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Food for thought: Restaurant marketing strategies for DOOH



Marissa Bernstein

Restaurants are constantly evaluating their marketing strategies to remain top-of-mind among rising competition. As the variety of marketing channels increases, it’s essential for restaurant marketers to find solutions that meet their unique challenges and put consumers in seats at the table. Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising offers brands a powerful platform for reaching consumers as they move throughout the physical world — and uniquely addresses some of the nuanced difficulties of marketing in the restaurant industry. This article will cover how you can leverage DOOH to keep your brand top of mind when hunger strikes.

Key DOOH Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Programmatic DOOH advertising provides a unique ability to reach restaurant goers with tailored ads that drive results. According to research from The Harris Poll and OAAA

  • 6 in 10 consumers recall seeing OOH QSR ads recently
  • 67% of audiences who saw a QSR OOH ad purchased at a physical store.
  • 39% of diners exposed to an OOH QSR ad ordered from the restaurant via its mobile app

But before your eyes become bigger than your stomach, it’s important to keep in mind that as with any new marketing initiative, developing a well-thought-out DOOH strategy is critical to gaining the most value out of this powerful channel.

Here are a few common DOOH restaurant marketing tactics you can utilize to reach hungry consumers with tailored ads that drive results:


Maintain even campaign exposure for all franchise locations
Keeping franchisees happy is not always an easy job, however, it’s a critical part of any scalable restaurant marketing strategy. Luckily, DOOH provides complete control over when and where your media is activated — allowing you to ensure all franchise locations receive fair and equitable campaign exposure. 


Gain market share or make a splash in a new DMA
Whether you’re rolling out a new location, looking to gain favor with regional consumers or aiming to draw market share away from a competing restaurant, you can leverage the precise targeting capabilities of DOOH to strategically activate screens in select DMAs to increase awareness and get diners into seats or pulling up to the drive-through. Additionally, you can run different versions of your creatives based on where your ads will appear — allowing you to tailor your ad messaging to accommodate different regions and DMAs across the country. 



Stay relevant with seasonal campaigns
From Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the fall to frozen treats in the summertime, consumer tastes and limited-time offer products tend to vary depending on the season. By aligning DOOH creatives to match the time of year in which your campaigns will run, you can tap into peak seasonal demand for different products and drastically increase the relevance and resonance of your ads. 


Boost online and mobile app orders
With consumers more connected than ever, online and app-based food purchases are on the rise. Global meal delivery services are projected to reach 2.5 billion users by 2027, and DOOH provides the perfect platform to capitalize on this growing trend. By building tailored messaging and utilizing QR codes within your creative, you can use DOOH to encourage consumers to place orders through owned mobile apps or delivery platforms that service your restaurant(s).


3 Steps to launch a successful DOOH restaurant marketing campaign

With so many meaningful opportunities to engage your target audience through DOOH, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. Here are 3 steps to launching your own DOOH restaurant marketing strategy: 


1: Define your target audience(s) based on brand and campaign objectives.

All great restaurant marketing campaigns begin by profoundly understanding the interests, preferences and tastes of a specific group of people (i.e. a target audience). Using DOOH, you can create and target custom audiences based on first- and third-party data sources to launch campaigns that strategically reach viewers with mouth-watering creative when and where it matters most.

The graphic below gives a snapshot of the most effective audience targeting strategies that restaurants are having success with:



2: Activate media at the right place and right time.

Using proprietary geospatial technology and privacy-safe location data, Vistar helps marketers understand how their target audience moves throughout the day and where they are most likely to be at any given time — ultimately revealing the best times and places to target your audiences. Vistar’s scale allows QSRs to reach consumers in contextually relevant environments, such as airports, casual dining restaurants, gas stations, gyms, family centers, malls, movie theaters, office buildings, transit stations, universities and more.

  • Using 1st or 3rd-party data in other marketing channels? You can now utilize your preferred segments across all channels, including DOOH.

  • Have video assets? Extend your video campaigns by repurposing existing assets across DOOH screens for seamless omnichannel consumer engagement.


3: Measure the ROI & real-world impact of your restaurant marketing campaign.


Measuring the true ROI of out-of home media has historically been a challenge. Vistar’s industry-leading measurement solutions allow you to evaluate the impact of your DOOH campaign on both upper and lower-funnel KPIs — from awareness and consideration to online orders and actual restaurant visits. 


Real world success story: Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box leveraged DOOH to reach an audience of diners who frequented competitive fast-casual restaurants. The brand ran its campaign across a mix of venues from malls, gas stations and billboards, to urban panels, gyms, bars and dispensaries and applied POI targeting to strategically activate DOOH screens within a 2-mile radius of its own restaurants — engaging consumers at the perfect location to act on the brand’s messaging.

Clear Channel-Street Sign (1)

Restaurant Marketing and DOOH: One tasty combo

DOOH advertising provides a highly effective, flexible and measurable way to connect with consumers in the real world and bring diners through the door.

By harnessing the power of programmatic DOOH, QSR marketers will be ideally positioned to reach consumers with mouth-watering creative when and where it’s most effective — allowing them to stand out amongst the competition and fill their seats (or drive-throughs) with hungry customers ready to purchase. 

Ready to plan your campaign?  Contact us today!

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