Among the many dilemmas, you can encounter as a restaurant owner, coming up with a budget for your restaurant marketing plan always poses a challenge. You may have a lot of options, but in the end, selecting platforms that work for you can be difficult.
In an ideal setup, you can simply promote your restaurant brand to any platform that you wish. But this is not the case in today’s restaurant landscape, you have to carefully strategize what type of marketing strategies you’ll deploy that will deliver the best results.
Creating a marketing plan for your restaurant can be an exciting task for your team. It involves playing with colors, wit, designs, and the like. However, you also have to consider if you have an allocated budget that can support your initiatives.
Overspending in marketing budget is a growing concern in the restaurant industry. It’s one of the most common mistakes of marketing experts that often leads to poor performance and result for a marketing campaign; regardless of what platform they used.
Nevertheless, marketing remains to be one of the key elements for restaurant management. You can’t expect consumers just to shower down support for your business if they don’t have an idea that you exist. Getting the word out there is crucial for every restaurant.
And if you’re worried that a small budget won’t allow you to achieve great results, we’re here to provide you some clarification. You can market your small business effectively despite a limited budget, no matter whether you’re starting or recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
How To Market A Restaurant On A Budget?
Unlike before where your only options are broadcast and print media, which will cost you a lot of your budget, today’s marketing environment has already changed. Digital marketers continuously develop cost-effective and intuitive marketing channels, so the budget shouldn’t be a concern.
Additionally, the price of a marketing channel does not directly reflect its benefits. Several platforms don’t require huge investment, yet offer great value. Take for example social media marketing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
These top social media marketing channels are considered as one of the most effective platforms available today. They both offer a straightforward interface that makes it easier for you and your marketing team to navigate through it.
The best thing is most of its features are free. And if you want to access some of its advanced features, you have the option to make a one-time payment (if you just want to check its performance) or ask for a monthly or annual subscription.
Still, it won’t cost you a lot compared to broadcast marketing. Digital marketing proposes various types of marketing strategies and channels for restaurants to use. Therefore, if you want to advertise your restaurant for an affordable price, you might consider looking at what’s going on online.
Although there are downsides to digital and online marketing, like your ads can be placed on harmful and exploited websites, they can still be contained. Just make sure that you have the right digital marketing provider to guide you, or simply stick to the basics of digital marketing.
Marketing Budget for Restaurants
Your marketing budget is an integral part of your restaurant budget plan. It’s basically what will support your every marketing initiative and campaign. But what is the perfect budget to allocate for your marketing? What percentage of your revenue should be placed on it?
If you’re in the restaurant scene for quite some time, you must already have an idea or two about budgeting. Overspending and underspending are not something new for you, and you already know that flexibility and compromise are important in budgeting.
If you’re a new player, then we understand if you’re going to be a bit rigid with your marketing budget. After all, you’ve carefully set that budget with consideration of every factor that might affect its performance.
But how do you create the perfect formula budget? When should you start? What are the factors you need to consider? Those are just some of the questions that we’ll help you find the answers to.
Marketing Budget for Restaurants- How To Create
There’s been a significant increase in marketing costs due to the growing number of platforms and channels being forced on business owners. In contrast to well-established brands, those who are just starting to tend to struggle to prioritize their marketing budgets.
Here’s a simple and easy guide that can help you create your marketing budget plan for your restaurant.
Define your marketing goals and objectives
Setting a direction for your initiatives and campaigns is important as it helps you to see the situation clearer. If you have clear and attainable marketing goals in mind, you have better control of your budget allocation. How so?
If you have well-defined results that you want to achieve, there’s a greater chance of you sticking to the tools and strategies that will help you accomplish it. Because you get results, you will be able to recognize when to stop.
Just for instance, if you continue to send out aimless email marketing campaigns to your customers. How will you know that it’s time to improve your current strategy or if it’s something that you should continue if you don’t have a basis for its success?
You’ll end up wasting your budget without getting the desired results. Your goals and objectives serve as your guide to create a strategic plan that will make the most of your allocated marketing budget.
Every restaurant has a different set of needs and goals that they target to meet. For a new restaurant, marketing for brand awareness should always be included in your objectives. You may also include wider customer reach and stronger visibility.
Just remember to keep your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Rank your smart goals according to their priority. This practice allows you to create a more systematic approach to your budget planning.
Choose your marketing channels
It may be surprising for you, but you don’t need to be present on every marketing platform available. Consumers always go for quality over quantity. Using many marketing channels is an ineffective strategy because your budget will be spread thinly.
One of the most effective restaurant marketing strategies is to only choose the platforms that will best serve the purpose and goals of your restaurant. Research about the different types of platforms and identify which appeals most to your target customer base.
Traditional marketing channels are still doing their job in raising brand awareness. But your chosen channel will still depend on whether your audience will engage from it. If your target audience is the Millennials, it may be wise to focus more on digital marketing channels.
To expand more on this idea, here are some of the most common marketing channels that you can utilize for your next marketing plan. While there is no limit as to how many channels you’ll use, it’s always a good idea to start with three or five; as your brand grows, you can add more channels.
● Social Media Marketing – Ever since it penetrated the e-commerce industry, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YoutTube were unstoppable. They have provided various online tools that are proven to be helpful with marketing.
Now, you also don’t have to be active on every social media site there is. Check out the features that they’re offering, and if you think it’ll be useful for your strategy, then sign up. Additionally, your target audience must be on the same channel for them to receive your marketing efforts.
Lastly, know how these social media channels work. If you’re trying to work on your video marketing, then YouTube and Instagram might be the perfect fit for you. Seek out the channels that will enable you to accomplish your goals more quickly and with less effort and expense.
- Email Marketing – Another cost-effective tool for digital marketing. This channel enables you to send out customized marketing campaigns that give you higher customer engagement and boosted conversion rate.
It offers a lot of versatility, you can send an introductory email, follow-up email, and even birthday email to your customers. With the right email marketing service provider, you’re set for success.
● Chatbot Marketing – A relatively new type of digital marketing that offers a different set of personalization into your marketing campaigns. This channel is not just for marketing, but it can also help you with your sales and customer service.
● SMS Marketing – This channel is often overlooked as business owners fail to see its worth. Marketing through SMS holds one of the highest opening rates among the other marketing channels. It also offers an outstanding thirty-two percent conversion rate, which is a lot in digital marketing standards.
● SEO Optimized Websites- Online marketing is a vast area to test on. This type of channel aims to offer stronger local visibility for your brand. Just make sure to provide accurate and informative content about your restaurant to avoid confusion.
Make sure to consider the reach and engagement that every marketing channel can provide you. You must also factor in the conversion rate, and what channel provides the best return on investment.
Adopt a marketing budget model
This is especially applicable for new restaurant owners who are starting from scratch. Creating something that you don’t have much information about is nearly impossible. If you’re not comfortable seeking help from an outsider, there are budget templates and models you can use as a guide.
There’s the famous 70/20/10 model that allows you to allocate a certain percentage of your budget to meet the specific needs of your marketing plan. You may also want to try out the 50/30/20 model. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s still aligned with your goals.
Marketing Budget for Restaurants – How Much
Budgeting and strategies will depend on your restaurant’s specifics. It will depend on your business model, concept, and even the nature of your restaurant.
If you’re an owner of a newly opened restaurant, then you’ll have a different restaurant startup budget compared to those who’ve been operating for some time. The same applies to those who are seeing a great decline in engagement and revenue.
For new restaurants, the range of ten to twenty-five percent of your sales or capital is a good marketing budget. You’re just trying to build your brand and cultivate awareness from consumers, so, understandably, it’ll be a bit higher.
You also have to consider the competition in your area. If it’s a bit more intense than expected then leaning into a higher budget should help you position your brand in an advantageous position.
For restaurants that are already known and established, their budget should be focused on brand retention and loyalty. A small percentage of your sales ranging from five to ten percent should be enough.
Consider your profit margin and competition at this stage. Make sure that it’s perfectly balanced with what you are spending on your marketing efforts. Make any adjustments you deem necessary.
Lastly, for restaurants that are seeing a decline in engagement and revenue, they have to put in a bit more effort. Keep in mind that it’s always harder to convince customers to come back compared to if you’re trying to retain them.
The feasible marketing budget for this situation is one to three percent higher than your previous budget. Because it’s showing that whatever you’re doing, it’s not enough and effective. Review the analytics of your previous plan and identify the improvements you can make.
Tips on How To Market Your Restaurant on A Budget
Budgeting may seem like a daunting task at first, but after you learn the ropes it becomes much more enjoyable. Here are some of the easiest tips and tricks you can use to maximize the budget that you have. Hint: everything you need is in your hand.
Update your Google My Business listing
How about we start with a platform that’s part of every consumer, of different generations, daily lives? Google is the go-to platform for everyone if they’re looking for something. It’s the best platform to raise awareness and gather online engagement.
A GMB profile is a tool perceived by Google for business owners to claim their brand online. It’s a great way to introduce your brand to the online community. It’s a free tool that contains everything a customer needs to know about a restaurant.
Also, if your restaurant claims its GMB listing, it adds legitimacy to your brand leading to stronger online visibility. Make sure to add accurate and updated information about your restaurant. Complete the listing process, and constantly monitor and update it every once in a while.
Launch a YoutTube Channel
Video marketing offers significant marketing results for restaurants. YouTube is the second largest search engine, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity of marketing to its 2.29 billion active users.
You can use YouTube to facilitate relationships with your customers. Use your videos to connect with them. Talk to your staff first and decide on what type of video content you’re going to publish.
For food-related businesses, cooking tutorials are the most popular. You can also ask your chef to provide quick cooking lessons and cooking hacks to make it more relatable for your audience.
Showing behind-the-scenes types of videos are also an effective way to garner interest from the online community. Feel free to ask your customers via online poll or survey on what type of videos they are expecting from you, should you be placed in a creative block.
Stay active on Social Media platforms
Even if you’re just a start-up restaurant, you must already have an account on the top social media platforms namely Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Everyone’s on social media and if you want attention on your brand, this is the perfect budget-friendly channel for you.
With the use of its advanced targeting tools, you’ll be able to send out your campaigns to a more specific audience according to your reference. Having an updated profile on social media makes it easier for your potential customers to develop trust in your brand. You can tell them about your table service app, too.
Keep your Restaurant Website optimized and updated
Use the influence of local SEO. It creates a huge difference since you’re specifically targeting your local area with your content and marketing campaigns. If your website is optimized, there’s a huge possibility that it’ll rank higher on search engines.
Additionally, an updated website provides access to your customers for them to know your business better. Make sure that everything that a customer may need can be found on your web pages such as your contact information, menu, online reviews, and a bit of history. Of course, you should use a good online restaurant ordering system to optimize the service you offer.
Consider starting a Blog
Increasing engagement and loyalty of customers is one of the benefits of blogging. This reflects the character of your brand, leading to a greater sense of customer connection.
This is a type of content marketing that helps your company to promote itself without spending an excessive amount of money. To keep your customers and prospects interested, keep your ideas fresh and exciting.
Engage in Email Marketing
Email marketing is known for its proven stability in delivering higher conversion rates. It is a good platform to spend your budget on since you’re given assurance that it will provide desirable results.
Keeping your customers up-to-date about your restaurant business is important due to the initiatives and protocols restricting physical and outside contact. Send out email marketing campaigns about how you’re handling the new normal to entice your customers into coming back.
Establish Your Local Presence
With local SEO, you’re working on your local online presence, but the online community is not the only community you need to impress. Indoor hospitality is back, you should already start working on how you can have the support of your locals in your community.
Consider joining local charity events, or try hosting a networking event. This type of organic reach to the community and consumers is not something you can get from your digital marketing platforms. Start building real connections with the people around you, you’ll be surprised how much difference it can make for your business.
Developing a restaurant marketing strategy that guarantees a return on investment does not have a fixed budget. What you can do as a restaurateur is to ensure you are not wasting money on unnecessary marketing initiatives.