Improve Your Restaurant Marketing by Having a Plan

Published: 11th May 2009
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A marketing plan for restaurant effectiveness is key for attracting new customers to your restaurant and for retaining repeat customers. A solid marketing plan features various components to capture a broad range of people. It should also be measurable so results can be tracked.

Once a restaurant is open and word of mouth has begun to spread, a marketing plan for restaurant flexibility translates to a healthy bottom line. A marketing plan should be a combination of things, like direct mail, promotions, community activities, and targeted and traceable advertising. Themed dinners, specials, and other in-house promotions are also successful and inexpensive marketing activities.

A marketing plan for restaurant business means enticing repeat customers. For example, a marketing effort that honors customers on their birthday with a special promotion encourages a larger group of diners to join in the celebration. Not only does this encourage repeat business, but a larger party of diners who will be part of the celebration. This means more people will experience your restaurant, thus creating more referrals.

When developing a marketing plan for restaurant success, look at your overall business. It's important to know the environment in which you are doing business. You should be able to identify your market, compare your competition, define your customer base, explore other customer based opportunities, implement focused marketing efforts for new and repeat business, identify your competitive edge, determine menu price points, and implement up-sell strategies.

A marketing plan for restaurant lifecycles should address busy and slow months. Establish a marketing budget in proportion to your sales. You should spend between 3% and 6% of your gross sales. Your marketing plan can be a combination of direct mail, promotions, community activities, and radio, television and print advertising. In-house promotions are also effective, such as themed dinners or early bird specials. Get to know your local media and find ways to encourage free press. Think creatively and consider every opportunity a way to market your restaurant.

A marketing plan for restaurant development should explore efforts that better connect you with the customer so they feel part of your family and want to support your business. A marketing plan for restaurant development can include targeted mailings, coupons, customer loyalty cards, an e-newsletter, a website and gift certificates. An inexpensive marketing plan is an email campaign where you collect customer's emails in the restaurant or through your website and email them regularly about events, specials, holiday happenings and incentives for dining with you at certain times.

A marketing plan for restaurant continuity means involving the entire staff because they have direct contact with diners. A trained staff is the best marketing strategy because they set the tone for a customer's experience and whether they will return and refer your restaurant to others. Enhancing customer expectations through the dining experience is an inexpensive marketing effort and will ensure a customer's future return and referrals to others.

A marketing plan for restaurant effectiveness means building upon a strong foundation that takes all areas into consideration. This takes all areas into consideration, such as changes in the restaurant industry, your market, the competition in the area, your customers and other influences. Marketing efforts should also be measurable so you can analyze their value. Whether your marketing plan is established internally or by a marketing consultant, it needs to be an integral part of the daily operations of a restaurant.


Jose L Riesco is a restaurant consultant and marketing expert.

In his website you'll find many free resources to help you improve your restaurant marketing and sales.

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