Creating a Marketing Plan for Restaurateurs


In order to grow a business, gain a following and understand customers, creating a marketing plan for restauranteurs is an important aspect of the business plan. The Digital Restaurant indicates that creating a marketing plan does not need to be overwhelming or stressful, rather it can be completed in less than 24 hours. Read on to understand some key elements to creating a plan. 

Determine Overall Goals 

Identify what the goals are. In addition to growing business, is it to bring in new customers? Repeat customers? Improve overall check average? Gain better online customer reviews? Restaurant Engine recommends bringing all restaurant stakeholders together and executing a brainstorming session. Suggested questions include: 

● What is the theme of the restaurant? 
● Who is the ideal customer? 
● What is the restaurant’s greatest quality? 
● What areas can improve? 
● How can the restaurant save on marketing costs? 

Once these responses and ideas have been written and identified, focus on the topline goals and write them down. This can be the starting place of your plan. 

Create A Current Analysis 

After goals have been established, it’s important to understand the restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses and reinstate what the brand is. Hashing out a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of your restaurant may help highlight and illustrate where the restaurant stands within the current market. For instance, maybe a strength is that the restaurant only serves organically sourced food, but a threat could be a restaurant down the street who also produces and serves organic food. It’s good to know nearby competition as well as things the restaurant thrives on and needs to work on. 

Identify Key Audiences 

It’s imperative to understand who the audience is. Small Business states that marketers should research customers to identify the ideal target market. Make sure to analyze the types of customers the business may want to cater to, and then identify the value and benefits the restaurant can give to them. 

Gourmet Marketing suggests asking the following to learn more about audiences: 

● Who is the targeted customers? Where do they live? 
● What is the restaurant’s market? To figure that out, ask: Who is competing with the restaurant for customers? 
● What is the restaurant offering? What customer behavior is the restaurant hoping for? 

Using a point of sales system, can help marketers know who their customers are, helping them shape the right tools to reach their ideal customer. Marketers can also make deductions, for instance, if the overall target audience are young people, focusing on social media may be the best way to interact with the general population. On the other hand, direct mail may be a better option for reaching an elderly segment in their 70s and 80s. 

Select Marketing Methodology 

With so many options out there, it’s best to select a few marketing outreach tools that are achievable to oversee on a regular basis. That may mean maintaining a website, creating eblasts, and managing social media. Here are few marketing outlets that may be of interest as the marketing plan takes shape: Digital marketing: 

● Website and SEO 
● Content marketing 
● Social media 
● Email marketing 
● SMS text messaging 
● Review sites 
● Loyalty programs Traditional marketing: 
● Direct mail 
● Contests and giveaways 
● Leagues and events 

Be cautious when selecting outlets to ensure that the marketing team can comfortably manage, as one does not want to be stretched too thin. 

Once the strategy has been identified, define the following for each, this will help the team stay on track and measure results: 

● Objectives 
● Audiences 
● Timelines 
● Roles and responsibilities 
● Quantifiable goal 
● Campaign details 
● How you’ll measure success 

Measuring Results 

Once a marketing strategy has been defined, measuring results is just as important to oversee success in the business plan. Again, using a single database system where all of the data and information is stored can be helpful, making a marketers job more efficient. 

Results will probably include gross and net income, but depending on the direction of the marketing strategy, it also may include page visits on a website, eblast opens and clicks, and social media likes and follows. Identify when results will be measured (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) and when the marketing team will check in to review the strategy and make changes based on results. 

About The Author 

Marisa Olsen, a former Marketing Manager at Harvest Restaurants, a family-run group featuring 11 restaurants in northern New Jersey. Before coming to the restaurant world, Marisa dabbled in the arts for many years at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Sotheby's. Now she is a freelance writer cooperating with POSbistro restaurant point-of-sale and management software, marketing consultant, and tries to eat when she has a minute! 

Girl Loves Food is her food blog, which explores her zest for food, dining, and travel. Marisa loves all food and tries not to discriminate, but, has a penchant for stinky cheese, pasta, pizza, sushi, roasted vegetables, onion dip, seltzer, and red wine.


I hope you enjoyed this article about creating a comprehensive marketing plan for restaurateurs that gets real results.

Interested in more articles about marketing in the food industry?

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