How to Write a Restaurant Marketing Plan
Restaurant owners wear many hats, from people leaders and customer service providers to line cooks and inventory managers. One of the most important hats is that of marketing.
Identify your USPs (Unique Selling Points) and communicate them through your marketing campaigns.
Describe your target market segments and analyze their buying behavior. This will help you tailor your offers and messages to them.
1. Branding and messaging
No matter how tasty your restaurant’s food or ambiance, it doesn’t count for much if no one knows about it. Start with a SWOT analysis to identify your restaurant’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Target your messaging to match your ideal customers. This includes identifying customer data such as their email address or phone number, so you can send them promotional offers, invite them to events or loyalty programs, and request reviews. This will help you convert first-time diners into regulars.
2. Pricing and positioning
Marketing is what entices people to your restaurant, and it’s important that the methods you choose align with your target audience and your brand image. It’s recommended to carry out a SWOT analysis and analyze competitors in your local area to understand their strengths, weaknesses and how they are attracting customers.
Define your unique selling propositions, or USPs, that define what sets you apart from other restaurants in the market. These are the ideas that will inform everything from branding guidelines to marketing campaigns.
You can have the best food, service and ambiance, but without marketing, no one will know you exist. In fact, potential investors will want to see a written restaurant marketing plan before they will invest.
In this section, include your marketing goals/KPIs, deadlines, budgets and a strategy for how you will implement tactics using specific channels. You can also define your unique selling propositions (USP) in this section. This should be based on your brand’s mission and values and inform everything from branding to social media posts.
4. Marketing materials
Your marketing materials are how you’ll reach your target market and communicate your USP. They can include things like your website, menus and flyers.
Food-related events and holidays are a great way to drive traffic to your restaurant. So are drool-worthy photos, especially on Instagram.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website, social media and email. Make sure you’re using opt-in messaging so you don’t put off people who don’t want to receive promotional messages.
A restaurant’s food and service might be delicious, but if no one knows about it, it won’t be filling tables. Creating and implementing effective promotional strategies can dramatically impact check averages.
Defining your target market helps you create and implement specific, measurable marketing goals that align with your business plan. Consider loyalty programs and leveraging technology to make reservations and ordering easy for your customers. It also helps to include your conversion, referral and retention strategy in your marketing plan.
6. Digital marketing
Digital marketing is one of the most important parts of any restaurant’s marketing plan. It is key to reaching customers on their terms and increasing the ROI of your marketing budget.
Social media, email, and paid advertising are all ways to stay top of mind with current and new guests. Each campaign should be planned and executed with a specific goal in mind. This can be anything from increasing social followers to driving sign-ups for a loyalty program.
7. Conversion, referral and retention strategy
A restaurant’s marketing plan should include a strategy for how to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. This may include tactics like developing unique products, offering competitive prices and creating loyalty rewards programs.
The marketing plan should also identify what distinguishes the restaurant and its product from competitors. This could be a special drink, an interesting location or exceptional customer service. Buyer personas are a great tool to help identify these unique selling points and ensure that your staff knows how to sell to them.
8. Financial projections
A restaurant business plan is a vital document that can help you obtain funding from lenders and investors. It also provides a road map for your marketing efforts and a clear picture of when you will see an ROI on your initial investments.
Be realistic with your projections. There are a number of factors that can affect sales, so you should keep an eye on your numbers and make any necessary adjustments.