Restaurant Marketing Concepts

Restaurant marketing concepts include movie tie-ins and special menu items.
Restaurant marketing concepts include movie tie-ins and special menu items. (Image: Andrew Bret Wallis/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Restaurant marketing concepts are various promotions restaurants use to market their menu items. However, marketing concepts usually affect all aspects of the restaurant during the promotion. For example, employees may dress up as ghouls and witches if the restaurant uses a Halloween theme. Additionally, the restaurant may serve pumpkin pie for dessert, hang black and orange balloons on the counter and decorate the restaurant like a haunted house.

Types of Concepts

A restaurant concept can include a new menu item. For example, a fast food restaurant may decide to introduce a barbecue burger during the summer for several weeks. The restaurant may have a special name for the barbecue burger to build brand awareness. The barbecue concept may then be repeated every year if it is successful. Additionally, some restaurant marketing concepts center around movie themes. Consequently, the restaurant may introduce movie character figures or collectibles commensurate with the Hollywood movie.


Most new restaurant marketing concepts must be featured on the menu board. Additionally, the restaurant will usually need to program all new items and prices into the POS (point of sale) or register system. POP (point of purchase) materials may accompany each promotion. These POP materials may include window banners, in-store displays, register pop-ups and even special take-out bags. A restaurant will also run numerous television and magazine ads centered around the restaurant concept. Some restaurants will also advertise their new marketing concept in coupon magazines, which are usually distributed by mail.

Concept Testing

Most restaurants will test various marketing concepts. For example, a casual dining chain may conduct marketing research phone surveys in several key markets. The restaurant chain may talk to both customers and non-customers to get an accurate measure on brand and advertising awareness. The restaurant chain will be interested how customers liked the marketing theme or new product. The restaurant will also want to know if customers plan on purchasing the new product or promotional items again. Ultimately, restaurants will want to know if they made a profit during the promotion.


Restaurants introduce various marketing concepts to increase visit frequency, according to Quantified Marketing Group. Running the same promotion all the time would likely get boring to customers.


Restaurants will usually keep most of their menu consistent when introducing various marketing concepts. The new promotional item may eventually become part of the menu. For example, a fast-food company may introduce a healthy line of salads for several months. One or two of the salads may become part of the regular menu, depending on which ones are most popular.

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