8 Cost-Effective Marketing and Branding Strategies for Restaurants

In 2019, there are more ways than ever to market your restaurant to potential customers.
From conventional forms of marketing such as billboards, tv ads, and paid advertising to the
more modern approaches, like social media and online brand awareness, restaurant
operators have more than one way to get their name out there.

The problem is that most conventional forms of restaurant marketing and branding are fairly expensive. And, if you are a small or struggling restaurant, you just might not have the budget for it.

In this article, we discuss a few ideas to help get your restaurant marketing and branding up and running without having to spend a fortune.

Continue on to learn more.

1. Get on Social Media

It goes without saying: In 2019, social media is the most important channel for your restaurant. With a billion users on each of the top three social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – you’ll definitely want to put in the effort to make sure you are set up on these channels, so you can find your potential market online.

Social media accounts give your potential customers the ability to quickly learn everything they need to know about your brand in a matter of seconds, as well as enticing them with mouth-watering photos of your dishes and promotional content that you push.

2. Pair up with Influencers

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not social media influencers are here to stay. Finding influencers in your area with a decent following can be huge for your restaurant.

Partnering with an influencer to promote your restaurant or special offerings can help expand your network fairly quickly, without your having to do much work. Try handpicking influencers that are in the food and beverage space to maximize impact and relevance.

3. Use a Table Management System

There are numerous benefits to using a table management system at your restaurant, other than just being able to manage your walk-ins and reservations.

A good table management system will allow you to accept reservations online while synching directly with your restaurant availability to prevent overbooking, and it will help you to build your customer database.

Both of these are free forms of marketing for your restaurant that most restaurant owners don’t consider. Being able to place your booking widget across the web ensures that you are available wherever your potential customers may be.

4. Leverage Email Marketing

Piggybacking off of using a table management system at your restaurant, one of the main uses of building a customer database through your system is for email marketing.

Restaurant operators that aren’t taking advantage of a free list of their previous diners are missing out on a huge demographic that all successful restaurants try to nurture – repeat customers.

Feed your customer database into an affordable newsletter client, such as MailChimp, to send previous diners regular restaurant updates like new menu items or special offers.

You can even go as far as experimenting with exclusive restaurant offers that are sent only by email to try to increase the success of your email marketing campaigns.

5. Design a Professional Logo

Most restaurant operators don’t look at their brand as a business, but it is. A restaurant needs an attractive and enticing logo just like a corporate company does.

Your restaurant logo is the language your brand speaks to the world. Its entire identity can be summarized and explained right from the logo.

There are lots of ways to approach the look and feel of your logo. You can opt to have an icon the depicts the type of food you serve or you can use just text, or a combination of both. The most important thing though is that your logo represents the personality you want to convey.

Once you have your logo design nailed down, use it to full effect by placing it on all of all your marketing materials; this will help you build awareness of your brand and keep your restaurant in the minds of potential customers.

6. Start a Blog

In 2019, the best way to generate business online is through starting a blog and gaining organic Google search traffic. Having your brand there when a potential customer searches for cuisines or restaurants in a certain area on Google is the digital equivalent of opening a door to welcome a guest into your restaurant.

Of course, a lot goes into making sure that you have set up your restaurant website to maximize search engine optimization, but an easier and more cost-effective first step to this is through blogging.

If your restaurant doesn’t already have a blog, consider putting one together on your website, where you and your restaurant staff can post engaging content about your own restaurant, the restaurant industry, or current events in your area.

This strategy helps your restaurant website show up for more Google Search results, which, if you’ve made sure to optimize your website to generate reservations, will increase footfall at your business.

7. Get Featured in Google My Business

Adding on to the importance of good SEO for your restaurant is another method of capitalizing on the world’s most popular search engine – Google.

You’ve probably seen that little card that shows up when you search for a business on Google; this is called a Google My Business profile. And, if you haven’t already set one up for your restaurant, you should.

Google My Business is a service provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their outreach across Google (Google Search and Google Maps).

A well-put together Google My Business profile is essential for restaurants, because it is the first thing that comes up when a customer searches for your restaurant online. And with Google taking over more steps in the customer journey, your potential visitors will probably get all the information they need about your brand from your Google my Business profile rather than from your website.

This is why it’s important to make sure your hours, phone number, location, website link, etc. are updated and managed properly.

They’ve also allowed for businesses to add links to their booking or delivery partners, making it even easier for potential guests to book a table or order food online from your restaurant right from Google Search.

8. Coupons and Special Offers

Using the tips above, you can utilize social media, email marketing, Google My Business, and your blog to push out coupons and special offers to your previous and potential customers.

Special offers such as buy-one-get-one, ladies’ nights, and happy hours are cornerstones of the restaurant industry and your customers expect them from you.

Taking the time to map out some special offers across the year and then pushing them out to your online channels can be very helpful in generating buzz for your restaurant.


There are many marketing and branding strategies that you can employ to promote your restaurant business, and you should avail of them all. The more places you can get your business in front of customers, the better!

The above 8 strategies are just a taste of what you can do. But, they are a great place to start and easy to implement.

Carly Miller is a freelance content writer specializing in all things branding related. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her traveling, playing with her dog, or reading a good book.