Are you launching a new restaurant?
You’ve got the perfect location, menu, decor…
You think you’re ready
But wait how will customers know about it all.
Creating a restaurant marketing plan before you launch your restaurant is essential.
Most business owners avoid writing a business plan for their business because of its technicalities. Unfortunately, if you fail to plan it means you plan to fail. A detailed restaurant marketing plan can help your restaurant even before you serve your first dish. This post will give you an idea of some of the marketing strategies you won’t want to miss. I’ll show you ways to create your marketing plan to open a successful restaurant.
To get started, you need to visualize your goals, take advantage of your best features, know your limitations and learn to turn your limitation(s) into strength.
Share ideas with your workers
You must understand that no one is an island; we need each other to help us actualize our goals. Seek the advice of your team; you will be surprised with the fantastic ideas they may come up with. Furthermore, asking for their opinions makes them feel that they are part of your company’s big picture.
Recently, Marcus Lemonis on The Profit revamped an ice cream truck business. Before setting out on his planning he checked in with the staff to see how they felt the business could grow. Here’s what Marcus did:
He asked the right questions
You don’t expect to get the correct answers by asking the wrong questions. You need to ask questions like;
- What does your restaurant stand for?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What area(s) do you need to work on?
- How can you reduce your cost of production without reducing quality?
- What are your competitors doing that you are not doing?
Answers to these questions put you on the right track. They’ll also help with your visual identity too.
Get samples of other restaurant marketing plans
After brainstorming with your workers, you also need to research other marketing plans
The best place to have varieties of marketing plans is through the internet. There are excellent examples to guide you in creating a great marketing plan for your restaurant. Check what competition is doing in your area and other towns similar to yours.
Strategize, execute and analyze
Record your ideas, goals and “workable” plans. It will keep you on track, show you if you are off track or not. Let it be explicit, and specific to avoid confusion. A good report includes practical steps to attain your goals; it should be detailed and not just “headlines.”
An example of a detailed marketing campaign plan:
- Date: December 14th-24th
- Campaign: “The 12 Days of Christmas, Family Special.”
- Small: Printed coupons in Daily Breeze newspaper
- Budget: $1800-$2000
- Sales increase goal from last Christmas dinner: 15-21%
- Mode of analyzing campaign success: Keep and count used coupons compare to total sales volume
Use the power of social media to promote your restaurant
One of the greatest advantages of this century is the social media; a lot of small businesses are competing fiercely with the “old timers” due to the power of social media. The best way to showcase your products online including your “chef specials” is taking top quality, mouth-watery photos. Social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Facebook ads, and Twitter is the best place to draw the attention of growling stomachs and regular foodies to your restaurant.
The power of reviews is still very much active today; you can create a platform for your restaurant to be reviewed by your satisfied customers. Such platforms include Google review and Yelp. Having a lot of positive reviews can speed up your sales. So, if your restaurant does not have a social media account, be proactive and sign up now.
Professional and consistent marketing materials are the most critical when your restaurant opens. Don’t wait to launch your website and get your unique brand identity. First impressions mean a lot and if your restaurant’s marketing materials look good then people will be excited to see if the food taste good. Don’t worry this is where I can help check out my restaurant web design and design services to get your restaurant’s brand identity perfect.
Create a calendar
Now that you have the goals and the strategy the next essential step in a good restaurant marketing plan is a details schedule of when you share the information. Don’t dump everything on the public at once use a simple strategy of building buzz by giving bits and pieces of what you’ll offer. Here’s a sample schedule
week 1: Coming soon
week 2: share about the location and surrounding area
week 3: photos of signature dishes
week 4: what makes this dining experience unique
week 5: grand opening
week 6: Specials for opening
With a plan like this, restaurant goers will be so curious to learn what it’s all about they’ll be lining up at your door before you know it.
This marketing plan will help any new restaurant launch with a big bang. And don’t stop at the opening this plan will work well for any big promotions you want to do in your restaurant moving forward.
The competition in the restaurant industry can be overwhelming; It’s not enough to have an amazing location and fantastic cuisine…now you have to know the marketing tips and tricks get people through the door and coming back for more. You need creative restaurant promotions that sell you and your food.
This post will show you strategies to attract new customers, get them to buy more, and how to retain them. Whether your restaurant has been in existence for years or weeks, I’ll guide you through a few restaurant marketing ideas you can use today.
1. Attract and impress new customers to your restaurant
No matter how many years your restaurant has been, first impressions can either bring more customers to your restaurant or send them running. Your old customers may overlook certain lapses, but your new ones will not. Give extra effort to make them “fall in love” with your restaurant.
Create a personal connection with your customers
Before they even walk through the door customers are looking and researching new places to go on a date, have a family dinner, or even order their favorite dish. Don’t wait for them to find your menu or a yelp review, use your website and design to let your target customer know your restaurant is the place for them. People are very visual if your logo, social media, and other graphics don’t fit the ambiance they are looking for you can lose them before they ever reach your door.
Have a fun social media presence
There are traditional marketing tactics you can use to publicize your restaurant; however, it will cost you. Social media, on the other hand, is one of the more low-cost restaurant marketing ideas and it’s another great chance to connect with customers. Be creative, let social media followers vote on a dish, name a new drink, or win a prize for posting fun photos of your restaurant. In the long run having a social media presence attracts new customers both in and outside your local audience.
True Story: Last year a friend’s niece visited New York to celebrate her 16th Birthday. While there she insisted on visiting Black Tap Craft Burger and Beer. When they asked how did she find the place since she’d never been to NY, she replied: “I saw their shakes on Instagram”. So, they waited 50 mins outside in the February NY cold so her niece could get her visit to Black Tap. All because she saw them on Instagram.
Take advantage of the Seasons
Use creative restaurant promotions to highlight seasonal specials, local events, even people – promote food that is in the season. For instance, let your theme in February speak romance. Let people look forward to coming to your restaurant during the festive seasons or flip the romance a host an event for singles. These events will pull in new customers because they are looking for something that makes an average day a little more special.
2. Restaurant marketing ideas to get customers to buy more when the visit
After attracting people to your restaurant, what next? How do you get them to buy more from you?
Provide take-home options
Take-home option is one of the fastest ways to boost restaurant sales. Most people are too busy to think about lunch or dinner. Offering to help them out will attract a good number of people to your restaurant especially when you have excellent chefs. You will be their “go-to-restaurant” whenever they need something delicious and fast to take home.
Live music and sports
Adding a live music to your restaurant can make people spend more time in your restaurant. The longer people stay in your restaurant, the more they buy from you. You can also show live sports, people rather watch live games in public places than sit alone in their homes. Make it even more fun, adopt a local team and offer specials when they score, you’ll become the go-to place to watch the games.
Create first-timer package
Giving coupons to first-timers is a fast way to make them come back to your restaurant. You can also give souvenirs with your restaurant’s name and address inscribed on it. People cherish gifts, no matter how little it is and they show them to friends too.
3. How to retain customers
Your restaurant marketing doesn’t stop at getting them in the door. Once you’ve got them, you want to keep them coming back and get them to bring a few friends. These ideas will help keep your restaurant on diners go to list.
Introduce customer loyalty package;
There are so many ways to get the loyalty of your customers. One of the simplest ways is through membership cards. Have your customers bring the card each time they buy from you, so they can aim at earning a gift from your restaurant.
Hint: Free drinks are a great gift for loyal customers although it is cheap, your customers will feel special and appreciated.
Give back and open up to the community;
People love to support businesses that support them, you’ll attract more people when they know you are giving back to the community. Partner with local groups to give a percentage of your profit to charity. Super-size this strategy by inviting people to your restaurant after their community service project. Who isn’t hungry after a hard day work? Let your restaurant could be the go-to meet-up place after these events to dine and unwind.
These marketing ideas will boost your restaurant sales and keep them coming through the door and to help you out you can download my free editable menus to help you create the perfect special look for these creative restaurant promotions and events.