Facebook Ads for Restaurants: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Marketing is the life-line of any business, but this especially true for restaurants, as every restaurant should have a digital marketing plan. The secret sauce to marketing as a restaurant, is to continuously be in the minds of the consumer. As a restaurant owner you have probably asked yourself, “how do I stay in the mind of the consumer and how do I market my restaurant?” You’ve probably sent direct mail with coupons to residents in your local area, plastered billboards along the highway, or have even gone as far as advertising your restaurant on television. One thing remains the same; and that being the 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook. Facebook ads for restaurants can be very effective, as this guide will make it less daunting to implement them into your restaurant.

Why Your Restaurant Needs Facebook Advertising

Facebook is the largest social platform, and where your potential customers are spending most of their time. Not only are they spending their time on Facebook, but they are accessing it multiple times of the day. The reason being, 95% of Facebook users access Facebook through their mobile device. With restaurants being the most search industry by consumers on mobile device it is imperative that your restaurant capitalize on this opportunity to continuously reach your customers throughout the day.

Say Goodbye to Organic Reach on Facebook

Organic reach on Facebook is all but dead. With Facebook’s recent update to their newsfeed, they are putting more emphasis on interactions they deem meaningful, such as connecting with your friends and family opposed to seeing a post from a business page. It is said that organic reach is as low as 2%. With that being said, you have probably been wondering why you may have over 2,000 likes and followers on your restaurant’s Facebook page, but are only getting 20 likes on your posts. The reason for this, is because Facebook is now making businesses “pay to play” and that means investing and allocating your dollars into your post by either “boosting” them or utilizing the ads manager.

Low Organic Reach on Facebook

Boosted Posts Vs Facebook Ads 

With Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts having the same end goal which is to; reach an audience that was unreachable, many restaurant owners make the mistake of simply boosting their posts. This often stems from Facebook Ads having an abundance of information and options that are overwhelming if you are not a marketer. Also, the convenience of the boost button, which Facebook “conveniently” located so that it is easier for the general populous to spend advertising dollars at a click of a button.

There are three reasons why you should not boost your posts:

  • The far more effective objectives and targeting in Ads Manager
  • Being restricted to testing creative and seeing what is working and not working
  • Boosted posts only reach those who are MOST engaged with your business page already. Because of the algorithm, sometimes they don’t always see your posts organically thus boosting your post will only put it in front of your most engaged followers.

Instead of boosting posts, utilize the ads manager platform because increased engagement without an objective is not going to lead to sales and conversions. That is why you should always choose Facebook ads vs boosted posts!

Set-up Facebook Business Manager and Ads Manager

In order to utilize the Ads Manager and run Facebook Ads for your restaurant, you will need to set-up a Business Manager. If you do not already have a Facebook page for your restaurant, you will need to create one as that is how you will manage your business manager. You can visit https://business.facebook.com/ to set-up your business manager. For a complete guide on how to set-up your business manager and Facebook Ad account visit here.

Facebook Business Manager

1. Once you have completed Your Business Manager, you will need to set up your ad account. You will be prompted to the screen below, where you will add your page if you haven’t already done so, create an ad account, and add anybody else who you would like to have access to your business manager.

Business Manager Set-up

2. You will be able to add restaurant page(s) to your business manager whether they be your own, somebody else’s, or a new page if you haven’t created a page yourself

Page Options Facebook

3. For the Ad account option, you can add an existing ad account, add some else’s, or create a new one, which is probably the more likely option for your restaurant.

Ad account options Facebook

4. Lastly, you can add people that you would like to have access to the business manager by simply entering their e-mail address (preferably the one they use for Facebook).

Invite People Facebook

To access the ad manager, click on Business Manager at the top left corner and you should see Ad Manager under “Create and Manage”

The Type of Facebook Ad Objectives and How Your Restaurant Can Utilize Them

When you start any Facebook ad campaign the first thing you will be doing is choosing your objective. As you can see below, Facebook ads are broken into three categories Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Each category has their own objectives that you can utilize for your restaurant. As you can see below there are 11 objectives:

Awareness

• Brand Awareness
• Reach

Consideration

• Traffic
• Engagement
• App Installs
• Video Views
• Lead Generation
• Messages

Conversion

• Conversion
• Catalog Sales
• Store Visits

Facebook Ad Objectives for restaurants

Awareness Category

This category can be thought of as being the “top” of your marketing funnel. You just want to generate audience’s interest in what your restaurant has to offer.

Brand Awareness

When advertising on Facebook, you want your ads to reach people who are likely to pay attention to your ad. This is exactly what this ad objective accomplishes for your restaurant. As a restaurant, your brand is very important, from your ambience, dishes, and location you want your customers to be able recognize your brand at a moment’s notice. As Facebook states, each brand awareness ad will reach your audience up to 2 times every 5 days by default.

If your restaurant already has an establish brand in your location(s) than this objective is perfect. If you are a smaller restaurant with a limited budget, this objective might not bring you as much value as other objectives that will be discussed shortly. You can read how Sonic utilized brand awareness ads to promote and bring awareness to their new slush drink products.

Sonic Brand Awareness Ad

Reach

The Reach objective allows you to reach the maximum number of people in your target audience. As a restaurant, this objective comes in handy whenever you want a message to get out. An example would be your grand opening and you wanted everybody in your local area to be aware. For restaurants, if you are trying to target a small audience and your goal is to reach as many people as possible in that target audience, this is the objective you would want to choose. Other objectives discussed may limit your reach due to the actions each is optimizing for.

Consideration Category

This category can be thought of as the “middle” of your marketing funnel. These objectives are for audiences that have already displayed some interest in your restaurant and want to engage or learn more about your restaurant. 

Traffic

The traffic objective is designed to drive people off Facebook to your website or app. An example as a restaurant as to why you would want to send traffic to your website is if you had catering services that customers could easily click to add to cart and submit payment through your website. Also, if you had a mobile app where customers could redeem rewards or order their food through. From this objective, you may also create an offer ad which we will go into great detail later.

As a restaurant, if your website is not getting much traffic or is not conversion friendly, this is the objective you would want to choose as it is going to bring as many people as possible to your site. If your website is bringing a lot of traffic and is conversion friendly there are objectives that we will get to shortly, that will get qualified traffic that’s going to take action whether that be call, reserve, or order on your website.

Engagement

The engagement objective is intended for more people to see and engage with your Facebook page or post such as like, comment, and share. This is one of the most effective objectives for a restaurant to utilize as it lets you create four types of ads which are:

  • Increase Post Engagement
  • Promote Your Page
  • Get More People to Claim Your Offers
  • Raise the Attendance of Your Events

Why this is so effective is that it can generate additional organic reach beyond the audiences that you paid to access. As we will discuss later, you can also build your engagement audiences for re-targeting purposes for other campaigns you choose. You can read how Lloyd Tacos in Buffalo utilized the engagement objective for the growth of their business here.

Engagement Objective Options Facebook

  • Post Engagement

This option allows you to boost a post from the back-end. This differs from simply boosting your post as you are creating the post first and then going into ads manager to select the post so that you can take advantage of the targeting and engagement objective of the post. This option will allow Facebook to share your post with as many people as possible who are going to like, share, and comment on your post.

As a restaurant, this should be where majority of your daily ad money is spent, as you want your customers to be engaging with your posts so that you are not only top of mind but are increasing the likelihood that they visit your restaurant more frequently. You can even promote engagement yourself on your ad, as seen below.

Facebook engagement ad for restaurants

  • Page Like

This option allows you create an ad where you can not only suggest people to like your page but also, which one of your friends has liked the page as well as seen below.

Friends Like This Ad Facebook

These types of ads are great for restaurants for three reasons: they build social proof, they tend to be the easiest and least expensive to set-up, and they get your page instant exposure to new fans. Below is an example of a like ad for restaurants.

Facebook Ad for restaurants Like Ad Example

  • Create Offer

There are various different ways you can drive traffic to your restaurant. One of the most effective ways are through discounts and offers. Fortunately, Facebook allows you to create an offer ad that customers can save and redeem. When you are creating an offer ad using engagement as your objective, not only will those offers be shared to people who will engaged the most, but those people will share to their friends creating even more buzz and foot traffic to your restaurant generated by your offer.

What makes creating an offer ad even better is that you can customize the details such as 20% off all entrees, set the duration period for the offer, choose if it can be redeemed in-store, online, or both, and even make promo codes to keep track of how your offer is being redeemed.

Offer Ad Details Facebook

When customers see your offer on Facebook they can save it, like it, or comment on it. A person who saves your offer will be notified up to 3 times before it expires. If your offer can be redeemed online, Facebook will notify them if they switch devices (phone to tablet) and right before the offer expires. If it can be redeemed in store customers can bring their phone in store and even have the option for it to be e-mailed to them so that it can be printed out. If a customer who has their location sharing on they’ll get a reminder to use their offer when they’re nearby!

Facebook offer ad for restaurants

You can make an offer by simply going to your business page and on your timeline where you make statuses, select offer, as seen below. Once the offer is made, go into ad manager, select the engagement objective, and select your offer from within ad manager.

How to make an offer ad Facebook ads for restaurants

  • Event Responses

If your restaurant holds events such as wine tastings, samplings, or even live music you will want to use event responses. The event responses option allows you target people who will more than likely be interested in your event. One example is if you had a wine tasting you will only want to target people who are of legal age to drink and exclude those who are not legally able to drink. Once you create your event, just like other options we discussed, you will be selecting from within the ads manager.

App Installs

This objective drives more people to the destination where they can download your app. Some of the top names in the food industry such as Burger King, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Krispy Kreme have an app of their own to boost their customer loyalty program. As we probably know if you are not a national brand such as the chains previously discussed you probably don’t have an app of your own with a loyalty program. You may be utilizing apps such as Waitr and Grubhub for online ordering and want to boost your online ordering sales. Other than that, as a restaurant you will be using objective very sparingly if at all.

Video Views

This objective is designed to get more people to view your video content. As a restaurant, this is an effective objective as you may want to display the interior of your restaurant, behind the scenes of your chef’s cooking, or even announcing a new dish or installment you added to your restaurant. Videos not only get more engagement on Facebook but videos pertaining to food get the most engagement on Facebook. This is good news for your restaurant if you want to raise your brand awareness. You can also use video format for other objectives as well to. See how MOS Burger used video ads to increase their sales.

Video Formats in Facebook

As you can see below you can build custom audiences from the video views objective and re-target audiences based on how long they viewed your video. We will discuss re-targeting later on.

Custom Audience Video views Facebook

Lead Generation

This objective helps drive more leads such as capturing e-mail addresses from audiences that are interested in your brand and business. As a restaurant you know that having an e-mail is an asset as it is a way to continuously connect with customers, build loyalty, and traffic with stories, updates, and exclusive offers. If your restaurant offers catering and delivery services, this objective is perfect for targeting audiences in your local area. Baked NYC used the lead generation objective to increase e-mail subscriptions and pre-orders for its Thanksgiving pies and saw sales increase nearly 40%.

What makes the lead generation objective with Facebook so effective is that it is mobile friendly, Facebook will pre-fill out contact information users already provided on their profile so that it is easier to fill out the form, customizable forms, and CRM integration. All of these attributes lead to more conversions for your restaurant.

Lead Generation Form Facebook

Messages

This objective is geared for generating conversations with audiences through Facebook messenger, whether that be about discounts your restaurant may have, the menu, or hours of operation. Currently, 1.3 billion people around the world are utilizing Facebook messenger and with the implementation of messenger ads it makes it easier to connect with customers. There are three type of message ads: messenger ads, click-to messenger ads, and sponsored messages.

  • Messenger Ads

These ads show up directly in Facebook messenger as seen below. As a restaurant this ad would be perfect for brand awareness or promoting an offer/discount.

Messenger Ad Facebook

  • Click-To Messenger Ads

These message ads are displayed on newsfeed where if a customer was interested they could click the call to action on the ad, and it would direct them to messenger where they could inquire and communicate with your restaurant as seen below. You can use these ads for your restaurants if you were having a deal such as “Buy One Get One Free Appetizers All Week When You Come In” in which customers could inquire further in messenger.

Click To Messenger Ads Facebook

  • Sponsored Messages

These messages are delivered directly to a person you have had an existing conversation with, through messenger. If you had a user inquire about your restaurant and its menu and you haven’t heard from them in a while, you can use a sponsored message to give them an incentive such as a 20% off their first order to entice them to come in. These ads are mainly for re-targeting and are powerful if integrated with a chatbot such as Manychat.

Sponsored Messages Facebook

Conversion Category

This category can be thought of as the “end” of your marketing funnel, where you want people interested in your restaurant to take actions such as redeeming offers and visiting your restaurant.

Conversion

The conversion objective drives people to take valuable actions on your website, app, or in messenger such as making a purchase or redeeming an offer. You can utilize the Facebook Pixel in conjunction with the conversion objective to track and measure your conversions.

As a restaurant, you would benefit greatly from the conversion objective. If you had a catering page or a reservation page on your website, you could install the Facebook Pixel onto those webpages to track the actions users take on those webpages such as who viewed the page, who abandoned cart, and who purchased. You could then create a conversion ad on Facebook that drives users to that page so that the Facebook Pixel can collect the data of user’s actions such as who ordered catering services or who just viewed the page and left. After collecting that data with the Facebook Pixel, you can create another ad specifically targeted at certain users. For example, for the audience that ordered catering off your website you could upload that pixel and specifically target those users and simply make an ad saying, “Thank You for Your Purchase, We Will See You Soon!” You can check out how PF Changs used the conversion objective to encourage people to enter their online sweepstakes.

Pixel Data Conversion Tracking Facebook

How to Create a Facebook Pixel

  1. Go into your Business Manager and select Pixel under Events Manager

Pixel Tab Facebook

  1. Once clicking pixel, you should see the screen below if you have not created a pixel. From here name your pixel as you can create up to 10 pixels for your business.

Create Pixel Screen Facebook

  1. You will be prompted to a screen on set-up instructions. If you are not knowledgeable of HTML or don’t have a WordPress site I advise you e-mail instructions to a developer so that they can insert the pixel properly onto your selected webpages.

Set-up Facebook pixel for restaurants

  1. You can also create custom conversions to add to your pixels. An example of a custom conversion could be a person who initiated check-out AND was on your page for longer than 30 seconds. As seen below, you can customize what you want your pixels to track

Custom Conversion with Pixel

Catalog Sales

This objective shows items from your catalog to a targeted audience. As a restaurant, I see very little benefit, if any, in using the catalog sales objective as this is geared more towards E-commerce sites.

Store Visits

If you are a restaurant with multiple locations, the store visits objective is just what you need. Store visits objective allows you to create unique ads for multiple restaurant locations. It also, lets you target people within a set distance of one or more of your restaurant locations with ads designed to either help people navigate or contact the closest restaurant that is near them.

As a restaurant with multiple locations it can be hard to personalize your marketing efforts for each area you serve, as this objective eliminates that hassle. With the templates that the store visits enable you to use, you can use unique call to action buttons for each restaurant location such as “Get Directions” or “Call Now” and specify the custom targeting distance around each restaurant so you don’t have to worry about counterproductive marketing. You can learn how Maggiano’s Little Italy 6X the return on their ad spend by utilizing the store visits objective for their many restaurants throughout America.

Add Store Locations in Facebook Business Manager

Detailed Targeting for Your Restaurant With Facebook Ads

One of the biggest benefits of utilizing Facebook ads as a restaurant is the detailed targeting that is at your disposal. After choosing the objective of your ad, you will need to complete the details of the audience you wish to target your Facebook ad to as there are 7 fields you can complete as seen below:

  • Audiences
  • Locations
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Detailed Targeting
  • Connections

Facebook Full Targeting for restaurants

Audiences

When starting a Facebook Ad campaign for your restaurant and completing the audience portion as seen below, you have three options:

  • Create a new audience

Which is essentially leaving the custom audience field blank. If your restaurant has never ran ads, then your best bet is to leave the custom audience field blank.

  • Upload a saved audience

Saved audiences are for when you have completed and ran a Facebook Ad before and saved that audience you targeted to. This is a convenient option because if you’re a restaurant and just want to target a particular audience every week for a certain special or event you have during the week, this makes the process a lot faster because the targeting information will already be completed.

  • Add Custom Audiences

Once you’ve ran a few Facebook Ads and have built traffic and have had engagement on your ads and website, it would be in your best interest to start using custom audiences. The reason being, as we spoke of earlier when talking about different objectives, is you have the ability to re-target a particular audience based on the actions they have taken on your website and posts.

Custom Audience Facebook Ads for restaurants

How to Find and Create Custom Audiences

Simply click on “Audiences” under the Asset tab on your Business Manager as seen below

Audience tab

Once you click on Audiences you will be brought to the screen below, where all of your custom and saved audiences will be created and saved. As you can see there are three options: custom audiences, lookalike audiences, and saved audiences.

How to Create Custom Audiences Facebook

When you click on create custom audience you will be brought to the screen you see below:

Custom Audience Options Facebook

As we discussed earlier in objectives, you can create custom audiences based on the interactions they’ve had with your restaurant. There are 5 ways to create custom audiences:

  • Customer File – You can upload a customer file such as a CSV that Facebook will automatically hash prior to upload. If your restaurant has an e-mail list you can literally make a CSV file of that e-mail list, upload here, and make an ad targeted at your e-mail list.

 

  • Website Traffic – This creates an audience based off users who took specific actions on your website if it was utilizing a Facebook Pixel. As we discussed in the Conversion objective, by adding the Facebook Pixel to your restaurant’s website particularly an order or catering, page you can create custom audiences based on the actions they took and the parameters you set. Go back to the “Conversion Objective” if you want to learn how to install the Facebook Pixel and how it’s used. Or you can simply click here to learn more about the Facebook Pixel.

 

  • App Activity – You can create a list of users who launched your app or took a specific action on it. If you had an ordering app or customer loyalty program app you can create an ad for people who interacted with it.

 

  • Offline Activity – This creates a list of people who interacted with your restaurant offline such as in-store or by phone.

 

  • Engagement – As we discussed earlier with the engagement objective, you can create an audience based off of users who engaged with your posts or Facebook page. As a restaurant you can capitalize off this, because of the high volume of people specific users you will be targeting.

Look-Alike Audiences

You can find people on Facebook to target who are similar to your existing audiences. This is perfect for restaurants looking to find new customers and have exhausted their current customers with the same marketing. As you can see below there are three fields you can complete:

Look Alike Audiences on Facebook

  • Source – You can choose a custom audience you have created or your restaurant’s Facebook page.
  • Location – Select the region you would like Facebook to target. Depending on what country you are in, you are more than likely going to choose that country as proximity places a huge role in getting foot traffic into your restaurant.
  • Audience Size – Audience size ranges from 1% to 10%, this is based off the total population in the countries you choose, with 1% being the closest and most targeted.

Saved audiences

You can simply create re-create an audience you wish to target as seen below:

Create a Saved Audience in Facebook

Locations

As a restaurant location is very important. The bulk, if not all of your customers are going to come from within 25 miles and no further. With Facebook Ads, your restaurant has the customization to hyper-target the location you want.

Location Targeting Facebook Ads for restaurants

As you can see below, you can enter your restaurant’s exact address or the city it is in. Also, you can choose the radius you want to target or cover from that address or city. The radius can toggle from 10-50 miles. As a restaurant this is perfect! For example, if you want to target an ad for a lunch crowd you can set the radius within 3 miles of your address, as most people only have an hour or so for lunch.

Radius and Address Targeting for Restaurants

Additionally, as you can see below, you have 4 options when it comes to location targeting:

Location Targeting in Facebook

  • Everyone in this location – As the name states this will target everyone in the location. As a restaurant this will be what you will use most of the time, as you will be more than happy if you get foot traffic to your restaurant by people who do not live in your location or are just visiting.

 

  • People who live in this location – This will target everybody who lives in the selected area. As a restaurant you are better off just targeting everyone in the location.

 

  • People recently in this location – You can target people who just left the location or area your restaurant is in. As a restaurant, your dollars are best spent targeting your local area of people who live in your location opposed to those who have left. As a restaurant you want to increase the frequency in which your local customers come to your restaurant.

 

  • People traveling in this location – This will target people who are visiting your location. If you are a restaurant in a tourist area such as New York in the summer, this targeting option may work in your favor to attract the influx of tourists that are in the area.

Age 

You can target audiences based off of age. As a restaurant this works perfect because if you serve alcohol or have happy hour specials you can choose to only target those who are 21 and up.

Age targeting Facebook

Language

You also have the option of targeting by language. But as Facebook recommends, leave this field blank unless the audience you are targeting speaks a language that is not common in the area you are targeting.

Language Targeting Facebook

Detailed Targeting

With detailed targeting you can define your target audience based off of including or excluding factors such as demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Detailed Targeting Facebook

  • Demographics – This allows you to reach people based off of education, employment, house-hold, and life-style details.
  • Interests – You can reach people based off of their interests, activities, pages they’ve liked, and other closely related topics
  • Behaviors – Target people based off of their device usage, purchase behavior, intent, and more.

I advise that you play around with detail targeting and use the suggestions that Facebook provides.

You can also exclude audiences based off detailed targeting as well:

Detailed Targeting Exclusion Facebook

Connections

With connection you can reach or exclude people who have a specific relationship with your page, event, or app. Not only will this narrow your audience to include or exclude people of that connection, but they also have to meet the other targeting categories you have already completed.

Connection Targeting Facebook

Complete Budget Control With Facebook Ads for Restaurants

One of the biggest reasons why Facebook Ads are profitable if used correctly for restaurants, are because of their scalability and budget control capability. With Facebooks Ads you can scale your ad campaigns before they even start instead of resorting to direct mail where you pay money up-front and cannot retract or scale your campaign if it is not profitable.

As seen below there are two fields, budget and schedule:

Budget Control Facebook Ads

  • Budget – You can either spend a daily budget or lifetime budget. The daily budget is the average you’ll spend every day, while the lifetime budget is the maximum amount you’ll spend during the whole duration of your ad campaign.
  • Schedule – You can have your ad campaign either run continuously until you stop it, or you can set a start and end date.

Type of Formats for Facebook Ads

 

  • Single Image Ads – A single image ad is the most common type of ad you will see on Facebook. As restaurant these work fine but can limit your creativity that other formats provide.

 

  • Video Ads – As stated before, video ads can be very effective for a restaurant. Whether it’s a video recording testimonials of happy customers you have in your restaurant, your sushi chef displaying their skills, or the owner announcing a new dish, videos are engaging and get the most engagement on Facebook.

 

  • Carousel Ads – This ad format allows you to showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad with a single call to action. This is perfect for a restaurant. For example, if you wanted to display your dinner special you can showcase each item allowing users to easily scroll and find what appeals to them the most.

 

  • Canvas Ads – These types of ads are the most engaging and creative. What’s even better is that they are mobile-optimized and allow people to watch engaging videos or photos by swiping and tilt to pan.

5 Examples of Facebook Ads You Can Use for Your Restaurant

Facebook Advertising can be very difficult for a restaurant if they do not know where to start. With these 7 examples, we are going to not only give you a blueprint you may use for your restaurant, but real-life examples that brought other restaurants that are just like yours, success.

Example 1: Maximize Your Restaurant’s Grand Opening

As a restaurant, a proper and well-executed grand opening can mean having re-occurring customers with little effort for a life time or digging yourself out of a hole for years to come. That’s why it is vital to maximize your Grand Opening.

Real Life Example

Below is an example of restaurant called “Candy Sushi” that leveraged Facebook Ads for their Grand Opening:

Facebook grand opening ad for restaurants

As you can see, Candy Sushi offered “Free Sushi for a Year” in the form of a contest to promote their Grand Opening. Why this is so effective is because of their offer. Who wouldn’t want free sushi for a year? Even though you cannot see from the example above, they made a quick 20 second video stating their deal. What makes it even more effective is that they integrated a Facebook Messenger bot like Manychat, so that when users commented their favorite sushi they were added to Candy Sushi’s messenger subscriber list, an asset that they can now promote other specials to through Facebook messenger.

Lastly, you can see that the video got over 100k views and was shared over 700 times, which means that thousands of people are now aware of their restaurant, which will translate into an effective Grand Opening. You can view Candy Sushi’s full ad campaign here.

Targeting Example

 Below is an example of targeting for a Grand Opening Giveaway. We chose the area of Atlanta which are why the numbers are so huge. If you are doing this type of giveaway use your exact address instead of a general city or region as we just used Atlanta to give a generalized idea.

Grand Opening Facebook Ads for restaurants

The reason why the targeting is so simple is because it is a Grand Opening. You want as many people to see your ad as possible no matter the demographic or age. You are trying to get audiences to not only enter based on the rules your restaurant sets, but just become familiar and interested in your restaurant. We chose the engagement objective, because as you can see in the Candy Sushi example, you want to target people who are most likely to comment, like, and even better share your content! If users are sharing your content that means you are not only going to reach the audiences, you are “paying” to reach but are also increasing your organic reach as well.

Pro Tip to Increasing Your Page Likes by Running Giveaways Like This

When doing huge giveaways like this with the engagement objective, one thing that you can do is invite the people who liked your post to like your page as seen below:

Invite to like page Facebook

By doing this you are building up your restaurant’s page likes, so that you can reach more people organically in the future.

 Example 2: Drive Brunch Sales While Collecting E-mails

Not only can breakfast be the most important meal to you and me, but it can be for a restaurant as well. For local restaurants, many customers in their area may not know that they serve brunch which is why Facebook ads can help spread that awareness. With brunch trending in an upward fashion with millennials, it is imperative that if your restaurant serves brunch you leverage it for not only sales but collecting e-mails. E-mails are an asset for a restaurant because as we discussed earlier, it gives your restaurant the ability to keep your customers engaged with your restaurant.

Real Life Example

Below is an example of a restaurant called “Pete’s” who leveraged Facebook Ads to not only spread awareness of their brunch but to also collect e-mails:

Facebook brunch giveaway ad for restaurants

As from the previous example, you see the power of giveaways for a restaurant. Once again, the reason why the ad was so successful is because of the offer. Pete’s not only offered “Free Brunch for a Year” but they also stated that the lucky winner and two friends or family eat free. Nobody wants to eat alone, and by allowing the winner to bring more people, they are inherently allowing themselves to spread more awareness as those other two people may tell their friends and family about the brunch. They make it easy to enter as you simply click on the link that you take you to a landing page where you simply enter your name and e-mail. You would think that the restaurant would lose out on money, but this offer is only valid for one brunch once a month for one year as it states that on their landing page. Unfortunately, the deal expired so we are not able to show the exact landing page. But here is an example of one below:

Restaurant Landing Page Example

Targeting Example

Below is the targeting we would use for the brunch giveaway that would collect e-mails if we were a restaurant that served breakfast in Atlanta. As always make sure to use your exact location instead of the city or region your restaurant is in when targeting.

Brunch Targeting for restaurants

We would use the engagement objective for this example. The reason why we would not use the conversion objective is because our initial offer of free brunch is appealing enough for people to enter their information to convert. As you can see above, we wanted to target people in the Atlanta area that had interests centered around brunch. We would target people who were legally able to drink, as alcohol is one of the main factors in brunch attendance. Also, we chose the age 21-50 because brunch is seen as trendy. You would want to exclude people who already liked your page, so that you know you are targeting individuals who may be unaware of your brunch. We chose a wider radius of +25 miles so that you are building as much awareness of your brunch as possible.

Restaurant Giveaway Funnel

 When it comes to running a successful giveaway funnel there are three important elements:

  • The Facebook Ad
  • The Landing Page
  • The “Thank You” Page 

Below, is an example of how your restaurant giveaway funnel can look:

Restaurant Giveaway Funnel

The Facebook Ad

As you’ve already seen with giveaways, make sure when trying to drive traffic to a landing page to collect emails, that you are giving the user an offer they cannot pass up. If your offer is not deemed as valuable enough on your Facebook Ad, users will not be inclined to even click to be directed to your landing page.

The Landing Page 

Make sure your landing page only requires as much fields as needed. For restaurants, it is best for your landing page to only have name and e-mail. The more fields you make users complete, the less likely they are to complete and submit the form.

The Thank You Page

If you are running a giveaway, make sure your “Thank You” Page has an incentive so that not only everybody feels like a winner, but you drive foot traffic to your restaurant. An example of this would be to, offer a 50% discount on appetizers for entering the giveaway. By doing this, you are leveraging the traffic from the Facebook Ad to your restaurant.

Pro-Tip: Detailed targeting with your restaurant e-mail list

As we have stated earlier, you can create custom audiences on Facebook. You can simply upload your e-mail list and run ads that are specifically targeted to your e-mail subscribers or make a look-alike audience that closely matches your e-mail subscribers as seen below. By building your e-mail list you are making your targeting more versatile.

Custom Audience with Facebook ads for restaurants

Example 3: Drive Lunch Time Traffic and Sales

With the average American spending $1,024 per year on getting lunch, boosting your lunch sales as a restaurant is extremely profitable. In most full-service restaurants, the cost for preparing for the dinner rush is in the day time. If your restaurant can generate enough sales to cover day time expenses, then the next shift becomes pure profit. Essentially saying, the more traffic you produce to your lunch the more money your restaurant acquires. Unfortunately, lunch sales are decreasing, so that is why you should be utilizing Facebook ads for your restaurant, so that you are top of mind when it comes to customers getting lunch.

Real Life Example

Below is an example of a restaurant called “Leesburg Diner” that ran a Facebook offer ad for 20% off lunch Monday through Friday.

Facebook lunch offer ad for restaurants

This Facebook offer ad from Leesburg Diner is very simple. Many people are looking for cheap choices when it comes to lunch and by offering a 20% discount you are giving people an incentive to visit your restaurant. The offer is trackable as you can see 162 people claimed the offer, which can also act as social proof while the ad is running. The more people who claimed your offer, the more valuable it appears to people who have not claimed it. It can easily be redeemable, as whoever claimed the offer simply shows this to their server.

Targeting Example

In the targeting example below, we are going to assume you are a Mexican restaurant in Marietta, Georgia (right outside Atlanta) trying to drive more traffic to your restaurant during lunch time.

Lunch targeting for restaurants with Facebook Ads

In this example we would use the engagement objective, as we would want this to be shared to increase the organic visibility on the ad. As you can see above we targeted individuals with an interest in Mexican cuisine and dishes such as burritos, enchiladas, and nachos as well as another restaurant chain such as Chipotle. The main factor when targeting for lunch is the radius in which you target. We recommend not exceeding more than 5 miles from your restaurant’s address as many people are strapped for time, and only have an hour to eat at lunch at the most. This is the reason why we targeted a radius that did not exceed 3 miles. Also, we targeted individuals who are 24-55 as they make up the majority of the working class and are more likely to eat out on their lunch breaks.

Example 4: Birthdays and Anniversaries

When people are looking to celebrate big milestones in their life, one of the first things that comes to their mind is where they are going to celebrate. As a restaurant you want to reward and attract people who are celebrating milestones such as their birthday and anniversary. People that celebrate these occasions tend to spend more money and bring more people, that is why it is imperative that your restaurant capitalize on these occasions. Also, having people celebrate their birthday in your restaurant develops customer loyalty. But sometimes keeping up with birthdays and anniversaries can be hectic and time consuming. Fortunately, with Facebook ads, restaurants can streamline their birthday and anniversary freebies.

Real Life Example

Below, is an example of “Caveman Burgers” offering free burgers for people who have birthdays.

Free Burger Facebook Ad for restaurants

Caveman Burgers made their ad very simple but very effective. The picture is very high quality and enticing. Also, the picture states “Free Burger” in the upper right-hand corner which automatically lets people who see this ad know what it is about, inviting them to redeem their exclusive offer. As you can see, this ad had high engagement, as people LOVE free food, as we have seen with giveaways.

Birthday Targeting Example

Below is the targeting we would use if we were a restaurant in Atlanta targeting people with birthdays in the month of September to come into our restaurant.

Birthday Targeting for restaurants

We would utilize the engagement objective for this ad, as people would share this deal with their friends. Targeting for birthdays is fairly simple, as you can see above. Facebook allows you to target people with birthdays in a specific month as we chose the month of September. Also, we chose a 10-mile radius as that isn’t too far for most people to travel for free food. When it comes to age we made it broad because people of all ages celebrate their birthdays. You want to exclude this deal for people who already like your page so that they don’t get ad fatigue as these campaigns can run monthly.

Anniversary Targeting Example

As with the birthday targeting example, we would target people with upcoming anniversaries if we were a restaurant in Atlanta.

Anniversary Targeting for restaurants with Facebook Ads

Facebook allows you to target people/couples with anniversaries within 30 days and 31-60 days. The only difference between this targeting and the birthday targeting is the age, as the average age most people in America get married is 25. Since this demographic is so specific we decided to lower the age to 25 to increase our potential reach and audience.

Example 5: Boost Catering Sales

With the catering market being valued at 52.3 billion dollars and 64% of that going to restaurants while more people are spending money on restaurants than they are groceries, it’s essential that your restaurant capitalize on your catering services. There are many benefits to catering services, as they allow restaurants to be more versatile and still make profits during slow periods such as holidays. Also, not needing more physical space but still reaching new customers therefore generating more exposure to your restaurant. Unfortunately, it is hard for restaurants to gain exposure are drive sales and traffic to their catering services. With Facebook ads, restaurants have an easy way to spread awareness of their catering service while converting customers.

Real Life Example 

Below is an example of Moe’s in Fort Mill, South Carolina offering a 50% off catering when calling in a catering order by a certain date.

Facebook catering ad for restaurants

This offer ad for catering from Moe’s was effective. First off, they offered an enticing deal of 50% off of catering which will attract potential viewers of the ad to take action based off the engagement the ad received. Also, they clearly put the number on the picture so that viewers could easily find and the number. What would have made this ad more effective for Moe’s is if they put a call to action such as “Call Now” in the ad linked to their number so that users could easily call at a push of a button to convert more people.

Targeting Example #1

Below is an example of targeting we would use if we were a restaurant in Atlanta trying to attract customers to our catering service during the month of May when graduations are taking place.

Graduation Targeting Facebook Ads for restaurants

We would use the conversion objective so that we are targeting an audience that is likely to call and convert for catering services. Sorry fellas, but we chose to target women because most women do the planning for events in their families. We also made sure they were between the ages of 36-65+ as well because those are the ages where their kids/grandkids should be graduating high school or college. Which brings us to why we chose to target parents (mothers) with adult children (18-26 years) and teenagers (13-18 years) because those are the ages where children are graduating middle school, high school, and college. We also chose to only target a 10-mile radius as you wouldn’t want to drive too far to provide catering services if you don’t have to.

Targeting Example #2

In this targeting example we will also pretend as if we were a restaurant in Atlanta except this time we are trying to attract businesses and companies to utilize our catering services

Office Targeting for restaurants with Facebook Ads

We would also use the conversion objective once again so that we convert more people to take action and call to order catering services. In this targeting we wanted to hyper target and select office assistants, executive assistant, and company secretaries. The reason being, is that these are the individuals who schedule catering services for businesses and companies. As before, we targeted within 10 miles as you wouldn’t want to travel too far and selected a wider age range since we hyper-targeted with job titles.

Spy on Competitor’s Facebook Ads

Seeing what your top competitors are doing correctly and incorrectly could boost your own marketing efforts. To consistently conjure up fresh marketing ideas can be exhausting for your restaurant. That is why Facebook made it effortless to see what your competitors are doing for their Facebook ad campaigns as seen below:

Spy on competitor's ads Facebook

Example of a Recommended Monthly Facebook Ad Budget for Restaurants

Monthly Facebook Ad Budget for Restaurants-min

Concluding Facebook Ads for Restaurants

Running Facebook Ads for your restaurant can be a very daunting task. Without the proper implementation, budgeting, and knowledge you could still be throwing away your hard earn money despite utilizing Facebook’s effective advertisement platform. That is why it is crucial as a restaurant owner to either expand your knowledge beyond this beginner’s guide or hire a digital marketing agency that can implement a Facebook marketing plan for your restaurant.

Better Bistro Media is a premiere Georgia SEO Agency that has worked with countless restaurants in the past, whether that be restaurant SEO, social media marketing, or reputation management. We specialize in driving traffic to restaurants as we know it takes more than appetizing food to not only keep new customers coming in but coming back more frequently.

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