How to Attract College Students to Your Restaurant
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Who doesn’t love eating out in a nice restaurant? Everyone does, and college students are no exception. Nevertheless, though young people like grabbing something to eat outside of their homes, marketing a restaurant to them can be challenging if you don’t know what drives them.

If you want to learn how to attract college students to your restaurant but have no idea where to begin, we have you covered! Below, you can find seven expert tips that will help you make your restaurant appealing to young people.

How to Attract College Students to Your Restaurant

1. Create a Time-Efficient Ordering Experience

College students know the real value of time better than anyone else. A typical student’s schedule is packed. They have to attend lectures, take care of homework, and study for exams. Some may even have a side hustle along the way.

Thus, even if they find an essay writing service online and delegate part of their assignments, they remain swamped. Every minute counts for them.

Due to their busy schedules, when students decide to eat out, they typically opt for places with fast service. So the number one tip for marketing your restaurant to them is to create a very time-efficient order experience.

To do this, you should cut down the waiting time and increase the table turnover rate with QR code menus that allow customers to order at the table or a schedule orders feature so they can order their food in advance.

Here’s how you can create a QR code menu for dine-in within minutes.

In addition, provide extra options like order for pickup and delivery. This way, you will be able to maximize convenience and attract young people who want to grab a bite to eat without wasting too much of their precious time.

Attract College Students with an Easy-to-Use Online Ordering System They will be able to browse your menu and place an order on their phones

2. Make Your Wi-Fi Free

Due to their busy schedules, students often look for ways to multitask. So seeing young people studying while grabbing something to eat shouldn’t surprise you. Cafes and restaurants have always been among students’ favorite study spots.

To cater to this need and attract more young people to your restaurant, all you need to do is provide high-speed Wi-Fi free of charge. Your restaurant can become another favorite study spot for local students if you do this. And if they come to study in your facility, rest assured they will order something to eat.

Read more: ​​Wi-Fi Marketing for Restaurants: Why and How to Do It

3. Offer Discounts and Special Offers

Students often live on a shoestring budget. While being in college, young people have to cover lots of expenses. Tuition, textbooks, accommodation, and paper writer or tutor services are just a few of students’ many spendings.

So while they would like to eat out, sometimes, they can’t afford it. And this is one of the biggest reasons why marketing restaurants to students is so hard.

Pricing is one of the students’ major pain points. But there is an easy way to address it and make your restaurant appealing to young people.

All you need to do is offer them special discounts, meal bundles, and offers. You can also drive more young people to your restaurant by providing student discounts redeemable by showing their student ID.

You might also like: How to Use Restaurant Promotion Templates Effectively to Boost Sales

4. Provide Healthy Menu Options

Although it is believed that college students eat junk food most of the time, these days, there is a massive trend toward health and well-being among them.

Today, young people are becoming more and more health-conscious. Still, they don’t get enough healthy meal options on campus and in most restaurants.

This is an excellent opportunity to make your restaurant stand out. First, add healthy, organic, and gluten-free options to your menu. Then, be sure to mention this in your ads and marketing materials.

If you do so, you will be able to attract health-conscious students to your restaurant. And if you make your healthy menu delicious, they will keep coming back to you!

5. Market Your Restaurant on Social Media

Even after improving the customer experience, offering free Wi-Fi and discounts, and adding new items to your menu, you will still need to advertise your restaurant to help potential customers find you. But how can you do this right to attract college students, you may wonder? Social media is the answer.

It’s no secret that young people use social media a lot in their everyday life. They can spend hours scrolling news feeds on Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks. That’s why social media is the best channel to market to this group of consumers.

90% of people buy from brands they discover on social media. Thus, if you leverage such channels to market your restaurant, you can easily reach students and attract them.

Learn more: How to Attract More Customers to Your Restaurant Using Social Media

6. Team Up With Influencers

Another practical marketing tip that will help you drive college students to your restaurant is forming partnerships with influencers. Young people follow many influencers and trust their opinion and advice.

Some of the most successful influencers have audiences of hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers, the majority of which are students and young people. Therefore, by leveraging restaurant influencer marketing, you can reach a broad audience of students.

7. Create Appealing Paid Ads

Finally, when learning how to attract college students to your restaurant, don’t forget about paid ads.

Create an attention-grabbing video presentation of your restaurant and launch a paid advertising campaign. To get the desired results, tweak your ad targeting settings to cover college students.

Also, be sure to target prospects located in your restaurant’s area. That is vital because most students will choose places to eat close to their homes or campuses.

You might also like: Why you need to use a Free Online Ordering System for College Dining Halls

The Bottom Line

The secret to learning how to attract college students to your restaurant is the same as for any other consumer group. You need to understand their needs and wants and cater to them.

The tips we shared in this article are all time-tested and proven effective. By integrating them into your restaurant marketing strategy, you should be able to attract college students quickly and easily. So go ahead and try them out!

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She delivers business-optimized content to help restaurants boost sales and grow their brand.