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How to make a marketing plan for your restaurant

By Louise Harvig Olsmar, 23 Nov 2022

Keep reading - 3 minutes reading time

How to make a marketing plan for a restaurant

With a restaurant marketing plan, you can identify the key activities you should focus on to attract new or "old" guests to your restaurant. By writing down in a marketing plan how you will reach your target groups, it will also be easier to follow up on how things are going. Here below we share some tips.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is part of the business plan and should contain WHAT you will communicate to WHOM and in WHICH channel. The finesse of a marketing plan is to clarify how you could influence your target group to actually eat at your restaurant. With a marketing plan, you are also "forced" to make it clear which target group(s) you are targeting.

Why should you make a marketing plan?

• With a marketing plan, you can concentrate your marketing around a few activities. That way, you don't have to feel like you should do "everything" or be "everywhere". It is better to start in one channel and post regularly than to be in many places and rarely post.

• A marketing plan is like an almanac. You know what to do and when.

• With clearly identified activities or campaigns, you can easily follow up and evaluate. Are you in the right channel, is the content engaging etc?

• Knowing what to do when usually increases creativity. You won't feel like you have to post all the time.

What should be included in a marketing plan?

By writing down what your restaurant is, what food you offer, what drink you like and whether you have a niche (vegetarian, meat, seafood), the image of you clarifies. Which image do you want to send out? Do you offer fast food, small dishes, fine dining or a bistro. Feel free to start from what your typical customers want and what they like or appreciate, then it will be easier. It might be worth thinking through who your competitors are and what their offering looks like, is there anything they do that is popular or that creates value?

1. Aims and objectives

Write down why you opened this restaurant, who do you want to attract and why? Your purpose is important because it is part of the core message of your communication. By defining the goal, it also becomes easier to overview what you want to achieve with your marketing. Is the goal more new customers, a loyalty program that attracts "old" customers back, or do you want to make a name for yourself in organic wines? Feel free to set an overall goal but which is also related to your activities. How many new followers should you get every week on your social media account? How many take away meals sold should you have per month and how can it be related to a campaign or activity? Or is the goal two full sittings per evening?

2. The target group

Once you have defined the guests or customers you want to reach, you should write down what defines them. What problems can you solve for them in terms of opening hours, the possibility of take away, catering or taste preferences? Can you offer other products in your restaurant that will make them come to you more times than around dinner? What should the menu look like? Which wines should be included? Are they passionate about organic, sustainable or vegetarian? What are the habits of the target group, how old are they approximately, how often do they eat out and what else defines them?

3. Channel and content

Channel selection is extremely important. Find out in which channels you should be in order to reach the target group and with what content? Write down the channel choice and the type of content you will create as well as how often you will publish. Remember to have a low level of ambition in the beginning and start with, for example, one post a week. When choosing the channel, think about whether your target group is in social media or whether a monthly newsletter is better. If you choose to be in social media, please read about the channels because different channels are aimed at different age groups.

Read more in our Social media school for restaurants.

4. What is a content plan?

It might be an idea to write down what you are going to publish when so that it will be a little easier to get it done. When should things be done? How often? Also set a budget to get an idea of what you can do and who will do it. If you are going to sponsor posts in social media, it also costs money. Make a realistic plan with realistic times, otherwise it might not come off at all.

5. Follow-up

Remember to evaluate what you are doing at regular intervals based on the goal. Many social media have free statistics tools where you can track how many people have seen your post, how many likes and shares you have received. There are also many different statistics tools for the website to get data on which pages on your website are most visited and how long the visitors stay. Use these! Thanks to online loyalty programs and table reservation systems, you can also obtain relevant data about your customers.

In our business plan we have included target audience and concepts. Please take a look!

Download business plan for restaurants

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