Business Insights

Marketing Made Easier for Restaurants

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Looking to Edge out the Competition?

Certainly timely marketing is one way. Outlining strategy helps squeeze the most from your precious marketing dollars, as well as the limited time you have available. Your plan keeps you on message and within scope. It also ensures you’ve got all bases covered, whether you’re using trusted in-house staff or your go-to professional resources.

Start With Dollars

It’s smart to begin building your marketing strategy by defining the amount of money you’re able to put toward any outside costs. Paid advertising on social media/websites, television, radio or print media range widely in price. Graphic design and other services – what outside expenses are part of your plan?

Spending for quality up front and reusing elements in many different ways can help reduce your total expenditure and increase returns in the long run.

Target Audience

Who’s on your list of potential customers? Millennials, families, tourists, college students, sports fans, patrons of the arts – the possibilities are endless, and knowing the characteristics of your current customer base is important in defining who you want to reach and where you want to expand your base. Your target could be as specific as “moms who want quality takeout for busy weeknights.”

What and When

Celebrating the standard holidays could be a good fit for your operation, as could tying into large, city-wide events such as sports tournaments or trade shows. There are all kinds of more creative ideas, from unofficial, fun “holidays” like National Peanut Butter Day to your region’s annual music festival. Business milestones also count, such as your restaurant’s anniversary. Consider packing more promos into slower months, or targeting slower days of the week, to make more money for your operation and your front-of-house staff.

Create Touchpoints

Now that you have your events lined up, define all relevant platforms. Example: For a July 4th promotion, you opt for a 5-day barbecued chicken special, including two side dishes. What media outlets will you use? Maybe you choose to reach social media followers exclusively, through paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

Sales Goals

Define your ROI: Set a sales goal for any advertising message or promotion. For that July 4th promo mentioned above? Calculate food costs, menu price and the number of dishes you expect to sell to find the profit you need – keeping in mind what you’re spending on marketing for this specific event. Then see how your efforts measure up.

End With Action

Your final task is to set deadlines to make promos happen – and see success. For instance, work backwards from Mother’s Day for dates to ensure your special menu is chosen, the price set and products ordered. Set another milestone for writing your social media post, and a date/time you expect to review it and then move it online. Track any other details of note, such as securing special table flowers.

Finding Opportunities

Scan websites and other sources for marketing tie-ins: e.g., Chamber of Commerce, local tourism organizations, college and high-school event calendars.

Calendar Help

Free or inexpensive online tools can help you manage your calendar and social media posts on your desktop computer or smartphone. Do whatever works for you to keep important dates and tasks top of mind, including old-school whiteboards or Excel docs.

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