You have now been open for business for at least two or three weeks since your soft opening, you have stopped panicking and are able to breathe. Money should be coming in and, hopefully, you're almost breaking even on a daily basis by this point. You're not going to be able to start paying back the opening expenses yet, and you may still have slow days, so be prepared, and don't freak out. The operation of the restaurant should certainly be going more smoothly. You will now collect data on your customers, and you are keeping to-do lists for the restaurant. Once you feel comfortable, you can plan for the grand opening and really put your marketing into action.
Every person you meet can become one of the 3,000 people you need in your database to make your business succeed. These are customers, not just people who know your restaurant exists. You need 3,000 people who have walked in and spent a dollar or more in your place. Marketing, public relations, and advertising dollars will keep those numbers moving upward, and that's what this chapter is all about.
The short answer is to invite everyone you know to your grand opening, along with their friends and friends of friends.
The long answer is the same, but you should have compiled a list with data about your customers, and now you will need to make that list even longer with potential customers.
As you know, I love to write lists, and I use yellow legal pads all the time. In previous chapters, I encouraged you to write things down instead of using digital devices.
This one is different. Start looking into customer relations management software designed for restaurant use. Hopefully you (or someone who can help you) know Excel or other spreadsheet software. Create a spreadsheet with headings such as name, email address, phone number, address (if possible), birthday, anniversary, social media names (handles), how you are connected, mutual contacts, and special notes such as allergies or favorite dishes. You can also do this in a Word document. I do recommend doing this digitally since people's information continually changes. This information will become vital to your marketing. The more information and data you have on your customers, the more ways you can attract them to come back in. Remember, you need a customer base of 3,000 people.
Let's break down the list. You will be amazed at the number of people you know and can invite to try your restaurant.
Of course, you know your immediate family, and you will want to include them on your list. But here is where you will discover the six degrees of separation to meet and add new people.
For example, you list all of your first cousins, spouses, and children who live in your city. If your cousins' children are married, what about their spouses? They have friends, co-workers, staff, and neighbors. Then you will want to include those connections. While you will want to do this with all of your relatives who live in your city, you will not be able to create the entire list at once. But this is a beginning, and you have to start somewhere. You will be surprised how quickly this list will grow.
Next, think about your professional life and break it down. Before you opened a restaurant, did you have co-workers, staff, supervisors, and/or a big boss? Write them down individually, and then you can expand on each name.
Here is where social media will be a useful tool. Before you say “cyberstalking,” know that everyone looks at everyone else's social media. There is nothing wrong with looking up names on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
You can read whether someone still lives in the same city and what they are doing now. You can see if you have anybody in common with connections or Facebook friends or followers. Social media is another way to reach out to people, especially if you have lost touch. There is nothing wrong or creepy about inviting someone to try your new restaurant. They can always ignore your invitation. This is a great way to both reconnect and fill your list with important data and contacts.
Think about high school and college. If you joined a fraternity or sorority, whom can you reach out to now? What about former mentors? People you know from your place of worship can be added to your list. If you have volunteered, there are those people you can add to the list. There are political contacts and affiliations. What about a former spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend (if you are on good terms)?
You probably don't even know the number of people who know you, and you'll discover how far your reach is in the world. Now's the time to reach out and invite them to try your new restaurant.
Since being an entrepreneur is in your blood, I am sure you have been collecting business cards along the way. Now they can finally come in handy!
There are apps and software to scan in business cards directly to a spreadsheet. Of course, the business card will not include where you met and other personal stats such as marital status and birthdays. But it is a start.
Many restaurants use a simple marketing tool to build up a database: a big bowl with a sign that says to drop in a business card to win a free lunch. This might be a first-time customer who loves the idea of winning a free lunch. Of course, some won't drop in a card, but always be friendly and invite them back.
Always try to get a business card for your database. If the chance to win a free meal doesn't do it, have the server ask for one. The key is to always be building your database.
If you're using technology as your point of sale, you can ask for an email to send the receipt. The more information you're capturing, the easier it is for you to get them back into your door. I have also seen many restaurants place cards on the table to ask customers if they want to be added to the mailing list.
As you are collecting this vital customer information, you will need tools to engage people. I create engaging opportunities each time I reach out. I have created newsletters, special offers, and special invites that I use to blast out to the database. You will need to use a non-transactional email service such as MailChimp (mailchimp.com), Mad Mimi (madmimi.com), or Constant Contact (constantcontact.com). There are many advantages to using these services; the main reason is that your personal email account will not allow you to send out thousands of emails in a flash. Also, someone can complain to the email service if they believe they are receiving spam from you. A non-transactional email service gives people a choice to opt out if they don't want to receive the blast for whatever reason, and they will be immediately removed from your database. Don't take it personally if someone opts out; it is not about you.
You are ready to tell the world that the restaurant is open. Now you need to figure out how to bring in customers outside of your database. Do you hire a public relations firm or social media guru? Do you hire an advertising agency? Can you reach out to the media yourself?
In previous chapters, before you made any decisions, you had to do research. In this chapter, before you make any decisions, keep reading. After reading the chapter, you will have the information you need to make an informed decision.
While print (including magazines and websites), television, and radio are still around, the number-one communicator today is social media. This somehow became my field of expertise (marketing). Using social media effectively, you should have lines of people waiting to eat your food. This is a big endeavor. If you have the budget, you can hire a company or a person to handle your social media. But for those of you with a $25,000 budget, you can do this yourself. You just need to find the time.
As you collect everyone's information, your social media sites should slowly start to be populated as you gain diners and invite people to follow your restaurant's social media accounts. Try to be consistent about how often you post images and other information such as specials. I would recommend daily; but right now, if that is too much, at least pick a day and maintain that schedule. It is vital to keep your social media sites current.
Maybe someone on your staff loves social media and will want to help you. But give them direction to stay on brand, and always read the postings. Remember, it is your restaurant, and social media represents you and the restaurant.
Talk to your food vendors, because they can offer special food images and events you can post. If you have special new menu items, people want to know; so put them on social media, and make sure you include a hashtag. However, keep it evergreen. Remember, any specials you post with a discounted price will stay on your timeline forever, and people will pull up the post on their phone. If you are offering a half-price special on Monday, be prepared for someone to pull up that post a year after you posted it.
When you get a good review, share it, screenshot it, and post it on social media, and be sure to thank the person. You already have your photos, so start posting those pictures.
Remember, people engage with people. If they start talking to you on a social media site, respond to them. If someone posts something positive, be certain to thank them and maybe offer a free beverage the next time they come in and show the post.
Engage the person who wrote the post. Sometimes you will need to apologize. Sometimes you can use humor. I engage people in different ways based on different concepts. The hamburger concept I developed for my restaurants was snarky, implying it was a low-end hamburger, and what did you expect? We answered in more of a comical tone, and it became a lot of fun for the staff to help come up with responses. Then people would share those crazy responses with friends. It ended up giving us more business.
Someone would post, “I waited an hour.” My response to them on social media would be, “You're lucky you didn't wait two hours.” Another favorite of mine is, “I don't like onions, but my burgers had onions.” My response would be, “Why are you crying over onions? You're not the first person to cry over onions.”
You don't want to be too obnoxious, but if you can pull it off, people will respond by telling you, “I couldn't wait to read your posts.”
If you feel you can't pull that off with humor, then respond with, “Come on back in, and we'll take care of it.” But always respond and engage.
You don't want to become too personal, and always keep it above board. If you promise something, deliver.
Remember to use hashtags—and by the way, you can invent hashtags. Promote using the hashtag, keep it consistent, and always use it. Come up with new ideas for posts. For example, if you have new dishes you're working on, cut them up and bring out samples for the customers. Ask if they would like to try it, and if they like it, ask if you can take a photo and post it. Post about your chef, cook, or staff (if they agree to it), and put a human face to your restaurant. If they volunteer for a cause, ask for a photo to post, such as “Daniel, our server, helps clean up a park for families to enjoy.” Look up fun days such as National Spaghetti Day on nationaldaycalendar.com, and promote your restaurant enticing people to “celebrate” a national day with a dish you offer or even create just for the day.
Promote your restaurant, staff, food, and specials, and keep the schedule of postings consistent.
Compile a list of media contacts. Start researching online, and find your local media. How do you do this? Type in “Media List [your state],” and sites listing media outlets will come up.
There is now a second set of people known as influencers. These people, while not usually journalists or writers, have created a new outlet with thousands, if not millions, of followers. Celebrities like my friend and favorite food influencer Jonathan Cheban, aka Foodgod, charge tens of thousands of dollars for one mention on social media. You can search social media using terms such as “food” to compile a list of local influencers in your city.
Media people and influencers love being invited in for a comped meal. Now, understand that there is no guarantee they will write, talk, or post about your restaurant. When you invite someone in, you can phrase it as, “I really would like to have you come to my new restaurant to give it a try. If you like it, please write, talk, or post about it and then spread the word. That's all I ask.” People will respond yes or no.
One other possibility to promote your restaurant with the media is to hold a private party with invited guests such as the media and influencers. You can hand-pass food or offer a meal during the night. Again, you will have to compile the list to know whom to invite. Personally, I would advise asking the media and influencers personally, or hire a local public relations company to help you host a media night. The media and influencers will show up, but everyone understands that you might have an exceptional chef or staff working to make the evening extra special. That is not a representation of your real restaurant, and if everyone understands your heart and soul as part of this opening, I believe you will get a much better response.
There are many armchair food critics looking for reasons to write bad reviews on social media sites. We addressed this issue in Chapter 7. As you will find, the professional critics will work with you and give you the chance to succeed. Remember, the professional critics work for a media outlet and really want to write a fair review. But do not take them lightly. If you are consistent and well serviced, you should be fine. A great review will help to drive traffic into your restaurant. Ironically, a mediocre or bad review can also drive traffic into the restaurant in the form of curious diners.
Advertising is much more than just an ad online, in a magazine, on the radio, or broadcast on television. Advertising is a paid message that tells people who you are, where you are, and what you serve. You need to ensure that your brand is reflected properly. Put thought into what you are conveying, and use the emotion that best fits your brand.
Many sales reps will be knocking on your door to sell you every type of advertising. Let's break it down so you can decide where to budget your money for the biggest bang for your buck and stay on your brand message. You still don't need to make a decision yet about whether you want to hire a marketing or advertising agency to help you navigate. Continue reading.
One of the things that my company does is IP targeting and retargeting. A target market refers to your group of potential customers. This group can be defined in many different ways such as ZIP code, shopping habits, and dining habits, including people who eat at your competitors. We send advertisements directly onto someone's mobile device within applications, articles, and social media. The reader will see a message such as, “Hey, it's 11:30 a.m., you should order pizza for your office today. ABC Pizza is offering a special today for $9.99 that should feed your office.” The message ends by 1:00 p.m. Then another message at 4:00 p.m. may say, “Hey, if you order pizza for dinner today, you don't have to cook. ABC Pizza can deliver a hot meal in 30 minutes.”
My company recently implemented a nationally targeted marketing campaign for Just LeDoux It Whiskey during the National Finals Rodeo. Chris LeDoux was a famous country and western singer until his passing in 2005. His family served this particular brand of whiskey before he passed away and now distributes Just LeDoux It Whiskey.
We were able to pinpoint people attending rodeo events. First, messages were sent to cell phones and other devices with the Just LeDoux It Whiskey branding. Then we “followed” them home. If a guest lived by a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, which sells Just LeDoux It Whiskey, we targeted them with an ad to come in and have a specialty cocktail.
Such ads don't have to be intrusive. They are on most of the application games people play with their friends. Ads pop up within these apps or in stories people read on their device. This technology is reasonably priced and is something to think about investing in with part of your marketing budget. Think of the checkout lanes in grocery and big box stores filled with candy, mints, and gum. This is impulse buying: while people might not walk into the store thinking they need that stuff, they will pick it up standing in line. Companies that manufacture and distribute candy, mints, and gum pay a lot of money to have their products displayed in those checkout lines. This is the same concept in digital form.
You should now plan to have your own website. Gone are the days when you needed to spend $5,000 for a website with bells and whistles. With templates and free sites such as WordPress (wordpress.com) and Wix (wix.com), you can make your site easy, simple, and fun. There are lots of templates out there that other restaurants have used, and all you need to do is plug and play different pictures. It's all about images and the menu for customers.
However, your website is really a tool for search engines such as Google, Safari, Bing, and others. You want to be the number-one restaurant in your market when people search for your cuisine. Let's use the example of pizza. I did a search on Google, and the franchise Pizza Hut came up seven times. By the end of the second page, Papa John's finally came up. Pizza Hut pays more money for ads than Papa John's.
Should you pay to get a higher rank on the search sites? Are you using your website properly?
This type of search advertising falls in the programmatic advertising category, which can be either expensive if you hire the wrong team to help or extremely reasonable if you research and hire correctly. I recommend looking into a freelancer website, posting a one-time job description of exactly what you need done, and starting to vet out the applicants.
This person can also be used to create your website if you haven't already developed one or to revise it if necessary to obtain a higher ranking. I suggest budgeting money to hire a freelance person who works with SEO and rankings on browsers. The sites I use to find freelancers are fiverr.com and upwork.com.
Again, you can post on the job order that you need to increase the ranking of your restaurant along with including reviews, menu, phone number, and directions. It should not cost you more than $300. Since you have photos, the best pictures can be displayed.
Banner ads are passé. Today it is ads on phones and devices with a targeted audience. Ads create interaction and follow an algorithm.
One of the most significant and best forms of marketing and advertising in the restaurant business today is delivery services. I highly recommend that you connect with each delivery service available, because they will market your restaurant to every person who uses their services. There are even ghost kitchens: restaurants that are not open to the public and only deliver meals with these services.
I never had that option, and I had to hire my own delivery people. There is my w(h)ine (without cheese and crackers).
It works like this: the higher the percentage you give the service from each order, the better placement you will have on their site. That being said, you should plan to give the delivery services 20% of the bill instead of the usual 10% fee. All of a sudden, you're number one on that delivery site, and they are really promoting you. This is advertising dollars invested very well. According to upserve.com, 60% of the restaurant operators polled stated that offering deliveries through third-party delivery sites had generated bigger food sales. It is also reported that orders placed online will become a $38 billion industry in 2020.
Yes, you have to pay something to be placed number one, but this is marketing, and working with a third-party delivery site has been found to increase sales volume between 10 and 20%. This is something to think about when planning your marketing and advertising budget. By the way, this is money you pay from the order, not up front.
What about coupons through Groupon, Living Social, and other sites that offer specials to a big database of customers?
If you have a concept and you want lots of people to come in the door, they are fantastic. For example, my friend Christina owns a mini-golf business, and she loves Groupon. Her expenses include rent, utilities, and staff. Customers come and pay for two-for-one rounds of golf. If a group of four comes in, there are no additional expenses, and the place gets filled up. The only problem for her is if the course is full and customers are waiting to pay the full price. However, she has an arcade that is not only another revenue center but also lightens up the load on the mini-golf course by keeping customers engaged in other activities.
With a restaurant, it is different. If a customer purchases one of your coupons from the online coupon company, the revenue breakdown is simple: the restaurant receives about 50% of the price paid for the coupon. In essence, the customer will come in with a coupon for 50% off the price of a meal, and you will receive only 25% revenue on that meal. That will eat into your food costs. In my opinion, using those services is not worth it, including the cost to the company. I recommend offering creative specials like half-price steak nights (where you keep 50% of the revenue). This way, you control the loss and gains.
The only benefit is that these coupon websites have enormous databases that reach all their customers and introduce them to your restaurants. That will bring more customers through your door, but at a large cost to you. Just be ready to lose money to gain new patrons.
Yes, specific demographics do. One of them is an older demographic. However, if you are thinking Boomers, that generation is using apps and can navigate phones and devices. I am speaking about the generation before the Baby Boomers.
There are still companies that offer coupon mailers, and you can target neighborhoods and ZIP codes. Let's say you decide to try a mailer with a 50%-off coupon. A couple comes into the restaurant and orders a meal using the coupon, and you lose the cost of your food by honoring that coupon. Will they return? If they are on a budget, probably not. Factor in the price of sending out the coupons. You are now in the red with this advertising investment, because advertising is an investment.
There are small local magazines that target ZIP codes or communities, and newsletters for places of worship. Personally, I would select the house of worship. The ZIP code magazines are great for people looking for a handyman but not so much for a place to eat. Also, you need to run a big ad, not a small quarter-page or business-card-size ad.
According to KruseControlInc.com, in the 1930s (you read that correctly), it was discovered that people needed to hear or see an ad seven times to respond. In today's world, a person needs to see that printed ad many more times than a digital ad (which will get a more immediate response).
Sometimes a sales rep will promise to include an editorial if you buy an ad, meaning an article about your restaurant. It depends on the publication, but most of the time a great editorial write-up works a heck of a lot better than an advertisement. Of course, if any magazine (digital or print) offers to write a story about your restaurant for the cost of a meal, I would say to do it. But unless the publication is one that is distributed around your city, don't buy an ad just to get an article written.
There is the regular Yelp, and then there is the Yelp Elite Squad. These are reviewers (not critics, writers, journalists, or influencers) who write reviews extensively on Yelp and are invited to join the squad. There are exclusive events for the Yelp Elite Squad, including tastings. Yelp sets up these events, and your restaurant provides the space and food. However, this is not media or influencers. These members will write a review based on their opinion, whether it is good or not.
While I understand that reviews are a fact of today's technology, if you choose to participate, you need to give 110%. Bring in the squad, feed them, and get the word out. However, just remember that you are bringing in people with a very critical eye and palate. You can try to mitigate any mistakes or complaints, but this will be a more challenging group to appease. Personally, I am offering better ways to reach out to the community, but I wanted to address Yelpers.
If your restaurant is in an upscale retail center with other restaurants, you might be approached to participate in a dine-around. This is an event to promote the restaurants in the center, where guests stop in each restaurant to taste one dish. If you operate a burger place, you might give out tastings of your fries. There are also food tours where paying guests stop at your restaurant (all scheduled stops) for a tasting, which is usually a course. There are many ticketed foodie events and functions to benefit charity, where booths are set up for guests to sample your food.
I don't know that I've ever heard any restaurateur tell me they've gained more business from these events. Usually they are involved to say hello to their current customers and make that bond stronger, as well as to develop community relations. I've heard plenty of complaints because of the expensive free food being given away with no tangible results. In my experience, if someone's going to complain because they don't believe they got anything out of it, they've already got a bad attitude participating in the event.
Don’t do it if you don’t want to. If you do want to participate, make sure your greeters are there, with music to fit your image. Project your message in person because this could be the only chance a potential customer will meet you and try your restaurant. Bring your best servers and think about what message you want to project. If it is fun like my hamburger place, project that. If it is a family-style Italian place, showcase that quality. Get business cards, email addresses, post about the event on your social media, and make it enjoyable for you. Your customers know when you are having stress free fun.
If you want to support the charity but don’t want to participate with a booth, you can still support the charity by offering a gift certificate for a raffle prize or sending food for the volunteers.
There are spinners, people who stand on busy corners or in front of a business and spin a sign, usually in the shape of an arrow. For some businesses, that is probably an effective way to attract customers. I don't recommend it for restaurants. You would have to incur the costs of making the sign, and there is a fee for someone to spin that sign. There are more effective ways to invest your advertising dollar.
There are also billboards, including electronic billboards, static billboards, and moving billboards. This one is about location, location, location. In Las Vegas, there is a billboard located on the northwest corner of a major one-way street going north. It is strategically placed close to the traffic signal. I have driven this road many times and stared at that billboard while waiting for the light to change. However, there are other billboards located along a thoroughfare with no traffic signals at a speed limit of 45 mph. Have I seen those billboards? Yes, speeding by; and since I don't want to cause an accident, I don't stop to look.
I have seen one effective use of a billboard by a restaurant. This restaurant is located in a strip mall that can easily be overlooked unless you already know the restaurant is located there and are planning to stop in. The owners invested in the billboard at the intersection before the restaurant to let drivers know the restaurant is in the next strip mall. A second billboard has a big arrow pointing down, telling drivers that this is the location of the restaurant. This is very effective, and I am sure people have stopped in because of this advertising.
Yes, people still watch television. However, the days of only three networks or one cable company are long gone. There are cable, satellite, and numerous streaming services. A portion of the population even watches television using an antenna. Just because you buy an ad on a nationally broadcast program, as a local commercial, doesn't mean everyone watching that program will see your ad (which needs to be seen at least seven times to be effective). The commercials you view on cable are different from the ones broadcast on each satellite network and each streaming service. Cable providers offers its own version of a streaming service (watching cable online), even those commercials are different. You would have to buy an ad on each outlet to reach your audience. That is very expensive.
Unfortunately, a trend that's been going on for the last 15 years is pay-for-play TV interview shows. Sometimes, as a restaurant owner, you can get an interview and offer a demonstration for special events such as the Big Game or holidays without paying, because the TV shows want to feature a segment about food. But be prepared for account executives from television stations to come knocking and to offer you an appearance on television for a price. I would wait and provide an interview and demonstration for special holidays instead of paying for it.
You have something just as valuable to offer instead of money: you can offer a meal, and most print, broadcast, and digital outlets need a place to bring clients.
Don't go overboard, but offer a trade in exchange for advertising. Select the outlets that will be the most effective for you. In broadcast outlets, tell the account executives that you don't want an ad but to have the on-air talent talk about your restaurant. For print and digital, ask for an article.
Let's say you are giving the outlet a $100 trade and they're going to bring two or three more people in the door. That could be two or three more customers to add to your database, so that makes sense as an advertising investment (and trade is an advertising investment). I did this type of media trading with my floral warehouses. I advertised in trade with a local sports radio program starring former Redskin football player Rick “Doc” Walker and Georgetown University coach John Thompson. When those listeners heard that Rick or John just picked up a dozen roses for only $9.99, there would be customers standing in line out my door. Lucie McKay, who ran the floral warehouses with me, needed a few days to prepare the staff for the mad rush that this type of advertising brought us.
Let's talk about public relations, which is different from marketing and advertising.
The difference between public relations and advertising is whom you pay. You pay a public relations professional (or firm) to get your message out about your restaurant. In advertising, you pay for the word to get out there, whether you are using an advertising agency, contracting with an outlet, or using other means like sign spinners.
There are public relations firms that specialize in promoting restaurants and food-related events. However, a retainer (set fee) is usually involved, and there are ways you can get the word out without hiring anyone. They will pitch your restaurants to media people to get articles written without you having to pay for an ad. This is called earned media. Basically, the media is earned from the relationship between the public relations person and the media outlet.
There are ways you can do that yourself.
My friend Debbie Hall is a publisher, editor, and writer for multiple magazines and digital sites. She has her go-to list of restaurants, restaurateurs, and chefs to get quotes from. If she's writing an article on food safety, food service, or what's trending, she will reach out to these people first. Why? First, she knows them and their reputations. While she does understand that they are working and doesn't expect an immediate response, they acknowledge her messages. If they don't know the answer, they can direct Debbie to the right person. Debbie will pick up the phone, call me, and ask me about some aspect of food and restaurants. I'll give her a quote. The next thing you know, my name's in the publication, and that is great. She will write, “According to Michael Politz, of Food & Beverage Magazine ….” That is brand recognition. So you get to know Debbie (or someone like her). You invited them in for a meal and offer to give quotes and become a go-to resource. Make it fun, and tag them on social media. Again, this goes back to creating relationships.
Let's talk about awards. There are many competitions to enter. Now, for 9 out of 10 awards, you are able to simply purchase the wall plaque, but it still looks cool and is great to post on social media and the walls of your restaurants. So try to enter as many award competitions you can; even if you don't win, it still gets your restaurant name out there.
On a truly legitimate level, you will find that your local community newspapers and magazines probably have best restaurant awards or greatest waiter competitions. On a global scale, you will find Michelin, Top 50, Elite Traveler, James Beard, and Tripadvisor Awards. They each have different entry fees and rules of engagement for entries.
Post that the restaurant is nominated for an award. However, only post a second time if you win the award. If you don't win, don't post anything about that award. Yes, it would be good sportsmanship to post “Congrats to ABC Restaurant for winning the Best Of award,” but if your restaurant was nominated for the same award, people are going to wonder why you didn't win. But if you do win, make certain everyone knows.
If your restaurant is written up in print, especially a cover story, frame it and hang it up. Hopefully, you will get so many that you run out of wall space. Be sure to take a photo of the article and post it on social media, thanking the writer and publication. That will go a long way in creating a relationship with a member of the press. Also, send your photos with tags to industry publications and social media sites such as Food & Beverage Magazine. You can send photos with tags using Facebook Messenger or Direct Message on Instagram, or look up the email address listed on the page.
Don't worry if you don't have a wall of celebrities. In fact, don't ever ask a celebrity who comes into your restaurant to take a picture with you, unless they offer—and it's great if they do. Start a wall with your regular customers, instead. Celebrities don't come back all the time, but the regular customers will return, and they want to be your celebrities. Put their photos up on the wall, thanking them. Post on social media. Sponsor children's or adult sports teams such as bowling or soccer. There are many ways to get your name out there.
Following my advice, hire a public relations firm or social media guru for special projects only, and save a lot of money. As for the advertising agency, there is no need to hire one at the moment.