Do you know how to market your restaurant in the fast ever so changing digital market? Print ads and radio ads are out and they have been out for awhile now. I am not saying not to do them, but don’t use them if that is all you can afford. There are so many other ways you can market your restaurant for little to no money. I have always been told I am very good at restaurant marketing. If there is one thing I use on a daily basis that I learned while getting my masters degree in architecture it is the ability to layout ads so they are eye catching. Page layout was a big part of my schooling. I also brought my creativeness that I had to use on a day to day basis while I was a designer.
Here are 6 restaurant marketing ideas that you should be doing no matter if you’re a restaurant veteran or a restaurant startup. These restaurant marketing tips will help you grow your restaurant business.
6 Restaurant Marketing Ideas
1. Menu & Magnets
Every local business in town should have a stack of your menu’s with your magnet attached on their counters for the customers to take. Not only should the local businesses have this but so should all the local factories. Factories can turn a slow night into a busy night. This is a very easy way to get your name out there and gain possible new customers for a rather cheap cost.
2. Local Full-Service Car Washes and Oil Changes
Take a couple pizzas or whatever your restaurant sells to the local oil changes and full-service car washes and ask them to hand out your menu’s or coupons to their customers. I was surprised at how well this worked for my restaurant startup.
3. Social Media Presence
Everyone should already know this but social media is the fastest growing platform out there for restaurant marketing for small businesses. It is free to use so why shouldn’t you have one. If you don’t know how to use it there is many tutorials and companies out there that can either teach you how to use it or do it for you. I am very active on our social media sites so I do everything myself. I have hired firms before to run them but I felt I was doing just as good of a job without their help. It is a personal preference really on if you do it yourself or have some company do it for you. If you don’t know how to use it I suggest visiting our services page and looking at our growth kit. There it will teach you all about social media advertising and a lot more.
Another idea is to have an employee run your social sites with your supervision or have them teach you to do it. Another person you can have run your social media site is a son or daughter or one of their friends that really are active on social media.
For restaurant owners that are new to social media. Never post anything without a picture. People like pictures more than words. If it is just words they will scroll right by it. A good thing to get in the habit of is running some kind of monthly or weekly game on social media that will get you a lot of traffic.
4. T – Shirt Giveaways
When you’re a restaurant startup your restaurant advertising budget is small I know I have been there. However every restaurant should have some kind of uniform and at first, it is usually a cheap T – Shirt. I hate using the word cheap because nothing is cheap anymore. Use these T – shirts as not only uniforms but also as giveaways for a little contest you can put together.
A restaurant that this restaurant marketing idea has worked very well for is Zukey Lake Tavern in Pinckney Michigan. I grow up in this little town but I can be all the way down in Florida on vacation and see someone walk by with a Zukey Lake Tavern shirt on. They now sell them and I am not sure if they ever just gave them away but you can see them almost everywhere. It is actually pretty cool.
Once a month pick a day and run a fundraiser for a local charity or school. Have them come in and wait tables that night to get a portion of the profits. Always donate nothing less than 20%. Lets the community know you are involved and want to help. In return, they will help you. Make sure they use their social media and all other forms of communication they use to communicate with their followers to be at your restaurant at whatever date and time you guys agree on.
6. Never Give Money Donations
Never give money donations to people that come around asking for donations and trust me there will be a lot of them especially now that you have a business. Every charity and baseball team will come in asking for something. The best thing to do is the give them a box with your logo and name on it filled with a T – shirt and a gift certificate for your business. This works extremely well. If you have hats throw that in there as well.
My first marketing plan
When I first opened my first restaurant I put together a small marketing plan. Nothing like I have now but it got me started. I just looked back on it the other day and I laughed because I only had 2 restaurant marketing strategies compared to my over a dozen marketing strategies I use today. A good place to get a good marketing plan with quality ideas is our Restaurant Growth Kit. Give it a try if you don’t think it delivers what you can ask for a refund within 30 days.