Traditional Advertising Channels for Restaurants vs. Digital Alternatives

“The world is changing”, “Digital is the way to go”, “You need to utilize the power of social media!” – let’s face it, you’ve heard or read some variation of this sentence as a restauranteur. But running a restaurant is hard enough as it and having to worry about additional advertisements and marketing strategies, doing A/B testing, and constantly spending time and money on finding what works, is not you want to do. So here we are – about to settle this debate: where should your money go? Traditional advertising channels or modern alternatives like digital marketing?

Digital Marketing: How Has It Worked Out So Far?

Let’s start with some statistics:

  1. Restaurants that engage with customers on social media will win as 71% say they’re more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly to them on social media.
  2. Marketing matters as 40% of people learn about food through websites, blogs, or app.
  3. 75% of consumers have used Facebook to decide on what restaurant to eat at.

There are a lot more statistics like these that prove that in many scenarios social media WILL help restaurants do better. But there’s a slight problem – nearly 80 percent of all restaurants use social media to promote their business.

“How is this a problem? This just validates that social media is working,”

No, it verifies that digital marketing is THE trend right now. And it also verifies the cut-throat competition there is in the digital marketing space – especially in the food industry.

You can (and should) try to promote your business on every social media platform there is but it gets more complicated when you get serious about advertising on social media and start investing serious cash on paid ads and sponsoring influencers. If you’re not proficient in what you’re doing, you can lose a lot of money quickly. The odds are even worse for you if you’re a legacy business with no online presence – and digital agencies cost a fortune.

Speaking of things that cost a fortune.

Traditional Advertising: Still Worth It?

While traditional advertising channels don’t have these advanced analytics tools built-in like many of the social media apps do, we still have one important statistic about traditional advertising:

Traditional media is the most effective form of advertising (47%), right after word-of-mouth from friends and family (51%) – Adobe

But let’s take a step back and talk about what traditional media is and what kind of investment (on average) it involves:

  1. 30-Second TV Advertisement: $5 per 1,000 viewers on local television or $115,000 on national TV
  2. Radio: $200 to $5,000 per week depending on location
  3. Printed magazines: Anywhere between $500 to $20,000
  4. Printed newspapers: $480 for a 4-inch by 10-inch black and white ad in a local newspaper
  5. Billboards (OOH): $250 per month in rural areas, $1,500-$4,000 in small-medium sized cities

It’s expensive and you can definitely start your social media campaign with a lot less money but that’s the cost of choosing the most effective form of advertising, and not to mention, you will get a lot more exposure with a local newspaper ad than an Instagram ad. 

There’s just one problem that almost all of these channels pose to small business owners and restauranteurs – lack of data.

While you can have a ton of information about the kind of demographic that’s engaging with your marketing efforts with digital marketing, with traditional media, you cannot even know if the increase in revenue was due to an ad you put in a magazine or because of a competitor having less staff.

If only there was a way to combine first, second, and third most effective forms of advertising for your business. Actually…

Word Of Mouth + Traditional Media + Digital Marketing Level Of Control = Ride-sharing marketing

Word of mouth accounts for the majority of conversions, traditional media and digital marketing account for the rest, but there is indeed a way the different demographics that engage with these different forms using just one service.

Ride-sharing marketing helps restaurants promote themselves using the most effective form of advertising, specifically for restaurants – word of mouth. In fact, customers depend on personal reviews when choosing a restaurant than any other industry.

But as I mentioned, word of mouth is responsible for only a part of conversations, albeit, still a really large part and not utilizing other methods, traditional media, for instance, means you’re leaving money on the table. But with traditional media, you’ve got the problem of lack of data which means unless you’ve got a whole marketing department at your disposal, ascertaining the true effectiveness of any specific traditional media will be very hard. And social media is confusing, harshly competitive, and as I will explain later, more expensive.

What ride-sharing marketing does is take what’s good about these advertising strategies and creates something new without limitations.

Your Own Fleet of Salesman

Under ride-sharing marketing, companies print flyers for your business, train rideshare drivers (like Uber drivers) how to be good salesmen, and use a machine-learning algorithm to constantly update driver performance, effective routes for your business, and get maximum conversions for the lowest price. And once more, speaking of expensive things…

Ride-Sharing Marketing is the Most Cost-Effective Alternative

We’ve done the math. Kuto, a ride-sharing marketin company will cost nearly half as much as alternatives like Facebook ads.

Google is even more expensive. While Kuto costs just $0.79 per click, the average Google Ads CPC for a restaurant is $2.12. More than twice. And the cost per conversion for the Travel/Hospitality Industry is a whopping $44.73 compared to Kuto’s $3.31.

I know it sounds too good to be true but you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Take a free trial instead.


Marketers may be spending more and more on digital marketing but that’s only because traditional media doesn’t generate as much information as social does – information that small marketing teams thrive on. But traditional media is still more effective and works better if you’ve got a bigger budget to play with. But in the end, word of mouth marketing trumps all.

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