Advertising ideas are often “short-term,” even when they work well. You rarely see door-to-door salesmen like you did in the past, but at one time, they were responsible for the rapid growth of some of the largest companies in the world.

Many business advertising ideas have ceased due to the rise of Google, Facebook and online channels. PPC, ad buys and SEO dominate the marketing landscape in 2023.

However, there are timeless ideas that work just as well today – if not better – than they did in the past.

What are they?

Let's find out.

Creative Advertising Ideas for Restaurants That Work in 2024

creative advertising ideas

Advertising ideas for restaurants are often simple because they work. You have a brick-and-mortar location where people can come to sit down and eat. Fun and exciting options are available, including:

Attend and Support Local Events

Free advertising ideas are the best because they offer you a tremendous return for no monetary loss. If your local community is hosting an event, attend. You can join in on:

  • Local food tasting
  • Fundraisers
  • Sporting events

If you have the marketing budget, you can also sponsor local events. For example, many local soccer teams in my area are sponsored by a pizzeria. Everyone on the team knows the pizza place and all of the attendees to their games also see the pizza place’s logo on the jerseys.

For this pizza place, they have a fast and affordable way to promote their restaurant that requires minimal effort.

Local Discounts and Freebies

Everyone wants a better deal. If you offer someone 50% off of a pizza, they will wish that you offered 60% off. However, when you offer local discounts, it’s a way for locals to feel like they’re part of a special group and you’re providing them with a crazy return on their purchase.

You can do this by:

  • Offering discounts on the night the local soccer team wins
  • Providing discounts to team players for the team you sponsor
  • Having a “locals” night where certain items are for sale for less

If you know that the high school graduation in your town is going on, you can offer all new grads a free appetizer.

Freebies and discounts that are tied to local activities can provide decades of marketing.

For example, on graduation day every year, you can offer the same deal to customers. People will continue to remember these great offers and will even look forward to them annually. Life-long residents may even offer you decades of business at this time of year, which means a timeless advertisement that pays itself back again and again.

Outdoor Signage

Restaurants are in a unique position in the business world because they can still generate a ton of sales with outdoor signage or ads in your restaurant’s window. If your restaurant is on a busy street where there’s a lot of foot traffic, this ad will work even better.

You can do a few things here:

  • Place a sidewalk sign out with your daily deals
  • Place a menu list on the window for people to see
  • Advertise deals on your store windows

People love to “window shop.” You can be sure that people will view your promotion, and some will come in. You’ll find that restaurants in major urban areas use outdoor signage because it instantly reaches their target demographic.

Mailing Inserts

Mail still works for local businesses as a major advertising channel. You can promote your new business with a mail insert or send coupons out during slow seasons. People always check their mail, and if you have a great deal, people will at least think of buying from you.

Of course, if you have new menu items or a special going on, you can send out mailing inserts.

However, you’ll want to judge the return on investment of this type of advertisement to see if it’s worth the effort or if it’s something you should abandon.

restaurants advertising ideas

Loyalty Rewards

Businesses used to provide referral bonuses to customers who promoted them. However, another marketing tactic that started to work better was to offer loyalty rewards. You might remember this tactic from your local barber.

You would go in for a haircut, a ticket would be clipped, and after a certain number of haircuts, you would receive a discount or free haircut.

Dunkin’ and Starbucks offer something similar.

After you reach a certain value of purchases, you may receive a free coffee or some other freebie. Loyalty rewards can be anything you like, but one thing is for sure: they’re timeless. You can offer a loyalty reward for a free dessert on your fifth visit, and it will keep people coming back to your establishment because they want the reward you offer.

Create Timeless Ads

Advertisements can be timeless and last for decades before they no longer hold value. “I’m Lovin’ It” is an ad that McDonald’s ran in 2003, and it is the same slogan that they’ve used since.


It's one of the restaurant's advertising ideas that resonates so well with the company’s target audience that it works 20 years later. You'll find that additional ads have been made with the slogan, but even newer ads place this jingle into the advertisement.

Your ads, or at least some of the elements, should be timeless, with:

  • Slogans
  • Catchphrases
  • Jingles 

If you’re creating digital ads, they can also be timeless. Creating some ads that you can run without fail and generate leads time and time again is always worth it.

You can also create timeless advertising by:

  1. Being inclusive and never leaving anyone out
  2. Focusing on your core product or menu items that will always remain
  3. Be 100% real and honest to keep your audience’s best interests in mind and continue on your path to success. Misleading ads instantly become obsolete

Restaurants that have a core theme, such as pizza and ribs, should avoid deviating from these menu items because they’re your “core” menu items.

Creative ideas for advertising don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can use timeless ideas that are sure to work for years – or more – to come.