5 Actual Restaurant Promotions That Worked - MBB Management

5 Actual Restaurant Promotions That Worked

restaurant promotions

Your restaurant may be dishing out some of the best food in your locality, but none of that matters if no one knows about your business. This is where restaurant promotions come in – they give you the unique power to reach your target market and keep them loyal to you.

Thankfully, marketing a food business these days has become a tad easier due to social media. However, if you don’t know how to set up the right marketing strategies, you might end up spending on gimmicks that don’t really work.

Let these 5 successful restaurant promotions inspire you to come up with your own genius marketing techniques to attract more diners:

1. Morton’s Response to Peter Shankman’s Tweet

The August 2011 tweet by entrepreneur and HARO founder Peter Shankman sounded like a joke, when he asked Morton’s for a porterhouse when he lands in Newark Airport. The famed U.S. steakhouse made the request serious by actually going to the airport to meet Shankman and deliver his request!

What made this promotional stunt spectacular was the traction that it gained on social media. The overwhelmingly positive feedback resulted to additional free marketing for Morton’s (although yeah, the restaurant had to spend for the food giveaway and the long travel to the airport).


  • Positive mention of the brand to Shankman’s 100K+ Twitter followers and his blog

How to apply it to your restaurant business:

  • Monitor any mentions of your restaurant brand on social media.
  • Regularly engage people on posts and comments.
  • Go the extra mile by surprising some loyal followers with free stuff.
  • Train your restaurant manager and staff to be mindful of social media trends related to your business.

2. Cheap Eats at Chili’s

Chili’s may be known as a mid-range to high-end food stop, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t attract the wise and thrifty spender. In fact, its ongoing promotion of 3 for $10 has earned them more customers who are definitely turning to loyal patrons.
For $10, you may enjoy an appetizer, an entrée, and a non-alcoholic beverage.


  • Wider market reach to those who can’t afford regular Chili’s prices
  • Increased customer loyalty to the brand

How to apply it to your restaurant business:

  • Find food combinations that your customers will love and you can offer at a discounted combo price.
  • Take good photos of your food and use them in your ad campaigns.

3. Have It Your Way with Burger King’s Subservient Chicken

This ingenious online marketing strategy manages to highlight the fast food chain’s “Have It Your Way” slogan and create buzz for a product. An interactive website was set up to show a video of a man in a chicken costume, wherein viewers can select from hundreds of commands for the costumed person to perform.

The venture was so successful that it not only became a viral hit, but it also boosted Burger King’s sales for its TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich.


  • Sales increase of about 9 percent weekly
  • Viral sensation, with close to 390 million views

How to apply it to your restaurant business:

  • Come up with a creative way to advertise your slogan.
  • Welcome crazy ideas during brainstorming and take a bold risk on your next promotion.

4. Blizzard of the Month by Dairy Queen

If you want to generate buzz for your products, follow Dairy Queen’s footsteps by showcasing one product every month. The ice cream chain’s Blizzard of the Month campaign proves to be an ongoing success as it directs its marketing efforts towards only one product at a time.

The success of this kind of promotion banks on the promise of product recall, without even having to offer discounts. It’s a simple, organic, and effective way to market your products.


  • Continuous buzz for the brand’s products, with the potential to turn some of them as staple menu offerings
  • Low cost for an effective promotional strategy

How to apply it to your restaurant business:

  • Plan your calendar to highlight a specific product per month.
  • Pull out all the stops to promote the product of the month, even without offering discounts.
  • Take note of food-centric holidays and special events, and plan your promotions around them.

5. Bring ‘Em Hell at Hell Pizza

Some people like to gamble and take on a challenge, and this is exactly what Hell Pizza of New Zealand did through its Ghost Pepper Challenge. Customers who joined the challenge were given a whole pizza, where one of the slices contains the most intense hot peppers. A group of friends or family will then eat one slice each to see which one of them caught the firey portion.


  • 400% ROI
  • More than $2 million in additional sales

How to apply it to your restaurant business:

  • Offer a challenge to your customers (which could be in the form of eating contents, spicy food challenge, or anything similar).
  • Give incentives to people who will take your challenge.
  • Bonus Tips on Formulating Restaurant Promotions

Want more strategies on how to effectively boost your promotions? Check out these additional tips:

1. Identify your target market.

Whatever restaurant promotions you’re planning, note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Having said that, you need to know the sector of the general public that you want to attract to your food business. Analyze what your intended set of customers would probably like to receive for promotions – some like discounts, others like freebies, while the rest prefer exclusive member-only combos.

2. Know where to launch your promotions.

Local brick-and-mortar restaurants may find handing out flyers or running a newspaper ad as an advantage, while food shops with a wider audience may prefer social media promotions. Assess your restaurant’s niche and determine where you will best launch your promos.

3. Check your finances.

Any kind of promotion will definitely make a dent on your revenue. Make sure that you find the right balance between earning profit and earning more customers.

On a final note, running promotions for your restaurant may sound like it’s going to boost your revenue, but don’t forget the other parts of your business. Apart from launching potentially successful promotions, always keep proper restaurant management in mind by maintaining topnotch customer service, keeping the workplace conducive for work, and keeping things streamlined for productivity.

Need more information on how to effectively promote your restaurant business? Talk to us at MBB Management, and we will be more than happy to lead you towards the right decision.

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