A restaurant doesn’t grow from excellent food and word-of-mouth buzz alone. You must actively promote your business. Marketing doesn’t require a big bank account. You only need to make certain your existing and potential customers repeatedly see your restaurant name and logo and remember you in a positive light. You can always expand the “fan base” of your restaurant, but you need to constantly engage with the community and find creative ways to attract customers to your restaurant. Here are six secrets about self-promotion you may not know.

Thermal receipt messages keep them coming back

The thermal receipt is a basic yet effective marketing tool. Modern POS software allows you to quickly add promotional messages, such as best holiday wishes and discounts on future meals, to sales receipts. Customizing your messages to your customers will definitely go a long way. Any personal touches you can add into your marketing strategies will make a big difference in the end.

Branded items always give back

The ROI for branded promotional products is extremely high. “Take one” free pens at checkout that are imprinted with your restaurant name and phone number are useful and convenient to customers. Additionally, they quickly grab attention and result in future reservations and takeout calls. Promotional products like these act as walking billboards, ensuring that you gain repeated marketing

exposure every time they are used by recipients. A few restaurants in Omaha have used promotional products and items to gain community recognition by giving away custom t-shirts and sweat towels at local football games. Promotional products given to non-patrons on the street or at events, and programs offering branded t-shirts, mugs or kitchenware to loyal customers, also draw positive attention.

Advertorials and infomercials are worth the investment

These marketing tools give you the power to subtly shape public opinion while providing information you believe is important, such as details about a new menu, location or event. These seemingly objective “news” stories, build public awareness, trust and interest.

Quick Response codes are recognized currency

Patrons with smartphones and scanning apps know that QR codes on flyers, posters, menus and other materials offer them a little “extra” for choosing a business. For example, they may receive discounts at your business, or discounts at another business with whom you’ve partnered to offer an exchange of local deals. Any form of mobile marketing is a smart move these days with how popular smart phones are—this is a market that you can’t afford not to tap into.

People remember social network interactions

When you establish a dialogue between you and your social network, you’re immediately creating word-of-mouth buzz…all over the world. One idea: Offer cooking tips. Your followers and the people they tell will remember you as an expert cook and likely think of your restaurant the next time they’re hungry.

Charitable contributions make a positive impression

Everyone loves philanthropic work. You can expect an uptick in foot traffic whenever you become known as someone who contributes to helping others in your community. It is very difficult to initially build trust with the public. The fastest way to do so is by giving money or time.

These are a few secrets known by successful businesses that many restaurant owners don’t realize they can apply to their own marketing strategies. Many restaurant owners know a lot about food, but not enough about the business side or marketing aspect. If this is you, don’t worry—you can quickly learn the best methods for promoting your restaurant. The most important thing to remember is to get engaged in the community. Don’t wait for them to come to you!

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