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How to build a restaurant marketing plan for 2022?

There's not a sliver of doubt that customers will be hooked on to your restaurant if you give them a seamless dining or delivery experience. The only thing standing is the way is to convince customers to walk in the door for the first time, or place that first online order. But a good marketing plan with well directed promotions to the right target audience will ensure engaged customers. And, this is true for an established and a new restaurant alike.

Now what's a marketing plan to begin with? Simply put, it's a document that chalks out your outreach and promotional strategy to acquire and retain customers. It usually includes information like who your ideal consumers are, how you plan to contact them, and who your competitors are. Making a restaurant marketing plan is a great way to learn more about your business, how it compares to other similar businesses in your area, and what your competitive advantages are over the rest.

Here’s a detailed look at what information an ideal restaurant marketing plan must contain along with examples:

  1. Set SMART goals with KPIs.

Goals are an important aspect of any organisation because they provide direction, motivation, a clear focus, and a sense of importance.  SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. As a result, a SMART goal combines all of these factors to help you focus your efforts and boost your chances of success. Alongside this, setting up KPIs (Key performance Indicators) are of utmost importance to identify and track your goals.

Eg: Goal 1: Reach new customers
KPI: Acquire 100 new customers by throwing in an acquisition offer.

Goal 2: Increase customer retention
KPI: Double the number of customer accounts in the restaurant’s CRM

Goal 3: Boost brand awareness
KPI: Increase the restaurant’s social media following by 15% every quarter.

  1. Create your restaurant's ideal customer profile.

Great marketing is the outcome of understanding who your target consumers are and then speaking to them in ways that they understand and through channels that they use. A fictional portrayal of your ideal customer that helps you tailor your sales and marketing efforts.  It includes demographic information such as age, gender, and income, as well as qualitative information such as what they appreciate in various places and what restaurants they prefer for lunch or supper.

Eg: Type: Wealthy regular
Age: Mostly 30 – 50
Gender: Equal Split
Profession: Often businessmen, high-end white-collar work
Spending per head: Generally high
Why do they come? Quality of food, service, and ambience
When will they attend? Often at quieter times such as midweek brunch
Where do they live? Mostly within 20 – 30 minutes of the restaurant
What do they order? Heavy focus on premium wine and Chef’s special
How long do they stay? 1 to 1.5 hours
Do they dine in a group: Normally two to four per group.

  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis.

The value of self-evaluation cannot be emphasised, especially when creating a marketing plan from scratch.  You must be assess your restaurant for both internal and external strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats posed by competitors; the goal is to figure out what you do well and where you fall short in relation to similar businesses.

Strengths: Internal attributes that can help your business.
Eg: You use your grandma’s original recipes from her homeland.
Eg: Your executive chef has trained with one of the best chefs in the world.

Weaknesses: Internal attributes that can stand in the way of your goals.
Eg: You’ve never innovated recipes before
Eg. Your restaurant’s location does not get heavy foot traffic.

Opportunities: External attributes that can help your business.
Eg: Falling real estate prices mean you’ll now be able to afford a prime location
Eg: Food trucks are rising in popularity, so this is the perfect time to open one

Threats: External attributes that can stand in the way of your goals.
Eg: Obtaining a liquor license in my area is difficult
Eg: A labour shortage means staff will be hard to come by

  1. Identify your Unique Selling Proposition.

 Write down your restaurant’s unique selling propositions (USPs), that is what makes it different from the competition. Define your market differentiator in a single statement; this statement should describe your advantage over the competition.

Eg: Domino’s Pizza, you get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.

  1. Recognize your restaurant’s key marketing channels and strategies.

List any and all digital and physical marketing channels that your restaurant uses or plans on using, and explain how you’ll use each channel to achieve your marketing goals. 

Social media: Use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share updates and encourage customers to make reservations and place online orders. Make sure to link to your direct ordering platforms in your bios.

Email newsletters: Use restaurant marketing software that can send customers hyper-personalized marketing offers, automatically.

Optimize your restaurant’s website: Optimize your website to convert visitors into guests through online orders and reservations. Pop ups and prominent buttons will help.

Google listings: Maximize your Google My Business and Google Maps listings by adding buttons that allow visitors to place orders and make reservations.

CRM: Once you have access to customer information – SMS and email campaigns on your marketing automation tool are a great way to engage your audience.

Influencer Marketing: Your restaurant may not be a hit right away even if you provide the customer with an amazing experience or excellent food. Amplification is important. That is where influencers and bloggers come in.

These are the various channels you can use to build your marketing plan on. For further depth on these points refer to:

6 video content ideas to promote your restaurant!
5 Proven Ideas to Generate Buzz for your Restaurant!
7 Facebook advertising best practices to follow for better campaign results!
5 customer generated content ideas and how to grow your restaurant presence using it!


  1. Determine your marketing budgets and estimated spends.

Revisit your marketing strategies to determine the best allocation of your marketing budget between the different channels. Well established restaurants already have a set of marketing strategies that have worked well for them in the past. 

If you fall in this category, you should be allocating 60-70% of your total budget to the channels and strategies that have yielded the highest ROI in the past. However, adopting the same strategy over and over or copying what your competitors are doing may lead to stagnation. So, you should devote a certain percentage of your budget to trying out new approaches every quarter. You should not be in a hurry to change strategies as any new approach requires at least 3-4 months time and consistent efforts before it starts yielding results. Perform small-scale tests and analyze results and before proceeding to scale over a period of time.


Restaurant marketing is a never-ending process. You'll attempt a few methods, see what works and what doesn't, and fine-tune your overall plan based on your findings. The most crucial thing to remember when it comes to restaurant marketing is to be agile and not be scared to take make changes on the go. You might just find that a marketing strategy you didn't think would succeed turn out to be a hit. Simply be conscious of your limitations so that you can take calculated risks rather than blowing your budget.

Adarsh Iyer

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