Social Media Restaurant Contest Ideas: 4 Must-Know Tips | ChowNow
← Back to Blog

Social Media Restaurant Contest Ideas: 4 Must-Know Tips

September 9th, 2016 Social Media

Grow your social media following with these restaurant contest ideas.

Most restaurant businesses have come to realize that social media is a vital piece of their overall restaurant marketing strategy. From foodie photos to Facebook check-ins, social media has a huge impact on brand awareness and customer traffic, especially when done right. However, you don’t have to stick to the same tactics as your restaurant neighbors – a creative social media campaign like a contest can generate buzz and enhance your brand personality. Take a look at these restaurant contest ideas made for social media.


Want more expert tips for social media success? Download our comprehensive ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Restaurants.”

Read the eBook


4 Restaurant Contest Ideas for Social Media:

1. Set Clear Guidelines

Many restaurants make the mistake of starting social media contests without defined rules or a clear beginning or ending. With so many brands encouraging social media users to post photos of their product, your followers won’t feel compelled to participate without a clear shot at winning. Give your followers a fighting chance by communicating and ensuring that their submission will definitely be considered.

2. Be Creative

When we think of contests that generated tons of buzz for a brand, the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest easily comes to mind. The wild popularity of this contest is a clear indication that creativity is a powerful marketing tool. Don’t succumb to doing the same style of contests as every other restaurant brand. Instead, create a unique concept that integrates your customers day to day lives with your menu items. Check out Red Bull’s Put a Can on it contest for inspiration.

Customers are more likely to choose your restaurant if it has a branded mobile app.

3. Make Participation Easy

You may think that a creative contest may be complicated for followers to participate in, but Red Bull’s award-winning campaign shows that it doesn’t have to be. Your restaurant contest ideas shouldn’t be so complicated that they require a high level of effort to join – you’ll lose half of your participants from your lengthy instructions alone. Instead, make it so that your customers can easily participate while going about their day – a simple hashtag or Facebook like keeps the barrier to entry low and accessible.

4. Don’t Skimp on the Prize

While you already know that a contest requires a prize, make sure to put some thought behind it. Many restaurants assume that a 50% off coupon or a BOGO deal is enough to compensate the lucky winner, but rewarding a customer with something they can easily obtain from a Groupon deal is not the best display of customer service.

Quality restaurant contest ideas attract lots of participants by offering a prize that’s worth the effort of entering. You should reward your winners with something that’s exclusive or high-value. Here are some ideas:

  • A happy hour for 10 friends
  • Naming a menu item after the winner
  • Branded merchandise and/or cookbooks
  • A cooking class with your chefs
  • A special date night
  • A gift card for $50 or more

Creative prizes will have your followers going above and beyond to win – which means free publicity and new customers for you!

The best way to raise brand awareness, on and offline, is to do so organically, and a social media contest is a great way to accomplish this. A well-defined and creative contest that results with an awesome prize for the lucky winner is a sure-fire way to achieve your #restaurantgoals faster than you can say, “let the games begin!”

Free your restaurant from online ordering fees.

Hayley Thayer

Hayley Thayer is a member of the ChowNow Marketing team. In her free time, you’ll find Hayley eating salmon sashimi, ruminating on culture and politics, and obsessing over the latest men’s haircut and clothing trends.
Hayley Thayer

[fbcomments width="670" linklove="0" countmsg="Comments"]