With so many dining choices available it can be challenging for a restaurant to differentiate itself from its competitors. No matter what type of restaurant you own, you will most likely need to advertise to increase your establishment's visibility to the general public and compete with other businesses offering similar fare. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of advertising methods you can employ to get the word out about your restaurant.
Utilize social media to get the word out about your restaurant. Millions of people use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook nearly everyday, allowing you to reach a potentially large audience. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, run a campaign on Facebook offering a free cheese pizza to each user that "likes" your page. This could also increase new online traffic to your official website and possibly foot traffic in your restaurant. Start a Yelp page where customers can leave reviews of your restaurant. Open a Twitter account for your restaurant and "tweet" regularly under the account name. Encourage fans to "retweet" some of your tweets to win giveaways or special coupons. The more people that "retweet" you, the more public exposure your restaurant is likely to get.
Sign up with popular coupon services such as Living Social and Groupon. Many of these services are national, but most also have built solid local followings, especially in and around metropolitan areas. Offering a daily deal for your restaurant through a popular coupon site can increase visitors who may have never heard of your restaurant before, or who may have needed an incentive to try it.
Paint your front windows with advertising messages. The windows and walls at the front of a restaurant that overlook a street or sidewalk are prime real estate when it comes to attracting new clientele who may walk or drive by. Hire a professional artist to paint an interesting, relevant scene on your front windows. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, a painting of a Tuscan countryside may be appropriate. Incorporate your web address and special deals such as a happy hour specials and times within the painting.
Sign up to participate in local food fairs and festivals. Local events often bring the community together, and can be a way to increase interest or spark curiosity about your restaurant. Depending on what kind of event it is, be prepared to serve free samples of some of your menu's best items at your food booth. Display menus on your booth counter and encourage tasters to take a menu home. Hold a business card drawing at your booth in which passersby can drop their business cards in a fishbowl for a chance to win a free dinner for two.
Assess your demographic and decide whether it is worth it to place an advertisement on television. Television ads can be very expensive, so it may not be worth purchasing one unless you are sure the type of customer you want to attract will see it. Create paper surveys that you can print out and leave with your customers' restaurant tabs. Survey current customers on their television-watching habits to see if that type of ad would speak to your demographic. The same can be done with radio, newspaper or magazine advertisements.
- Branding and Marketing; Ideas for Using Social Media to Market Your Restaurant; Chris Brown; March 2010
- Peridot Marketing; Should Groupon be a Part of your Restaurant Marketing Plan?; June 2011
- Mysandwichsigns.com; Advertise With Restaurant Signs; January 2011
- "The New York Times"; As Economic Pinch Eases, Concerns Remain for Dining Chains; Stuart Elliot; March 2011
- Food Service Warehouse: Paid Restaurant Advertising
- Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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