Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP’s Retail, Franchising & Hospitality group
How do you market your restaurant? Do you use traditional advertising or social media? Both? The way you market your restaurant can make a huge difference in its success and its bottom line. If your customers never hear of your eatery or never discover your great deals and promotions, then they won’t come enjoy your food. Marketing is an important component of your business that should be considered early in your business lifecycle and included in your budget.
According to Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP’s 2nd Annual Halperns’ Food and Wine Survey, restaurateurs typically spend somewhere between .01 percent and five percent of their revenue on marketing. When setting your budget for the year, remember to set aside something in that range for marketing. The exact amount of spending that’s right for you can be determined with the assistance of a trusted business advisor.
If even the lower end sounds like more than your business can afford, don’t worry. The restaurant industry relies heavily on social media for marketing, and much of that can be free. Facebook and Twitter are the most common social media websites for restaurants, with 86.5 percent and 62.2 percent of restaurants having an account, respectively. Make sure your restaurant has an active presence on both sites and don’t be afraid to be friendly and informal with your customers. For instance, during NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music on Dec. 5, DiGiorno Pizza tweeted a series of pizza-related puns, lyric changes and comments that garnered them 2,000 new followers in a single night. Even though DiGiorno isn’t a restaurant, you can get the same effect.
If you really want to get ahead of the game, create accounts on Foursquare and Pinterest as well, which will allow your users to check into your restaurant when they arrive and share photos of your food that they’ve pinned.
Don’t forget about traditional advertising either. It costs more, but you can reach a broader segment of your customers. 16.2 percent of restaurateurs surveyed plan to increase their radio and newspaper advertising in 2014. Television ads are also expected to be popular next year, while billboards and magazine ads have fallen out of favor in the industry.
However, none of these marketing methods will impact your bottom line without follow-up, reporting and analysis. Before you enact a marketing plan, make sure it has measurable results so that you can easily tell which methods are working for your restaurant and which need to be adjusted to ensure your success.
What marketing tactics are you using today? Contact Tommy Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment.