Lisa Brown has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with Ekuep, the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.
According to the National Restaurant Association (USA), on average three percent of the total revenue of a restaurant goes towards marketing costs. That amount can be higher or lower, depending on the needs of the restaurant. A new establishment for example, would require a more aggressive promotional campaign as compared to one that has been around for a long time.
How can you limit the cost to promote your restaurant? It’s not easy, because marketing can really be expensive. It’s not impossible though. There are effective ways to save money on promotion.
If you have a limited budget, then you should turn to your creativity. Here are six ideas, each one allowing you to promote your restaurant for under $1,000.
1. Use Facebook.
Social media is such a powerful platform, it would be a shame to waste it. Take advantage of social media, especially Facebook, as it is the top platform in terms of the number of users and reach.
So, how do you use Facebook to promote your restaurant? Run a contest there.
If you have a decent number of followers, a contest should create a good mount of buzz about your establishment. First, come up with a unique idea for a contest. You can ask your customers to come up with their own dishes, for example, and the prize can be gift cards to your restaurant. The winner could even have their entry included in the menu for a limited period. Just be sure to follow the rules of Facebook when running your contest, and consult an attorney about the terms of the contest before your first post.
2. Create a newsletter.
What’s an affordable means of reminding people about your establishment? Try creating a newsletter. If you have some skills in writing, then coming up with a monthly newsletter that you can email to your customers should be easy enough.
You can inform people about your specials and offers through the newsletter and maybe feature some regular customers. Ask people to sign up at your host station when they walk in, or give them the option as they pay their check at the table.
3. Promote a charity.
Donating to charity can make people feel better about your brand, and when you combine that with the good food that you’re serving, you have a real winner. Pick a local charity or one that is well-known to the public and make sure that you coordinate with it. One idea is to have a charity day when a certain portion of your earnings will go straight to charity.
You can even conduct a raffle for the customers who will be participating. Remember to promote the event once you have set it up though social media and through posters in and around your establishment.
4. Run a cooking class.
Have a chef that likes working with people? Start a cooking class for the locals in your community. Make sure the class is for free and that the people in your community will know about it.
Feature the dishes on your menu during your cooking class, as that may entice participants to return and taste the “real thing” over and over. The only difficulty here is that the classes will have to be held when your restaurant is closed, so time constraints can be a factor.
5. Build a partnership.
Partnering with other businesses in your area is often an effective means of promoting your restaurant. You need to reach out to local establishments that have similar goals, and see if there is a way that you can start a partnership with them.
Here is one example of idea that you can try: If there is a hotel near your place, you can reach out and maybe have it your menu included in their welcome packet for their guests. In exchange, you can showcase cards or pamphlets for their accommodations, or provide special assistance to their concierge.
6. Find local food bloggers.
Food bloggers are very influential and you’re missing out on a good opportunity if you do not enlist them to help your brand get noticed. The ideal food blogger should be local enough, so they can visit your restaurant. A special invitation will likely entice a blogger enough to visit on their own dime, but feel free to offer a tour of the kitchen and answer any questions they may have about your restaurant’s history and menu.
There really is no lack of marketing ideas that you can use to promote your restaurant, even if you have a limited budget. The important thing is for you to get creative. Just consider your location, the type of your restaurant, and the amount of work that you’re willing to put in when you are planning your marketing strategy. A good idea is only good if it fits the essence of your brand.
Want to explore other ideas to promote your restaurant? Download our free ebook “How to Get the Best Results from Your Restaurant Advertising” today!