Free Advertising Ideas For Restaurants & Food Trucks

When first opening a restaurant, an owner may have a limited budget. However, attracting customers through advertising is essential to having a profitable business. Luckily there are many different free advertising ideas for restaurants that generate revenue without dipping into overhead expenses.

Free Advertising Ideas For Restaurants

Even if you have no budget for advertising you can implement the following free advertising ideas to grow your restaurant and fill your tables with more customers.

Social Media

Whether you are just opening or attempting to expand your reach in an established food industry business, social media networks are invaluable.

Post photographs of your restaurant, staff members and finished dishes. Consider making a video of quick cooking tips or how to prepare an appetizer, dessert or dish.

Social sites also provide the chance to gain feedback and build relationships with potential or current clients.

Chamber of Commerce

Get the ball rolling by going to scheduled meetings, hand out business cards or sample menus. Perhaps offer members a first-time discount. If members take restaurant owners up on their offer and have an enjoyable experience, they more than likely will spread the word to employees, family and friends.

Rubbing elbows with the chamber represents the first step in becoming a reputable community establishment.

Sample Advertising

Establishing a clientele from the people that live and work in the immediate area creates a sustainable foundation for the business.

When contemplating free advertising ideas for restaurants, consider gifting people with free food samples. Package a taste of a signature dish or an all-time favorites in carry-out containers and deliver the delights along with menus or other marketing materials to local businesses or residents.

In this way you have the chance to introduce yourself and your business to the community.

free restaurant advertising ideas

E-Mail Advertising

Create a preferred customer list by obtaining client’s e-mail addresses or phone numbers. With this information, restaurant owners may then send digital coupons or alert clients when offering specials or discounts.

On slow days, you might send a limited time offer of a free drink or appetizer to the first 10 or 20 people who arrive and display the text message to the wait staff.

If you have a surplus of produce, you might send a message offering a free piece of pie made with the fruit when customers order a meal.

Fundraising Efforts

Do not negate charitable contributions when considering free advertising ideas for restaurants. Make a difference in the community and bring attention to the restaurant by donating a portion of your food, time and proceeds to a local popular charity.

Restaurant owners and other businesses might consider combining efforts to increase the end result. Fundraising gets businesses noticed within the community, which leads to increased sales and profits.

Reach Out To Food Bloggers

Getting press and positive reviews on your restaurant can be an extremely daunting task, especially when you are just starting out. On of the best ways to get press is to reach out to local food bloggers and invite them to your restaurant. Offer them a free appetizer or drinks in order to get them to your restaurant. The more you offer, the better chance they would be willing to come out.

Ask them if they can share their experience at your restaurant online to their readers and leave their feedback with you. Assuming everything is positive, promote the review on your own website and social media channels.

Go Local

Sourcing your restaurant’s food from local farms and markets doesn’t have to cost you anything more than what you are already spending today. It’s a great way to support the local community, but don’t forget to advertise the fact that your ingredients is local too.

Customers will love the fact that they can eat locally sourced food at your restaurant. Local farmers will also be more likely to spread to word about your restaurant if you’re their customer.

free restaurant advertising

Google My Business

Set up your Google Business page to show people in your area that you are open for business.

Add your restaurant’s address to Google Maps, make sure your restaurant’s information is up-to-date with the latest hours and menus, add pictures to your profile and your contact information.

One of the best ways to get your restaurant found in Google is to get as many Google+ reviews as you can. Ask your customers to leave a review on your Google page so that you can grow your restaurant online for free.

Start Your Own Blog

If you already have a website, starting a blog is easy. It’s also a great way to connect with your customers and build a new audience. Write about your restaurant’s everyday life, funny moments, exclusive recipes, events coming up and anything else that you think would be interesting to your audience.

Partner With Food Delivery Services

Partner up with the best food delivery services for restaurants. Often these delivery services will open up your restaurant to an entirely new customers base that you did not have before. If you’re not already delivering your food you may be alienating a huge number of customers that could increase your sales.

Have Your Customers Advertise For You

One of the best free advertising ideas for restaurants is word of mouth. And one way to get this going is by getting your customers to advertise your restaurant.

Create a contest by asking your customers to post a photo of their favorite meal to their Instagram or Facebook account. Award the customer with the best (or most liked) photo with a free dessert or appetizer next time they are at your restaurant.

Make sure that you like, comment on and share the best photos to all of your own social media accounts.

These are just a few free advertising ideas for restaurants that you can use. If you have a small budget, get creative and think of something free and unique that you can implement in your restaurant today to attract new customers.

Related Articles: 20 Ideas To Get New Customers and 21 Restaurant Event Ideas

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