London’s first eating establishment to actively encourage its diners to remove every item of clothing before settling down for a slap up meal (if you’ll excuse the expression) had over 46,000 people on its waiting list at launch. Forget the naked chef – naked restaurants are on the rise.

Forty-six thousand people willing to get naked. In a restaurant. Think about that for a minute.

Surprised? Don’t be. As marketing tactics go, this is pretty stellar.

There’s a strong chance you’re not particularly up for turning your restaurant into a naked eating spot, but there are a number of unusual marketing ideas you can use to help fill empty tables (none of which involve getting your kit off).

In this post, we’re going to look at six promotional tactics you almost definitely won’t have thought of.

1. Meet the chef

How often does the person behind your menu get a chance to shine? Kill two birds with one stone by inviting diners to meet the chef during their meal. The curious in society (i.e. most people) will jump at the chance and it’ll give the chef some priceless recognition.

2. Live music

Live music? But… you’re a restaurant, right? If your only idea of live music in a restaurant consists of a solo pianist playing out instrumental classics, you need to broaden your horizon. Why not start a musically-themed night and invite local bands to play? They’ll have to resist cranking it up to 11, but they will contribute to a unique dining experience that will shift covers.

3. Networking events

Thanks to a world economy that continue to falter, freelancers and micro businesses are enjoying something of a boom time. They love mingling and if you give them the opportunity to do so in your restaurant, complete with a tasty meal or buffet to compliment the business chatter, word will soon get around.

4. ‘Meet your neighbour’ night

If your restaurant is situated within or close to a residential neighbourhood, you could be the icebreaker required to get them all talking. Create a ‘meet your neighbour’ night that offers a discount and open table policy for locals keen on meeting those living close by.

5. Crowd-sourced menus

Social media is powerful, so why not use it to create crowd-sourced menus? Ask your followers to submit menu ideas and glue the best together to create a menu entirely built by the public. Share the resulting menu and offer a discount for those who’s ideas made the grade.

6. A birthday meal on the house

If you can start collecting customer information on your restaurant booking system that aids the profiling of diners, you should know when their birthdays take place. A few days before, why not invite them to spend their special day at your restaurant, where you’ll give them a meal on the house?

The tips above all share one thing in common – they encourage sharing on behalf of your diners. That means the potential audience you can reach with such marketing tactics is absolutely colossal and won’t cost you a penny to promote.

Create a stir with a great offer or unusually-themed night, and word will quickly spread, with next to no effort on your part.

And no one had to get naked! How’s about that?

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