Has your restaurant ever tried running a contest? Maybe it’s time to try. Contests have a ton of benefits. Using them appropriately can boost sales, increase loyalty program members, and even get more followers on social media.

And the best part? They’re not that difficult to pull off! So many different marketing promotions require difficult and extensive planning, work, and execution. Here’s five easy contest ideas for your restaurant to try.

Giveaways. Perhaps the most tried-and-true contest out there, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned giveaway to get your customers involved. Giveaways are particularly useful because they can be used for so many different objectives. Need more followers on social media? Want more people in your loyalty program? Host a giveaway that requires the customer to either follow you on social media, or be a member of your loyalty program.

Tag your friends. This contest has gained significant popularity on social media (Instagram specifically) in recent years, and for good reason. Let’s say you have a new menu item that you’d like to promote. Post an appetizing picture of it on social media, and say “Want to try the newest addition to our menu? Tag a friend you’d like to enjoy it with for your chance to win a free meal, on the house.”

Check-in (and share a picture). A contest centered around social media check-ins accomplishes two goals. First, it means the customer actually has to show up in order to check-in, therefore pushing sales. Second, it helps spread word-of-mouth across social media, promoting your restaurant to new potential customers. Asking that they share a picture ensures that they show up, and helps show off your restaurant and food.

“Caption this photo!” Post a humorous picture, ideally one that’s shot in your restaurant (or that’s at least about food). Ask your followers to come up with their best funny caption. It’s an easy way to heighten engagement, and even attract some new followers on social media.

Polls. Polls are excellent for building brand engagement, especially when there’s a prize on the line just for participating. A great poll-based contest idea for restaurants is to start featuring a new option on your menu every month, entirely based off of customer voting. A “People’s Choice” menu, if you will.

Pro Tip: When running any contest, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re keeping things legal. Click here for a quick rundown on keeping your contests legal, courtesy of Inc.

Run Contests (And More) With CoGoBuzz

Ready to take your restaurant’s digital marketing to the next level? Get started with CoGoBuzz, our powerful state-of-the-art service. We’ll set you up with a fully digital, mobile-based loyalty program, letting you intuitively run contests, polls, automated messages, and more.

Leveraging powerful WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, CoGoBuzz redefines your restaurant’s entire digital presence. With our advanced in-store WiFi platform, we enroll customers to your marketing lists automatically, making it easy to engage wherever and whenever. On top of that, we’ll get you Facebook followers automatically, more repeat customers, and so much more.

Click here to learn more about CoGoBuzz!

What contests has your restaurant tried? Let us know in the comments!

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