Restaurant Marketing Strategy and How to plan it
Your restaurant should spend at least somewhere between 6% and 8% of the total sales in marketing, but the idea is to do marketing when you are busy. Don’t wait until you are quiet. Remember, for a restaurant it is more, much more difficult and more expensive to do external marketing.
What you want to do is to invest in your current guests and build loyalty and relationships. However, most restaurants spend 85-90% of their budget trying to get new customers.
What we are going to look at now is how to do that effectively by using simple tactics.
You want to have branded signage that is the best on your street, considering relevant laws.
Before creating a newsletter, list on your website reasons for visitors to register, by giving out a receipt or a free drink if they book online. Once you have your mailing list, do a newsletter every second week, informing guests of your news, menus and once in a while offer something to them as a thank you for being on the list.
The internet has become one of the most powerful marketing tools for restaurants. So, make sure your restaurant is up to speed, and present on all free and paid platforms with updated menus and images.
On slow nights offer diners a reason to come to the restaurant. For example, on Mondays offer wine at cost price, lunchtime specials or a specific set menu that is cheaper during slow times. Remember, give your guests reasons to come in.
Have your positive staff members offer samples in places where your potential customers congregate.
Make sure your website is interesting and well presented, but most importantly, make sure your information is CORRECT. I see many restaurant websites that feature old menus or outdated information. Many people before they buy something make a decision to check the internet for information and reviews. This includes restaurants. More than 70% of adults aged between 18 and 54 have used the internet to gain information before going to a new restaurant.
When 88% of people are influenced by reviews and online comments, having digital strategy is very important, to do it on a budget I would suggest you focus on Instagram and Facebook.
For Instagram use the limited Instagram bio space to speak directly to your customer. Make sure the name handle is the same as the one of the business and website. It makes sense to have the meal featured prominently in the bio and in the photos, now your guest can book directly via the app to your booking system.
Facebook Pages offer an easy way to input your information, including opening hours, address, messaging options and popular times to visit as well as adding a book now button, menus upload, cuisine type, different types of services, and allowing reviews.
With manageable budget you can also do sponsor adds and at times they can be very effective.
Read about influencer marketing here.
4 key strategies to consider for the above
Understand who your customer is and where to find them online. Is your audience comprised of women aged 25 to 35, so the primary social networks I should focus on (at least initially) are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Create a mission statement for each social profile’s purpose, tying this back to your business goals. Ex: I will use Twitter for customer service in order to promote customer loyalty.
Set a goal for each social profile and identify benchmarks for success. Ex: I want to increase new follower count on Facebook by 50 each month to amplify my brand and drive foot traffic to my brick-and- mortar business.
Develop a content strategy for each profile. Ex: I want to post 2 unique images on Instagram each day to increase engagement and positive sentiment around my brand.
Ensure that if you decide to have one, ( I know its old school, but in some cases still works) it is professionally presented and offer a prize for completing one, for example a bottle of wine. Obtain the guest’s information, for example, e-mail or phone number to increase your customer database.
You may want to create a loyalty card for regulars by giving 20% off the bill, don’t do 10% people don’t care about that it’s not enough, or offering a free bottle of wine with every fifth dinner.
Select a specific night to do live music. Be specific about what you are playing, could be jazz, or another genre of music.
Some restaurant operators have on the back of their personal business card the message, ―please come and have a drink on me. This is a very powerful strategy, again it has been used may times, but it still works like a charm!
Remember that you must offer great customer service and warmth to your visiting customers. Make them have fun and have an exceptional experience, so that they tell their family and friends about their positive experience.
Only then you will have the best form of marketing - free marketing!
Word of Mouth
The most powerful way to ensure your restaurant is busy and that you will eventually be successful and popular is to have happy customers that do the advertising for you.
Your product and service in your restaurant must be exceptional. Do more than the guests expect. What you want to do is to get your guests to leave with a sense of energy, excitement, and be eager to tell everyone about their dining experience.
I’d like to conclude by saying not to lose sight of what’s important, make sure that you have a great maintained and cleaned restaurant, an amazing high quality offering served with great professionalism and then spared the word with the best budget you can afford to increase covers using some of the recourses that work for you.
Branding Marketing Creative