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There are a few things that EVERY direct marketing flyer MUST have in order to improve your chances of the contact calling you. In the context of a restaurant, these are;

  • A core offer. Think something like “Children Eat Free on Tuesdays“. Even if you are just sending out a menu, there must be a reason for people to want to call you in the first place.
  • A call to action, with all the contact details, “Call us NOW to book your table“. The goal of direct marketing is for customers to call to order or book a table.
  • Something that will draw the reader in, beyond the headline. Something that makes your restaurant stand out beyond the food or the price. Something like “Come and see us for our Music night” or “Try our all new tasting menu“.
  • Make your marketing consistent and regular.

Also remember, if the prospect can’t imagine themselves taking action, then they won’t.

We follow this advice when we create direct marketing flyers for our clients. To find out how we can help you, all you have to do is contact us at

Direct marketing can be a very powerful method for restaurants to advertise. In Australia, for around $2000, you can reach all the residents within a particular postcode with a four colour printed brochure. As a restaurant, this means that you can inform most of the people in your immediate area for less than 50 cents per household.

However most postboxes are jammed full of direct marketing SPAM and trash, so you need to get your marketing streamlined and you need to make sure your message stands out. In any given week we receive about 6 menus from the local take away establishments, not to mention the dozen or so flyers from other businesses.

One major thing to consider with direct marketing is that it should be about quality not quantity. If you reach 100,000 people, but there is only a 0.1% response rate, you will only get 100 people responding. If you reach 10,000 people, but you have a 6% response rate, you will have 600 people responding. You will have reduced postage costs to 10% of the original, but increased the response rate by 600%. In order you achieve these sorts of figures, you need to try to incorporate the following tips;

  1. Use 4-colour print. Don’t skimp on the printing by only using one or two colours. Most of your competition will print their menus in 4 – colour. It also makes you lo0k very cheap. Also, how are you going to show how exciting and vibrant your restaurant is in black and white?
  2. Try to make your offer include the word FREE as in “FREE delivery” “Children eat FREE on Fridays”
  3. Include attractive, descriptions of your food, or at least an ingredients list. Instead of “Pad Thai – $12”, try “Pad Thai – sumptuous chicken breast stir fried in a peanut sauce, served with white noodles and chilli”.
  4. Test, Test, Test – set a regular marketing program where you send out marketing material every month. Each month change the location and the offer in the mailout. Make sure you keep track of the number of people who respond to the flyers each month.
  5. Include pictures, either of the food or action shots of people eating or your chefs cooking. If people are trying to decide what to eat and where, it is hard to get excited over pictures of the restaurant or just the words on the page. Action shots allow people to imagine what is going on at your restaurant. Pictures of the food allow people to imagine themselves eating your cuisine.
  6. Include a map. Make the map on the back of your flyer show your location and major landmarks. It is surprising how little an address means to people. If you show your location clearly, people will find it easier to see themselves walking/driving to you.
  7. Study your competition.
    • Notice what other nights your competition have events on. Try to avoid direct competition on weeknights with other local restaurants. Once you pick a night to have a special event, stick with it and try to own that night in the local customer’s mind.
    • Notice  your competition offers. If they offer FREE delivery over $20, offer a FREE PEPSI on delivery.
    • Notice the price range of your competition. If they offer cheap food and cheap produce, you can offer better food for the same price, or smaller portions for a lower price.
  8. Update your marketing regularly. Most households will have a drawer full of menus from local restaurants. You increase your chances of your flyers being kept if they are updated and made fresh each month. You don’t need to change menus or even the offer, just make sure that you are updating the style and the design. Vary the size of the flyer, vary the font, vary the colour, very the print stock.
  9. Create a menu that doesn’t look like a menu. Get creative. The front of your menu does not have to look like every other menu people receive. You can make the front of your menu look like a travel brochure or a flyer from any other industry. If your atmosphere is relaxed and up-market, you could make your flyer look like an exclusive invitation to a fashion parade.
  10. Don’t over complicate things. It is called the paradox of choice. If you have more options for a particular offer, people are less likely to find something they like.

We follow this advice when we create direct marketing flyers for our clients. To find out how we can help you, all you have to do is contact us at

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Comments (1)

I would also like to add that before printing flyers, consider if a fridge magnet or coupon book would be more beneficial. If you have a coupon book that your customer can use each month, you will have repeat business.

Also, consider using QR codes on your brochures. If you have a website that includes your menu, so customers can scan the code and visit your site to view the menu or even place their order.

These ideas can also be used for cafe marketing.

Cheers Michelle Pavel – Profit Strategist

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