Very often, large corporate restaurant chains play it safe and stick to the straight and narrow. Every now and then, however, a brainstorm turns into a tornado and everything gets a little crazy. We take a tongue-in-cheek look at three weird restaurant marketing ideas that actually worked. Of course, if you are brave enough, you can also try them.
KFC – Go all out for your brand
In 2017, KFC released a bunch of promotional items that wouldn’t normally have anything to do with chicken. Clothes, chocolate truffles, even sunscreen. Except in this case, they did it all and did it all for the chicken.
Yes, a chicken-themed clothing line that sold out, chicken-flavored chocolate truffles for Mother’s Day, and wait, chicken-scented sunscreen.
On the surface, of course, it’s a ridiculous restaurant marketing idea, but there’s a lesson to be learned. Restaurant marketing agency Placepull actually called it “both crazy and brilliant.” Why? Because it’s a real show of total investment in your brand and embracing everything about it. If you are a ribs restaurant, print your menu on your napkins. If you serve seafood, make underwater portholes in the kitchen windows.
Identify what is at the heart of your brand and exploit it to a ridiculous degree. In today’s competitive marketplace, getting something to go “viral” is the holy grail of marketing, and it leads to an explosion of customers through your doors.
Shake Shack – Create an emotional connection
This one takes the “doggie bag” back to its roots. The Shake Shack burger chain has a special menu just for dogs, right next to their human food menu. The “Pooch-ini” is ice cream and dog biscuits, and the “Bag O’ Bones” is a bag of these dog biscuits.
Weird? Yes. To success? Abso-woofing-lutely. Shake Shack understands the deep connection customers have with their pets and uses it wisely. The customer gets the warmth and fuzziness from feasting on their pooch, and that’s been proven to trickle down to effective restaurant marketing.
Social media today tells us that brands that connect emotionally receive 200% more word-of-mouth marketing from their customers.
You don’t even have to have special dog treats, just create your own doggie bag, ask for the customer’s dog name and write it on the bag. It’s a sweet surprise that will get people talking about you in your restaurant, which will undoubtedly lead to more revenue.
Hell Pizza – Be more interactive with your customers
The pizza chain Hell Pizza has offered a promotion allowing customers to order the pizza of their choice and participate in their “Pizza Roulette Challenge”. If they dared, a slice of their pizza would be dosed with a chili sauce they claimed was as hot as police pepper spray.
Their disclaimer included Hell Pizza taking no responsibility for “loss of mental faculties, emotional damage, bulging eyes, and bathroom destruction.”
In terms of restaurant marketing ideas, this is an extreme example of course, but being more interactive with your customers is becoming increasingly popular with creative restaurants. You don’t have to burn customers’ tongues either; It can be as simple as having board games on your tables or letting customers roll a dice to choose their drinks.
RJ Metrics reports that loyal customers spend 300% more; giving them a reason to come back that isn’t necessarily food-related will give you a competitive edge and, of course, more sales.
These are three bizarre, wacky, and extravagant restaurant marketing ideas that you can actually copy yourself. Think about your brand, how it might appeal to your customers, and get creative. The sky really is the limit, and it’s a much nicer way to put more money into your ledgers.