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18 Restaurant Guerilla Marketing Ideas for your Restaurant Business

Here are 18 guerrilla marketing tactics to increase your restaurant’s revenue, improve your restaurant reputation, increase customer LTV, and get more new customers!

What is Restaurant Guerilla Marketing?

Restaurant guerrilla marketing refers to a marketing strategy that involves coming up with less mainstream ways to market your restaurant for customer demand generation. Guerrilla marketing can be very effective for many restaurants.

Guerrilla marketing usually involves lower-cost tactics that are easily accessible to restaurants at any level. This can include things like streetside marketing, social media contests, outdoor signage, WiFi marketing, and simple word of mouth.

With more information about guerilla tactics, restaurant owners and operators are finding that they can increase their sales volume without spending too much money on promotional materials.

There are many ways to do this such as sending out emails to people who have signed up for your email marketing mailing list or opted into your WiFi. By doing this you will stay in contact with your customers while building your database at the same time.

Did you know that email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 of spend?

Below are 18 guerrilla marketing tactics to increase your restaurant’s revenue, improve your restaurant reputation, increase customer LTV, and get more new customers.

1. Create and Distribute Flyers

Creating flyers is a great way to promote your restaurant. Flyers are an excellent marketing tool for getting the word out about new products and specials, or just for drawing attention in general.

Whether you have a printed document or not, there are many ways to create flyers online that can be used as part of your restaurant guerrilla marketing campaign.

Posting flyers on public bulletin boards is a great way to get the word out about your business. The key to this is consistency so that people don’t forget about you and stop taking notice.

2. Post Signs in Your Local Area

Street signs are one of the most affordable guerilla restaurant marketing tactics to promote your restaurant. Signs can be placed in front of your building or at street corners near where you do business.

Some places allow them to be attached directly onto the light posts while others will only let fliers go up on certain days at certain times.

Some states have very strict laws about how these things are posted, but it’s not impossible to find workarounds and figure out what the limits are in your area.

Use signage to help you build awareness about new products or specials, as well as simply promoting your restaurant itself. Consider including a QR code that links to your website or Google My Business profile.

3. Create Effective Social Media Pages

For effective social media marketing, the key is making sure that your content and your brand stand out from the rest, and that you give your followers everything they are looking for.

You can get people to notice you by using eye-catching visuals such as your LTO’s and menu items, posting at opportune times of the day, and using hashtags to increase your visibility.

Social media pages should always include:

  • Address
  • Hours of operation
  • Menus
  • Phone number
  • Reservation links
  • Ordering links

Your posts should also have a clear call-to-action that asks people to click on an interesting link or visit your restaurant website. It’s worth remembering that people are much more likely to visit your site if you have a social media account with strong engagement.

A popular way to go about this is by looking for influencers in your area who might be interested in promoting your restaurant.

Many restaurant marketers are turning to social media influencers as an affordable marketing method. When choosing influencers, restaurants should:

  • Check to make sure the influencer has a high amount of real followers.
  • Ensure the influencer has high engagement rates based on their follower counts.
  • Determine if the influencer’s follower base matches a restaurant’s target market.

4. Manage Your Ratings and Reviews

It is important to pay close attention to managing your restaurant ratings and reviews on a consistent basis.

The issue lies in the fact that there are many different places where your ratings and reviews can come from – Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. Many restaurateurs simply do not have the time to solicit, monitor, reply to, and properly manage their online restaurant reputation.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help you automate these processes and bring everything down into one single platform. In the amount of time, it would take you to do it yourself or to pay someone to do it for you, these tools can have it done for you automatically, and at a less expensive cost.

For example, Bloom Intelligence can send automated messages to your customers after they leave your place of business asking them to rate their recent experience on Google, Facebook, Bloom, and if they had a negative experience to contact you directly.

When your customer makes a review on Google or Facebook then their review is pulled directly back into the Bloom platform for you to respond to them in one centralized restaurant marketing software.

You can see your ratings over time, see advanced sentiment analysis using artificial intelligence, and even use all the positive ratings you are receiving to be displayed in a pop-up widget on your website as social proof.

This strategy can increase your positive ratings over time, decrease negative reviews, and increase traffic to your restaurants through social proof.

Ultimately by automating the process of asking, and responding to reviews it will improve your restaurant reputation and improves customer lifetime values while saving you tons of time.

Did you know a single-star improvement can increase your restaurant’s revenue by 9%?

5. Create Social Media Contests and Calendars

This is one of the most common types of guerilla restaurant marketing tactics for restaurants because it’s always changing and open to trying new things out. Social media allows you to connect with current customers while getting the word out about special promotions and events at your place of business.

A great way to use social media for restaurant guerrilla marketing is to create a contest. The winner of the contest can receive a free food or drink item, or a t-shirt or cap, for example. Be creative and watch the comments (and new followers) pour in. And don’t forget to market with other posts as your following increases.

Social media calendars also help provide accountability. Every month, restaurant professionals can create a calendar that can include:

  • Food specials (two-for-one specials, drink specials, etc.)
  • Holidays (National Burger Day, Columbus Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, etc.)
  • Events (live music, game nights, etc.)
  • Promotions (loyalty programs, catering, etc.)
  • Team features (featuring employee birthdays, anniversaries, introductions, etc.)
  • Customer spotlights (featuring loyal customers)
  • Sports events (football catering, Baseball on TVs, etc.)
  • App features (in-app ordering, loyalty programs, etc.)
  • News and public relations

6. Invest in Automated Customer Data Capture and Automated Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to promote your restaurant’s specials and events.

But what if you don’t have the time to execute ongoing email marketing campaigns? What if you do not have a way to collect customer contact information at scale?

That’s where a WiFi marketing automation platform like Bloom Intelligence comes in. With Bloom, you passively collect customer contact information as they log into your WiFi, fill out a form on your websites, or information collected from your point of sales.

Bloom quickly builds huge databases of detailed, cleaned, and verified customer profiles for you that include emails, phone numbers, zip codes, birthdays, survey responses, online ratings, and even transactions.

This ultimately unlocks customer insights for you that can be used to trigger email marketing campaigns using machine learning to increase your customer lifetime values, build online reviews, save at-risk customers, and much more.

Did you also know that you can save up to 38% of your lost customers using WiFi email marketing automation, and machine learning provided by Bloom Intelligence?

With an automated restaurant marketing platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can automate your restaurant marketing process saving you valuable time and resources while increasing your customer lifetime values.

These facts combined with our reputation management tools, customer sentiment analysis, ratings widget for your website, Google My Business & Facebook integrations, and the ability to track ROI down to the transaction makes Bloom a powerful and cost-effective restaurant marketing platform.

The best part is that your Bloom investment is less than what it costs you to save one lost customer in a year.

7. Hire a Sign Spinner

A sign spinner is a person who stands outside on the street with the goal of getting them to read a message on a sign. The messages that the sign spinners show are usually related to menu items, specials, or upcoming events.

Restaurants can use sign spinning as an easy way to advertise without having to expend much effort or money. It’s important for you to find the right person for this job. It needs someone who is outgoing and has a creative mind. Renting a sign spinner should be cheaper than other forms of marketing and should only cost you around $10 per hour, lowering the cost of acquiring new customers.

8. Rent Small Billboards

Billboard advertising is a highly effective form of marketing. If you’re looking to put up an outdoor sign on the side of your building or in a visible location near where you do business, this might be just what you need to get noticed and increase sales.

Large billboard advertising is rather expensive compared with smaller billboard advertising options.

For instance, it is much less expensive to place smaller billboard advertising in high traffic areas such as malls, parking garages, college campuses, or even at bus stops.

This is a great way to stay top-of-mind in your local area.

9. Bring Back Lost Customers

A restaurant is one of the most common businesses that rely on loyal customers. If they have a high customer churn rate, it can be devastating to their business in many ways because people who choose this type of establishment are often looking for an experience and not just food.

But it is nearly impossible for restaurants to identify customers who may be churning, or at risk of churning.

Fortunately, Bloom Intelligence can identify those customers for you.

Not only will Bloom identify those patrons, but when they are deemed at risk of churning, it will send an email to the customer with an incentive to get them to come back and re-establish their loyalty.

Bloom users are seeing up to 38% of their churning customers return. In terms of restaurant guerrilla marketing strategies, this is possibly one of the most valuable tactics you could employ.

10. Collaborate with Other Nearby Businesses

If there is a business near yours that isn’t a direct competitor, consider teaming up to help advertise each other’s business in a low-cost way.

For instance, there might be a breakfast-only restaurant in your area. You could advertise their breakfast buffet to your lunch and dinner customers, and they could advertise for your lunch and dinner business.

This can be done with any other type of business and is a great way to increase foot traffic and local sentiment without dipping into your marketing budget.

11. Use Eco-Friendly Takeout Containers and Attach Marketing Collateral

Every day, more and more people are caring about the environment.

A great way to improve customer sentiment is by using eco-friendly takeout containers for your restaurant business. These containers are made from materials such as cornstarch or sugarcane, so they decompose more quickly than regular paper, plastic, or Styrofoam products.

This means less waste ending up in landfills or oceans. Eco-friendly takeout containers also have other benefits such as being biodegradable, compostable, and leakproof.

Plus, you can turn a sunk cost of takeout containers and turn it into a marketing channel by putting a come-back offer or limited-time offers, or just promote a new menu item.

12. Set Up and Use Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool offered by Google that helps businesses manage their online presence in Google Search Results and Google Maps. It also makes it easier to communicate and interact with your customers.

When someone searches for your business or terms related to your business, Google My Business will present them with extra information. This info includes your address and contact information, images, hours of operation, menu, reservations, customer ratings and reviews, and more.

This can make your search result in Google much more attractive and informational for your current and potential customers.

Likewise, it can be a great local marketing tool for your business, as it brings attention to your business in Google search and Maps.

This will not only help you get ranked on Google but also help drive traffic to your location or new orders through online ordering.

13. Offer Outdoor Dining

During the spring and summer months, it can be very pleasant to enjoy your meal at a sidewalk table. This is an easy way to provide customers with a nice outdoor dining experience.

If you have diners sitting at tables on the sidewalk outside of your business or restaurant for any amount of time, this will attract attention from passersby who may decide that they want to eat there as well just through the power of social proof. People tend to gravitate towards restaurants that are perceived to be busy.

14. Give Away Branded Shirts, Hats, or Bumper Stickers

Another effective way to gain attention in a crowded area is by giving away branded shirts or hats as part of your marketing plan. This gives people the chance to wear a shirt with your name on it whenever they are out and about, which lets them share your name with others without even talking to them.

Make sure that you have enough shirts, hats, or bumper stickers for everyone who wants one. That way you don’t lose potential customers because you were unable to fulfill their requests.

15. Brand Your Delivery Vehicles

In order to stand out while you are outside of your restaurant or business, you can brand your delivery vehicles with your company’s name and logo.

If anyone sees a vehicle that is branded with your company’s logo going down the road, they are going to know that it belongs to your business. This will increase awareness and give them the opportunity to see what else your company might have to offer.

This works great for restaurants that deliver food because people who see the vehicle as it passes by may start following it like a breadcrumb trail until they find themselves at their destination – your restaurant!

16. Work Together with Local Events

Another effective way to bring more people in to your place of business is by working together with local events near you.

For instance, there may be a local festival that takes place each year in your town. You could work with the organizers to provide food and drinks at the event, or you could donate products so you can have a presence at their location without having to pay for it.

You should check with your local chamber of commerce to see if they know of any upcoming events. Also, what kind of assistance is needed from businesses like yours. If not, look into starting one on your own.

17. Host Special Events

Another way for you to advertise your business is by hosting special events. This will bring more people into your restaurant or business than usual. And they will be interested in seeing an event or attending as part of it. These kinds of events also help to build your business’s reputation as being one that is open to the community.

For instance, you could host a weekly or monthly trivia night in order to encourage people to come and spend time at your place of business on an evening when they might otherwise be doing something else.

You could also offer free meals for kids during certain days of the week if schools are closed. Then, parents do not need to find childcare before going out to dinner with their spouse or friends. This will draw more families into your restaurant!

18. Support Local Charities

If you are looking for other restaurant guerrilla marketing ideas to advertise your business, think about supporting local charities.

Charity events are a great way to bring attention to your company and what it stands for. You may even want to donate some products or services. Then, you can have a presence at an event without paying for the privilege!

This will also help build up your reputation as being open-minded and supportive of people in need in your community. For example, if there is a charity event coming up in the next few weeks, you could find out more about how they operate and whether they would be interested in accepting any donations from businesses like yours.

If it fits with their mission statement, they will probably be happy to accept what you have to offer!

Source: Bloom Intelligence

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