Turns Out, When You Go To a Bar or Restaurant You Bring Your SmartPhone

best ideas for mobile marketing bars and restaurants

The revolution of mobile has nothing to do with technology.

It is a revolution in behavior.

best mobile marketing ideas for bars and restaurants Mobile means you are somewhere, doing something, likely with someone. And that sounds exactly like the scenario that most people are in when they go to a bar, brewpub or restaurant. For most of us it goes like this:

  • You were somewhere (with your smartphone)
  • You decided to go somewhere else (with your smartphone)
  • You chose to either go alone or gather more people (all brought their smartphones)
  • You ended up at a bar or restaurant (with your smartphones)
  • You then spent money at the location (even though you had your smartphone there was nothing to actually do with your smartphone that benefited the business)

Notice a recurring theme? (hint: it begins with ‘smartphone’)

This is stupidly broken. I literally can not understand how shortsighted the overwhelming majority of food and drink businesses that seem to not have a clue that a large percentage of their customers have smartphone with them. Like literally on their person while they are in the business. Just waiting for an excuse to use. best ideas for mobile marketing bars and restaurants I am not talking about responsive or mobile optimized websites. Those are absolutely required and essential. That is job one. I specifically chose a theme for my blog that looks great on mobile first and then looked at in on desktop to make sure it didn’t suck too bad. Mobile first. (FYI over 55% of all web site traffic is now from mobile on average and higher for consumer brands)

Think about the last bar or restaurant you went to. Picture it in your mind and look around. Look at the signs on the wall, the table tents, the menus, anything printed or point of purchase. Go ahead and use the space below to list all of the mobile smartphone focused marketing, QR codes, short-links, Twitter, Vine and Instagram handles and other mobile optimized things the business provided for you.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait

Well? Was the answer the same one I always get?



Seems crazy right? And I bet that the Wi-fi was password protected and hard to find and the cell phone coverage was spotty as well right? (almost seems on purpose.) But that can not be possible. What marketing oriented or even half-alive person would on purpose NOT put any information, links, social media accounts, website info, mobile contests, encouragement to tag the restaurant in social posts or any other nod to smartphone using customers? Apparently almost all of them. Is it a conspiracy or just myopic misanthropy?   Here are the main mobile marketing ideas for restaurants that I would do in my bar or restaurant: (OK I actually did almost all of these things in our Brewpub)

  1. Assume that most of your customers have a smartphone with them
  2. Assist them to use it at your business to promote your business

here are a few stupidly quick and easy mobile marketing ideas that assist your customers to promote your business.

  1. On all printed materials – menus, POP, signs, posters, table tents etc prominently display your
    1. website URL
    2. social media account names (Twitter, Vine, Instagram and Facebook) NOT just a “search for us on…”
    3. QR codes or shortlinks to your website and/or social media platforms
  2. Social media promotion
    1. Your customers are taking pictures of your food and drinks, selfies, group photos, checkins etc
    2. Make it easy for them to tag YOU. include your social media handles on table tents and ASK customers to tag your business when they post
    3. Instead of your generic homepage popping up when they login into your free wi-fi make a landing page instead that focuses on your social media accounts, is mobile optimized and asks them to share on social media
    4. Have table tents with social media contests where winners are chosen from among customer posts that tag your business and give away free meals or drinks. use gamification to build your fan base
    5. Promote your location-based checkins on Yelp, TapHunter, Facebook etc, the more people check-in the more notice you get

And these are just the super basic, low hanging fruit of mobile marketing ideas that every bar and restaurant should be doing. There are far more creative ideas, contests, promotions and marketing ideas out there just waiting for smart people to use. And the best part? Most of these help your customers as much as they help you.

That’s called Win-Win. And Winners are awesome.

We wold love to see some examples of great mobile marketing at bars and restaurants. Post them or links in the comments below!

By Andy Newbom

My name is Andy Newbom. At this time there are less than 10 Newboms in the world. Not sure if thats good or bad.

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