Promotional ideas for a cafe

Updated February 21, 2017

If you recently have opened a new cafe and are looking for ideas to promote your business, then consider offering your customers free samples and items. Those who taste may be more willing to come back to your cafe and to tell their friends about it. Note that you do need to set your budget before you begin any promotion to make sure that you do not spend more than you can afford.

Dessert Shots

Give customers a taste of the desserts offered at your cafe by filling shot glasses with bite-sized portions. These containers are great for pudding, mousse, cake, brownies, pie and any dessert that has a gooey inner filling. Line up the shot glasses with spoons in a tray on your counter, and invite customers to take a bite and to order a full-size portion if they like what they are tasting. Your wait staff also may take the samples to each individual table.

Free Lunch Drawing

Hold a "Free Lunch Raffle" or drawing for one to five lucky customers, depending on your budget. Every time a customer purchases something from your cafe, they receive an entry form. The form should include space for the person's name, address, phone number, e-mail address and a sentence that asks if the cafe may use their information for future mailings and promotions. This is a great way to collect information about your clients for a future mailing in which you can give away coupons or simply invite customers to special events at the cafe.


Host a Bring Your Own Mug Day, or BYOM, at your cafe, as Starbucks has done in the past. Customers will show up with their favourite coffee mug, while you serve them one free cup of your signature coffee brew. This is a great way to promote the kinds of coffee your cafe offers and it also encourages customers to buy a pastry or other item to go along with their free, hot brew.

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About the Author

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.