Bar and Restaurant: Adopt New Marketing Trends

Learn how two hot new marketing trends—mobile marketing and daily deals—can help you attract and keep customers.

Online ShoppingTwo of the most effective marketing methods for your bar or restaurant are still emerging, but rapidly being adopted by consumers craving convenience and savings. Here’s a closer look.

Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing doesn’t necessarily mean mobile advertising, which can be costly for a small business. A study by Yahoo! found that young, affluent consumers are the most likely to use mobile devices to find information about restaurants and dining out—and they most often “searched” for that data. That’s good news for restaurant and bar owners, since search is one of the most effective—and least expensive—mobile marketing methods.

Make sure your bar or restaurant is listed in local search directories (see our article about online marketing) and on bar- and restaurant-related ratings and review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor (see our article on social media). Then develop a mobile-friendly website so potential customers who click on your site from search results or reviews can access important information quickly. How quickly? A recent Google study showed users will give up if your site takes more than 5 seconds to load on a mobile device.

Make sure your bar or restaurant’s hours, address, phone number, menu items, and current deals or specials are readily accessible and readable. Consider including click-to-call buttons, since Yahoo found this is something most customers want. Last, but certainly not least, optimize your website so it will rank higher in search engine results (see our article on Online Marketing)

Once you’ve attracted new customers with mobile marketing, keep them coming back by capturing their cellphone numbers and using text message marketing. (Make sure they opt in to receive messages from you.) Text messaging is a great way “last-minute” marketing tactic. Is it a slow night at your bar? Text your customers about a happy hour special or a karaoke sing-off. Your chef’s flambéed flounder dish isn’t moving? Text that it’s 50 percent off tonight.

Daily Deals

Daily deal sites, such as Groupon, capitalize on consumers’ love of all things social—and of saving money. Deal sites work with your bar or restaurant to help you create discount offerings and special packages. They then send their subscribers free, daily emails alerting them to these deals. For example, you might create a deal offering $40 worth of food at your restaurant for $20, or a deal for a special beer-tasting menu at your bar. You pay only when the deals are redeemed.

Groupon and other successful daily deal sites have massive subscriber lists, guaranteeing that your bar or restaurant will be exposed to a large number of new customers. There’s a social component, too: Subscribers are encouraged to share the promotions with family and friends, which increases your exposure exponentially. Finally, daily deals also allow for highly targeted marketing: You can target customers in specific ZIP codes and those who have expressed interest in bar and restaurant deals.

Daily deals drive awareness of your bar or restaurant among customers who may never have heard of you, or hesitated to come by. Once you get them in the door, make a great first impression by offering stellar service. Gently upsell so customers spend more than the value of the deal itself. Encourage splurging by suggesting dessert or coffee after dinner, or describing a scrumptious appetizer that would go great with the martini they’re enjoying. Since they’ve already saved money on the deal, daily deal customers are often in the mood to splurge a little on “extras.”

Encourage daily deal users to come back—but switch the focus of these efforts from discounts to appealing (regular-priced) events, such as your restaurant’s Mother’s Day Brunch, an upcoming wine-tasting, or your bar’s Monday Night Football viewings.

Combine these two emerging marketing methods by using mobile deal apps such as Groupon Now, which offers real-time, location-based deals. Use of mobile deals is growing, and a recent Groupon study found that mobile customers spent over 50 percent more than Web-only customers, making mobile deals a profitable avenue for attracting and retaining bar and restaurant customers.

Pros Cons
Mobile marketing will bring the young and affluent to your restaurant or bar—as well as on-the-go customers. Daily deals have across-the-board appeal these days, and can quickly go viral. Since these marketing methods are still emerging, you’ll need to educate yourself on best practices and keep up with the changes.


To learn more about Groupon’s merchant solutions and how to work with Groupon, visit

By Rieva Lesonsky