It’s no secret that we eat with our eyes – how often have you found your mouth watering after seeing a picture of a delicious meal, even when you weren’t hungry? It makes sense, then, that we are more likely to buy food from a restaurant or café if we see pictures of their food, and it looks delicious. Of course, uploading images of your food to your site, Facebook, and Instagram pages are great ways to reach customers who already know about you, but what about those that don’t? 

For local restaurants, you need restaurant marketing ideas that don’t rely on inundating your customers with newsletters and Facebook updates. Here are 5 ways you can reach new customers offline. 

1.    Deliver Postcards or Leaflets to Local Homes 

No one wants to be part of the mail on the doormat that’s called “junk”, but if there’s one thing that’s going to get someone’s attention, it’s pictures of good food or a well-advertised good deal. A great way to get your name out there is to send out your menu on a postcard or leaflet to local addresses with offers, deals, or a coupon. If a family often eats out or gets takeaway food, they’re likely to have a place in their kitchen for local menus and money off deals, so it won’t simply be thrown out. This is not only a good way to catch the eye of new customers, but also remind past customers that you’re there – just make sure the design and photos pop and align with your desired customers. 

2.    Partner with Local Businesses 

Often, local businesses are happy to recommend one another if it’s mutually beneficial. Consider which local businesses have a similar clientele to yours and talk to them about how you could partner up to better serve your customers. This could be as simple as business cards in each establishment with an exclusive offer for the partner store. 

3.    Get Involved with the Community 

Do you have stands at local community events? If not, it’s time to consider getting out there and selling your food or giving away free samples. This can be easily done whether you’re in fast-food or fine dining – you just have to align your stand with the right branding, images, and offering to your business and customers. Networking in person with customers is a great way to show you’re personable and have delicious food! 

4.    Banners and Posters 

Never underestimate the power of a well-placed ad. It’s tempting to get wrapped up in the world of social media and online advertising and think that there aren’t any techniques from a decade ago that still work, but they do. If they didn’t, would you still see so many billboards in cities and posters around public transport? Look around your local area and find opportunities to display your banners and posters. 

Why is offline restaurant marketing a great way to reach local diners?

So, now we know how, let’s take a look at why

  • You won’t have to compete with other online ads. Online ads can be expensive, especially if you’re in a heavily populated area. We also see ads every time we scroll through our feeds, which means we’ve become numb to them. Even ads we’re interested in, we’ll often scroll past several times before actually paying attention to it. In the real world, we’re looking for things to grab our attention and hold it. 
  • You can reach older generations who may not have social media accounts. 60% of over 65s describe themselves as being totally adventurous when it comes to trying out new cuisines, and ignoring that entire demographic can be detrimental to a business. 
  • It’s easy to take in, and even easier to remember. A postcard has the benefit of being easier to take in than a long paragraph of descriptions of each dish. With a physical card or image, it’s impossible to swipe away or continue scrolling, and we can put it somewhere safe for later.  

How can you ensure your offline restaurant marketing is effective?

In order for an offline advertisement to be memorable, it needs to:

  • Have a high-quality and enticing photograph that will make people want to buy the food. Food photography is much more difficult than it looks, so make sure you take your time or, ideally, hire a professional to do it for you (it will pay off significantly later!) 
  • An online postcard or leaflet template or a designer to help you 
  • Post office door to door marketing service (they will distribute your cards for you) 

If you get everything right, you’ll increase your brand awakeness significantly and ensure you always have a good flow of customers – even during a pandemic! Just remember to repeat this frequently with a different image to keep attracting attention. 

If you are a restaurant owner ready to take a positive step forward with your offline restaurant marketing, I’m here to help. If you’d like me to help you tell the right story with the images on your advertisements, please don’t hesitate to reach out.