Customers are the most important people in a deli business. If you aren’t getting enough people in to try your sandwiches, then you won’t be able to make it work, no matter how delicious your food. Entice people in and then keep them coming back with the food. Only tackle one demographic at a time, and remember that word of mouth is a valuable way to advertise.
Partner with a local book, video or music store. Create an agreement wherein they give out a coupon for your deli when someone makes a purchase. In return, you give out a coupon when customers make purchases at the deli. Strategic partnerships with local businesses can increase traffic to both businesses.
Post an ad in a local college or high school newspaper. Young people eat out a lot, especially when they're too busy studying to cook. Create an exam-time special where they can get a free drink and chips with a sandwich, or even a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Use at least a 1/4 page ad to grab attention.
Offer free wireless Internet access to customers who stay in the deli to eat. Busy people will want to be able to do work while they eat, and they're more likely to choose a restaurant with Wi-Fi than one without Internet access.
Give each customer a punch card. After they purchase six sandwiches or meals, they get the seventh free. This will encourage them to come back to your restaurant, in hopes of eventually getting something for free.
Host a musician or open-mic night. Advertise on community bulletin boards, in newspapers and on the Internet. Play up the idea of customers listening to music while they're eating. Delis are a good environment for solitary musicians or open-mic nights since they're kept relatively cool and offer a limited amount of seating.