How to Digitally Market Your Restaurant on a Budget

Posted by Natalie Korz

Natalie is the Technical Writer for SpeedLine Solutions. Her adoration for pizza goes all the way back to the early days of her childhood when her family used to have Friday Pizza Nights and watch America's Funniest Home Videos.

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In today's competitive landscape, digital marketing is an effective strategy your restaurant cannot afford to ignore. Whether you own a cozy pizzeria, a bustling franchise, or an upscale restaurant, reaching your target audience in the digital sphere is essential for growth. However, a successful digital marketing strategy doesn't need to come with a hefty price tag. This article outlines cost-effective tactics and best practices for digitally marketing your restaurant and establishing its digital footprint.


Online Ordering Site

Your online ordering site is your digital storefront and often the first point of contact for potential customers. Ensure your online ordering site is mobile-friendly, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. There are plenty of free or budget-friendly website builders available to get you started, such as Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace.

Best Practices


Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formally Twitter) are powerful tools across all age brackets but are especially powerful for connecting with younger audiences. Create business profiles on these platforms and regularly post engaging content like food photos, contests, behind-the-scenes shots, and customer reviews.

Best Practices

  • Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility
  • Respond to comments and messages within 24 hours
  • Run contests or promotions to boost engagement and provide an incentive



Blogging is a fantastic way to establish your restaurant’s expertise and connect with your audience. You can write about food-related topics, share recipes, or tell the story of your restaurant. Blogging platforms like WordPress offer user-friendly tools for free, meaning it's a cost-effective way to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) while sharing valuable content about your restaurant.

Best Practices

  • Aim for regular, quality posts
  • Share your blog posts on social media and via email newsletters
  • Include links to other content on your website (like signing up for your loyalty program)


Email Marketing

Email marketing can be highly effective and affordable. Researchers estimate that for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect a return of $42. Email your customers about information they are likely to be interested in, such as upcoming promotions and community events. Restaurant POS solutions such as SpeedLine provide a database of your customer contact information that can fuel your email marketing campaigns.

Best Practices

  • Craft compelling subject lines to increase open rates
  • Segment your email list for more targeted campaigns
  • Include a personalized touch (such as their name)


Customer Loyalty

Your returning customers are the soul of your restaurant. If applicable, take advantage of your point-of-sale system’s customer loyalty program. Encourage repeat visits by offering rewards, discounts, or special promotions to regular patrons, and make customers feel special with personalized offers such as birthday specials or discounts on their favorite meals.

Best Practices

  • Personalize offers based on customer preferences and behavior
  • Launch targeted loyalty campaigns through your POS system
  • Offer exclusive rewards and perks to drive interest


Google Ads

Google Ads can be a cost-effective way to reach potential customers in your area. Set a budget that aligns with your restaurant’s finances and focus on local keywords. The company offers free tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify the best keywords for your ads to help ensure your campaign reaches its target audience more effectively.

Best Practices

  • Use ad extensions to provide additional information to searchers
  • Monitor ad performance and adjust your strategy accordingly
  • Think about keywords and phrases your customers are most likely to use

Speedy Tip

The National Restaurant Association recommends that restaurants allocate 3-6% of their revenue for marketing initiatives.



Online reviews can make or break your restaurant’s reputation. Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Remember, managing reviews is cost-free with a huge impact on your restaurant—60% of customers read reviews before visiting a restaurant for the first time.

Best Practices:

  • Respond to all reviews—both positive and negative—in a professional manner
  • Address issues raised in negative reviews with a constructive approach
  • Encourage customers to share their experiences



Digital marketing for your restaurant doesn't have to be expensive. Focusing on these seven key areas allows you to effectively market your restaurant within your budget. Whether you're optimizing your website, engaging with customers on social media, or leveraging your POS system for customer loyalty and email marketing, the key is to stay creative and authentic in your approach. Start small, and with time and dedication, you'll see your restaurant's online presence and revenue grow.

Interested in seeing how the right POS can fuel your restaurant’s marketing initiatives? Read how Pizza Factory uses SpeedLine’s POS solution to increase customer visits and orders.


Read the Case Study


Posted on Thu, Nov 16, 2023 @ 08:11 AM.
Updated on November 16, 2023 @ 4:00 PM PST.

Tags: Online Marketing, TikTok

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