unique restaurant promotion ideas
by Andreea Dobrila

As a restaurant owner, your primary goal is to grow your sales. To grow your sales, you need to sell more. So a great way to drive more sales is to have repeat customers. According to Food Service Warehouse, repeat customers account for as much as 15% of your total client base. Click To Tweet However, that 15% provides about 1/3 of your entire revenue.

But how do restaurants attract new customers? What motivates people to order from your restaurant?

Here is a great example of how Punjabi Palace uses a specific day of the week to send out a great online promotion. You can read more about it here and come up with your own restaurant weekly specials ideas.

Getting those frequent customers can turn out to be challenging, but if you follow the proven restaurant special ideas shared below, it won’t be as hard as you think. Let’s see how. Did you know that as a restaurateur, you can reach out to your customers and turn them into loyal clients, by using a handful of unique restaurant promotion ideas?

Because they’ll help you take advantage of and tap into the very essence of human nature. How?

You see, during their lifetime, people acquire something that psychologists call secondary human wants:

  • To be informed.
  • Satisfying your curiosity.
  • Cleanliness of body and surroundings.
  • Efficiency.
  • Convenience.
  • Dependability/quality.
  • Expression of beauty and style.
  • Economy/profit.
  • Bargains.

And you can actually pick up business at a restaurant by appealing to the last two: economy/profit & bargains. No one will ever pass out on the opportunity to buy something cheaper, no matter how rich they are. Especially when they come across unique restaurant promotion ideas.

Because the need to have and save money is something that we learn in our lifetime. And this is a very powerful want that we will never shake off. It’s just part of who we are. And tapping into these particular, secondary human wants by using a few savvy and unique restaurant promotion ideas is the way to go.

And the best part? You could use these creative restaurant promotions to boost your sales particularly on those slow days in which customers don’t seem to line up to your doorstep.

So how exactly can you do that?

1. By using customer loyalty incentive programs. One of the most common is using reward programs to drive frequent visits. Keep them coming back for more with your excellent menu and a great rewards program.

Related: [Infographic] Restaurant Loyalty Marketing: How to Ace Customer Success

2. By using a few unique & fun restaurant promotion ideas that work (for example, this unique restaurant marketing app actually pays people to attend restaurants).

Related: [How To] The Best Restaurant Gamification Tips & Secrets that will Drive Customer Loyalty

15 examples of unique restaurant promotion ideas

Let’s now take a look at some restaurant promotion examples below that will give you ideas for restaurant specials and types of restaurant discounts you can offer.

1. Restaurant special offers – this upcoming [holiday name]

Use any restaurant holiday promotions you can think of to promote your business and increase your profits. And it’s quite easy to do so when you can choose from a vast array of food and beverage marketing ideas and offer your clients some great discounts or freebies.

st patrick's day restaurant specials 2019

So for instance, on St Paddy’s Day, you could run promotions on lager or open a St Patrick’s-themed pop-up restaurant. Here is just one example of the many restaurant promotions messages we’ve jotted down for your personal use:

Best restaurant promotions messages #1:

On March 17 we honor St. Patrick.

That’s why beer is only $1.50 at [your restaurant name]

Best restaurant promotions messages #2:

Leprechauns don’t exist.

But our special beer offer is unbelievably real.

Just $1/bottle.

As for Black Friday restaurant deals, you could run any restaurant holiday promotion you could think of. And you can put food promotion messages on a flyer, such as…

Special offer on Black Friday

At [your restaurant’s name] you can finally take a breather and stop chasing limited offers.

[Food and beverage promotions idea – fill in the blanks] for just [fill in the blanks]

Columbus Day Restaurant Promotion Messages:

Columbus discovered the Americas.

Now, it’s your turn to discover our mouth-watering menu offers.

[fill in the blanks] for just [fill in the blanks]

Veterans’ Day:

This upcoming veterans’ day we salute all veterans.

We wouldn’t be here without you.

That’s why we’re giving you a free [i.e., dessert] with every meal.

Offer available from November 12 to November 18.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving is the day to be grateful for everything you have.

And we are grateful for you.

As a “thank you”, we reward you with plenty of promotions: …

Mother’s Day offers restaurants (good promotion ideas for restaurants):

This Mother’s Day, show your mother how much you appreciate her.

[Special offer] for just [fill in the blanks]

You bring the mother, we’ll bring the flowers.

*Complimentary flowers. On us.*

Father’s Day:

This Father’s Day, we show our appreciation to all dads out there.

Main course (meaty, of course) +  garnish + drinks of his choosing

It’s just $ [insert the desired amount]…

List of holidays in the US for 2021

You can basically use any holiday to promote your business. So here’s the list of upcoming holidays in the US:

You can always go to https://www.officeholidays.com, select your country, and voila. A list of all important holidays will pop on the screen.

Even better yet, download our Food Holiday Calendar & Promotion Ideas for Restaurants in 2021. You will find a list of some of the most important food holidays, together with some restaurant food promotion ideas for each of them.

food holiday calendar

 ~ Download ~

Get More Online Orders Simply choose one from our list.

2. Special offer on National [fill in the blanks] Day

So, for instance, you could give free brownies to your customers’/kids on National Brownie Day. You see, each day of the year is a declared food day. And you can capitalize on it.

So how will you know what’s celebrated on which day? Well, that’s easy. Just go on Twitter and follow @Foodimentary. Their Twitter page is like a log with all the National Food holidays throughout the year. Use that as your source of inspiration.

Other current restaurant promotions:

3. Free fries this Friday

Because potatoes are cheap. And delicious. Everyone wants a piece of that.

4. Every tenth customer to walk through the door gets a free…

You can provide them with a free coffee, smoothie, dessert, drink, etc.

5. Increase the average order value: 3-for-2: get a free main course for every 2 main courses ordered

6. Family combo: 2+1 Deal, get 3rd [fill in the blanks] free

Food combo offer ideas never fail; for example, Family pack combo: 2+1 Deal, get the 3rd pizza free.

unique restaurant promotion ideas: 2+1 deal

7. Encourage new customers to order from you: Any {food} for just {$ dollars}

I.e., Any house pizza or 3-topping pizza, of any size, for just $9.99 each. 

8. Encourage recurring visits: Spend $50 and get $10 off your next visit

Encourage recurring sales by brainstorming restaurant offer ideas like this one: Spend $20 to receive a $5 discount on your next order. This way, you can easily turn them into your loyal customers.

unique restaurant promotion ideas -> spend $50 and get $10 off your next visit

9. Boost sales on your slowest days: Special offer on certain days of the week

Turn your slow days into your busiest restaurant days. Promote creative restaurant food specials on certain weekdays. For example, Punjabi Palace, one of our restaurant members, has been successfully promoting the same offer every Wednesday for a few years. See how well they do it: The Curious Case Of Punjabi’s “Wacky Wednesday Curry”

unique restaurant promotion ideas : offer on a certain day of the week

10. Impel customers to place online orders: Free delivery on orders over $30

unique restaurant promotion ideas -> free delivery offer

A huge chunk of your profits can come from online ordering. To draw people to your new service, create exclusive online promotions on your restaurant website. Read more about unique restaurant marketing ideas to promote your website.

You Might Also Like: How to Create a Website: An Easy, Free Step by Step Guide for Beginners

11. This month’s special: All you can eat for just {x dollar amount}

E.i.,  This month’s special: All you can eat for just $19.95

12. Buy any {fill in the blanks}, get a free {free in the blanks}

E.i., Buy any pizza, get a free soda/dessert | Buy a pizza, get one free | Buy any 2 large pizzas and get a free 2L coke

13. This month’s drink special: x {$ dollar amount} y {type of beverage}

E.i.,  This month’s drink special: $1.50 beer.

Think about what’s your most sold out beverage & discount it on certain days of the week. Make it extremely appealing for alcohol lovers to spread the word around.

Make lunchtime, buzz-time: Current Restaurant Lunch Specials Ideas

Mix & match for just $9.95 

That’s actually one of the greatest and easiest to implement easy lunch specials for restaurants. Apart from your current menu, you can quickly put together a small menu page divided into two: appetizers/starters & main courses. So people can just choose a dish from each section. And mix & match as they please.

Menu promotion ideas: Why Restaurants with Small Menus Are More Successful [+ Template]

The Brunch Lunch Special

According to a mass study conducted by Technomic in 2017, consumers have shifted their behavior and attitudes towards having breakfast. 30% of people are skipping breakfast more than they were back in 2015. So instead of breakfast promotion ideas, redirect your attention toward lunch/brunch.

And get this, the same research study revealed the following:

Over 40% of consumers eat brunch at least once a week. Click To Tweet This is terrific news, considering that you can actually monetize on these trends with some great lunch menu ideas or lunch specials ideas for restaurants.

unique restaurant promotion ideas: offer brunch for a special price

You could include in your brunch menu:

  • eggs Benedict,
  • avocado yogurt with berries and nuts,
  • avocado toast,
  • French toast,
  • peanut butter and banana sandwich,
  • hash browns with eggs and bacon,
  • pancakes,
  • waffles,
  • bacon, scrambled eggs,
  • smoothies and granola bowls,
  • cinnamon buns,
  • or croissants in your menu.

Or whatever else you find more appropriate.

And here’s a text sample that you could put on a flyer:

i.e.

Join us for brunch!

Monday through Friday

10am – 12am

$7.99

Alternatively, you could also add the list of foods and their prices, if you’d like.

How to get the word out about your unique restaurant promotion ideas

So now you have some creative food promotion ideas to choose from. There’s just one thing left: how to actually drive clients in your shop by using restaurant promotional ideas. Go out and physically invite people to your restaurant. Ok, you might ask yourself, but Andreea, where should I go?

Go to kindergartens, schools, high schools, or colleges in your neighborhood, and tell teachers that the upcoming week is Teacher Appreciation Week. You can also pass along a flyer promoting Teacher Appreciation Week.

Go find coaches teaching basketball, baseball, swimming, etc., basically any type of coach – and let them know that if they bring their teams after practice or after a game they can all benefit from some great restaurant promotions. And you could also go to college campuses and pass along promotional flyers to sorority girls. Use any of the best restaurant promotion ideas you can think of to make them come to your restaurant.

Invite them to try out the low fat, vegan dishes or to host different types of events at your restaurant. The great part about having sorority girls coming to your restaurant is that they’ll Instagram the whole thing.

And in my book, that’s helluva publicity. Because your restaurant’s name will get out there with little effort on your part. You could also invite local entrepreneurs to host their company dinners there and try out the food. Take pics of all these promotional events for restaurants and put them up on your Facebook page to show you have a packed house.

Don’t forget to celebrate your restaurant’s anniversary with your customers. Think of some restaurant anniversary ideas like a party or special prices all day long to show customers you appreciate their loyalty.

If you also deliver food, here are some promotional ideas for restaurants that deliver.

Why do promos work?

Because everyone is afraid of losing money. So, for instance, you can’t go wrong if you target students or teachers in one of your promotions for restaurants. Because not one of those client categories is financially secured.

They want to spend less. Above all, when you’re giving them frequent customer promotions, they’ll feel like they’re getting a better value for their money. As a result, you’ll be able to boost your sales, since you’ll attract plenty of new clients.

The best restaurant advertising ideas appeal to people’s desire to save money. Using these unique restaurant promotion ideas is similar to using a magnet to draw your clients into your eatery -> they work without fail since you’re appealing to basic human desires.

What to read next: How to write menu descriptions and find promotion words for food that will boost your sales

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Andreea Dobrila
Andreea Dobrila

Andreea Dobrila is a proven web copywriter & marketing strategist. She pushes online restaurants on the fast-track to quickly growing their online sales. Win more business by using her bulletproof tips & secrets.

Download’s Andreea’s free report:

**Food Descriptions That Make You Hungry: Hypnotic Menu Writing Tips & Secrets**

Use promos to get more orders Simply choose one from the Admin section. It's all free & easy to use.