Do you know what the first and probably biggest marketing cost is for any restaurant? The location.
If you pick a good location that suits your concept and is fairly priced then 90% of your marketing has already been done for you. This is the ideal situation because if you don’t pick a good spot you have to spend a lot more and try a lot harder to get people in that a good location would have taken care of for you.Remember- when starting a restaurant, it’s location, location, location, location, location, location, location!!!
So, restaurant marketing rule number one is pick a location that does most of the heavy lifting just by being where it is.
Next, we break down the marketing into two specific sections. The first is your grand opening marketing which may actually go on from three months before you open to three to four months after you open. This is you chance to let everyone know to come in and see what you’ve got and go from first timers to regulars.
Don’t blow your restaurant opening by not being prepared! And don’t skimp here because without a strong start a lot of restaurants don’t make it to their first birthday’s so pull out all the stops and do everything you can to make your opening a big success.
Once you are open then you have two marketing jobs.
Job one is to keep the people who have come in coming back. Do this with great service, great food and a smart restaurant loyalty program. These are the customers you want most because they already know you and like you. You just don’t want them to forget that or be lured away by the competition.
The other customers you want are the people who don’t know you or know you but haven’t tried you yet. Hopefully you get a lot of these from word of mouth from your existing base but you can’t rely solely on that. These people get pulled in by all the usual methods and you need to budget every month for marketing to them so your business is always growing. Most restaurants spend 2-3% of their annual sales on marketing, but this depends on the restaurant and also, again, how good your location is and how hard it is working for you.