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Advertising on a Budget

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Advertising on a Budget

Marketing tactics can help bring in extra business

Lorri Mealey
Traditional methods of advertising, such as TV, radio commercials and newspaper ads can be very expensive. If you are getting ready to open a new restaurant, or if you are looking for a way to promote you existing restaurant and don’t have a very big advertising budget, there are still several ways to promote your restaurant, even on a shoe string budget.

Restaurant Website- One of the most powerful tools a restaurant has, is one that is often overlooked. More and more people are turning to the World Wide Web for information, rather than the yellow pages. Maintaining a website is crucial for any business today. While your website doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles of retail websites, which are trying to sell products directly to consumers, it should give the basic information of your restaurant, such as hours, telephone number, directions and a copy of your menu. You can also add weekly customer promotions, such as an early bird menu, or happy hour details to your site. One of the best ways to get business through your website is linking with other businesses, such as local hotels, the chamber of commerce and local tourist information sites.

Menu Flyers- Creating a menu flyer, or a take-out menu is another way to get the word out about your restaurant, without breaking the bank. Place these flyers at local hotels, chambers of commerce, and to local businesses. Be sure to place flyers at popular tourist destinations as well, such ski mountains, parks, or whatever place in the area that draws a crowd. You may not be able to fit your entire menu on a flyer, so add your most popular dishes, as well as your hours, any special promotions (happy hour, early bird, ect…) directions and telephone number.

Menu Inserts- Menu inserts are a great way to advertise new promotions or services to your existing customer base. For example, if you are introducing a new promotion, such as a wine tasting dinner on the first Friday of each month, you can place an insert advertise that in your regular dinner menu. You can use this same idea with table tents, as well.

When to Spend More on Advertising
Restaurants should plan to increase their advertising budgets during the holiday season. In October or early November, run a newspaper ad reminding the public to book their holiday parties and order their party platters. If you live in a tourist destination, then it is a good idea to place an ad in the local paper and or tourist paper prior to the busy season (May for the summer months, November for the winter months). Many chambers of commerce or local tourism associations will publish a newspaper geared specifically toward tourists. It highlights all the sights and activities of an area.

Advertising is crucial to gaining new business for your restaurant. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to attract new business, when you think outside of the traditional advertising box.

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