5 Ways to Market a Small Restaurant on a Small Budget

Small Restaurant

Just because your budget is small doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact with your marketing.

Have a small restaurant and a shoestring budget?

Wondering how you are going to be able to effectively promote your business?

Just because your budget is small doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts have to have a minimal impact. In fact, some of the most effective ways to market a business require little investment.

All you need is some creativity and a little know-how and you can spread the word about your small restaurant and make a big impact on your success.

Here’s a look at five simple ways to market your small restaurant without blowing your budget.

1. Social Media And Blogging

Online Marketing is something we talk about a lot here on the blog. It’s something we believe in and it’s something even small restaurants can use to build their business.

Social Media and Blogging are often lumped together so we’ll cover them both in the first point.

Social Media

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful ways to market a business is with social media. It’s cost effective, easy to do and can really help to spread the word about your business. In fact, the biggest investment you’ll need to make is your time. All you need to do is set up a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account for your restaurant, regularly post relevant content and you’ll see a huge increase in the success of your business.

Attract customers by sharing images of your menu items on social media. (tweet this)

Here’s a simple tip to get your social media marketing efforts rolling in full swing: Once you set up profiles for your business, encourage your personal friends and family members to ‘Like’ your page. By doing so, in essence, your friends will be telling their friends about your restaurant, and their friends will tell their friends and so on… and the more people who hear about your business, the more success.


Blogging is a very effective way to advertise your restaurant and stay on budget. You don’t have to go crazy; just a basic blog that features fresh, relevant and attention-grabbing content (images of your food, posts about exciting upcoming events, new menu items, etc).

Promote your blog on your website and on your social media profiles. You won’t believe how much business you will be able to generate from a basic blog.

2. Google Places

Small Restaurants Marketing Tips

Setup your Google Places account so people can find you when searching online.

Set up Google Places for your restaurant. This mapping service allows Google users to easily find a business within their local area. It’s quick and easy to do, and it’s very budget friendly.

Give people a feel for the type of experience they will have at your restaurant.

Set up Google Places and anyone in your local area who is looking for a place to grab a bite to eat will be able to instantly see your restaurant when they do a Google search.

3. Sponsor A Charity Event

Sponsoring charity events offers a win-win situation for restaurants. (tweet this)

The beneficiary of the event gets the things they need for their cause and you get exposure for helping out. This is one of the best ways for restaurants to give back to the community and to raise their profile with the residents.

Your local Chamber Of Commerce often knows about all the local charity events. Ask if they need catering or some kind of food provided for any of the events.

Instead of paying for marketing you pay for the cost of the food, but the only other cost is your personal labor for working the event.

If you’re really small or just starting out look for smaller events so you don’t overextend yourself on the food costs.

4. Partner With Another Local Business

Partnerships are a great way for you to tap into the customers of other businesses to help grow your own. We’ll have another post in the future about partnerships…

The goal is to find complementary businesses that need food for an event or for something they’re doing. You can offer to provide the food in exchange for exposure to their audience.

Potential partners include:

  • Radio Stations
  • TV Stations
  • Car Dealerships
  • Sports Arenas
  • And More

5. Local PR

Points #3 and #4 tie in well with this last point, which is to connect with the local press in your area. They have large audiences full of people that will want to come to your restaurant once they know you exist.

If you’re doing something for charity or if you’re having an event always reach out to the local radio, TV and newspaper outlets. Let them know what’s going on and offer to give them a story that will be interesting to their readers.

Once you have contacts at each of the outlets keep their contact information on hand (phone numbers, emails, etc.) so you can easily get back in touch later on.


Just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean that you have to settle for small marketing approaches. With these simple and cost effective advertising tactics, you won’t believe how much business you will be able to generate – and you may even be shocked to find that you have some money left over in your budget (and you’ll certainly start enjoying a surge in your revenue).

What types of marketing tactics are you employing to promote your restaurant? What has worked the best for you? Share your success stories with us! We’d love to hear them!

Images courtesy of Owen Byrne and Dan Perry

3 responses to “5 Ways to Market a Small Restaurant on a Small Budget”

  1. Brian Nori says:

    Here is a free and powerful marketing strategy that can help build any restaurant from the bottom up.


  2. ojbyrne says:

    Thanks for using my picture, but please correct the spelling of my name. “Owen Byrne.”

    • Dayne Shuda says:

      Sorry about that, Owen. I made the change.

      And thanks for allowing your photos to be used under Creative Commons 🙂

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