If you’re serious about your restaurant, you’ll need a written restaurant marketing plan to guide you through the day-to-day of reaching and communicating with your audience.
Marketing plans might seem intimidating at first, but they are very manageable and can even open your eyes to new ideas by stepping through the process.
Start with a Brainstorm Session
Gather the key people of your restaurant (owners, managers, head chef, etc.) and openly discuss the direction of your brand. Some questions to ask the group might be:
- This is the theme of our restaurant. How do you see this fitting in our community?
- Who do you see is our ideal customer?
- What is our greatest quality you see us providing?
- What areas can we improve on to better serve our customers?
- How can we save on marketing costs and still achieve our goals?
The brainstorming process should be open, frank, and welcoming to all ideas. Use a whiteboard and write everything down trying not to restrict anyone’s input.
Research Sample Restaurant Marketing Plans
The perfect place to start forming the actual plan is an internet search of other restaurants’ marketing strategies. Don’t be shy about copying success. Use your favorite outline and be as detailed as you can with descriptions, evaluations, and financial planning.
Perform a SWOT Analysis
The SWOT Analysis is a tried and true method of analysis that applies to most business marketing needs. The best marketers in the world still do SWOT analysis. Do it. Don’t skip this step.
The letters in SWOT stand for (S)trengths, (W)eaknesses, (O)pportunities, and (T)hreats. Think of the first two as internal to your restaurant, and the second two as external environmental factors.
For example, your restaurant’s main internal strength might be its use of only organic, local ingredients, which relates to the external opportunity of increasing health-conscious consumers in our society.
Your restaurant’s main weakness might be an outdated POS (Point of Sale System), which relates to the threat of competitors who use sleek, new digital systems for wait staff.
The notes and ideas from the brainstorming process in step 1 will be useful in this step. By having notes from the group meeting, you’ll be able to incorporate everyone’s ideas while conducting the actual SWOT Analysis.
Restaurant Marketing Plan Report
Put your ideas, goals and strategies into a written report. End that report with a series of key steps you plan to take to achieve your goals. This will force you (and your team) to think deeply about the ideas you’ve outlined and how to plan for and manage them.
Again, don’t forget to talk through and plan for financials. Omitting this step could be catastrophic when it comes to implementing the Restaurant Marketing Plan. Budgets are important.