Restaurant Marketing Industry: What You Need to Know

Restaurant Marketing Industry

The restaurant marketing industry globally is a dynamic and ever-evolving sector, crucial to the success of restaurants ranging from local eateries to international chains. As dining habits shift and technology advances, the restaurant marketing industry has become more sophisticated, embracing digital platforms, innovative strategies, and personalized customer engagement to attract and retain patrons.

In this article we look into the restaurant marketing industry statistics and studies that you need to know.

Here’s an overview of the global landscape:

Digital Transformation

The digital transformation in restaurants is evident from compelling statistics and studies. They highlight its profound impact on customer engagement and service delivery. Here’s an expanded look at the digital shift, enriched with relevant data:

Enhanced Online Visibility and Branding

A study by Toast, a restaurant software company, revealed that 77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before they dine in or order out. This underscores the necessity for restaurants to have an engaging online presence, not just to attract customers, but to provide essential information that influences dining decisions.

Social Media as a Community Hub

According to Sprout Social, 75% of people have made a purchase because they saw it on social media. Restaurants utilizing platforms like Instagram see a direct correlation between social media activity and customer engagement, with visually appealing content leading to increased shares, likes, and ultimately, foot traffic.

Leveraging Online Reviews and Reputation Management

BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey found that 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This highlights the critical role of online reviews in the restaurant industry. It is where a single review can significantly impact a restaurant’s reputation and customer’s dining choice.

The Rise of Food Delivery Platforms

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of food delivery services, with Statista reporting a 27.4% global increase in users of food delivery apps in 2020. The surge reflects a consumer shift towards convenience, expanding restaurant reach through digital platforms.

Digital Advertising and Targeted Campaigns

eMarketer forecasts that digital ad spending in the US restaurant industry will exceed $12 billion by 2023, a testament to the growing reliance on digital channels for restaurant marketing. This investment is driven by the ability to target specific demographics. Measure campaign effectiveness in real-time, and adjust strategies to optimize ad spend and ROI.

Integrating Technology into the Dining Experience

A study by the National Restaurant Association found that 80% of restaurants are turning to technology like apps, online ordering, and mobile payments to help them run their business successfully and efficiently. This integration of technology enhances the customer experience by offering convenience, speed, and personalization, from the moment of discovery to the point of sale.

These statistics and studies vividly illustrate the digital transformation sweeping across the restaurant industry. As digital channels and technologies become increasingly ingrained in consumers’ lives, restaurants must adapt to remain relevant and competitive. Embracing digital marketing is no longer optional; it’s essential for reaching today’s tech-savvy diners, improving operational efficiencies, and driving business growth in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Importance of Social Media

The importance of social media in restaurant marketing is highlighted by compelling statistics that underscore its effectiveness in engaging audiences and driving business outcomes:

  • Instagram’s Impact: With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram has become a pivotal platform for restaurant marketing. A survey by Zizzi found that 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was unappealing.
  • Facebook’s Reach: Facebook remains a critical platform for restaurants, with Sprout Social reporting that 75% of consumers have made a purchase because they saw it on social media, including Facebook. Additionally, Facebook’s own data indicates that there are over 800 million likes on local business pages in an average week. Demonstrating the platform’s role in local business discovery, including restaurants.
  • TikTok’s Virality: TikTok, with its 689 million global active users, has become a hotspot for viral content, including food and restaurant experiences. According to a study by Influence Marketing Hub, TikTok’s algorithm allows even small restaurants to gain massive exposure with creative content, with videos tagged #food receiving billions of views.
  • Engagement Rates: Restaurants on social media enjoy high engagement rates, with a study by MGH Advertising finding that 74% of consumers are more likely to visit or order from a restaurant if they follow it on social media.
  • Influence on Dining Decisions: According to Toast’s Restaurant Success in 2019 report, social media influences dining decisions for 36% of U.S. diners. This illustrates the power of social media not just in creating awareness but in directly impacting consumer behavior.

These statistics demonstrate the transformative role of social media in the restaurant industry, offering unmatched opportunities for visibility, engagement, and ultimately, driving patronage through visually compelling and shareable content.

Customer Experience and Personalization

The shift towards customer experience and personalization in the restaurant industry is underscored by significant statistics and studies, illustrating how these strategies can lead to enhanced customer loyalty and increased revenue:

Personalization and Revenue

According to a report by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. In the context of restaurants, this can translate to tailored menu recommendations, personalized offers, and customized communication, all of which can significantly boost customer spending and frequency of visits.

Impact on Loyalty

A study by Bond Brand Loyalty found that 79% of consumers say personalized service from a sales associate is an important factor in determining at which restaurant they choose to dine. This highlights the importance of personal touches and understanding customer preferences in building long-term loyalty.

Digital Personalization

Salesforce reports that 52% of consumers expect offers to be personalized, extending to digital interactions. For restaurants, this means leveraging online order history, preferences, and feedback to customize digital communications and offers. Enhancing the overall customer experience.

Loyalty Programs

According to the National Restaurant Association, over 70% of adults are more likely to join a restaurant loyalty program if it offers personalized rewards. This statistic emphasizes the potential of loyalty programs to not only retain customers but also to gather valuable data for further personalization.

Experience as a Differentiator

A Deloitte study on restaurant customer experience found that experience-focused brands outperformed their competitors by 20% in customer satisfaction. This includes elements like ambiance, service quality, and personalized interactions. All contributing to a memorable dining experience that encourages repeat business.

These statistics and studies highlight the growing expectation for personalized dining experiences and the tangible benefits that restaurants can reap by adopting a customer-centric approach. Personalization and a focus on customer experience can lead to more engaged customers, increased spending, and stronger loyalty. Ultimately impacting a restaurant’s bottom line positively.

Sustainability and Ethical Marketing

Consumer demand for responsible dining options is fueling the momentum toward sustainability. And also ethical practices in restaurant marketing. This shift is supported by a range of statistics and studies that highlight the growing importance of sustainability in consumer choices:

Consumer Preferences for Sustainability
  • Sustainable Choices: According to a Nielsen report, 73% of global consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. This growing consumer consciousness around sustainability is pushing restaurants to adopt and highlight eco-friendly practices in their operations and marketing.
Impact of Local Sourcing on Consumer Decisions
  • Local and Organic: A study by the National Restaurant Association found that nearly 60% of consumers prefer to eat at restaurants that offer locally sourced food items. The preference for local ingredients is not just about freshness; it’s also about supporting the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint associated with food transportation.
Ethical Practices and Brand Loyalty
  • Ethical Operations: Cone Communications’ CSR study revealed that 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. Restaurants practicing ethics like fair trade sourcing and local charity support build stronger brand loyalty among socially conscious diners. Enhancing their reputation as socially responsible establishments.
The Business Case for Sustainability
  • Revenue Impact: A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that sustainability isn’t just good for the environment. It’s also good for business. Restaurants that adopt sustainable practices see an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty, which translates to higher revenues. In some cases, sustainability initiatives have been shown to boost sales by up to 20%.
Community Involvement and Engagement
  • Community Impact: Forbes highlights that businesses that actively support their local communities. Especially through sustainability initiatives, tend to enjoy better brand perceptions and increased patronage. This community-focused approach to marketing can significantly enhance a restaurant’s reputation and customer base.

These statistics and insights underscore the critical role that sustainability and ethical practices now play in the restaurant industry. Restaurants that integrate these values into their marketing strategies contribute positively to the environment and society. They also tap into a growing market segment of eco-conscious consumers, fostering brand loyalty and revenue growth.

Influencer Partnerships

Influencer partnerships have reshaped restaurant marketing by leveraging the trust and reach of social media personalities to attract diners. This modern marketing tactic is backed by compelling data and research illustrating its effectiveness:

Reach and Engagement
  • Follower Trust: A survey by MuseFind suggests that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. Restaurants collaborating with influencers can capitalize on this trust, translating it into increased interest and patronage from the influencer’s followers.
  • Engagement Rates: Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 Benchmark Report indicates that the average engagement rate for influencer marketing campaigns is around 5.7%, higher than most other forms of digital marketing. For restaurants, this means that influencer partnerships can lead to more meaningful interactions and higher conversion rates compared to standard advertising methods.
Influence on Dining Decisions
  • Consumer Behavior: According to a study by the Restaurant Marketing Agency, 30% of customers are likely to dine at a restaurant recommended by a non-celebrity blogger or influencer. The personal and relatable nature of influencer content can sway dining decisions, especially among younger demographics.
  • Visual Appeal: Zizzi’s research found that 18-35-year-olds spend an average of five days a year browsing food images on Instagram. With 30% admitting they would avoid a restaurant with a weak Instagram presence. Influencers, particularly those focusing on visually driven platforms like Instagram, can significantly enhance a restaurant’s appeal through high-quality, engaging content.
Conversion and ROI
  • Influencer ROI: A case study by Tomoson suggests that businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, highlighting its potential for high return on investment. Restaurants engaging with influencers can see a direct impact on their bottom line, with influencer-driven promotions driving both reservations and walk-ins.
  • Local Influence: A joint study by Twitter and Annalect reports that nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer. Local influencers, in particular, can significantly impact restaurant patronage within their communities. They promote dining experiences to their regional followers, fostering a sense of local pride and connection.

These statistics and findings underscore the value of influencer partnerships in restaurant marketing. They demonstrate their ability to enhance brand visibility, engage with potential diners authentically, and ultimately drive business growth. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, influencer collaborations remain a strategic tool for restaurants looking to expand their reach and influence dining decisions effectively.

The Role of Reviews and Ratings

The influence of online reviews and ratings on consumer behavior, particularly in the restaurant industry, is significant and well-documented through various statistics and studies:

Impact on Consumer Decisions
  • Decision Making: According to TripAdvisor, 94% of US diners are influenced by online reviews when choosing a restaurant. This high percentage underscores the critical role that reviews play in the decision-making process. Emphasizing the need for restaurants to actively manage their online reputation.
  • Trust in Reviews: The BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey also reveals that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family, indicating the level of trust people place in the opinions of other diners, even if they are strangers.
Frequency and Influence of Reading Reviews
  • Review Engagement: A study by ReviewTrackers found that 33% of diners would not eat in a restaurant with an overall rating of less than four out of five stars. Demonstrating how a single star difference can significantly affect consumer choices.
  • Negative Review Impact: Harvard Business School research indicates that a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue for independent restaurants. Highlighting the direct correlation between positive reviews and financial performance.
Response to Reviews
  • Response Rates: ReviewTrackers also reports that 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, yet 63% say that a business has never responded to their review. This gap suggests an opportunity for restaurants to differentiate themselves by actively engaging with reviews.
  • Effect of Management Responses: A Cornell University study found that when hotels start responding to reviews on TripAdvisor, they see a 12% increase in review volumes and a 0.12-star increase in average ratings. Although this study focuses on hotels, the implications are relevant for restaurants. As responding to reviews can encourage more feedback and potentially improve overall ratings.

The statistics and studies surrounding online reviews and ratings clearly demonstrate their power in shaping consumer perceptions and choices in the restaurant industry. Managing an establishment’s online reputation through active engagement with reviews. Encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences, and addressing any negative feedback promptly and professionally can significantly impact a restaurant’s appeal and profitability. In the digital age, where information is readily accessible, a strong online presence bolstered by positive reviews and ratings is indispensable for sustained success in the competitive restaurant landscape.

Globalization vs. Localization

The dynamic interplay between globalization and localization in the restaurant industry reflects broader consumer trends and preferences, with compelling statistics and studies supporting the growing importance of localized dining experiences:

Preference for Local Ingredients
  • Local Sourcing: A report by the National Restaurant Association highlights that farm-to-table concepts and the use of locally sourced ingredients are among the top trends in the restaurant industry. Specifically, 69% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food items. Emphasizing the demand for freshness and community support.
  • Sustainability and Local Ingredients: According to a study by Cone Communications, 87% of consumers say they will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, such as sustainability. Restaurants using local ingredients meet consumer preferences and promote sustainability, boosting their appeal.
Demand for Authentic and Cultural Dining Experiences
  • Authenticity: Research from the International Journal of Hospitality Management highlights authenticity as a key draw for diners, especially tourists. Consumers seek authentic dining experiences, drawn to traditional cooking methods and local dishes rooted in heritage.
  • Cultural Influence on Dining Choices: 53% of leisure travelers and 83% of millennial travelers prioritize eating local foods when choosing a travel destination. It is according to the World Food Travel Association. Localized, culturally inspired menus appeal to both local diners and tourists seeking immersive experiences.
Economic Impact of Localized Restaurants
  • Support for Local Economies: The American Independent Business Alliance reports that local eateries generate substantially more local economic activity per dollar of revenue than their chain counterparts. Localization in restaurants generates a local multiplier effect, benefiting communities economically.
  • Consumer Willingness to Pay More: Data from the Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report indicates that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from brands committed to positive social and environmental impact. Restaurants that emphasize local sourcing and cultural authenticity can leverage this willingness to pay a premium for sustainable and authentic dining experiences.

The statistics and studies clearly illustrate a strong consumer preference for restaurants that offer localized, authentic dining experiences, highlighting local ingredients, traditional cooking methods, and culturally inspired menus. This trend towards localization, juxtaposed against the backdrop of global chain expansion. Suggests that consumers are increasingly valuing connections to community and culture in their dining choices. For restaurateurs, this presents an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a crowded market by embracing and promoting the unique aspects of their local culinary heritage. Thereby catering to both local patrons and tourists seeking genuine experiences.

Adaptation to Market Trends

The restaurant marketing industry’s agility in responding to evolving market trends is critical for staying relevant and competitive. This adaptability is underpinned by compelling statistics and research findings that highlight the influence of these trends on consumer behavior and dining choices:

Plant-Based Diets
  • Growth of Plant-Based Options: According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global plant-based meat market size is projected to grow from USD 4.3 billion in 2020 to USD 8.3 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 14.0% during the forecast period. This surge is indicative of the increasing consumer demand for plant-based dining options, prompting restaurants to expand their menus to cater to this trend.
  • Consumer Preferences: A survey by The Vegan Society found that 1 in 3 people in the UK have stopped or reduced their meat consumption. Restaurants offering high-quality vegan and vegetarian options meet demand and attract a broader customer base.
‘Instagrammable’ Dining Experiences
  • Social Media Influence: Research conducted by Zizzi found that 18-35-year-olds spend five days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was unimpressive. The demand for ‘Instagrammable’ moments is driving restaurants to design visually appealing dishes and decor that encourage social sharing. Amplifying their reach and appeal.
  • Impact on Consumer Decisions: A study by the University of Georgia revealed that visually appealing food presentations can increase a diner’s willingness to pay by up to 3%. Restaurants investing in creating photogenic dining experiences can capitalize on this trend to enhance their perceived value and increase revenue.
Integration of Augmented Reality (AR)
  • AR in Dining: According to Statista, the global AR, VR, and MR market is expected to reach $30.7 billion in 2021, with AR technology increasingly being adopted in various sectors, including the restaurant industry. AR menus, for example, allow diners to see 3D models of dishes before ordering. Enhancing the decision-making process and overall dining experience.
  • Consumer Engagement: A study by Deloitte highlights that brands utilizing AR experiences can see a 19% increase in customer engagement, with a 51% higher message retention rate compared to non-AR experiences. For restaurants, this means that AR can not only enrich the dining experience but also improve marketing effectiveness.

The statistics and studies underscore the restaurant industry’s need to continuously adapt to changing consumer preferences and technological advancements. Restaurants stay ahead by embracing trends like plant-based dining, ‘Instagrammable’ moments, and AR experiences. Attracting a diverse and engaged clientele. These adaptations meet current demands and set the stage for future growth in the culinary landscape.


As we look toward the future, several key themes emerge that will shape the success of restaurant marketing strategies worldwide:

Embracing Digital Transformation

The digital landscape is no longer just a part of restaurant marketing; it is its backbone. Technology, from online reservations to food delivery apps, has become integral to the dining experience. Restaurants that continue to harness digital tools and platforms. Adapting to the latest technological advancements streamlines operations and enhances customer experiences.

Cultivating Authenticity and Storytelling

Amidst marketing saturation, authenticity and compelling brand narratives reign supreme. Restaurants that share their unique narratives, from ingredient sourcing to community connections, resonate deeply with diners. Forge deeper connections with their patrons. This authenticity, paired with creative storytelling, can turn a meal into an experience, and a diner into a loyal advocate.

Prioritizing Personalization and Customer Experience

As consumer expectations evolve, personalization has become essential. Tailoring the dining experience to meet individual preferences and dietary needs enhances satisfaction and encourages repeat business. Investing in customer experience, from ambiance to service attentiveness, remains a timeless pillar of successful restaurant marketing.

Advancing Sustainability and Ethical Practices

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword but a business imperative. Consumers are increasingly making dining choices based on a restaurant’s environmental impact and social responsibility. Restaurants embracing sustainability resonate with eco-conscious diners, benefiting both the planet and their business.

Leveraging Global Inspirations While Honoring Local Traditions

The global exchange of culinary cultures offers an expansive palette from which restaurants can draw inspiration. However, the most successful establishments are those that balance global influences with local traditions. Offering dishes that are both innovative and reflective of the local culinary heritage. This balance can create a dining experience that is both familiar and novel. Appealing to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

The future of restaurant marketing lies in the ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. It is where digital innovation, authentic storytelling, personalized experiences, and a commitment to sustainability and cultural authenticity are key. Restaurants must prioritize understanding and delighting a diverse, connected global audience amid complex dynamics. In doing so, restaurants can not only survive but thrive. Turning every meal served into an opportunity for connection, discovery, and delight.


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