Restaurant Marketing Plan | 5 mins read

How to Make a Restaurant Marketing Plan Step by Step Guide

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Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

How to Create a Restaurant Marketing Plan for Any Size Business

What restaurant owner has the time to think about new marketing strategies? From scheduling to inventory management to reviewing daily transactions, managers have their hands full. While restaurant management may exchange marketing ideas from time to time, these plans can easily go by the wayside. There is simply too much to do each day and too little time to do it.

Unfortunately, the restaurant industry can't afford to minimize its marketing goals any longer. Marketing plans are critical in the age of social media posts, online reviews, an overly saturated market, and a challenging economy.

Effective marketing efforts will help reach potential customers, ensure customer loyalty, and increase the bottom line. Furthermore, a struggling diner can implement good restaurant marketing strategies to maintain a competitive edge and overcome any external challenges. So how should a small business owner start?

Read ahead for a comprehensive, step by step guide to create a restaurant marketing plan.

1. Restaurant Marketing Plan Utilize Social Media

Once the owner identifies a target market, he/she needs to map out a social media marketing strategy. Instagram and Facebook are the most popular marketing tools for the vast majority of businesses. Owners should research which platforms their customers use the most and focus on those channels. Here is what to know about effective restaurant marketing on the more popular platforms -

  • Instagram - Instagram is all about pictures, which is great for the foodservice industry. Owners should post mouth-watering photos of their food and use catchy content to entice new customers. Instagram Stories is another effective way to reach a target audience through less formal means.

  • Facebook - Users can post content in different formats, share photos, and update customers with any changes. A chatbot is a great way to save time and quickly respond to common customer questions.

  • TikTok and YouTube - TikTok uses short and entertaining videos to attract a younger audience. Restaurants can also upload any previously created videos to TikTok. YouTube is another way to advertise the restaurant name and brand. It is a better place to advertise longer messages to a wider demographic.

  • Paid Social Media Ads - Facebook or Instagram ads are a cost-effective form of digital marketing. Owners can choose a target audience, time length to run the ads, and pick the amount they want to spend.

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2. Restaurant Marketing Plan Email Marketing

Email marketing enables owners to access the ideal customer. This includes people who have already signed up for an email newsletter or updates. Or, it may be customers who previously dined once or twice at the establishment.

Because these potential customers are already interested in the restaurant business, it's pretty easy to market to them. Still, email marketing requires a comprehensive marketing strategy. Restaurant owners that send discounts, specials and other incentives to each email address on the list have a better return on investment.

The goal is to send out high-quality content that will bring new patrons in per week and lead to more repeat business. If users see the message as spam and have no reason to open it, they will just move the email to a junk box.

  • Consider the double opens strategy
  • Use a cliffhanger in subject line
  • Pay attention to the preheader too
  • Ensure CTA buttons are contextual
  • Make engagement a priority
  • Keep subject line concise to stand out in mobile
  • Maintain email lists

3. Restaurant Marketing Plan Optimize Website for SEO

Owners need to optimize the restaurant website for google search or any other search engine. When users type in keywords such as Italian restaurant Orange County, the restaurant website should show up on the first page in search results.

To ensure this occurs, the owners need to update Google My Business regularly and bid on keywords that match the brand. Furthermore, the restaurant website should include a blog and other descriptive content with specific keywords.

Some restaurants hire an SEO specialist or redesign their website to increase rankings. This is particularly helpful if the owner has limited experience with engine optimization or responsive web design.

4. Restaurant Marketing Plan Create Video Advertisements

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Video advertisements are highly flexible and reach a wider audience. Each video should translate the restaurant brand and the customer experience. Successful videos include interviews with staff/customers, cooking videos, or a message from the manager.

Regardless of the type of video, owners should make sure it connects with potential patrons on an emotional level. It's also important to use visuals and other imagery, as these entice potential restaurant customers more than words alone.

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5. Restaurant Marketing Plan Mail Out Menu

Another good media marketing strategy is to mail out a menu to local customers. Owners may send out customized coupons or promotions along with the menu to entice patrons to try out the establishment.

Small diners may ask a couple of employees to drop off menus/coupons at another small business or apartment complex. This saves money and is a good way to network with business owners in the community.

  • Know the target audience
  • Determine the discount threshold for the restaurant
  • Review past successes and don't fix what isn't broken
  • Look at busiest and slowest times
  • Diversify the type of coupons offered
  • Be transparent about savings
  • Don't forget about kids

Key Takeaways of Restaurant Marketing Plan

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In conclusion, here is a marketing guide for the restaurant industry -

  • Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and paid social media ads are effective restaurant marketing tools to reach a target audience and build brand awareness. Email marketing enables owners to access interested patrons or entice current customers to come back.
  • Restaurant owners should optimize their website for SEO to increase profits and access a bigger share of the market. Some owners hire an SEO specialist, particularly when they have limited experience with responsive design or search engine optimization practices.
  • Video advertisements are highly flexible and leave ample room to be creative. Successful videos include interviews, a message from management, or cooking instructions.
  • Most restaurants mail out menus with coupons or other promotions to a target audience as part of a business plan. They can also use a couple of employees to drop off menus at local businesses or apartment complexes. This saves money and is a great way to network with other business owners in the community.

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