Advertising can help restaurants reach beyond word-of-mouth buzz from customers. Some kinds of advertising even allow you to post the restaurant’s entire menu so customers know what to expect in terms of selection and cost before they show up. There are lots of different ways to advertise your restaurant that increase your revenue and boost the image of your business.
Design the text of the advertisement. Use language that conveys what's special about your restaurant, such as the chef's reputation or special training, the use of all-organic foods or a distinctive regional cuisine. An advertisement is a good place to quote a favorable restaurant review—which is itself a form of advertising that costs you nothing. Use phrases from the review that communicate your restaurant’s best attributes.
Use the right colors. Some advertisements are black and white, but color in ads—though more expensive—is usually more eye catching and dramatic, especially when foods are pictured. If you opt for color advertisements, use colors that reflect your restaurant’s theme. Use red and white for an Italian restaurant and soft Southwestern colors to advertise a Mexican restaurant.
Place your add in the yellow pages. Customers often turn to the yellow pages to find a restaurant. Most yellow pages will list the name, address and phone number of your restaurant for free, but consider calling attention to your eatery with a larger ad. If your menu doesn't change too often, consider running it in the yellow pages so people already have an idea of what they might want to order.
Advertise online. Online advertising is a cheap and effective alternative—or supplement—to traditional forms of advertising. One option is to work with Google Adsense to place ads about your restaurant that are search-engine optimized so they're easy to find using search words for your city and type of restaurant. Start a website of your own to promote the business; post your menu, favorable reviews, directions, hours and contact information on the site. Offer restaurant discounts to site visitors that can be printed out on their computer.
Distribute fliers to individual houses within a 10-mile radius of your restaurant. Ask doormen or building managers if you can leave copies of menus at apartments. Consider a bulk mailing of fliers to nearby addresses.