13 Restaurant Contest Ideas That Will Delight Your Customers in Saudi Arabia

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Organizing online social media restaurant contests is an integral part of marketing for business. Restaurant contests are unique in the sense that they help in building excitement around the restaurant which will help in boosting sales and generating loyal customers who then become advocates for your restaurant. 

Giveaways, free gifts and loyalty points given to those who participate in the restaurant contest, overall winning free stuff gives a good customer experience that ultimately contributes to customer satisfaction and delight. 

Organizing these restaurant contests has now become easier than ever as major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram now offer contest tools for cheap as a feature to restaurant marketing teams. 

As a result, organization of these contests increase social media engagement and help in building the hype around the restaurant brand. 

Therefore, restaurant contests in a unique way are at the intersectionality of building business strategy geared towards more customer engagement, building brand name and contributing to customer satisfaction in a unique way through experiencing these contests. 

This article will brainstorm on innovative and unique contest ideas that will delight restaurant customers in Saudi Arabia.

The Goals of Any Restaurant Contest

As mentioned earlier, restaurant contests have become an integral part of business strategy as they build excitement around the restaurant, it helps in building the brand of the restaurant and ultimately contribute to customer experience and delight. Therefore, contests in the most cost-effective manner serve multiple purposes enshrined in a marketing strategy for a business.

Lead Generation for Restaurants

Restaurant contests are attractive, engaging and offer customer delight in the form of winning freebies. It is very easy to sign up and participate in these contests as many social media platforms now offer contest tools at cheap rates. The overall increase in engagement will bring more leads in the form of signups, followers to your restaurant page and customers to your business. 

These new leads as visioned under the marketing strategy are ultimately geared towards conversion into loyal customers and advocates for your restaurant. Therefore, if implemented effectively these contests will directly or indirectly boost your restaurant sales.

Customer Engagement for Restaurants

The overall aim of any marketing strategy is to increase consumer engagement around the business and as mentioned earlier, organizing these contests is one of the most cost-effective and unique ways of serving multiple purposes of marketing strategy. 

Moreover, the utility of winning free gifts, giveaways and loyalty points becomes an attraction for customers who then participate in these contests, which overall increases consumer engagement around the brand and business. Research shows that companies gain an average of 17,500 social media fans and 34% of new customers through contests. 

The 13 best Restaurant Contest Ideas for businesses in Saudi Arabia

Now you know the utility of organizing contests. Let’s discuss some unique and innovative ideas for business especially in Saudi Arabia to effectively implement contest ideas.

  1. “Help us with our Next Item!”

It is important for restaurants to introduce new dishes and keep updating their menu in light of new emerging trends and customers’ expectations. Therefore, restaurants are in a constant search for new recipes of dishes which are popular with customers. One way of doing this search based on customer feedback and preferences is to ask them for the recipes of such dishes. In order to do so, restaurants can organize contests where their customers can share recipes of different dishes. 

Restaurant staff can then try and test these, and the best among all shall not only be added to the menu but its contributor will also win free gifts. Another important aspect, besides getting a new recipe and adding dishes to your menu is the customer delight achieved as the utility of winning among a pool of participants and your recipe being added to the main menu is bigger than mere customer satisfaction. 

In addition, a restaurant is engaging people with their business strategy and depicts the value a restaurant attaches to its customers. Being valued as a customer by a restaurant ultimately converts those customers into advocates for that restaurant. Hence, organizing such a contest idea will suffice multiple purposes with a single effort, that being gaining new recipes, gaining loyal customers and building value around the restaurant brand.

  1. Customer of the Week or Month

Giving customers recognition is very important for a restaurant as it builds a two-way relation between the customer and the restaurant whereby customers become advocates for your brand and restaurant. 

One way of doing this is to nominate and celebrate a fan or customer of the week or month. In this contest, the restaurant can shortlist most frequently visiting customers and post their picture in the main entrance of the restaurant. 

These valued customers shall be given the most cherished service or a free meal and most importantly recognition for their contribution to the restaurant brand. This recognition will be valued by other customers who would wish to make it to this list of fan of the week or month, and in order to make it to this valued list of customers, restaurants will be attracting more frequent customers and indirectly boosting its sales.

  1. Like to win

Another innovative and popular idea of increasing engagement on social media is through incentivizing social media engagement, whereby customers who will be liking a particular post will be considered as participants of the contest and among them shall we be choosing the winner who shall be receiving some gift or free giveaway. 

Therefore, by offering a prize for the persons who shall be liking the social media page or post of the restaurant, business will in the most cost-effective manner increase their social media engagement. 

Accounts that hold Instagram contests grow their followers 70% faster over three months, on average, than accounts that don’t.  By giving free meals, restaurants can also bring in new customers from social media to their premises of the restaurant.

  1. Pick a Name

This is another menu based themed contest idea where restaurants can ask their customers and consumers in general to name a specific dish. By doing so, the restaurant will not only get unique and innovative ideas and names for that specific dish, and others that can be introduced in the future. 

Moreover, when customers see their suggested name for a specific dish on the menu, they will feel more valued. Therefore, the restaurant will benefit from collective wisdom and the customer will benefit from the restaurant in the form of free meals, gifts and giveaways. It is a win-win situation for both restaurant and customers.

  1. Why should you win?

In this form of contests, restaurants announce a prize and then ask the participants to tell them why they should win. The bigger the prize, the bigger the results of people participating in the contest. 

Another important aspect for restaurants is to ask the participants to use some form of their branding in their final submissions. This way the participants will take photos in front of the restaurants, use your restaurants hashtag and other branding elements. This way the restaurant will not only be getting new and innovative ideas for branding but also increase consumer engagement on social media. 

Restaurants can also partner with local media or radio stations to run this contest. This will generate this extra buzz around the brand both in traditional media and on social media.

  1. Its time for another ____________ Off!

In this contest you can promote a signature item on your menu, or any other newly introduced item. The contest is implemented in a way where the restaurant will post on particular days “It’s time for a Steak Off, GO!” Then the restaurant manager would post the rules to the contest and watch the submissions pour in. The rules will be simple and tell us what kind of steak you want this weekend and the submissions with the most likes win. The winner will receive your specialty steak on the house. 

People would share contests with their own Facebook page, and the votes would be in the dozens on each steak. The engagement of people reading the post will be in the thousands. For a small restaurant, those are insane numbers of people seeing your stuff weekly. Moreover, it is a good way of promoting a particular dish which will bring others to order that dish by seeing others do so.

  1. No Peeking

This contest is implemented in a way where the restaurant will place a note in an envelope that will be placed in a decorative bowl on the entrance of the restaurant. Each note will contain some gift: 10% off, a free appetizer or dessert, 50% off, or even a free iPad. The only limit is your creativity, but every note is a winner, and the more expensive the prize – the less notes the prize should be printed on. Have the expiration date printed clearly on the front of the envelope with your restaurant’s information. 

Your customers cannot open the envelope, your staff must open them on their next visit during the promotion window. If the envelope is opened before, it’s completely void. This is to ensure transparency and avoid fake notes. The ultimate objective is to give customers a reason to come back in your slow season. Moreover, each note on every visit is to be opened on the next visit and likewise, offering a chance to win on every visit.

  1. Gift Card Giveaway

Gift card marketing is a smart way for restaurants to increase their engagement for several reasons. Over 40% of consumers say gift cards encourage them to try places they’ve never dined at before, so this kind of restaurant giveaway can help you quickly expand your customer base. A gift card giveaway is also one of the simplest restaurant contest ideas to execute. 

It can be as easy as asking your Facebook followers to share a post from your business page for a chance to win a gift card. You can run a contest like this on a regular basis at a price point that doesn’t break your bank account – for example, once a month for $15 a pop. In such a format of contest, restaurants are giving a chance to win something to the customers on every visit.

  1. Like, Follow and Tag to Win

One of the best social media contest ideas is the classic Instagram and Facebook contest of liking a post, following the account, and tagging friends in the comments to win a prize – whether it’s a gift card, a free entrée, or another deal that’s sweet enough to incentivize participation. This kind of engaging restaurant Instagram and Facebook marketing is a must-do activity in 2021. 

The interactive nature of restaurant competitions on Instagram means you can easily gain new followers, then convert them into paying customers. In fact, nearly half of diners say they visited a restaurant for the first time after they saw it on social media, so it’s worth your while to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible online.

  1. Share to win as a restaurant contest idea

In this format of contest, restaurants will ask their customers to share photos of their food or of themselves dining at your restaurant for a chance to win a prize. Then reward the owner of the photo with the most likes. This is an easy-to-execute contest that you can run on all of your social media platforms – just don’t forget to ask your fans to tag your restaurant so you don’t miss their snaps. In this form of contest restaurants are guaranteed sales, as the prerequisite of participation involves taking pictures of the food.

  1. Leave a Review to Win

In this format of contest, you will ask the customers to leave a review of your restaurant and the dish they ordered on the business page or official social media account of your restaurant. Considering that 60% of consumers read reviews before they head out for a meal, getting glowing recommendations from your current customer base is an effective way to attract new guests to your restaurant. 

Remember, the best restaurant contest ideas are simple to participate and cost-effective. This format of contest is both easy and cost-effective. However, in addition it provides valuable feedback to restaurants so they can align their taste, menu and ambiance in accordance with customer feedback.

  1. Caption this photo

One of the easiest restaurant social media contest ideas to execute is simply posting a photo and asking your audience to caption it for the chance to win a prize. Be sure to post something eye-catching or humorous (not your standard food beauty shot) to elicit the best responses. It is important to include your branding in this shot and encourage the participants to reflect on your brand so that new ideas surrounding your brand come to discussion.


In this article we have recommended 13 innovative contest ideas for restaurants. Contests as discussed earlier are an essential element of marketing strategy, as they bring more consumer engagement, build hype around the brand and indirectly boost sales. They are cost-effective and easy for consumers to participate, thereby increasing engagement and lead generation to convert leads into customer and customers into advocates of your restaurant. Therefore, contest ideas will bring your customers delight and enrich their experiences at your restaurant.

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