With sales on the rise, restaurants are expecting to see an influx in business. To make sure some of those customers visit your restaurant, you’ll need to hone your marketing skills. Advertising isn’t always cheap, so here are some inexpensive marketing ideas to use instead.
1. Sponsor a local team
There’s a lot you can do on the local level to get word out about your restaurant. To start, consider sponsoring a local team, whether it’s adult volleyball or kid’s hockey. The team could be named after your business or, if they’re already established, your logo could be added to their uniforms and equipment.
Not only will this increase exposure, but you’ll also be supporting your community. And if you’re really crafty, make sure to offer drink specials or happy hour on the day of the week they play so they’ll celebrate their wins with you after the game.
2. Join the local Chamber of Commerce
Pretty much every community has a chamber of commerce that promotes local businesses. Joining it will expand your network as well as open the doors for catering or hosting chamber events.
If your restaurant has just opened its doors, a grand opening is a great way to generate publicity.
3. Donate to charities
With a little searching, you’ll find local charities that might be willing to team up with your restaurant. You could provide food for the organization’s events or schedule your employees to volunteer. If that’s too big of a commitment, donating to smaller fundraisers accomplishes the same end.
4. Have a grand opening
If your restaurant has just opened its doors, a grand opening is a great way to generate publicity. You might offer some sort of special, like a deal on a sampler dish, to encourage visitors to try several foods.
5. Host a holiday party
Make plans to decorate and host a dinner party during an upcoming holiday or event. You can even create a theme centered on local culture or a popular television show just for the fun of it.
Occasionally bringing in local musical talent is a surefire way to entertain your customers.
6. Hold a customer appreciation dinner
This will get the message across that you appreciate the support of your guests. Again, try offering deals on various foods and drinks.
7. Offer live music
Everyone loves dinner and a show. Occasionally bringing in local musical talent is a surefire way to entertain your customers. Include the community by asking them to vote for the next performer on your social media pages.
Twitter is a good platform for those who are new to social media advertising. It offers ad options that are simple to understand, and users can select a target audience and budget that works for them.
Facebook ads also allow users to set a target audience and budget, but they can seem a bit more complicated because there are more options to choose from. So designate someone who understands social media marketing to put together some ads for a particular demographic.
Write up a press release and send it to local media whenever you’re hosting an event or teaming up with another organization.
10. Email marketing
You may feel like you’d be spamming your customers this way, but don’t underestimate its reach. Collect emails wherever you can on a sign-up sheet or through your website. The emails can be discounts on specific items and holiday deals, and they can also include invitations to events where you’ll be catering or hosting.
This is a popular online directory for restaurants because of its review system. It provides potential customers with business information as well as offer a venue to leave reviews and feedback.
Restavista is a directory that allows customers to find restaurants in the area based on their specific needs, whether its dietary or they just have a craving for a specific food.
This is kind of like the “check-in” option on Facebook. By having an account, your guests can check-in while they eat. This info is shared with their connections and extends exposure to those who otherwise would be unaware of your establishment.
By establishing your social media presence on social media channels, you help your business get a better online exposition and spread the word about your restaurant among users.
Yes, these still exist. Having a Whitepages account offers information about your restaurant, but there’s no rating or review option. Think of it as an electronic phone book listing that people can access it from their mobile devices.
15. Write a press release
Write up a press release and send it to local media whenever you’re hosting an event or teaming up with another organization. Make sure it’s sent directly to the reporter or their assignment editor so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
16. Sign up for HARO
“Help a Reporter Out” is a way to get media attention outside your community. Those who sign up receive daily emails on upcoming news stories that need sources. When one pops up that’s relevant to your restaurant, contact the reporter. It may lead to an interview that will increase exposure for your business.
17. Contact reporters with your opinions
Reporters often search for local angles on a story. If, for example, the city is changing liquor license requirements and you have an opinion about its impact on the restaurant sector, reach out to local media and tell them what you think. Who knows — you just might land the lead story.
18. Get found on Google
Last, but not least, make sure your business address is set up correctly on Google. You will need to create or claim your Google for Business Page. Make sure ALL the information is filled out wherever you can, including phone number and website. Test to make sure your restaurant shows up by searching for it in Google Maps or Waze on your phone.
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Originally published on The Sirvo Blog