by Laura-Andreea Voicu

If you’re a small restaurant owner who is just getting started, you probably can’t afford to spend a lot of money on promoting your restaurant. How about no money at all? Here are ten free marketing ideas for restaurants that will put your business on the map without breaking the bank.

Implement These Free Marketing Ideas for Restaurants to Boost Sales

1. Start accepting orders online with a free in-house online ordering system

63% of customers prefer to order food online directly from the restaurant, as opposed to a third-party app.

Instead of giving your hard-earned money away to food delivery apps where you’ll be competing for customers with dozens of other restaurants in your area, take your success into your own hands with an in-house online ordering system.

Keep all the money you make with a free in-house online ordering system Increase your online sales by accepting orders as early as today

The free online ordering system from GloriaFood is easy to install in minutes with no tech knowledge needed. It enables you to accept unlimited food orders on your website with no hidden taxes or fees.

Set it up following the steps below:

2. Sell more food by upselling using choices and add-ons

Did you know that upselling increases revenue by 10 to 30% on average?

One of the easiest free marketing ideas for restaurants to implement is adding toppings, extras, sides, and add-ons to the menu.

These will give customers the option to customize their meals however they like while increasing the average order value. Win-win!

Using GloriaFood’s drag-and-drop menu builder, you can start upselling by adding a variety of add-ons to your menu. Here’s how:

3. Enable customers to book a table online and pre-order their food

Are you looking for simple ways to increase sales in a restaurant? Customers love convenience, whether it is ordering food online or reserving a table without having to call the restaurant.

47% of customers say that making reservations online is easier than any other alternative, while 44% are more likely to make a restaurant reservation if they can do it online.

Accept unlimited table reservations and food pre-orders on your restaurant website Install our free table reservation system in minutes

Quickly add a Table Reservation button to your website for free by copying and pasting the code we provide at the top of your homepage.

marketing for restaurants 2023: enable table reservations and pre-orders

Additionally, fuel your table reservation system with a pre-order feature that enables customers to order and pay for their food when they make a reservation online.

free marketing ideas for restaurants: food pre-orders

4. Sell your food even outside opening hours with scheduled orders

Creative food marketing is all about smart ways to increase your sales. You can do that even while you’re sleeping by allowing customers to schedule orders outside your opening hours.

enable scheduled orders at your restaurant

Customers can order anytime, anywhere instead of going to the competition because your restaurant is currently not accepting orders. You can confirm the orders when you open and better distribute the workload knowing what orders you should expect.

5. Supercharge your menu with restaurant promotions to increase sales

The best restaurant marketing campaigns contain a promotions strategy because there’s nothing customers love more than discounts and special offers.

Reward old and new customers with irresistible restaurant promotions Use our free promotion templates to customize your promo

Learn how you can create a variety of restaurant promotions and add them to the top of your online menu to increase conversions using GloriaFood’s promotions module:

6. Serve more tables every day by enabling tableside ordering

Take advantage of one of the trendiest free marketing ideas for restaurants: QR code menus. Allowing customers to order and pay by scanning the code, without interacting with a server, will help you serve more customers daily.

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to create your own QR code menu for tableside ordering:

7. Attract new customers by distributing promotional flyers in your area

What better way to convince customers to visit your restaurant or place an order online than with a first-order discount?

Print the offer on flyers and hand them out in the neighborhood to attract new business. Use our handy Kickstarter module to create a first-order promo and generate an online ordering flyer in minutes:

8. Reward loyal customers with discount coupon codes

Digital marketing for restaurants relies a lot on return customers. You want to encourage people to come back until they become regulars.

Coupon codes are an excellent way to do so. 77% of customers use coupons at restaurants.

Make loyal customers feel special by creating a customized coupon code for a discount on a future order. You can customize the code with their name and discount value or a simple “THANKYOU” to show them you appreciate their continuous patronage.

discount strategy for restaurants: use coupon codes

Here’s how easy it is to create a restaurant coupon code for free:

9. Engage with your customers on social media

63% of customers use social media to find new restaurants or new menu items.

Social media is an excellent place to advertise your creative restaurant specials, promotions, and events, and generally interact with your followers. To make your posts even more engaging, consider using an AI photo editor to create stunning visuals that showcase your dishes.

Ensure all your social media profiles contain a link to your website, or better yet, to your online menu so customers can easily place an order.

You can also enable Facebook ordering by customizing the “Start Order” button with a direct link to your menu.

free marketing ideas for restaurants: enable facebook ordering

10. Improve your restaurant promotion strategy by tracking your daily analytics

How are you going to know if your free marketing ideas for restaurants work without looking at your restaurant analytics?

Here are some key restaurant metrics you need to track:

  • Daily orders/table reservations
  • Total value of orders
  • Number of website visitors
  • Number of new clients vs. returning clients
  • Sales trends
  • Website funnel
  • Google rank

If you use GloriaFood’s online ordering system, you will have access to a detailed Reports dashboard containing all the information above and more. That way, you can make the right decisions for your business.

analyze the success of your multiple types of restaurant discounts using restaurant analytics

Wrapping up

Restaurant marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to work. These free marketing ideas for restaurants will help you stand out in the crowd and offer customers the features they look for in a modern restaurant business.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.