Low Cost Restaurant Marketing Ideas
by David Archer
Sales are down, you’re short on cash, and now you want to do some marketing to build guest counts. The problem is that sales are down, and you’re short on cash. What’s a restaurant owner to do? It’s time to visit the list of low cost restaurant marketing ideas.
The following are some low cost restaurant marketing ideas that can help get your guest counts moving in the right direction.
– Sit down and make a list of where crowds gather in your town. When you stop to think about it, the list can become large… Professional Sporting Events, Concerts, Parades, High School Games, Political Rallies, Parks on Sunny Days, Shopping Malls, etc. The front door approach to market to these crowds is to approach the organization that plans the event and become an official sponsor. This often requires an investment of hundreds or thousands of dollars. With limited funds, you’re looking for the back door method to reach these crowds. Put together a street team of employees or hire the local church youth group who are trying to raise funds. Place your marketers on the sidewalks outside the event as it ends. They pass out flyers, brochures, menus, or coupons that will direct the people to come to your restaurant. It’s a personal contact with potential customers, less expensive than official sponsorships, and often far more effective.
– Tap into the power of the internet with social marketing. Everyone says ‘word of mouth’ marketing is the most powerful kind, and ‘word of mouth’ is now digital. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, people are connected now in ways they never have been before. It’s not unusual to see friends lists of 500 to 1000 other people. Then they join groups that can number up into a million users. Find a reason for these people to start talking about your restaurant, and you’ll get massive exposure for very little or no investment.
Fund Raiser Nights – Drive traffic by holding a ‘percentage of the sales’ nights at your restaurant. For example, the high school band is raising money for a trip. You offer a certain percentage of the sales on a Tuesday night for their fund raising. They in turn distribute flyers to the whole school plus family, friends and relatives to drive traffic on Tuesday so they can raise more money for their cause. It works best to do this on your slower nights, so you have plenty of capacity and aren’t turning away customers or missing sales you would have had anyway.
Bounce Back Coupons – Your current customers are a great target group to try to increase sales. Just give them a reason to come back sooner than they normally would. Maybe it’s a coupon that’s only valid for the next seven days. Or if you are open in multiple dayparts, at dinner you give away a coupon valid for breakfast, and at breakfast give away coupons valid for dinner. Not only can this increase your guest’s frequency, it may open them up to visit you at a whole different daypart than they ever had before.
For more marketing ideas by David Archer, download the step-by-step marketing manual, Restaurant Marketing Secrets
David Archer has 15 years experience in the restaurant marketing industry, directing marketing for chains of 100+ units, both within the pizza industry and the family dining/casual dining categories. His experience includes stints in the broadcast industry as well as the print industry, making for well-rounded knowledge of all aspects of day to day marketing.