If you’re reading this post, you probably understand just how competitive the restaurant industry is. Yes, there’s plenty of demand (everyone needs to eat) but it seems like there’s a new restaurant opening up every day.


This leaves many restaurant owners wondering, how do I make sure my restaurant gets the attention it deserves?


Well, one of the best ways for restaurant owners to get more customers walking through their doors is to use print marketing.


You might be wondering, isn’t print dead? After all, everyone seems to be constantly staring at the screen of their smartphones for the majority of the day.


However, data suggests that print is potentially the most effective form of marketing currently available to business owners:

      • 56% of consumers trust print more than any other advertising method.
      • Direct mail has been shown to increase local foot traffic to restaurants.
      • 92% of 18-23-year-olds find it easier to read print over digital media.

Beyond this, there are some instances where print simply can’t be substituted with digital media. For example, storefront signage and promotional boards placed outside your business to entice people walking by to check out your restaurant.


With that said, here are 9 ways to use print marketing to your restaurant’s advantage.


9 Ways to Use Print to Market Your Restaurant

1. Direct Mail


Direct mail is one of the most powerful forms of print marketing. Here are just some of the ways it can be used to promote your restaurant:

      • Increase foot traffic to your location.
      • Advertise new menu offerings.
      • Provide coupons and other incentives for people to visit you.
      • Inform the public of upcoming events.

Why it Works:


Direct mail is successful for three main reasons.


    1. Its physical – unlike email and other digital forms of marketing, direct mail is unique in that your message can include physical characteristics. In fact, now you can customize the paper texture of each direct mail piece to provide a unique tactile experience. You can even add special scents! But how do these elements help make sure customers remember your brand? You’ve probably noticed that the touch or smell of something will often trigger a specific memory. For example, this memory could present itself when you feel warm sand between your toes, or when you smell the enticing aromas of freshly baked bread. It turns out that our sense of smell and touch are processed by an area that’s located close to the emotion and memory center in the brain. As a result, there’s a slight overlap between physical senses and memory. That’s why incorporating physical elements into your direct mail campaign can significantly increase the chances of customers remembering your restaurant over your competitors who only advertise with digital mediums.
    2. It’s targetable – direct mail is also highly targetable, helping you to reach your ideal customers with ease. For example, if you own a high-end restaurant where the average bill is $100 or more, you can target postal codes where individuals have the income to afford a meal like this. Or, you can also send out a campaign in the areas surrounding your restaurant to help increase local foot traffic to your location.
    3. It’s personal – once you begin to gather information about your customers, direct mail makes it extremely easy to personalize your marketing messages. This means you can include the individual’s name in the piece or tailor the message to their interests. These strategies have been proven to increase conversion rates.

2. Print on Demand


In the restaurant business, you need to stay on your toes. Menus and other promotional materials are constantly changing and need to be updated based on your customer’s preferences.


For example, in the past decade, it has become a common practice for restaurants to add a vegan or “plant-based” section to their menu.


While it’s a good practice to cater to the demands of your customers, it can also be a lot of work. Every time tastes change and you need to update your menu, you need to contact a print company, get a quote, and spend valuable time proofing each design before the new menu can be printed.


Print on demand can help streamline this process by allowing you to create custom templates for your menus, table toppers, flyers, and other repeatable print projects.


You can then negotiate pre-arranged pricing with your print provider.


This way, when you need something printed you can just go online, select the quantity you need, and you’ll be automatically presented with a price.


From there, you can edit and proof the project in real-time, eliminating the seemingly endless email back and forth between you and your print company to make sure everything looks good.


After that, they’ll ship your print materials to the appropriate location, often as early as the next day!

The time savings provided by this strategy alone make it worthwhile. To learn more about how print on demand can save your restaurant time and money, click here.

3. Storefront Signage


Nothing draws the eyes quite like large, custom-designed storefront signage in the window of your restaurant.


There are several ways you can use storefront signage to promote your restaurant:

      • Sidewalk sandwich boards sharing your daily specials.
      • Window vinyls showing your most popular menu items and their prices.
      • Banners complete with your brand logo and colours.
      • A-frame displays promoting upcoming events.
      • Behind-the-counter displays. 
      • Much, much more!

But you don’t need to limit yourself to using signage only for your storefront. It can also be fantastic for events. For example, if your restaurant has a booth at a tradeshow, a large storefront sign can make your business the center of attention!

4. Flyers and Brochures


Flyers and brochures are a great way to inform the public about your restaurant and why they should come visit. In these print materials, you can share news updates, special offers, nutrition facts, food allergy information, and more. You can even share a preview of your menu to entice potential customers to try it out!


The nice thing about flyers and brochures is that they can be printed in multiple colours and contain stunning graphics and visuals that can be used to show off your best menu items!

5. Menus


The menu is the single piece of print material that every customer will look at when they sit down to eat at your restaurant. Therefore, the visual presentation of your menu is extremely important.


It should include design elements that flawlessly match the theme of your restaurant while clearly showing customers what you have to offer.

6. Tickets


If you own a sports bar, club, restaurant, or any other place where events are often held, you need to print tickets on a regular basis. These tickets can be sold for live music, pay-per-view events, charity dinners, pub crawls, and many other fun events!

7. Table Tents and Toppers


Table tents can be used to display drink specials, desserts, signature menu items, upcoming events, and more. They plant the seed of curiosity in the customer’s mind and encourage them to try new things.


Table tents work great in combination with print on demand. Instead of having to get a quote every time you need a new design for your table tents, you can simply share your new design to your print provider and they’ll add it to your custom template.

8. Business Cards


You never know when you’re going to bump into someone who has the means to help your restaurant.


For example, if you run into a food distributor at a networking event and they claim to be able to reduce your food order costs, you’re going to want to follow up with them. This would be a great time to trade business cards so you have each other’s contact information.

9. Packaging


Many restaurants are beginning to see the value in creating their own line of packaged food products. However, in order to sell these products, quality packaging is key. This includes everything from bags to boxes to the actual wrappings that contain the products.


Here’s a look at some statistics that help illustrate why packaging is so important for sales:

      • 52% of consumers claim they would return to a business for another purchase if they found the packaging interesting.
      • 90% of consumers reuse product packaging boxes and bags after purchase. 
      • 40% of consumers would share a photo of packaging if it is interesting.

Custom packaging is a great way to draw attention to your products and increase sales. However, you can also take it one step further by selling your products online and investing in a fulfillment service to distribute them.

Start driving more traffic to your restaurant with ION’s print marketing solutions!


We hope these 9 tips will help you begin to attract more customers to your restaurant!

ION has been helping Edmonton restaurants with their print marketing needs for more than four decades. Whether you’re looking for a simple print solution for multiple locations or you need help promoting your first restaurant, ION can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more!


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