Running Facebook Ads for your Restaurant: the How and Why

Guangdong China - JAN 19: Facebook website  JAN 19, 2011 in Guangdong, China.
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Think that running direct ads is a thing of the past?  Think again.  While bus stop banners, news paper ads, and other traditional direct advertising tactics might feel dated in the modern age, savvy restaurant owners routinely take to social media sites and other digital means to run advertisements for their business.

As the largest social networking site and the place where your restaurant is likely to already have a built in fan base, Facebook is a great place to consider running ads to get your business some exposure and hopefully boost your sales.  For the how and why of Facebook ads for your restaurant, read on!

Why Run Facebook Ads for Your Restaurant?

This is something of a loaded question, as many restaurant owners haven’t decided they are in the position to run any kind of paid advertising at all.  But if you are a restaurant owner or manager with a business reaching the success threshold where investing in advertising is a good idea, then Facebook book ads are a great way to spend your marketing dollars for several reasons.

First, Facebook advertising is cheap.  You could spend hundreds of dollars on newspaper ads, or thousands for premium placement on a bus or billboard.  Or you could spend as little as five dollars to start running Facebook ads today.  You can spend as much as you want on Facebook advertising, and can choose to up your investment to get a bigger reach for your ads.  But for barebones campaigns, Facebook gives you great value for your dollars.

Because Facebook ads aren’t only cheap, they give you great bang for your buck based on their extreme effectiveness.  Facebook ads are better than almost any other kind of direct advertising you can think of because your ad dollars will be highly targeted.  You can customize your ads to show up on only your fans screens, or a broader network of people in your area.  By relying on digital connections between real people in real networks, Facebook ads can be directed exactly where you want them to be, for powerful and effective marketing.

How to Run Facebook Ads for Your Restaurant

Once you have a Facebook Page for your restaurant that is fully optimized, getting effective Facebook Ads running is easy.   Follow these steps to get your Facebook Ad launched.

  1. Make sure you are signed into Facebook, and visit From this landing page, you will get options to create your campaign.
  1. “Choose the Objective for Your Campaign.” Facebook will provide you with a prompting box asking what you are hoping to achieve from your advertising dollars.  For restaurant owners, it probably makes sense to choose the “reach people near your business” option, but there are some other interesting opportunities here as well. Promote an offer if you have a coupon running, or promote an event if you are holding an event at your restaurant: whatever direction you take, thinking about what you want to achieve and selecting the best option will be where your ad creation really gets started.
  1. Name Your Campaign. The next thing Facebook will ask you to do is assign a title for the ad you are about to run.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be catch or marketing savvy, as this title will only be for your organizational purposes and won’t get seen by customers.
  1. Determine your Audience. As mentioned above, one of the most powerful thing about advertising with Facebook is that you can choose who will see your marketing dollars in action.  Facebook has a good guide about how to choose your audience and how to leverage your networks, but in general you should most heavily point your ads towards demographics likely to frequent your business.  Local advertisements for restaurants usually work best.
  1. Decide how much you want to spend. Facebook will ask you how long you want your ads to run, and what your total budget is.  Setting this info is a nuanced art, but like in all social media situations, you can experiment a bit and see what works best for you.  Just remember that the more you spend, the more people will see your ads.  Next, Facebook will ask you to specify your “bid amount,” which is a technical way of asking how much you are willing to pay for your ads interactions.  Again, experiment here or consult an expert.
  1. Design Your Ad Facebook makes it easy to design your ads through their wizard, and you will be asked to upload pictures and place text where you would like it to appear.  Use your eye and your best judgement, but keep in mind that minimalist Facebook ads work best.  And ask an expert if you need to.
  1. Pay and Profit! After designing your ad, all you need to do is enter your payment info, sti back, and see the power of Facebook advertising boost your bottom line.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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