Is it worth advertising on television? Radio? Do people read newspaper ads anymore? Do I need to advertise my restaurant online, and if so, where? Google? Social media?
Where should I even begin?
If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, you’re not alone. It’s also a great sign that you’re putting a lot of thought into a really important aspect of your business.
However, the decision on how to market your restaurant is neither easy nor straightforward. If there was a one-size-fits-all strategy, everyone would surely be doing it! No, unfortunately, it’s going to take a little time and effort to make a solid, successful marketing plan for your restaurant. But don’t worry; we’re here to help.
What is a marketing strategy?
First of all, in essence, a marketing strategy is a plan designed to help you spread the word about your business. It features all the things you – or your staff – will do to make sure people everything they need to know about your restaurant, from where you’re located to how long you’re open, from how to order or make a reservation to what kind of food is available.
Okay, but my place is well-known. Is this even necessary for me?
Well, yes, it is. Even if you’re running the most popular establishment in town, your potential competitors can take advantage of your lack of marketing and usurp your business. If you ignore this essential part of running your restaurant, you may find yourself with plummeting profits, very few customers, and no idea how you got there.
Sold on the idea? Let’s get started on how to create a marketing strategy.
Step 1: Determine who your customers are.
Basically, you’re pinpointing a persona. The more specific this is, the easier it is to market to people, but if yours is very general because the people who eat at your restaurant range in age from 1-100 years old, that’s okay. At least you know who you’re trying to market to. Are these customers generally a specific age? Are they coming from a similar income level or ethnic group? Do they walk in for a meal during their lunch break or are they making reservations weeks in advance?
Step 2: Find out where you can catch their attention.
Knowing who your customers are enables you to determine where they are – figuratively, at least. What are they reading, watching, or browsing? Are they around billboards or public transportation that would enable them to see advertisements there, or are their eyes glued to the phones in their hands? Are they going home to watch the game with a bunch of friends, or curl up on the couch with a blanket for a night in binge-watching their favorite show?
Step 3: Determine the best way to get their attention.
If you’ve found that a lot of your customers are the types who are on their phones a lot, you might immediately come to the conclusion that advertising online and on social media is clearly the best option. However, what are they likely doing on their phones? If they’re texting loved ones or taking business calls, your online strategy is unlikely to reach them. Of course, if they’re enjoying the latest viral TikTok video or catching up on what their friends are doing on Facebook, then that’s the best place to snag their attention!
Step 4: Figure out what you want to focus on.
You can’t advertise everything on your menu, and advertising your restaurant alone might be too general to pique the interest of someone who’s never been there before. It’s best to pick a single popular dish or something that makes your business unique and create an advertisement around that. It should definitely be catchy, and always be in line with the general vibe of your restaurant.
Step 5: Set a budget and go!
This is a gross over-generalization of what needs to happen in this step, but a detailed explanation could take an entire article on its own! It takes a lot of trial and error to find out what platforms, budgets, and results get you the best return on investment, and it’s different for everyone.
Step 6: Adjust and try again.
Almost no one gets it right the first time, so if things don’t work out the way you hope, adjust – change your budget, try a different ad platform, or make a new ad – and try again. Advertising success takes time, so don’t give up!
If you want to know how Reachify can help you increase top-line revenue and make your restaurant more efficient, we’d be happy to help! Contact us.