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6 restaurant marketing ideas that will boost your dine-in sales

Incentivise your consumers with some much needed TLC 

Every restauranter can safely say that when the night curfew restrictions were lifted in Mumbai last week (and subsequently further cities), they heaved a much needed sigh of relief (albeit long overdue, but we’ll take what we get). This finally meant we could step out of our homes at 9 pm, and wouldn’t have to rush to reach before the last order. So stressful. Oh, and not to mention the losses faced by business owners, wastage of produce, so on and so forth. 

This silver lining brings with it an emphasis on marketing across all streams, because you need to let your customers know that they can step out post a certain time, and incentivising them with great deals and offers is just the way to increase footfall. Ordering in is always great, we’ve got tons of options to choose from and they come to us right at the comfort of our homes. The food is always great, but there’s just a little something about experiencing the personality of a restaurant first-hand. 

For marketing to prove to be successful for a restaurant, the outcome is glaringly clear - more walk-ins. But with an unprecedented behavioural change (and let’s be honest, it’s quite subconscious as well), consumers are more likely to stay home unless you rope them in in all the right ways. A fair assumption to make is that food always gets the ‘good mood’ juice flowing in the brains of consumers, and portraying it the right way could be your ticket to an influx of walk-ins. 

We’ve witnessed the hospitality industry pulling out all stops to make sure that their consumers are more than satisfied with the service they provide recently. There’s so much you can do to pull dine-ins, and we’ve summarised a few ideas to leverage better footfall, as well as how Thrive can help. 

Here’s our edit of a few suggestions that could bolster your dine-in growth (if done correctly): 

1. Offers on offers on offers

Work on special promotional offers post 9:30-10pm. Special dine-in deals give consumers a purpose to show up to your restaurant. Creatively integrating them in your social and daily communication with customers makes them that much more eager to click and avail the benefits of a dining experience. Use offers like #BringYourBae (friend or significant other) and get 1+1 on a selection of starters (bar snacks) and cocktails. Thrive also has an option to set up menu items which can be made available specifically on certain days and times. You can also set up offers on chosen categories, items and at varying schedules too on the menu through your Thrive dashboard itself! Using a loyalty program is beneficial too, customers use points earned during regular visits for purchases to avail rewards, giving them incentive to come back to visit you, and hence turning them into regulars (and exponentially increasing footfall).

2. Make or break events

Where there’s a special event, there’s a hefty crowd. There’s nothing that flows in easier than a group of people who want to be a part of a unique event. Get your crowd going by organising special afterhours events using #ItsBetterPost10, #10pmClub - where you can have stand-up comics and famous musicians / popular artists come in to perform for your consumers. Popular faces pull in a good amount of crowd, but having limited passes and maintenance of restaurant capacity gives them a push to come in - knowing that you’re following required guidelines. 

3. It’s all in the ‘experience’

Experiential marketing is becoming increasingly popular in the hospitality space, because you need the frills and fancies to keep your customers entertained. Seemingly unimportant aspects suddenly become glaringly obvious in the world of restauranters. Work on organising mystery tastings, food related games, special event games, thematic brunches / lunches / dinners on special occasions and holidays. For e.g., with Valentine’s day coming you can personalise a brunch with a theme, think heart shaped cookies, cupid’s bow decor, and a whole lot more. All of these ‘frills’ are viewed as the ‘hook’ that reel the fish in, and make their dining experience one to remember.

4. Keep customers engaged

Contests are a great way to get competitive juices flowing in the lives of consumers. They want to have that impending satisfaction that they’ve won a certain ‘something’. That may be a free meal, a special offer, a dine-in deal, a gift, flowers, or even a chocolate. For e.g., host a contest on Instagram / further social platforms where consumers post a picture of a particular dish, and the best picture bags a free dinner date with their +1. This way, you get your traction on the social front, owing to cross platform integrations, tags, and reposting - and you get a couple of happy customers as well! Make it interesting, and the results will stare at you right in the face. 

5. Celebrate special occasions with customers  

Maintaining a direct line of communication with customers is essential. Knowing when they celebrate personal occasions, and offering something special on those dates makes a lot of difference in a consumer’s eyes. They feel a personal sense of connect with your brand, and that’s exactly what you need to maintain a loyal consumer base that chooses you not only for your F&B service, but for the overall experience you provide as well. For e.g. Birthdays and anniversaries can call for personalized messages, thematic and private meals at your restaurant along with a free meal, or special offers too. Thanks to enriched customer profiles and loads of data available on Thrive, you can easily set up automated campaigns to engage with customers on special occasions. 

6. Safety comes first

Following any safety measures within the restaurant’s capacity is essential. Thrive has 2 dine-in options for customers visiting a restaurant, and both involve minimal contact with menus, exchange of hands, etc. 

- The QR code system allows a customer to scan the code, make the payment for the ordered items and effectively place an order. 

- Thrive’s table ordering system allows the customer to sift through the restaurant’s digital menu, place an order, enjoy their food, and pay the bill once the service is complete. 

Check out our knowledge base to know more about the options available. 


‘Change is the only constant’. Nothing sings truer for the hits (and high singing moments) this industry has taken and witnessed. It’s onwards and upwards from here for restauranters in the game, and we’re all for it. And if consumers are stuck indoors, there’s always the online ordering service that’s got you covered. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get Thriving! 

Aaliya Panju

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