Use This Roadmap to Create Your Restaurant Marketing Plan

By Raubi Perilli

      Feb 19, 2022     Solutions    

Many restaurant owners come from culinary backgrounds but find themselves learning the nuances of accounting, human resources, and marketing as they develop their business. For someone who is passionate about creating quality cuisine, these worlds can seem incredibly foreign and complex.

However, with a little research and some trial-and-error, you can develop a unique restaurant marketing strategy that helps your business grow.  

The first step to launch your marketing strategy is to organize your thoughts. Start by developing a restaurant marketing plan that you can refer to as you promote your business. Follow this template to develop your plan and take steps to execute it.

#1) Start With Your Goals

Every restaurant has the same high-level goals: bring in more customers and make money.

However, your marketing plan needs to be more detailed than that. There are certain goals for you to reach in the process of bringing customers to your restaurant that are important to hit if you want to grow.

For example, a restaurant might set goals to reach a few thousand people in the area to promote their business. They might also set a goal to bring a set percent of new customers back within three months. As you develop your goals, keep these five criteria in mind:  

  • Specific: Explain the goal and its purpose in detail.
  • Measureable: Define how you will measure the success of your efforts.
  • Achievable: Confirm that it is possible to achieve your goals.
  • Realistic: Validate that the goal is realistic.
  • Time-Bound: Set deadlines to help you reach your goal.

If you live in a town with a million people, it’s unlikely that you will reach all one million residents in a month. However, if you set a goal to reach a thousand new people per month over six months, you increase your chances of effectively promoting your business and reaching your goals.

#2) Identify Strategies to Achieve Those Goals

Your marketing strategies are the next level below your goals. Your strategies essentially answer: what methods will we use to accomplish our plan?

For example, if you’re goal is to eat dinner, your strategy could be to drive to a restaurant, order a pizza, or cook something at home. 

We have brainstormed several restaurant marketing ideas before, most of which you can apply to your marketing plan. You can test marketing through:

Each of your marketing strategies will have their own goals and measurable tactics tied back to them.

#3) Develop Tactics and Plans That Tie Back to Your Strategies

If the strategies are the high-level ways you plan to execute your restaurant marketing plan, then your tactics are your detailed ideas. Continuing with the dinner metaphor mentioned earlier, if your strategy is to drive to a restaurant then your tactics address which car you plan to take and which roads provide the best options.  

Let’s use social media as an example. You may decide to invest in paid social media ads to reach the goal of more people learning about your restaurant. Your tactics will address which social media channels you will use, what ad demographics you will reach, and what you will post to attract potential customers. The tactics are more of the nitty-gritty details of your restaurant marketing plan.  

For example, you might use your social media to giveaway free drinks to five customers each week. This is the detailed brand strategy that ties to the goal of bringing more people into your store.  

As you can see, your marketing plan will start to look like a funnel. Goals provide a high-level view of what you want and then you zoom in to the more detailed strategies and tactics.

Related: 10 Restaurant Promotion Ideas That Attract Customers and Drive Sales

#5) Choose which Marketing Tools to use for your Restaurant

Effective marketing not only begins with a good plan, but it also requires the right tools.  Learn more about the local marketing tools that you can use to activate marketing tactics and campaigns.  Incorporate marketing tools as part of your restaurant marketing plan so that you can be effecient in deploying your campaigns.

Some marketing tools include:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Local Marketing Platform
  • Email marketing campaign management
  • Social media posting platforms

#5) Create a Timeline for Each Strategy or Campaign

One of the most important factors for your goals is that they are time-bound. This allows you to track their success and challenge yourself in the future. Time-bound goals also help you develop seasonal marketing tactics to promote your restaurant.  

For each tactic you add, create a timeline to launch, evaluate, and stop the strategy if necessary. Some of your tactics might only last a few months, while others could be evergreen and never stop.

A few examples of this include:  

  • Holiday special events that only run for a few weeks each year.
  • Paid promotions when you launch that last a few months after your restaurant opens.
  • Test strategies that you want to try for a few weeks to see if they work.
  • Long-term strategies with quarterly budgets that will be evaluated a few times each year.
  • Blog content that needs to be created regularly with no stop date.

As you can see, each tactic will have at least some time limits or guidelines for your marketing team to follow. This will also help you prioritize certain marketing efforts and seasonal tactics that only last a short time. After all, you can’t start planning for your Christmas rush mid-December.

#6) Refer to Your Restaurant Marketing Campaign Regularly

The goal of creating a marketing campaign is to develop a roadmap that guides you through the restaurant promotions process. If your marketing tactics aren’t driving customers and sales to your business, then you can review your strategies and goals to make sure they reflect your plans. You may need to adjust your roadmap in order to effectively reach your goals.  

As a result, you will likely review and update your marketing plan at least quarterly, if not monthly. You may decide that certain strategies aren’t working for you right now or decide to increase your budget based on the success of other ideas. Your restaurant marketing campaign is a living document that will grow alongside your business.  

Let's Develop a Restaurant Marketing Plan Together

If you’re still unsure about developing a restaurant marketing campaign or don’t have to time while you open your new business, MyArea Network is here to help.

Contact us for a free consultation. We specialize in working with restaurants and hospitality businesses and can help you brainstorm ideas for promoting your business as well as help you execute your tactics from top to bottom.