15 Creative Ways to Advertise a New Menu Item

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Ash Bennett

As the seasons change, so should your menu. But often times, customers–especially regulars–are hesitant to try a new dish. Because of this, it’s essential that you do your best to market your new product. At the same time, don’t let the price of advertising overshadow the sales that your new item generates. Instead, try a few of these 15 inexpensive ideas to get your new product off the ground without breaking the bank.

  1. Buy one, get one half off. People are often hesitant to try something new. Reward your customers for going out on a limb by including a discounted new menu item with the purchase of an old favorite.
  2. Free samples. A tried and true technique, free samples make it easy for a customer to try a new item. Just keep a platter right next to your cash register and invite your customers to try it out before they order their food. Chances are, they will want more.
  3. Make it a mystery. In the weeks leading up to your release, reveal your new item one ingredient at a time over social media. That way, customers will be dying to try your food by the time the whole menu has been revealed.
  4. Host a photo contest. Encourage customers who have tried your new food to post pictures of it on social media! Offer a gift card to the photographer who gets the most likes, shares, retweets, or comments.
  5. Foldable advertisements on tables. One of the classics, putting advertisements on tables works especially well if your café is sit-down style. While your customers are waiting to order, they will definitely notice your new item and be curious about it.
  6. Window signs. Print some professional-quality window signs for your storefront so that people who walk by will see your new item and head on in.
  7. Train your cashiers to upsell. All cashiers should be attempting to upsell your customers as they are ordering their food, regardless of any menu changes. But for the duration of your promotion, make sure that they are placing special emphasis on your new item, and offer rewards to employees that are the most successful at selling it.
  8. Price it a bit lower than similar items. For example, if you sell all of your sandwiches for seven dollars, try selling your new sandwich for six. The quantity of sales will make up for the slight drop in price.
  9. Coloring pages. If your café is geared towards the family, a fun marketing strategy is giving kids coloring pages of your new menu item. They can color in their picture while their parents eat, and you can fill a wall with fun, attention-grabbing art created by your customers.
  10. Make it the focal point of your menu. If you have a menu that’s easy to alter, like chalkboard or paper, design its format so that your new item is the center of attention.
  11. Pictures. Promoting a new food item is worth the price of having a professional come in and take some photos of it. When customers see a picture of what this unfamiliar item is, they will be much more likely to try it than if they were just reading a description.
  12. Release new items at regular intervals. The more new items you release, the more people will be excited about getting them. Releasing a new item quarterly or even monthly can create excitement around your company throughout the whole year.
  13. Use fun packaging. If your new item is a drink, put it in a fun cup or mug that customers may be able to take home with them. This adds even more fun to the excitement of trying something new.
  14. Make it limited edition. Set an “end date” for your product. This gets customers rushing in your doors, hoping to catch the item before it is all gone. This also creates more excitement for your next new item, because customers who missed the deadline for the first will be dying to try your second.
  15. Create a hashtag for your item. Whenever you post on your corporate social media accounts, hype up your new item with a scrumptious hashtag and encourage happy customers to do the same.

Depending on the type of business that you run, different strategies will work better. Some of the most effective campaigns might even utilize three or four of these strategies to amplify the reach of their promotion. Ultimately, as long as you make sure that the strategy you choose fits the budget and the demographic of your restaurant, your new menu item will be a roaring success.


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