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Business Resources

4 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant & Fill Your Seats

March 31, 2015 | Written by Arnold Shain

For a restaurant to thrive, it is imperative that a business engage directly with their patrons. It is no secret that owning a restaurant is difficult.  Cornell and the National Restaurant Association, found that 60% of restaurants fail in the first five years of operation. To keep business running, a restaurant owner must craft a compelling story around the experience offered instead of just promoting delectable entrees. Guests want to feel as though they are investing in something that benefits them as well as getting a steal of a deal. Today’s customer base struggles to remember a time before Google, restaurants are therefore forced to adapt to create different promotions encouraging guests through their doors.


BizX is working with leading industry experts every day to obtain better business knowledge for you. To kick things off, we have consulted the restaurant industry expert, Arnold Shain, the founder of the Restaurant Group and Idea’s man. Below you will find more information about who Arnold is and his first guest blog. We are excited to introduce Arnold Shain!

I have over 20 years of experience in the restaurant/hospitality industry, with my expertise in concept development, branding and restaurant “rescues.” I have helped develop concepts for Cucina! Cucina!, Dragonfish Asian Café, and several others in the area. I have referred several restaurants to BizX as a tool to improve their business and help them offset budgeted expenses. My partnership with BizX has helped restaurants grow, expand and/or rebrand without absorbing cash costs. Partnering with BizX has been both valuable and strategic for my business and my clients. I have gained new customers form BizX which in turn has helped grow my business and personal brand. I am excited to delve in as a guest blogger and share my restaurant knowledge with you. This blog is part of a series that I will be writing, covering an array of restaurant industry tips, tricks and trends.

In my experience, there are plenty of restaurant promotions that are quick and inexpensive to implement, while others can take more time to plan. So without further ado, let’s delve into four tried and true restaurant promotions.

Discount Promotions

Discount promotions are two-fold they let you run a trial offer and when implemented correctly, they can help boost your sagging cash flow. The buy one get one free (BOGO) offer generates the most use by guests. The buy one and get the second one at 50% off is also a strong option. Though, the Restaurant Group finds that the net cash flow is actually greater in the BOGO promotion. With the BOGO option, the trick is to offer menu items with low food costs to keep your cost of goods down while filling your empty seats.

To give you an example, the Olive Garden created a well-executed discount promotion. They started a ‘Buy One, Take One’ campaign where guests start with unlimited soup or salad & breadsticks, with the choice from a variety of delicious entrees. At the end of the meal guests pick a second entrée to take home for later.


Hosting events around sporting events, themed dinners or wine tasting can entice people out instead of cooking at home. Events require planning and use in store merchandising like table tents, posters, and banners. When hosting an event the atmosphere of your restaurant will drive the evening. Creating a space of engagement and appreciation will keep customers coming back. When promoting your event(s) it is important to use social media to raise awareness and generate buzz.

Trivia, Live Entertainment, or Karaoke area all special events that can be hosted on a regular basis. This boosts community engagement by encouraging patrons to interact with your business and other patrons. Most restaurants can fill their seats on the weekends. Creating a trivia night is ideal for slow Mondays or Wednesday nights. Trivia nights boost sales and can bring in new clientele. Food Service Ware House, explains the setup of a successful trivia night. Goldberg’s Famous Delicatessen, hosts live entertainment every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They offer happy hour specials. Where customers enjoy cheap drinks, good music and spend money on entrees – ultimately helping the restaurants bottom line.

Food and Beverage Offerings


Pairing food & beverage offerings is a great way to fill your seats. Host Tequila Tuesday where all Tequilas are ½ off with $3 Tacos. Tequila Tuesday promotions can be held during happy hour, drawing in the afterwork crowd. This provides an opportunity to upsell customers who come in for ½ off tequila and tacos.

Agave Cocina & Tequila, a client of the Restaurant Group, implemented Tequila Tuesdays, offering allthe tequilas in the house for half off every Tuesday. For an additional $2.00, you can make it a margarita. They also do Margarita Mondays and Well Wednesdays, which are great opportunities to drive guests through the door

Social Media Discounts

Social media discounts can be used to attract customers through Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, etc. A restaurant can create an online presence letting people know about a special, limited-time offer. They can run for a day, a meal or a week. It is important to update your offers regularly to keep things fresh and guest coming back for more.

Regardless of your methods, a steady stream of revenue is the key to keeping your doors open. To start the flow of revenue, customers need to know about your restaurant. With so many ways to promote your business it can be difficult to pick the most effective way. By implementing one of these four promotions, you can attract more customers and avoid becoming one of the 60% that fail.

To learn the best way to ramp up your social media check out another BizX blog posted by their regular blogger, Matt!


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