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How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant

This book contains detailed description of how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant from the ground up. It takes you through the process of creating a business plan, understanding your customer demographics and measuring your effectiveness. It explains why a business plan is essential to anyone starting a restaurant and how to kick off the project. It also breaks down each part of a restaurant’s finance, marketing, staffing and legal services.

Do you own a restaurant? Do you want to ensure the success of your restaurant? If so, this guide will show you how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant. You will learn how to manage the profitability, image and reputation of your restaurant. This book will help you gain new clients, increase sales, maximize profits and other important steps related to the marketing of the restaurant.

Enable mobile ordering and delivery


With customers demanding more personalization and flexibility in their ordering, restaurants are experimenting with everything from self-service kiosks to ordering from the table with a mobile device.

The largest shift in ordering is restaurants developing relationships with delivery services to increase revenue. Customers who have ordered online have been shown to visit a restaurant more frequently than customers who haven’t, and restaurants are benefiting from the visibility of being promoted on delivery apps and websites. 

However, many restaurants are adding delivery without actually tracking how delivery is impacting their bottom line. If you’re currently offering delivery or considering adding delivery you should make sure that your restaurant’s operational software can automatically track the financial impact of delivery expenses to make informed decisions about your marketing priorities.

Add reservation links to Google Business

Are you still obsessing over your Yelp reviews? The reality is that Yelp is becoming increasingly irrelevant as Google dominates online food searches more and more. In fact Google’s domination of local restaurant discovery was one of Skift’s megatrends.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already have a Google Business account which shows your location, some pictures, website link etc etc. For restaurants this is Google Business 101. Once you’ve done this, and started taking advantage of Google’s Open Graph and local discovery, you want to start thinking about how GMB start bringing in more revenue.

restaurant marketing

One of the ways of doing this is by taking reservations directly from your GMB page. Google now gives you the option to add a link in a field called ‘reservations’ that adds a link to your website or reservation system on your profile. 

This link gives you a frictionless way for people to place a reservation with you from your Google profile. Some restaurants see a 20% increase in online reservations when they do this simple technique. 

 Optimize your menu engineering


Because your menu is one of the most visible pieces of restaurant marketing, maintaining a relevant, profitable menu is essential for your bottom line. Creating menus requires a balance of profitability and popularity, driven by real-time, accurate data. Using menu engineering data in your marketing efforts — for instance, ensuring that your promotional offer is featuring a high-margin, high-popularity item—can ensure you are making food cost decisions that add to your customers’ positive dining experience and to your restaurant’s bottom line.

Menu engineering decisions that increase restaurant profit are made based on two main data points: demand and contribution margin. Menu engineering not only traces how items on your menu contribute to your bottom line individually, but it also analyzes the product mix to determine what adjustments can improve overall profitability. Menu engineering is most effective when you have an accurate, up-to-date picture of each menu item’s contribution margins and sales record.

Send email marketing that actually works (ie. personalized and automated)

Almost all articles about restaurant marketing suggest sending an ’email newsletter’ as a way to get more customers. But as email marketing is used by pretty much every company under the sun, just sending sending out a general email once a month will usually have no impact.

Email is still a great marketing channel if you know how to use it – just remember you are competing with almost all of the biggest brands in the world for attention in people’s inboxes.

So how do stand out from the crowd? By sending email that is targeted to the recipient based on their history with your restaurant. 

What would you send to someone who has only dined with your once in the past 3 months compared to someone who has come in once a week?

By using your customer data and combining it with email marketing automation you can create email marketing that is relevant to customers rather than just ‘spraying and praying’

To get started with upgrading your email marketing, start by researching CRM for restaurants as well as restaurant automation solutions like those provided by Eat App.

 Prioritize local SEO


Local search engine optimization is optimizing your local restaurant website to rank highly on Google pages for the keywords that local area users will search about your city or state (like “best pizza Chicago”). To optimize your website for local SEO, work off of the keywords your audience is searching, using free tools like Google Keywords Planner or Keywordtool.io. Then, focus your website development on ranking for these terms.

Local SEO is not simple to do, but it can have big rewards. With 75% of users never moving past the first page of search results, being listed first on local search result pages can have a huge impact on your visits and revenue.

 Send birthday reminder emails

Related to the tactic above but this one deserves it’s own section. It’s that important!

Birthday’s the single most important dining day for most people in the year. Restaurants want to capture these diners as usually the party size is large and the total spend is high. 

Smart restaurants focus on these guests as a fundamental marketing strategy.

The 1st step is recording the birthday’s of your guests. You can ask them over the phone, run survey’s or ask them when they are making an online booking.

2nd step is storing and managing the information in a customer database or CRM

3rd step is sending them a personalized email 2 or 3 weeks out from their big day explaining why you have the best venue for their event. You could also consider adding in a special discount to sweeten the deal.

 Promote user-generated content


You probably already have loyal customers snapping beautiful pictures of your food. This “user-generated content,” shared freely on social media, is a valuable kind of free advertising. By leveraging loyal customers as “influencers,” you retain existing customers as well as advertise to potential customers who tend to view word-of-mouth recommendations as trustworthy.

To drum up user-generated content, consider running a social media contest. A photo contest of customers eating their favorite meal at your restaurant will generate submissions that you can share across your social networks, and you can incentivize photos with random prizes, like appetizers or drinks at your restaurant. 

 Connect your front-of-house to your website with live chat

Have you ever been on website and seen a little live chat pop up from the corner of your screen? 

Recent advances in live chat tech means that it is fast becoming the go to way of communicating with customers online. After all you love texting your friends, so why not do the same with businesses?

Having your live chat operated by your host stand or reservation staff gives people direct access to your restaurant as well as a human touch. Potential diners can ask questions and you can grab those all important bookings directly from the chat box.

It’s another way to get diners interacting with you, and something your competitors probably aren’t doing. So use it to stand out. 

There are loads of options to get started for free – Google Free Live Chat for Website.

Conclusion

A marketing strategy is the best way to learn how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant. The goal of this plan is to analyze your restaurant’s current sales, costs, customer demographics, brand loyalty, competition, and expenses.

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