16 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas For Restaurants

Food and restaurant industry has become a highly competitive niche these days. With new eateries popping up every other day, it often becomes tough for businesses to beat the competition and stay ahead in the market.

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If you are looking for some restaurant marketing tactics that are budget friendly and effective, you have come to the right place

Take a look at these tips that will help you start earning more by spending less.

1.Highlight Your Food!

Tempting food pictures in your website or online post is the hottest trend. There are even professional food photographers who will fully bring out the colors and flavors of the food platter!  With countless food related hashtags on Instagram alone, you know how having some great food photos can be a winner. Your restaurant will be part of an online conversation session for sure.

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2.Food Hashtags Can Do Magic!

Tag your creations and food photos in instagram to spread the word. Do you have a signature dish that your restaurant is famous for? May be a special meal plan that has wowed the audience or a famous mini meal for those budget diners? Make sure to bring out all these through lively images and snapshots and see how the gourmets will find your eatery easily!

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3.Partner with Reservation Services

Reservation platforms like Open Table will give restaurants many more options to  drive footfalls and bring in new diners. Online reservations make an effective marketing channel for restaurants. Go for it!

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4.Email marketing

Though it is one of the oldest online marketing strategies, email marketing is not yet outdated. It is one of the best ways to reach out to your customers and keep in touch with your regular diners.  Make a list of regulars and send special deals and offers to them to lure them back to your restaurant.Avoid spamming.

Make sure to collect, update and manage your customer contact list so you can follow up with email campaigns to get them back more often. This personalized approach will impress the audience as well and will give them a valid reason to favor your restaurant.


If you are using a digital reservation system, the customer details  from online bookings will be automatically added to your contact list. You can also compile details from online customer bookings, walk-in clients and phone bookings for their email address so you can reach out to as many people as possible.

5.Food blogs are huge!

Food blogs can harness the power of influencer marketing. Invite food bloggers with a huge fan following in facebook and instagram to review your restaurant. It will spread the word and make some positive reviews.

It can build up a buzz for newly launched restaurants. Though running a blogger campaign requires patience and respect when dealing with reviewers, it can increase your reach within potential customers. However, make sure to choose influencers with a sizeable number of followers who are likely to be interested in the food in your restaurant. For instance, if you offer a Mexican cuisine, the influencer you pick up should ideally have followers who are interested in Mexican food!

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6.Location based Ads

Getting featured in localized search is what makes or breaks any promotional campaign for marketers. Most diners will be keen to find some good eating places close to their homes. Thus investing in geo-targeted ads will boost your online advertisements. It will help you to get across to your target audience in a specific city or within a specific radius to ensure maximum relevant clicks.

Google Ads , Facebook and Twitter, offer geo-targeting ad options  to get your message in front of your best customers.

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7.Create exceptional loyalty programs

Getting a repeat customer is far easier and cheaper for restaurant marketers than getting a new one. Loyalty programs make a great marketing tactic for restaurants. Encourage your existing clients to refer their friends and get a free meal or drink in return. You can also handout discount coupons as referral  gifts, which will not just bring  back your  existing customers but a few news ones too in the door.

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8.Be an Instagram star

Having a strong Instagram presence is another great marketing strategy. Post some lively pictures of your store front,  get up close with your menu or even the team behind the show to create an impact.  You can even run a cookery contest or a photo contest for people to increase the engagement. Why not  post some food tips or snapshots that you think your fan base will enjoy?

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9.Add a personal touch

Introduce your staff and add a human touch to your online campaigns. It will definitely make a difference in this world of robotic customer service reps and self-driving cars! Happy employees will do a lot to boost your reputation and will say a lot of your business. Your customers will take note of this for sure.

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Twitter can be a potent marketing tool for restaurants. It will be a smart move to time your tweets to ensure a greater effect. Schedule your food related/ menu tweets at different times to target the breakfast, lunch, or dinner crowds.

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11.Have a great  Online Menu

Leave your presence felt online by providing a sleek and diverse online menu that will grab easy attention. Come up with a clear and easy-to-read menu that is up to date. Getting your menu published in any online menu sites will go a long way in spreading the word.

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12.Partner Up With Delivery Services

In today’s digital world where people use the easy way of online food services, you cannot afford to lag behind the competition. Partner up with some popular online delivery services to streamline your ordering process. Increase the takeaway orders without any serious marketing effort from your end. Smart marketing move, we would say!



Make your regular patrons feel special and well appreciated with some great custom giveaways. Metal Wine glasses, coasters, water bottles, oven mitts, aprons– the list is truly impressive.

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Choose an item that matches your needs and promotional theme, get it imprinted with your brand and message to send home your guests with your brand. Refrigerator business card magnets are great options to get your brand on their fridge doors and every time their tummies rumble, they know where to find the best takeaways in town!

Business Card Magnets 20 Mil Round Corner14.Fish Bowl Business Card Giveaways

Organize a fun raffle for customers who drop their business cards and reward the winners with gifts and meal offers like discounted drinks, extended happy hours, free lunch for the winner with family or small group of  friends or something that will impress the audience. While the business cards you collect will make a great email campaign material for your restaurant, your diners will enjoy the fun of the raffle game. Win- win!

15.Food on wheels!

Starting a food truck is a smart idea to explore the untapped markets and introduce your culinary fare to folks you might never normally come in contact with. It is a clever way to add more customers and expand your reach. Have a spare business vehicle or may be a disused truck lying there? Get it painted in bright colors and put an interesting design to gain easy attention. See how your brand will get a lot of attention at traffic lights and on the streets. Everyone will be tempted to take a look at what you offer. Serve your top menu fresh and hot and leave an impression.

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16.Source Local Ingredients

Locally sourced ingredients will highlight your special commitment that  your patrons will take note of. Sourcing local ingredients fresh from the farmer’s market is a great way to boost your fan base and good will.

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These are some of the many creative restaurant marketing ideas that you can try out. If something isn’t working, change it and move on. Flexibility is the key to a successful marketing campaign.  Follow us on facebook, twitter or Linkedin to know about the promotional trends and gift ideas for all industries including bars and restaurants.