out online that much harder. Ensuring people can recognize your restaurant no matter where they encounter it online can help.

Focus on brand consistency in your digital marketing. Ensure your visual branding elements, like your logo, color scheme, and typography, are the same on every digital platform. Also, your brand’s personality, tone, voice, and messaging should be consistent in all your marketing content and across every digital marketing channel. 

Because your digital marketing efforts can spread across multiple channels, ensuring visitors recognize your brand on each of them is critical.

Encourage Visitors To Leave Reviews and Send in User-Generated Content

Reviews are influential in consumers’ decisions to visit different restaurants. User-generated content is, too. Restaurateurs can use feedback from customers to improve their menu, staff, and overall operation. 

Encourage visitors to leave honest reviews about their experiences at your restaurant. Invite them to send in user-generated content like video reviews and ask for permission to use this content across your digital marketing channels. The more reviews and user-generated content you accumulate, the more proof you have to show the world that your restaurant is worth visiting.

Hire Help When You Need It

You can definitely learn to do all of the above on your own. Do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing is where many restaurateurs start. But the DIY route comes with a lot of trial and error which can delay positive results.

Consider hiring digital marketing help instead. Hiring a marketing manager or firm to take over your digital marketing efforts is a fantastic idea. You can get the expertise you need and see a positive impact on your business more quickly and consistently. 

Figure out how much of your marketing budget you can allocate to hiring help. Also, determine what kind of help you need with your digital marketing and for how long. Then, with this figure and your needs in mind, you can begin your search. When in doubt, hiring help ensures your digital marketing generates results for your restaurant.


Digital marketing is vital for restaurateurs who want to make it past their first year of business, celebrate their fifth anniversary, and see 10 years, multiple locations, and beyond.

Without a solid digital presence, you leave the door open for your competitors who have one to reach your customers before you do. You also slow your brand-building efforts and business. Implement the best practices above to use digital marketing to your advantage.

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