Restaurant Marketing: Developing an Effective Marketing Plan
by Ron Gorodesky and Ed McCarron
Developing a business plan for your restaurant is extremely
important - it helps you plan for your future instead of reacting
to changes in your business. Additionally, it gives you credibility
and lenders will always ask for one if they consider lending you
Equally important and part of a business plan is developing an
effective marketing plan. Marketing, in its simplest form, is
getting out into your marketplace, observing what is taking place
and making decisions based on that which you have observed. A
marketing plan basically puts all the information you have gathered
into a readable format.
The steps in developing a marketing plan include:
Determine Your Market Determine where your business comes from. This could be a
four-block area for a small deli or a 40-mile area for an upscale
Check Out The Competition Gather some "competitive intelligence" through scouting.
Develop a competition profile. Things you should include in
a competition profile include Name, Address, Hours of Operation,
Restaurant Theme (e.g. Continental, Italian, American) and Entree
Prices. Set it up like a chart and include your restaurant for
Identify Your Business Identifying who dines with you is the crux of your marketing
plan. Determine who your customers are (e.g. business people,
social people) and why they dine at your restaurant.
Determine If There Is Additional Business Available For Your
Restaurant Based on your current customer base, determine if there are
groups of people not dining at your restaurant for certain meal
periods that could be. For example, maybe you have a good lunch
trade but it consists totally of social people and not business
Anticipate The Potential New Business Segments Once you determine where you can generate new business, advertising
and promotion decisions become more focused. Reach these new
market segments with advertising specifically oriented toward
Determine Your Competitive Edge Find out what makes you stand out from your competition -
do you have the best location, do you have the best quality of
food or do you have the best atmosphere relative to your competition.
As soon as you determine your competitive edge, exploit it.
Menu Price Points Determine specific dollar amounts that influence a consumer
to make a purchase and price all your menu items accordingly.
For example, one price point might be that a bottle of wine priced
jut under $30 might sell more than a bottle priced just over $30.
Of course you must take into account costing issues as well.
Develop Strategies to Enhance Increases in Average Check Some restaurant chains do this very effectively. The wait
staff is very proactive in trying to sell things such as soups,
salads, appetizers and desserts in addition to customers ordering
entrees. Develop written strategies on how you will "upsell",
include them in the marketing plan and communicate them to your
Determine Your Restaurant's Annual Revenue This will serve as the basis for your annual marketing budget
and should be done as part of the overall budgeting process.
Evaluate the Need for Professional Memberships Since "people do business with people they know",
it is important for you as a restaurant owner or manager to participate
in professional organizations. Determine what professional organizations
you are a member of and evaluate their effectiveness in promoting
Employ the Good Neighbor Strategy Be a good neighbor and take part in community affairs. Do
things such as provide meals to the underprivileged or offer the
your services in catering-related events. Obviously, you need
to carefully choose the beneficiaries of your donations since
nearly everyone will be asking. The recognition and publicity
received from the right contributions is invaluable.
Develop the Marketing Expense Budget Develop a schedule of expenses which would be a breakdown
of your Marketing expense included in your budget for the year.
These line items include such things as:
Entertainment costs (including complimentary meals)
Civic and community projects
A full breakdown of the type of marketing expenses will be available
in the 1997 Pennsylvania Restaurant Operations Report published
by Restaurant Advisory Services later this year. Marketing expense
should average in the range of 2 to 4 percent of your total revenues.
The Action Calendar Introduce an action calendar to organize the myriad of activities
and strategies you select for implementation. This can take the
form of a calendar where your have specific dates blocked off
for your marketing endeavors.
Recap This plan is for owners and managers to follow. It is a blueprint
for achieving your revenue goals.
Restaurant Advisory Services provides full-service consulting
services to the restaurant and hospitality industries. The firm offers a full menu of advisory services focusing on every aspect of the life cycle of restaurants and other hospitality organizations, from pre-opening and conceptual planning, to day-to-day operations, to design and brokerage.