The right marketing gets your restaurant’s name out there farther than where you expect it to reach. It’s a business strategy that helps you reel in customers whether old or new to check out what you are offering. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business or a conglomerate. Marketing, when done right, will help you draw in sales.

Marketing your business involves a lot of careful planning to grab people’s attention. One marketing strategy that does this best is the use of social media. Social media marketing is an effective way to get your business well-known. More than 1 in 3 users admitted to checking out a brand on social media when they’re interested to learn more about them.

Marketing can also be expensive which is why some have probably opted out to invest in a good marketing strategy. But here are 11 no-cost marketing ideas you can do for your restaurant that is sure to drive in customers this 2021:

Start a Cooking Show

Why is this at the top of our list of free marketing opportunities? As a restaurant owner, you’ve got everything you need to create a cooking show that’s popular in your area and even globally. You’ve got a commercial kitchen and cooking equipment. A dedicated location to cook. And the skills to cook delicious meals and share that culinary knowledge with others.

If you’re able to be consistent hosting a show the sky truly is the limit for you. As you see in the examples below, a cooking show can be parlayed into cookbooks, sponsorships, in addition to driving more revenue and interest in your own restaurant. Don’t let food bloggers be the only ones to cash in on this opportunity!

Have you ever seen a Tasty branded video? It’s those cooking videos on the internet that shows you how a dish is done from scratch but fast-forwarded so you don’t have to wait a long time to see the results. The formula for these videos is simple, but also hard to stop watching once you get started. Even though the video speed is accelerated, the quality is exceptional and you learn a lot about how to make a recipe in under a minute. This is one approach you could take with your own show.

Of course these videos from Tasty are slick and well edited. Thankfully, you won’t need to hire a video editor to start building a following online by making videos like this. There are plenty of popular online chefs doing live videos with nothing more than an iPhone. One of the best I’ve seen implementing this strategy is Gaby Dalkin from What’s Gabby Cooking. You can watch one of Gaby’s videos below.

If you follow Gaby’s Instagram page, you can join her live weekly cooking classes usually broadcast from her kitchen. These cooking classes are informal and fun. You get the vibe you’re watching a friend cook you dinner. Gaby is usually wearing a sweatshirt for her weekly show. And guess what? The program is awesome and is one of my wife’s favorite programs to watch each week.

Keep in mind that Gaby’s net worth is estimated between $1 – $5 million dollars too. Don’t be fooled by those casual demeanor and friendly videos. Gaby is running a real business that makes money through advertising, sponsorships with brands like LuLulemon, selling cookbooks and a line of spices / flavored olive oils in partnership with William’s Sonoma. Gaby has built a media empire teaching other people how to cook online.

What won’t you need?

Fancy lighting or recording equipment. If you’ve got a recent version of the iPhone you’ve got everything you need to record and publish one a cooking show online. Thanks to websites like YouTube Live or Instagram, you can host your show for free.

This is literally the approach Gaby uses in her weekly Instagram shows. Gaby’s husband holds up the iPhone, hits record, and the show begins. There’s no special lighting or audio equipment setup for these videos.

Tips for Hosting Your Own Cooking Show

Videos like these can be short. If you can teach someone an entire recipe in 15 – 30 minutes that’s all you need. Here are a few compelling topics restaurant owners could cover on a weekly basis: 

  • Share how to make a recipe from the menu at the restaurant.
  • Teach the proper way to use a chef knife or other cooking tool.
  • Share recipes from the test kitchen that you are thinking about adding to the menu. This is a smart way to get feedback on new menu items.
  • Teach a technique like French cooking or other technique your viewers might find interesting.

A key piece of hosting a cooking show like this work is maintaining a consistent schedule. It’s important to host your cooking show at the same time each week so followers know when and where to tune in. You could publish a live cooking show or a prerecorded show similar to what you see on broadcast cooking television like The Food Network.

Did you know that “How to cook that” is considered one of the top 10 search keywords or phrases on YouTube? If you’d like to get your restaurant out there, you can sample how one of your dishes is made. You can also partner up with a food brand or cooking equipment company so they can sponsor your ingredients.

Share Food Photos on Social Media


Did you know that food is a popular topics on Instagram? A staggering 39% of Instagram users in the UK are fans of food content. You can capitalize on this interest by sharing food photos from your restaurant on social media. By using the right hashtags, you can garner likes and followings for your social media page to help you reach more diners.

The best part of this approach as a restaurant owner is that this approach won’t take you much additional time to execute. You’re already cooking dozens of attractively plated dishes each night. All you need to do is capture these images using your iPhone. If you don’t think you have time to do this yourself, you could enlist one of your cooks or a manager to do this marketing work for you. You might be surprised at how good your staff could be at sharing and promoting your business.

Related Reading: How I Converted a House into a Fully Licensed Restaurant

Keep in mind that you need to post quality photos that look appetizing. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned quickly by following a few guiding principles to food photography. If you want to learn more about taking better food photos for your restaurant, check out our how-to guide. 

Aside from food photos, con