Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Small Catering or Restaurant Businesses

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That is guerrilla not gorilla! Guerrilla marketing is one of those terms that catches your attention, it just sounds sexy!

In this article, we are going to present you with a few guerrilla marketing ideas you can use to promote your restaurant or catering business.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is just a fancy way of saying you have no budget and you need to produce results! Guerrilla marketing is not confined to any certain strategy, in fact, guerrilla marketing strategies are usually outside of the box types thinking.

Another benefit of guerrilla marketing is that your competitors will most likely not know what you are doing to attract customers unless your strategy happens to go viral.

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This is great because when your competitors see how busy you are but don’t see any of your advertising anywhere it will drive them crazy! There are many copycats in the world so if your competition sees you do something that works you better believe they will jump on the band wagon.

We have a copycat in town. They even ripped off some of the names of our party packs from our menu. However, when we see them copying something we do it makes us feel good knowing they are probably just scrambling to try and keep up.

Types of Guerrilla Marketing Strategies

  • Ambient – using unusual environments to place your message
  • Ambush – piggy backing on another company or organizations recognition
  • Stealth – getting people involved without them knowing they are involved
  • Viral – think YouTube with millions of views
  • Street – using public spaces to get the word out

Inexpensive guerrilla marketing ideas for restaurants or small catering businesses


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Some of the most effective forms of guerrilla marketing for your restaurant are flyers. Passing out flyers are great because you can target who you want to get them and your competitors most likely will not see you.

We have used this before at a local college to promote a college night special. We had over 30 people come in that first night with just two hours of someone handing out flyers.

If you wanted to use this tactic to promote your catering business, simply go visit the companies you want to target with your menus or flyers.

First grab a map and locate your business on it. Then draw a circle of a 3-5 mile radius around your store or the area you want to target if you have some business districts. Start on the outside and work your way in, visiting each business. Try to establish a connection with the decision maker at each business.

If you want to sweeten the deal bring them some dessert as well! This is about as stealthy as it gets. Your competitor is not going to see you behind closed doors having these conversations with your potential customers. This will not cost you very much either.


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Contests are another great guerrilla marketing technique that can be inexpensive as well. Or you can put some money behind and to try and get better results.

When we have thrown contests or giveaways we have seen some of the best results. We even collected over 2,000 names one year for our customer database for about $.25 a name! that is cheap!

We gave away a gas grill for our restaurant anniversary but anyone who wanted to win had to register for it. So, we got names, addresses, birthdays, emails, etc. it was a great way to jump start our in-house customer list.

You don’t even have to giveaway something expensive, you could give away free food for a year. If you give away 52 $10 meals what does that cost you in food costs $150 bucks? Obviously, the bigger the prize, the more excitement you can generate but there are diminishing returns after a certain point.

On a different contest, we gave away an iPad instead of just food, however, it did not spike the interest in the contest so the next year we went back to just food. This is the fun part about marketing, testing and testing to see what works with your customers.

These are just a few examples you can use for guerrilla marketing for your small restaurant or catering business. Like I mentioned earlier guerrilla marketing is not confined to certain strategies, it just means low budget but effective marketing.

What other guerrilla marketing tactics have you use? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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