Tips For Marketing Your Restaurant

The objective of this article is to teach you simple ways to increase your sales through marketing. You don’t need to be an expert to establish a marketing plan: in fact, the first thing you must recognize is that marketing is everybody’s job. It is a philosophy, not a department.

For our purposes, “marketing” is broken out into four categories: 1) advertising, 2) public relations, 3) local store (community outreach), and 4) in-store merchandising. Each of these will be addressed shortly, after discussion of a few other critical elements.

  • Develop a plan.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Stick with it.
  • Leverage—get the most out of whatever you do.
  • Synergy—different promotional activities will yield a final result greater than the sum of the activities.
  • All staff members must support the programs or there is a potential for failure through apathy and lack of desire.
  • Be prudent, but don’t withhold funds.
  • Use similar or related creative themes in communication materials.
  • Use art and type that are consistent.
  • Marketing is everybody’s job.

Concept Statement and Positioning

The biggest single item we find lacking in the marketing area is a succinct and definitive explanation of the concept of the restaurant. This should be your operating mantra. All decisions, changes, evolutions and the like should be done with the positioning statement in mind.

Target Market(s)

More often than not the target market is not well defined. You should describe your existing customers in terms of age, income, lifestyle, type of work they do, where they live, and so forth. Identify who you would like to have as customers who you do not now currently have in the above terms.

Marketing Plan

Now it is time to develop a marketing plan. This plan will be your guiding light to increasing your sales, and to increase sales in today’s world requires diligence, consistency, and involvement of all staff members.

Now let’s discuss the four elements of “marketing” that were noted earlier.


Definition: Communicating with the general public in order to generate trial and create Brand awareness. Recognize the various advertising vehicles of radio, TV, newspaper, direct mail, busses, billboards, and others. Examine cost effectiveness and review the synergies of doing advertising in combination with local store marketing and in-store marketing. Finally, be sure to measure results – use exit interviews, sales mix, comment cards.

Public Relations

Definition: Doing something that engenders you to the community. Identify community efforts/programs/activities that make sense to be aligned with and promote your alignment with on-site events or with community-wide announcements. The more popular a cause is within your community, the more mileage you get out of an affiliation with that cause.

Local Store Marketing

Definition: Staff outreach to the local community. This simply means communicating with the local community, which would include neighboring businesses, hotels, residents and offices. You should identify several ways you would communicate to the local community; what you would say and what you would give them to entice them to try your restaurant.

In-Store Merchandising

Definition: Anything in the store that makes the guest’s experience more memorable and will cause them to return on a more frequent basis. This encompasses service, management, menu, specials, happy hours, entertainment, décor & environment. Ask yourself what could be done to make the guest’s experience more memorable?

There are no magical solutions to bring customers in the door and to keep them happy. However, creating a solid marketing plan with a consistent message (that you stick with) will help you to achieve your goals.

So…is your restaurant is doing as well as it could be? If you would like to learn more, contact us for a free consultation.

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