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November 6, 2019

Plan Your Restaurant Marketing: Implement These Strategies And Trends To Avoid Missing Sales Targets

If you want to hit your sales goals consistently, you’re going to have to consistently follow a restaurant marketing plan.

Without a routine, you might stray away from the must-do everyday activities. Due to the fast-paced environment in this industry, getting side-tracked isn’t something you can afford.

Here is exactly what you need to consider in your strategy so this plan you create today can be effective for your restaurant in the years to come.

“Budget” Isn’t A Reason To Fail

In my early years as a restaurant marketer, I was trained to think:

“What can we do to add value to the business without spending any money?”

In fact, my whole company was trained to think that way. When I first heard it, I laughed because I had the mentality that every goal has to take up some sort of time or resource. Then, when the President of the company explained intangible value such as:

  • Smiling with customers
  • Conversing in a softer voice

I was very much proven wrong. These are the things that brought customers back – not only because they liked the food, but also because they liked the people.

Having a good staff is only the start to adding value without spending money. Many marketing activities can be easily planned and automated while still having that human touch.

Sure, you can still attach a budget to your restaurant marketing plan but when you run out of budget you are surely just setting yourself up to give up. Try to look past budget and think about what you can do without any money at all.

Be Accountable For Your Goals

When you set a sales goal, are you keeping yourself accountable for the difference in actual vs target? If you are, you must have some kind of reporting system in place that tells you if you are hitting your sales targets or not.

The same goes for marketing. Every marketing activity you do has to come out in the form of a report which you can access. From the report, you should easily be able to see if your activities are effective or not. Here are some common key performance indicators that high-level restaurant marketers track within their strategies:

  • Reach
  • Visits
  • Reach vs visits
  • Average visit rate
  • Top items sold

From these statistics, you can know which of your activities are most effective. For example, if you ran a Marketing Campaign to promote brunch but your brunch sales didn’t increase and your dinner sales did, you know that your brunch Marketing Campaign wasn’t effective. The truth is always in the data.

Here is a restaurant marketing report template that can be used for any strategy or campaign.

Restaurant marketing mix

You have a reach someone 7 times before they become a customer. It’s a common statistic for any type of marketing. The number is even lower if you reach that person at different times and places so there is more of a chance that they are reminded at a time that is most convenient for them to visit.

There are so many places to reach customers including postcards, flyers, billboards, social media, and search engines. So how do you know where you want to start investing your marketing efforts into?

Restaurant marketing campaigns

Restaurant launch marketing plan

Restaurant viral marketing campaigns

Before you get into which platforms you want to use, let’s first think of what exactly you want to market. Yes, you want to market your restaurant, but showing someone the name of your restaurant and your logo is much less effective than showing a specific dish, especially if you know it is very popular and will catch the attention of a specific target market.

Once you know what exactly you want to market, you then want to map out how you want the potential customer to go from unaware of your restaurant to a visiting and purchasing customer.

Restaurant marketing funnel

The common eta to map out a customer pathway is by assembling a marketing funnel. The one thing to keep in mind here is that you must think that every person in the world is a potential customer. The definition of “your customer” is someone that might have a need for your product or service. In this case, everyone needs to eat. You might be thinking that you want to target locals, but people are always traveling and even looking for the a city’s most unique places to eat.

A funnel is shaped just like it sounds, an upside down cone that points towards your restaurant door! The top part of the funnel is every person in the world. Just under that is everyone who is aware of your restaurant. Then, there are people who have visited your restaurant once. You can continue down by categorizing people who have been multiple times, are considered loyal and who have bought multiple products.

This funnel can be used to organize the potential market for any of your campaigns. You would just replace “visits” with the specific item you are trying to market. So, if you launch a new menu item, you can create a funnel for people who have tried the menu item or not.

Restaurant marketing offers

One of the most effective restaurants marketing hacks I know is to implement a special offer in your funnel. What makes the offer special is just how valuable the customer perceives it to be. Common marketers know this is discounts while advanced marketers know that this can be in the form of excitement. For example, if you are campaigning on a new location which customers have been eager for, you can ask them to sign up for notifications and updates on the status of the new location.

This signup can be in the form of an email address, phone number, or messaging app. Basically any way to contact the customer. However, when choosing how we will communicate with the customer, we always have to be wary of how we will manage that communication channel. The best way I know of is to get email addresses for email communication because not only is the pricing for sending emails less expensive, but it also has great automation and reporting.

When deciding on what kind of marketing campaign to run, consider the reason why you are running the campaign. It’s great to have an irresistible offer which many people will be interested in. However when there is a purpose or reason, there is even a greater likelihood that they will show interest.

Here are some examples of purposes or reasons that have made a Campaign very successful:

  • For a birthday
  • For a food holiday
  • For a special tradition

In order to know what purposes fit in to your campaigns, you can look at this restaurant marketing calendar which shows every national holiday and food holiday.

Once you decide on which purposes or reasons you want to campaign for, you can create one funnel with one special offer.

What you will end up with is something like this:

A group of funnels that turns into a marketing ecosystem. This ecosystem will maximize customer commitment while reducing drop offs.

In order for a funnel to work, you must be able to fill the top of the funnel so that people start trickling down into the bottom of the funnel and becoming your customer.

Funnels can be used both offline and online but can only be fully trackable when fully implemented online. It is very difficult to track metrics of the physical world.

Let’s see what marketing channels we can use in our marketing mix:

Restaurant marketing social media

Instagram for restaurant marketing

Restaurant marketing instagram

Restaurant marketing facebook

Restaurant marketing on facebook

Marketing your restaurant on facebook

Facebook for restaurant marketing

Pinterest for restaurant marketing

Restaurant email marketing

Restaurant email marketing examples

Restaurant marketing email template

Restaurant wifi marketing

With these marketing channels, you also need to publish content through these channels that will let people be aware of your campaign. The best type of content out there are:

Restaurant marketing flyer

Restaurant marketing videos

Content for restaurant marketing

Now that we have the idea in place, let’s explore the ways that we can implement these strategies in the most efficient way. As said in the beginning of this page, you don’t have much time on a day to day basis but you still want to accomplish and finish the necessary marketing activities. What if you could clone yourself so that the other you is ticking those marketing task checkboxes everyday while you’re spending time on running your business?

Here are some restaurant marketing tools that can help you achieve that:

So, now that you know what your plan is, it’s up to you to take action. Even more exciting, if you use the tools I recommended, you can do one time activities that will run by themselves. All you have to do is audit them once in a while!

What campaign are you going to try first?


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Wilson Muh


Wilson Muh

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