Local store marketing ideas for restaurants haven’t changed – much – in the last year. You'll find plenty of opportunities to promote your eatery to locals this year. And with digital still being a must-have form of marketing, you’ll want to spend a lot of time working on your offline marketing.

We're going to share some great local marketing ideas that will help you attract new customers this year.


7 Local Marketing Ideas for Restaurants in 2024

local marketing ideas

Public relations are always important when trying to maintain a loyal customer base, but you’ll need to go back to the basics this year with these local marketing ideas for restaurants.

1. Add Loyalty Offers

Nearly 50% of consumers will go to a restaurant more than twice a month if it means that they can leverage a loyalty offer. If you offer a 50% discount on an appetizer or some sort of freebie to loyal customers, it’s a great way to maintain high retention rates.

Retention is crucial in current economic conditions because:

  • Acquiring new customers is 6 – 7 times more expensive than retention

  • Retention increases of 5% can lead to a 25%+ revenue increase

If you don’t have a loyalty program in place, it’s time to add one. Loyalty programs are one of the best options for local marketing for restaurants because they keep customers coming back.

2. Sponsor Local Teams

Hyper-localized marketing is always great when trying to promote to locals. If you haven’t done so already, consider sponsoring a local team. For example, near me, a major restaurant did the following:

  • Contacted local elementary, middle and high schools

  • Asked if any sports teams needed jerseys or equipment

  • Negotiated a banner to be displayed at every game mentioning the sponsorship

Local marketing techniques work very well because they show your eatery’s commitment to the local community. You'll often be the go-to restaurant for the team after a game and will surely have an uptick of customers whose children you’ve sponsored.

If you live in a town with a popular college or university, this is a major marketing opportunity, but it’s going to be far more expensive.

University teams that are very popular can demand more money for promoting your restaurant, which is a hefty price for smaller eateries to pay. But it’s worth the time and effort to reach out to teams and see how you can sponsor them in some way.

You may be able to buy a sponsorship where the money will be used to fund traveling, equipment and even training.

3. Run Charity Events

Local restaurant marketing means getting out in the community and making a positive impact. You can run charity events, such as:

  • 50% of proceeds during an event will go to support homeless programs

  • 25% of this month’s revenue will go to programs for single mothers

If you have the means, you can also use local stories to your advantage. For example, if a local family loses their home in a fire, you can hold a clothing drive for them or opt to raise money to help them rebuild.

Your restaurant can serve as a drop-off location during natural disasters, too.

Wildfires have become more prevalent in my area, and many businesses band together and will collect items to feed firefighters or take donations to help cover their expenses. Many of the local news stations will pick up these good deeds and mention them on the news, acting as some of the best marketing you’ll receive.

And you’re doing a good deed that really has an impact on the lives of others.

local restaurant marketing

4. Provide Free Wi-Fi and Work Areas

Work areas and free Wi-Fi will attract a lot of the work-from-home crowd to your restaurant. You'll want to have limits on these areas, such as:

  • 9 am – 5 pm daily

  • Monday – Friday before 5

  • Etc.

Local store marketing for restaurants that use this tactic has to be prepared for a lot of people who will set up their own office in the restaurant and only order a coffee or two.

However, others will order food the entire time and may have clients who come in and do the same.

You have two options:

  1. Set strict hours

  2. Dedicate a space for the WFH crowd

Of course, if you have a smaller eatery, this is one of the ideas for local marketing that you can also skip.

5. Buy Local Online Ads

Restaurant local marketing should include buying local ads. You'll want to purchase ads in or on:

  • Local email newsletters

  • Local directories

  • Local newspapers

If you have a local news outlet that is small, you can often purchase an ad in their newsletter to their visitors and even ad space on their website.

6. Create an Amazing Social Media Campaign

Social media has over 4.8+ billion users – your target audience uses it. You can create a social media campaign that attracts new customers, such as:

  • Run a contest for discounts on food

  • Schedule posts for a month

If you have new menu items that you plan to add, you can run a campaign to get name ideas from locals. Including locals in your effort to name your menu items will drum up a lot of business because people want to be important.

7. Buy Facebook and Google Ads

If you want a shortcut to get in front of your target audience, don’t be afraid to purchase ads on the two largest websites in the world: Google and Facebook. You can purchase ads that allow you to:

  • Target your demographic

  • Attract new customers

  • Build up your customer base

Ads should be run alongside SEO in an effort to improve revenue and sales. It takes time to build a business and online presence, and you can jumpstart the process by purchasing PPC ads.

Of course, you’ll want to put a spending limit on your ads campaign to control your costs.

Marketing your restaurant is a top priority even if you have a lot of regular customers because you can never be sure if people will stop coming into your eatery. Using the ideas above will help you start off 2024 with a restaurant filled with customers.