There are plenty of great ways to market your restaurant. You could set up a local pop-up and hand out free samples to get more interest or you could launch a big TV advertising campaign or put up some big billboards in high traffic areas. You’ll see good results from those marketing strategies but the thing is, they can be expensive and difficult to track the return on investment (ROI). The restaurant business is a tricky one with a lot of costly overheads so what can you do if you’re trying to do it on a small budget, as many of us don't have the money to pump into expensive advertising campaigns. The good news is, you don’t have to. You can still find plenty of customers and make your restaurant a success using these cost-effective marketing methods.
Not always thought of as a marketing tool, but a lot of restaurant business comes from word of mouth. If you go somewhere and have an incredible meal, you’ll tell your friends about it and they’re likely to go. The food is obviously a big part of that but the service is perhaps more important. If a restaurant has amazing food but the staff are rude and slow, people aren’t going to recommend it. But if people go somewhere that doesn’t have the best food in the world but they get a warm welcome and the staff are very accommodating, they’re more likely to speak highly of it. That doesn’t mean that you can get away with bad food, of course, it just means that good service is the best way to get more customers in. Make sure that you hire professional staff who actually have good restaurant experience. Being a good server is about more than just carrying plates to a table. If the service is bad, you’ll struggle to get people in regardless of how good your marketing campaign is.
Often thought of as an outdated marketing tactic because most people just throw them in the bin as soon as they get them. But restaurants are one of the exceptions to this rule. If somebody gets a flyer from a local restaurant, they’ll probably at least check the menu to see what it’s like. If they like what they see, you might have a new customer. Companies like Alpha Card do great foldable printouts so you can create menus that are small enough for people to put in their wallet or bag. Then when they’re in the local area, they might think of you and pop in. Flyers can also be used to advertise an offer, to measure the return on investment, use the flyer as the method to redeem the offer. The key to success with flyering is to do it regularly.
You can't ignore the rapid rise of delivery services in recent years, as consumer habits change. Although this might not apply to your restaurant, because not all food works as a takeaway, it’s a great way to market yourself. First off, you open yourself up to a whole new range of customers. The other major benefit is that it gives people the chance to sample your food. If they enjoy the takeaway that they buy, they might decide to come and eat in the restaurant next time. Just test it first to make sure that the food is still good even after it’s travelled for a little while, you don’t want to put people off.