Tuesday, 04 June 2019 20:09

Effective Restaurant Marketing in Denver: How To Do It Right

Let’s face facts: the human race has come a long way from our hunter-gatherer days. Our ancestors scrounged for small scraps of food; today, you can grab lunch at a restaurant on any corner. Even better - you can have gourmet meals delivered right to your door. The food industry is crowded, especially in Denver, and consumers can get any food they want with just the press of a button. To stay afloat, restaurants need to market themselves effectively. Today, restaurant marketing in Denver is more important than ever before.

In our technology-driven era, it’s tough to know what the best way to market your restaurant is. Would it be wise to take out some ads in Denver magazines? Is it smarter to opt for social media advertising campaigns? Or should your restaurant dedicate the marketing budget to billboards or door hangers? Marketing means more customers coming through your doors, so there is no time to waste determining what your strategy should look like.

Effective Restaurant Marketing in Denver

Restaurants have plenty of modern marketing tools at their disposal, which means you have options when it comes to implementing a strategy. In order to appeal to visitors and natives alike, your restaurant marketing in Denver should strive to be:

  • Diverse in approaches
  • Focused on your customers’ interests
  • Unique to your business

To help illustrate best marketing practices, let’s review some examples of recent efforts for restaurant marketing in Denver.

What Does Smart Restaurant Marketing Look Like?

To ensure a positive image in the local community, restaurants should strive to market themselves in line with local trends, interests, and values.

For instance, just this past April, Carl’s Jr. set themselves apart from the competition in Colorado by marketing a CBD-infused burger to mark the cannabis-related ‘holiday’ of 4/20. CBD is one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in cannabis and does not elicit a ‘high’ of any sort. Carl’s Jr. sold a burger with 5 milligrams at a single location. This promotion resulted in more than 2,200 sales of this new product on April 20th.

So, was it successful? Since each burger was sold at $4.20 (intentionally, of course), it’s estimated that Carl’s Jr. earned over $9,240 in sales alone — that’s nearly 3 times the daily average earned at each Carl’s Jr. location nationwide! This marketing strategy capitalized on what was important to customers in a timely fashion and paid off in spades.

As corporate responsibility becomes more and more important to consumers, restaurants that have ties to the community and treat customers and employees well may find that their business operations can double as effective marketing. As Denver becomes more expensive, livable wages has become a growing concern in the city. To combat this, Illegal Pete’s has raised their minimum wage to $15/hour. It’s not a direct advertisement, but it shows that Illegal Pete’s treats their employees well. This aligns with previous marketing that depicts Illegal Pete’s as a value-driven organization, support residents’ beliefs about the company.

These examples highlight the kinds of success a restaurant can have when they capitalize upon local trends, interests, and values.

Thinking Through Restaurant Marketing in Denver

Effective marketing can be challenging in any industry. You not only need to know what your ideal customers want from a restaurant, but you also need to show that you can deliver in a meaningful and authentic way.

In today’s climate, being active and informed on political and social issues is important, if not expected, by potential customers. However, businesses need to be careful about how they affiliate with various topics. Recently, restaurant ads placed in downtown Denver kiosks gained national attention after being taken down. The restaurant had paired screenshots of tweets from President Trump’s twitter account with their restaurant logo and the slogan, “Eat well before it all ends.” The ads were pulled due to civilian complaints. Politics, as of late, have been a highly polarized topic. The restaurant in question was following the trends laid out by many others and took a stance on relevant social topics to appeal to a specific audience. Unfortunately, the delivery of this message was not as targeted as the message itself and led to discontent from the general public. Digital ads may have been more effective in this case because they could be served to a much more relevant audience, rather than the masses.

Another similar advertising snafu occurred in Greeley, when a local pizza joint delivered a Thanksgiving promotion that struck a nerve. The ad featured a portrait of a Pilgrim woman offering a slice of pizza to a Native American with a caption that read, “Sorry for the small pox, who wants a slice of pepperoni?” This was a failed attempt at a humorous appeal that was designed to align with the lighthearted experience of grabbing a slice. Many residents found the humor to be insensitive, leading to an immediate cancellation of the ad.

What Can We Learn About Successful Restaurant Marketing In Denver?

These examples teach us a few things:

    • First — Highly targeted messaging requires highly targeted delivery. Aligning your business with political or social issues is not necessarily a bad tactic in today’s climate. However, if you do decide to employ messaging that has polarity, you want to ensure that your delivery methods align with that. As we saw earlier, a highly targeted message may have appealed to POTUS opponents, but it was delivered to the masses instead of the specific audience the message was designed for. Thus, it was not as successful as the restaurant may have expected.
    • Second — Be conscious of your community. Identifying potential triggers in your messaging is something to be taken very seriously. Especially when it comes to restaurant marketing in Denver, you want members from the surrounding communities to come visit. You want to avoid alienating potential audiences by being insensitive in your message - even if the intent is to be humorous.
    • And finally — Failed ads don’t mean the end of your business. Yes, there was public outrage over the pizza shop ad, but the Greeley restaurant owner appeared at a community meeting about the ad to apologize over the insensitivity and listen to community complaints. People will remember the honest response of the restaurant in the future. Every business is inclined to experience some bumps in the road, how you respond to mistakes can end up being more powerful than any previous blunders your restaurant may have experienced.

Taking Restaurant Marketing To The Next Level

As discussed above, restaurant marketing in Denver is a lot more than just advertising. It’s an experience: it’s social, it’s atmospheric, it’s every part of your restaurant. More often than not, it is in the best interest of a restaurant to employ a multi-pronged approach to their marketing.

Reach Your Target Market Through Alternative Methods

Think outside the traditional box of restaurant marketing and focus on your target market. The methods you use in your restaurant marketing will directly impact who is going to come there. If you’re interested in attracting a younger, more technology driven audience, you’ll find that turning your restaurant into a more social media friendly experience will appeal to this audience! Make your restaurant more “Instagrammable” with neon lights or cultural attractions. You can also encourage social media engagement with online contests and discounts.

Focus On Your Differentiations

In the crowded restaurant market, most customers visit a restaurant because they’re seeking a unique restaurant experience. What differentiates your restaurant has a lot to do with that.

Stand out from other restaurants by offering specialty items customers can’t get anywhere else. Another way to differentiate your restaurant is honing on a niche market, such as sushi burritos or donut ice cream sandwiches. Basically, whatever makes your restaurant different should be a centerpiece of your marketing.

Make Your Marketing Clever

It sounds easier than it actually is, but clever advertisements can have huge impacts.

Take a page from the marketing book of Denver Water: for over a decade, they’ve run creative advertising campaigns to inspire Denverites to be more mindful of their water consumption. While significantly less exciting than the traditional restaurant experience, Denver Water was able to meet their ten-year goal of reducing water consumption by 22% in the first year of the campaign alone.

Apply the same principle to restaurant marketing in Denver: when your marketing is creative, targeted, and clever, it’s effective.

Traditional Restaurant Marketing Isn’t The Only Way To Do It Right

Today, the customer experience is more important than ever before, especially when it comes to restaurant marketing in Denver. If your food is delicious, your service is prompt, and your atmosphere is pleasant, customers will naturally vocalize their experience and return to your restaurant.

In order to leverage word-of-mouth as part of your restaurant marketing strategy, you have to get those customers in the door to experience what you have to offer. With an effective and robust marketing strategy, you can achieve this and more. If you’re not sure how to implement an effective marketing strategy, an experienced agency can help.


FiG Advertising + Marketing can help you develop a marketing strategy that will drive loyal customers to your restaurant. Contact our expert restaurant marketers today to start driving business through your open doors.