offline marketing ideas for restaurants
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

You’ve probably heard this before: the future is digital. While that may be true, the end of old-school offline marketing is not yet in sight. Businesses can still use these tried-and-tested strategies to increase sales and brand loyalty. Offline marketing ideas for restaurants include organizing events, teaming up with other local businesses, and becoming a sponsor.

Without further ado, here are some methods to attract customers offline.

What is Offline Marketing for Restaurants?

Offline marketing is marketing that you do off the internet, from ads in the local newspaper to billboards, TV and radio commercials, flyers, and more. Offline marketing can also include sponsorships, collaborations, and events. Its goal is to promote your restaurant to an offline audience.

10 Highly-Effective Offline Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

1. Distribute flyers around the neighborhood broadcasting your delivery service

How will people in your delivery area know they can order food from you online if you don’t broadcast it? If you’re in the business of delivering food, you’re going to want to target the areas surrounding your restaurant and leave no stone unturned.

One of the easiest ways to spread the word is to print some flyers and distribute them around your restaurant. Here is what the flyers should contain:

  • The name of your restaurant
  • A visible message along the lines of “We deliver!” or “Place Your Order Now!”
  • An irresistible photo of what you deliver (pizza, burgers, pasta, etc.)
  • A discount to entice and persuade customers to order
  • Last but not least, the website where they can place the order.
Design Your Own Flyer Using Our Template Create an account, design the flyer, and print it in just a few minutes.

2. Place tabletop flyers of your promos on every table

You got people to your restaurant, now it’s time to woo them. What better way to do that than by informing them of your discounts and special offers from the start? They can already peruse them while they wait for their waiter if you place them on a tabletop flyer. That way, they might decide what they want faster and you will increase table turnover.

Promotions are one of the best ways to increase the average check, so you should always have at least one promo active at all times. Here are some unique restaurant promotion ideas you can use:

  • 2for1 pizza on National Pizza Day
  • Family combo: order two burgers and get the third one for free (fries included)
  • Spend $40 for a $10 discount coupon on your next visit
  • Buy any pizza and you get a free dessert
  • Special Saint Patrick’s Day offer: all beers for $2

3. Partner up with other local businesses for cross-promotion

When local businesses support each other, everybody wins. So take a walk around the neighborhood and stop by local businesses that you think might be open to collaboration and propose a mutually beneficial deal.

For example, hotels in the area might agree to exchange flyers so their customers get suggestions of local restaurants to eat at and tourists who visit your restaurant consider them if they’re looking for a place to stay.

If you sell healthy food, you could visit nearby gyms and offer a discount code to their customers in exchange for them talking up your restaurant. If there’s a particular local business where you source your ingredients or beverages, discuss an agreement through which they might promote your restaurant in exchange for you advertising their products.

Newspaper ads might seem outdated but they can still work. Tap into local advertising to let newspaper readers in the neighborhood know about your specials. While costlier than other offline marketing ideas for restaurants, this is a surefire way to bring in more customers.

They might not be in the young adult demographic, but you have social media for that. Cover all bases and age groups by advertising old style too. You can even offer an exclusive coupon code for newspaper readers to claim on their first visit.

5. Participate in events in your town

One of the first things that come to mind when I think of a marketing strategy to attract customers offline is participation in local events such as food or music festivals. This is the perfect place for your restaurant to shine and secure some new customers. You can bet a large part of your local audience will be there and looking for new and exciting food to try out.

When setting up your food truck, remember to print some business cards or flyers to hand out to customers, letting them know they can also visit your brick and mortar location. As usual, an exclusive discount will sweeten the deal.

Related: How to Market a New Restaurant: 10 Bulletproof Tips

6. Host a party or a themed event

There’s no shortage of event marketing ideas that you can use to attract new clientele and boost sales. You could offer live entertainment like a local band or a stand-up comedian, or you could invite your customers to be the entertainment by organizing a karaoke night. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:

  • The Roaring 20s dance night
  • Lord of the Rings themed party
  • Superbowl watch party
  • Oktoberfest beer celebration
  • Mother’s Day party
  • Wine tasting soiree
  • Cooking class with your chef
  • Bartender mix-off
  • Themed escape room
  • Singles’ night

And if you’re wondering how to get the word out about an event, use a mix of online and offline promotions like posting about it on social media, spreading flyers around the neighborhood, and sticking posters on your windows.

7. Be involved in social issues and raise awareness

People are more loyal to brands that give back to the community. This is what we call “cause marketing,” which means that businesses with a cause and those that do good are also more profitable because of it. So, don’t be afraid to put your restaurant out there and support causes that you truly care about.

For example, let’s say you want to slowly become a farm to table restaurant and are making progress every month. Document that progress in a series of blog posts and events that highlight the importance of buying ingredients from local farmers.

If you can’t think of innovative promotional ideas for a good cause, you can always do something simple like volunteer every week at a local soup kitchen. It’s small gestures like this that will make your customers love and support you.

Sponsorship can work in many different ways. If you own a bar in a small town where people are really invested in their local football team, considering sponsoring it to entice people to grab a beer at your restaurant after the big game. My point is, you should find sponsorships that make sense for your business.

You can also sponsor local events by providing the food or enter a voucher for a free meal in a charity auction. Be as involved as possible in your community and you will reap the rewards sooner rather than later.

9. Send out press releases announcing new menu items

Restaurant promotion messages work well in every medium, including the written one. Whenever you release a new menu item, be it a permanent or limited edition one, write a press release and send it to local newspapers. For them and their readers, this is definitely news-worthy.

Remember that for an attractive press release, especially one that talks about a new menu item, photos are of the utmost importance. Include a couple of high-quality snapshots of the new dish that will leave customers mouth-watering.

If you don’t know the first thing about writing a press release, check out this guide featuring examples and templates.

10. Decorate your windows with offers and appetizing photos

Here’s how to get customers in the door as they walk by your restaurant: use your window space to the max. Print your special offers and promos on posters using a catchy font and your brand colors and stick them to the windows. If you’re proud of your signature dish, tape an irresistible photo of it so passersby can be lured in by the promise of a delicious meal.

Additionally, you can also write your specials or the daily menu on an A-frame sign and display it at the entrance if your city regulations allow it.

Final Words

These creative ways to attract customers to your restaurant prove that not every marketing idea needs to be implemented online. Bring back old-school ways of promoting your restaurant by implementing these offline marketing ideas for restaurants that will make your business a staple of the local community.

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.

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