Facebook Advertising for Restaurants: 3 Tips to Make You a Better Marketer


Facebook advertising is an excellent way for restaurant brands to give their locations an overnight boost in foot traffic. In fact, there are few marketing channels as effective. But – and this is a big ‘but’ – Facebook Advertising for restaurants isn’t fool proof. You can wind up throwing your money right down the metaphorical toilet if you don’t use your ads the right way.

“Well then, what’s the right way?” We’re glad you asked.

It all starts with targeting your ads to the right people. For example, if you’re marketing a burger chain, it doesn’t make sense to advertise to health freaks. They’re simply not buying what you’re selling.

When you don’t target your Facebook ads correctly, that’s what happens, (not always to the extreme of a burger QSR advertising to health nuts, but the outcome is still similar). Without creating the proper Facebook audiences, your advertising budget is going towards material that everyone sees, whether they’re extremely interested in your product or not at all.

facebook advertising for qsr restaurants

It’s a common pain point for many first-time Facebook advertisers that results in less than optimal returns.

Not to worry, Facebook offers plenty of tools for getting your ads in front of the right people, the kind who love a big, juicy burger (or whatever else it is your restaurant or brand is peddlin’).

In short, you’ll spend less money while gaining more prospects when find and target the correct audience. It’s a win-win.

1. Lock In Your Target Audience

Who is most likely to be or become a new customer? Teens, parents, retirees? Men or women? Is your restaurant marketing local, national, or international?

These are just a few of the demographic options that you’ll want to know – and implement into your Facebook ads.

The site’s tools make it easy to target users based on age, location, gender, income, education, interests, and many other factors. Even their political affiliation is an option. And you can carry this information over from device to device, whether it’s PC, Mac, Android or iPhone.

By sifting through the chaff and narrowing your ads down to the people on Facebook most likely to take action after seeing your ad, you will drastically increase conversions and maximize your marketing budget in the process.

facebook advertising for fast casual restaurants

2. Use Custom Audiences for an Extra Edge

Facebook doesn’t just allow you to target your ads based on generic demographic info. You can also plug your own info on existing customers right into Facebook’s ad network, using a feature called Custom Audiences. This will let you take advantage of the existing emails, phone numbers, and the like from your list.

Like we mentioned in a previous post, you can even use Custom Audiences to retarget previous customers, or to go after those folks who may have stopped by your website or engaged with you on Facebook but didn’t go through with the sale.

Your customer data will also come in handy through Lookalike Audiences. With this tool, you can apply the commonalities from the people who’ve proven to be loyal customers in the past to search for people who are most likely to become new customers in the future.

For instance, if you do particularly well with small business owners, Facebook’s algorithm will take that into account and target similar users.

3. Cater Your Ads Directly to Customers

Many restaurant marketers make the mistake of creating general advertisements that will appeal to the largest number of people. After all, the more people your ad applies to, the more potential customers you’ll reach, right?
Wrong. That’s the old-school advertising approach that’s quickly going by the wayside. The truth is, unless you’re on every other street corner, most people aren’t going to buy or have access to you. On top of that, the less specific your Facebook advertising is, the less it stands out in a crowded newsfeed full of funny cat videos.

Remember, with Facebook and Instagram advertising, your competition isn’t just the rival brand that sells similar menu items. You’re competing for attention against the entire internet.

It might seem daunting, and Facebook Advertising for restaurants can prove tricky at times. No matter what, you’ll fare much better by catering your ads directly to the kind of clientele you’re trying to attract into your restaurants. When people relate to the content of your ad, they’re more likely to take notice, click through, and take the action.

If your restaurants cater more toward families, use language and imagery in the ad that engages the decision makers of the households you’re targeting. Great imagery that feels native to Facebook or Instagram can make a huge difference in your click-through rates.

Don’t Get Too Carried Away

All of these different options give you millions of different ad targeting combinations to play with. Keep experimenting until you find the perfect mix.

While targeting is crucial to your marketing efforts, don’t want to get too carried away. It is possible to limit your audience to the point that there aren’t enough prospects to keep the bills paid. Start broad and A/B test more narrow audiences.

Find the sweet spot between overly specific and too general in your targeting, and you’ll reap the benefits that come with a high-converting Facebook ad campaign.





Blue Bear Creative is a Denver social media agency focused on helping food and beverage brands market to millennials and Gen Z.