As a restaurant owner, you probably have a marketing budget. But, did you know there are ways to get free publicity, too?
In this article, we look at how restaurants can cater to businesses including small shop owners in their area. Your goal? There are several:
- Earn the trust and loyalty of other businesses and local influencers.
- Encourage comradery among local businesses.
- Earn a free article or write-up in your local newspaper or a news clip on the local television news.
- Gain a free blog post on the businesses’ website one of your local blogger’s sites.
Here are some great ways to cater to businesses in your area to improve your restaurant’s reach and get your restaurant known by more people.
Host a Social Event
Local shop owners and area business people like to network. You can host a social event and provide the location and the food for the event.
You have many options when it comes to planning social events for businesses.
One idea is to host a gathering for local retail owners. For example, you could invite the owners and employees of all the women’s clothing retail shops in your town.
Invite them for an after-hours meet and great. This is a great way to promote your restaurant while building a relationship and trust with other local businesses.
Another option is to host a monthly lunchtime social where your food is the highlight. Take this opportunity to not only get to know the business people, but highlight your new menu offerings or special appetizers and desserts.
You can pick something new to feature each month. Consider sending personal invites to your local news media, including your town’s magazine and restaurant food writers.
Don’t forget the local blog writers. They are a great way to promote your restaurant locally online.
You just might give them something to writer about.
Other options include inviting businesses to wine tastings during your slow times.
Visit Local Businesses
Each month, pick a different local business to visit. When you visit, take lunch for the employees.
Give your monthly visit a special, creative name to create buzz in your town. Soon, the media will catch on and realize you’re going to “surprise” someone each month. Be sure to leave a stack of menus at your departure.
For example, on the third Monday of every month, you might surprise a local business with lunch. The media loves stories like this, and it’s bound to earn you some free coverage.
Plus, the local business just became customers for life. This type of marketing caters to local businesses while providing the personal approach required to engender brand loyalty for your restaurant.
Get Out in the Community
Another way to cater to businesses in the area is to get out in the community. Support local festivals and non-profit events.
You can set up a booth and offer samples or outright sell your food. Make sure your customer service is spot-on to encourage the best word of mouth marketing.
When you get out in the community, you help generate good feelings for your restaurant throughout the city.
You can cater to businesses in your area by delivering menus. Along with the menu, you might provide a small sampling of your offerings.
And, remember, the more businesses you take menus to, the more successful you’ll be.
Be sure and stop by businesses in your own neighborhood. These workers are potential lunchtime customers. Make a special visit to each one. The personal approach is important to get buy-in from office managers.
Also, it’s a good idea to leave a flyer with your restaurant’s special event info or promotional coupon.
Start a Blog
We’re looking at a form of reciprocal marketing here.
You can do this by starting your own blog. While your blog should include items related to the restaurant business such as cooking tips, videos, recipes and more, think about writing about local businesses in the community.
You can nurture area businesses this way. For example, you might write about one non-profit each month. Highlight what they do and the impact they make. Consider volunteering one day at this business and writing about that.
This is a great way to get your restaurant in front of more people while doing something great for your community.
Get creative and brainstorm other writing ideas that benefit local businesses, and in the long run, your restaurant.
Host Joint Promotions
Consider a joint venture with an area business. Pick a non-competing business and establish a coupon exchange.
For example, one month you can offer to send their promotional offer to your customer base, and the next month, they send your promotional offer to their customer list.
Additionally, you could offer to cross-promote one another’s business on your website and social media pages.
This is a super way to cater to businesses in your area while getting some promotion for your own restaurant.
When your restaurant caters to businesses in your area, you are well on your way to building relationships that benefit both of you.
Building these relationships provides you the power of networking and the ability to increase your sales.
From something as simple as posting another business’s sign in your window to co-sponsoring an event together, your goal is to nurture the relationship so you both benefit.
Cater to local businesses and watch your profits rise.
Do you have a favorite tip on how restaurants can cater to businesses in their area? Please comment below to share your tips with others.