7 Low Cost Ideas to Market a Restaurant

Successful restaurateurs create consistent turnover as well as many customers that frequent their establishments on a regular basis. This provides the basis for sustained revenue that allows a restaurant to succeed and grow. Restaurant_MarketingMany think that a restaurant that reaches this kind of success has had to put in years of hard experience, slowly building up a large customer base. However, that assumption is not always true. A number of inexpensive marketing tactics can generate a great deal of business for a food establishment very quickly.

These include:

1) Cultivate Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Happy customers are the best kind of advertisement. They’re free, they talk and they refer new customers to a restaurant. So encouraging folk to talk about their good experiences is definitely a must for any successful restaurant.

2) Email Marketing

Email marketing is another free or nearly free marketing tool that allows you to communicate with a large section of your client base at once. Through email, you can effectively disseminate information about special restaurant events and seasonal menus to those who have taken the time to join your email listing. As your business grows, word of mouth will spread about your special offers through your mailing list, which may lead to a larger client base.

3) Social Media Tools

In most cases social media accounts are cost-free, allowing a restaurant to create an Internet presence quickly. However, they do take time and mental work as good social media destinations need to be regularly updated with new content to keep people reading and paying attention to a restaurant.

4) Using a Loyalty Card

Many businesses have figured out that customers love to feel like they are receiving something for free. With the usual approach of having customers make five or ten purchases to gain a free coffee / meal / voucher, restaurants can generate a huge amount of return business.

5) Up-Selling

Do you want to upgrade that combo? Up-selling is a great way to generate marginal additional revenue on the same sales. People will buy a meal, however, by offering a larger meal for a bit more in cost, customers will feel compelled to buy it to take advantage of the “deal.” The cost of the food increase tends to be nominal versus the higher price charged for the meal upgrade. This is obviously only applicable to certain types of restaurants.

6) Use Coupons

Along the same lines of feeling like something was free, customers also love to take advantage of discounts as well. Coupons offer a real, tangible savings for a customer. In most cases people tend to buy more than one meal, eating with someone else, so even with a coupon the customer will bring in extra business. This option is very debatable, as some restaurateurs believe it will attract bargain hunters only, who will stop frequenting the restaurant as soon as the special is finished. Try starting off small and monitor the response.

7) Don’t forget the bathroom

Restroom advertising and marketing tends to create cold leads mainly because people have nothing else to do but read while sitting in the restroom. Those few seconds of idle reading can catch someone’s attention with the small cost of a flyer, paying for itself and more with the first customer purchase. Combine the ads with special events, and the sales can grow exponentially with each customer’s reading.

Restaurant marketing doesn’t have to be a large, expensive affair. Good, effective marketing and advertising can be done cheaply, with very noticeable results in a short time. Smart restaurateurs combine a number of the above tools and more, spreading their nets farther to gain more customers. That in turn creates consistent revenue and sales that keeps a restaurant growing.

Do you have an 8th idea to add? Leave a comment below.

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