Advertising for Restaurants, Hotels, Coffee Shops, Tea Rooms, Pubs, Bars, Wine Bars & Pizza Joints


When most people think marketing they immediately think about advertising for restaurants, hotels etc. And this is the first and perhaps most expensive marketing mistake they will ever make. It is one that can ruin their business before it gets going.

Humour sells … as this Husband Day Care Centre display demonstrates

Sadly, many food and drink business never celebrate their first birthday. Not understanding advertising and how it fits into a complete marketing strategy or plan is often the problem and can prove fatal.

It isn’t that advertising is a complete waste of time or money. That’s simply not true. But where it is misunderstood or used badly it can suck up your marketing budget in days and still show no result.

Three Types of Advertising … for both traditional and digital Advertising for Restaurants etc.

Advertising salespeople are very good at selling advertising. But fewer than 0.0001% of them have ever spent their own money on marketing a business like yours. Their function in life is to sell advertising space for their business or their employers.

What they are not there to do, despite what they might say, is to make you money! Of course they will claim that they want to ensure your ads bring you loads of business. But they would say that, wouldn’t they?

They also tell you things like “All your competitors are advertising in this magazine/ on this website and they wouldn’t do that unless it really worked for them.” When you hear this just remember that all your competitors heard the same story and advertised out of fear of being left out of what must be good. They are as ignorant as you about how well it will work and have fallen for one of the oldest sales tricks in the book.

Other times they will call and say, “We have the big issue coming out and I’ve got this one space left and thought of you. If you can take it right now I can offer you a discount.” Well my question is, why did they leave it this long before calling me for such an important opportunity? Why am I left until last?

The chances are they are calling a lot of people with the same story and the discounted price is a bit higher than they really expect to sell all the space at. It is just a ploy to make you commit quickly without time to consider if this really is a good deal. In many cases the first person they call in the morning will get this story and so will everyone else. They are lying!

You need to adopt one simple rule in advertising. Only advertise where you’ve researched thoroughly and there really is a good opportunity of getting a good return on your investment.

But I digress.

More on Advertising for Restaurants, Hotels, Coffee Shops, Tea Rooms, Pubs, Bars, Wine Bars & Pizza Joints

This article is about the three types of advertising and it is quite likely that the advertising sales rep will never explain this to you. There is also a good chance your competitors don’t understand this as well. So, read this very carefully …. it has the capability of making you huge profits.

Brand Advertising

The first type of advertising is brand advertising. The big chains use it to great effect. It works for them … but will NOT for you.


Because your small business isn’t a huge brand. The large chains of coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels spend huge sums on advertising their brand.

It works like this. People repeatedly see a coffee chain advert and when they want a coffee immediately think Starbucks, Costa or whichever chain’s advertising has impacted them most. Once the idea of a chain is embedded in your mind you tend to see that one before you see others.

Each year, just before Christmas, Coca Cola run a TV advertising campaign. You might have seen it. For years it has been based on the arrival of Father Christmas and a large red Coca Cola lorry. The idea of the ad is to make you think of the Coca Cola brand rather than thinking you need to buy Cola for the Christmas holiday. Coca Cola spends £ millions on it each year because it works.

The thing is ….. you don’t own a huge brand … at least not yet! You are only doing Advertising for Restaurants, Hotels, Coffee Shops etc

So trying to build your brand with expensive advertising simply cannot work for you. Of course advertising salespeople will encourage you to build your brand … and so will a lot of other snake oil salesmen. But there is a better way.

Sometimes it is just external signage .. but there are alternatives that attract customers from further afield. Like this french ice cream parlour
This French ice cream parlour appeals to all nationalities

Direct Sales Advertising

The idea behind direct sales ads is to advertise a product or service and make an immediate sale. Typically this might be advertising for lunch or dinner, maybe even a themed dinner. Or it could be to promote sales from your takeaway menu or outdoor catering. These ads might be run in a local paper or online and might run for weeks as a series or only during specific times of day.

Here’s a tip for running online takeaway ad campaigns. People generally only buy things like pizza during the evenings. So advertising 24/ 7 is a waste of time and money. Most online advertising platforms like Google Adwords or Facebook allow you to segment your ads. This means you can arrange to only run them when people are actively looking to buy things like a takeaway or delivered pizza.

And if you decide that physical advertising, perhaps in a printed newspaper or magazine, in a cinema or on a billboard, is a good idea think very carefully about your target audience and their likes and dislikes.

Advertising a small takeaway in an upmarket glossy magazine that covers a whole county or region is unlikely to be successful whereas a top-end restaurant could get a very good response from the same magazine. It is all about matching your target audience and the advertising platform you choose. If your advertising is local Advertising for Restaurants etc that are very local in nature then advertising over a large area isn’t going to work.

Sharing plates can tempt reluctant dessert eaters!

The problem with running direct sale ads anywhere is the fact they have a short shelf life. You have to keep paying for the ad to be run again and again.

But what if there was a way in which your advert was seen just once or twice and you were then able to keep going back to that same person who then had multiple opportunities to buy from you?

That is what the third type of advertising, relationship advertising is all about.

Top Marketing Tip

“For me, it is very simple, advertise & market to your network & demographic what YOU are actually passionate about and understand. Someone’s passion for their business, brand or anything always shines through-in any walk of life”

Ben Spalding Managing Director at Puzzle Projects Hospitality, Event or Catering Consultancy in London, the UK or Globally
Advertising for Restaurants, English Tearooms etc
An English tea room as imagined by an American teashop. Authentic or not it was popular

Relationship Building Advertising

Imagine the situation. You spend a relatively small amount of money and attract the attention of your ideal customer and then get the chance to keep in touch with more tempting offers.

Well, this is quite easy to do. Here’s how.

The first step is to design an advert that satisfies the AIDA advertising principle. Of course all ads should do this anyway but it is even more important here.

AIDA Stands For ….

Attract attention

Create Interest or Inform the customer

Create Desire

Ensure Action

Attracting attention isn’t about plastering your advert with the name of your place across the top of the advert. The truth is most people aren’t at all interested in your business. What they are interested in is what you can offer them. They are looking for a great place to get coffee, or book a romantic meal or hold a party.

So you need to use a Lead Magnet to attract their attention (a Lead Magnet is something that your audience finds very useful or desirable).

Let’s imagine you want to promote your place as a venue for wedding receptions. A simple ad that says we do wedding receptions is unlikely to get you a lot of business. You might be in the wrong location for many of the brides about to organise a venue, many of them will choose better-known places or places recommended by their florist, photographer or caterer.

But what if you think laterally. What if you create an advert that will potentially attract every bride and would-be bride for miles around. What if your Lead Magnet was so good it went viral online and you were inundated with requests for it and your venue! It is possible if you think laterally.

So why not sit down with florist, wedding photographer, hairstylist, and anyone else that is traditionally involved in weddings. Propose working together to produce the perfect lead magnet. Instead of selling your own services or products you write a list of tips that a bride-to-be really needs to help her to make the right decisions when specifying and buying the right flowers, venue, photography, food, cars and even honeymoon. Would that be attractive to brides-to-be?

You see you don’t need to sell anything with a relationship ad. You just need to offer something that is really useful to the potential customer. Once they request a copy of your Lead Magnet you can ask for their contact details and send it to them. Now you have their details you can gently take them along the buying journey. They are far more likely to buy from you once you’ve proved your expertise with the Lead Magnet. You’ll have earned their respect and trust.

If your Lead Magnet is an eBook, you can add links to pages on your website or elsewhere in the way I have in the eBook I originally wrote this post for (I hope you find them useful). Link below.

And to keep the process easy to handle I’ll explain how to automate most of this process later in this book. I’ll explain content, autoresponders, CRM systems and websites in more detail. Discover more about AIDA here. I’ve not gone into the differences between traditional and digital advertising yet. The above principles apply to both but there are also many differences. These I’ll cover separately a bit later. But first, we need to understand a bit more about what marketing really is. And that’s the topic of a future post (and if you can’t wait until then the book is available below … its costs the equivalent of a cup or two of coffee.

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