10 Restaurant Giveaway Ideas That Keep Customers Coming Back

10 Restaurant Giveaway Ideas That Keep Customers Coming Back

Amber Alvi

Offering contests is a fun and effortless way to create excitement around your restaurant business. Unique restaurant giveaway ideas enhance social media engagement, and ultimately attract more customers. With the availability of various online platforms like Facebook and Instagram, numerous cost-effective contest concepts exist to explore.

These contests can be appealing and interactive, allowing customers to win complimentary items. Furthermore, with the launch of contest tools on many social media platforms, registering and taking part in these competitions has become even more accessible.

Increased engagement resulting from these contests can increase sign-ups, followers, and, ultimately, customers for your restaurant.

Benefits of Choosing Restaurant Giveaway Ideas

Restaurant giveaway ideas will benefit you in two major ways.

Customer Engagement

Engagement contests aim to re-energize a group of individuals who already have a positive perception of your business but may have been inactive for a while. You strive to provide a memorable customer experience and attract them to your establishment. If executed efficiently, these contests can increase sales directly or indirectly.

As part of a marketing strategy, the objective is to convert these new leads into devoted customers and promoters of your eatery. Hence, if executed effectively, these contests can be instrumental in boosting your restaurant's revenue.

Lead Generation

Lead Generation contests are an excellent way to generate new leads for your business. These leads could result in more likes on your Facebook page, new subscribers to your email list, registrations for a loyalty program, downloads of your restaurant's mobile app, or new followers on Twitter – the possibilities are endless. You can also push your users to fill up restaurant survey questions.

Top 10 Restaurant Giveaway Ideas

Let's explore some of the top restaurant contest ideas and see how you can integrate these restaurant giveaway ideas into your marketing plan.

1. Recipe Submission

As a restaurateur, you must continuously refresh your menus to keep up with emerging trends and meet customer expectations. One of the most popular restaurant giveaway ideas is asking your online audience to submit their family or traditional recipes. You can add the winning recipe to the menu, and the contributor will receive a complimentary prize.

Besides the benefit of adding new and exciting dishes to the menu, these contests offer an opportunity to trigger customer engagement. That will create a remarkable customer experience fostering loyalty which can positively impact your restaurant's reputation and sales.

2. Ask You Customers to Choose a Name for Your Dish

Another one of the most popular restaurant giveaway ideas is to choose upcoming restaurant menu ideas and ask your customers to suggest a name for that particular dish. This approach allows restaurants to receive innovative and creative ideas for naming current and future menu items. In addition, customers who see their suggested terms on the menu feel a sense of appreciation and value.

The contest benefits both the restaurant and the customers, as it allows for collaboration and shared wisdom. Customers can receive free meals, gifts, and giveaways for their participation, while the restaurant benefits from customer engagement and a refreshed menu with unique and exciting dish names. Overall, this contest can be a mutually beneficial and enjoyable experience for all involved.

3. Run a Hashtag Competition

Thus far, our focus has been on strategies to increase foot traffic to your restaurant. However, perhaps your objective is to boost brand awareness and generate buzz. In that case, a hashtag contest can be an effective way to achieve this goal.

The concept is simple: ask customers to share ideas, experiences, or photos related to your brand using a designated hashtag. You can collect and display entries in a public gallery, drawing from platforms like Instagram or Twitter. You can choose a winner from the submissions or take it further by asking your followers to vote for their favorites.

A hashtag contest is a fun and flexible way to engage customers and encourage them to promote your brand creatively. By leveraging social media, you can generate buzz and expand your reach beyond the physical confines of your restaurant.

4. Harness the Power of Social Media

The classic Instagram contest is among the most effective social media contest ideas. The concept involves asking participants to like a designated post, follow your account, and tag friends in the comments for an opportunity to win a prize. The prize could be anything from a gift card to a free entrée or another enticing offer that motivates people to participate.

This type of contest is particularly successful on Instagram because it encourages followers to engage with your account and tag their friends, which increases your brand's visibility and reach. In addition, by offering an appealing prize, you can incentivize participation and create a sense of excitement and urgency around your brand.

An Instagram contest is a simple yet effective way to boost engagement and attract new followers to your restaurant's social media account.

5. Offer Reward for Reviews

With 60% of consumers reading reviews before choosing a restaurant, positive recommendations from your current customer base can be a powerful way to attract new guests. However, incentivizing customers to leave reviews can be challenging. One effective strategy is to run a contest.

To collect reviews, you can send targeted email campaigns or encourage customers to leave feedback through your restaurant's app. Customers cannot navigate third-party review sites like Yelp by collecting reviews directly, making the process more convenient.

Running a contest can be an excellent way to incentivize customers to leave reviews. For example, you could offer a prize, such as a free meal or a gift card, to customers who leave a review. You could also hold a drawing for all customers who leave a review during a specified time period.

By leveraging the power of contests and incentives, you can encourage more customers to leave positive reviews, which can help attract new business and grow your restaurant's reputation.

6. Photo-Sharing Contests

Encourage your guests to participate in the fun! Request your customers to post pictures of your food or themselves enjoying a meal at your restaurant on social media, with the chance to win a prize. Then, reward the photo owner with the maximum number of likes.

You can run that simple contest across all your social media channels. Remember to ask your followers to tag your restaurant in their posts so you get their photos.

7. Offer Gift Cards

Gift card marketing can be an intelligent strategy for restaurants for several reasons. Firstly, it can help expand your customer base, as over 40% of consumers claim that gift cards encourage them to try new dining places. Moreover, it is one of the easiest restaurant contest ideas to execute, making it a popular business choice.

One way to execute this contest is by asking your Facebook followers to share a post from your business page, such as a post about your restaurant specials, for a chance to win a gift card. This simple and effective approach can help increase engagement with your brand and ultimately lead to more business.

8. Give Away Merchandise

Restaurant giveaway ideas can go beyond gift cards and cash prizes. While food contests are a popular restaurant option, have you considered giving away branded merchandise such as sweatshirts or hats? You can run a contest with one of these items as the prize and promote it through social media or email marketing campaigns.

That is an excellent opportunity to expand your brand reach and visibility while allowing your customers to win a fantastic item. In addition, the winner can flaunt your merchandise, which acts as free advertising for your restaurant. It is a win-win situation for both you and your customers.

9. Customer of the Week/Month Competition

Demonstrating appreciation to customers can significantly affect a business. According to research, 91% of consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that show gratitude. Consider running an exclusive contest solely for your loyalty program members to take it up a notch. An efficient online ordering system for restaurant can also help you keep track of your most loyal customers.

Select the winner randomly, based on your criteria, such as the customer who frequented your restaurant the most during a specific period or spent the most money in a week.

You could also choose the person based on their dining preferences, like the regular customer who always orders your veggie burger. That will reward your most loyal patrons and encourage others to join your loyalty program to participate in future contests.

10. Caption Competition

An effortless way to engage your audience on social media and run a contest is to post a photo and ask them to caption it to win a prize. Ensure the image is eye-catching or humorous to get the best responses, not just your typical food beauty shot.

How to Promote Your Restaurants Contests

Once you have finalized the prizes and giveaways for your contest, the next step is to promote it effectively to reach a wider audience. Here are some strategies that you can implement to ensure a successful marketing campaign:

Participate in Local Events

Attending community events is an excellent way for local businesses to establish connections and drive success. By setting up a booth and promoting your contest, you can directly interact with the people who can affect your business the most: your community.

Use tablets or laptops at your booth to enable people to enter your contest immediately, and ensure your signage is engaging enough to draw people towards your stand.

Social Media Ad Campaigns

Consider social media demographics and cross-promote on other platforms to reach a wider audience.

Restaurant giveaway ideas through social media ads is one of the best ways to get the word out. Facebook and Instagram have powerful ad platforms that can help you target local and interested social media users, driving them to your contest.

While it's crucial not to overspend (more than the expected return on your contest), it is worth investing time and effort in designing an engaging and effective ad campaign. First, choose the platform where your audience is most active, as Facebook has the highest user base of any social media platform, while Instagram generates more engagement.

Influencer Marketing

For local businesses, influencer marketing can have a considerable impact. Collaborating with a social media account or an individual influencer with a significant local following can significantly expand the reach of your contest.

You can ask them to be the "face" of your contest and promote it on their social media platforms, including your contest link in their bio. That is, it will help attract local traffic most likely to participate in your promotion.

Many local foodie influencers on Facebook and Instagram can help you attract a large audience to your online giveaway. However, it is crucial to choose the right influencer wisely and ensure that their posts help create the buzz needed for your contest.


Can I Use Giveaways to Attract New Customers?

Organizing a giveaway or contest can be a powerful way to launch your restaurant marketing plan and increase brand recognition. That will help attract more traffic to your website, enhance customer involvement, and draw in new patrons.

How to Choose the Right Giveaways for my Restaurant?

Before launching a giveaway or contest, a restaurant should consider various factors, such as its target audience, marketing objectives, budget, competition analysis, and customer feedback. By considering these factors, the restaurant can design a contest that appeals to their ideal customers, aligns with their marketing goals, fits within their budget, differentiates them from competitors, and resonates with their existing customer base. This thoughtful approach can help ensure the success of the giveaway or contest and drive business growth.

What are the Most Common Types of Restaurant Giveaway Competitions?

Many types of restaurant giveaway ideas are popular among customers. This includes discount coupons, free desserts, loyalty points, gift cards, and more. However, the kind of giveaway a restaurant chooses should depend on its target audience and marketing goals.

How Can I Ensure That My Restaurant’s Giveaway Competition Is Successful?

Effective giveaways require planning and execution. A well-thought-out communication strategy is essential to creating attention-grabbing campaigns that resonate with your audience. Marketers who take a proactive approach and plan their campaigns are 356% more likely to achieve success than those who do not.

How Often Should I Run a Giveaway Competition for my Restaurant?

Your business should experiment with different restaurant giveaway ideas, at least monthly or weekly, to keep the customers engaged.


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