7 Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Restaurant

Question: I have no money for marketing my restaurant. Other than social media, what is your best low cost marketing idea that I can utilize to get the word out?

Event Calendars on Local Sites

"Ruby Media Group specializes in managing social media for restaurant brands throughout Westchester County. A very effective low cost marketing tip is to add relevant events to your local "Patch" or news sites in their free local event calendars online. This is a great way to spread the word about events and specials that are happening at your restaurant, and to build viral buzz for your outreach."

- Kris Ruby | President, Ruby Media Group


"Take things offline and start getting connected with your local YPOs (Young Professional Organizations). Set up exclusive deals for their members or even offer to host their next event. "

Go to the People

"People love face to face interaction so go to local events or meetings where you can hand out your store's business card, menu or even a sample of something on the menu. Never miss the chance to tell others about your business no matter where you are, it's free. See if you can put menus at local stores or small businesses and if they like you the word of mouth will be spread for you."

- Ashley Bodi | Co-Founder, Business Beware

Write Articles for Other Blogs

"Figure out the top bloggers in your industry. Reach out to these folks, pitch them on some article ideas you'd like to write, and (hopefully) write these articles for them. If you write a thoughtful piece, then these bloggers will be happy to publish your work as well as attribute you/your business. Bloggers are always looking for great content."

- Eric Bahn | Advisor, Webflow

Create a Buzz

"Give people a reason to come to your restaurant--Now. Maybe it's a jazz trio or a non-profit fundraiser or a holiday party or a limited-edition menu item. Whatever it is, create a reason for a whole bunch of people to come within a limited time frame and you should see business, and repeat business, pick up. "

- Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

Use Your Food As Currency

"As a restaurant on a shoestring budget, use free food to draw in repeat business. Maybe offer a free appetizer on a return visit. Better yet, offer something that requires the customer to bring a friend. Create a situation where people have incentive to bring their friends and then focus on giving those customers the best experience possible. "

Be Creative

"The best way to market your restaurant on a shoe string budget is to be creative and use guerrilla marketing tactics to get people talking about your business."

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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