Attract new guests with this in-depth restaurant marketing plan template.
Key Sections of a Restaurant Marketing Plan and Strategy
All restaurants should have a marketing plan to help them achieve success and meet their business goals. And with a restaurant marketing plan template, you’ll be able to save time that can instead be spent on making your restaurant a success.
Below is an overview of what to have in your restaurant marketing plan, specifically: a competitor analysis, brand strategy, a marketing plan overview, and marketing plan details. Download the free template and follow along.
The restaurant marketing template starts with a Competitor Analysis section, which will help you and your team understand who your competitors are, their marketing strategy, and what tools, technologies, and integrations they’re already using, like social media or email marketing.
It can also help you figure out the weaknesses in your competitors’ restaurant marketing strategies, allowing you to take advantage of untapped business opportunities.
To complete this section, start identifying your main competitors. Next, take a holistic approach when evaluating those restaurants and their objectives – look at what type of channels they use, the brand voice and tone, their target audience, and their events and promotions.
Having all these details will help you and your team complete a thorough SWOT analysis of their business – meaning strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – that will ultimately help you stand out from competing restaurants.
Here’s what to ask yourself when you fill out the competitor analysis in your restaurant marketing plan doc:
- Strengths: What are they doing well and having success in? For example, do they tend to have a high guest turnout for their special events?
- Weaknesses: Where do you see room for improvement in their strategy? For example, did you notice negative reviews about their hospitality?
- Opportunities: Can any of your own strengths help you do better than them (especially their weaknesses)? For example, does your hospitality and customer service have positive reviews that you can leverage to stand out to potential guests?
- Threats: Which of their strengths is your business unable to compete with? For example, do they have a high budget for events that you can’t afford to compete with?
The next section in the restaurant marketing plan doc is a SWOT analysis of your own brand. When filling out this section of your marketing strategy, it can be helpful to look at another restaurant marketing plan example to understand what characteristics fall into each category.
Here’s what to ask yourself when you fill out a SWOT analysis for your brand:
- Strengths: Which of your business’ attributes will help you achieve your goals? For example, do you have high click-through rates on your email marketing campaigns?
- Weaknesses: Which of your business’ attributes will hinder you from achieving your goals? For example, is in-person patronage low compared to your takeout and delivery orders?
- Opportunities: What external factors can help your business succeed and grow? For example, because your email marketing is doing well, consider using email to offer in-person-only promotions to encourage more dine-in guests.
- Threats: What external factors might hurt your business? For example, do you have negative reviews online that are preventing guests from coming to your restaurant?
The market differentiators section is where you will talk about your restaurant’s concept and your unique selling proposition – what your business can offer customers that your competitors can’t or don’t. For example, can customers make a reservation with you during busy times?
If you’re not sure where to start, look at the opportunities section of your competitor SWOT analyses. And keep this section in mind while working through the rest of your marketing strategy, so you can capitalize on your market differentiators.
Restaurant Marketing Plan Overview
The final section in our restaurant marketing plan template PDF is a Marketing Plan Overview. This is where you use what you and your team have learned from filling out the earlier sections in your marketing strategy. You’ll start by outlining your restaurant mission statement, then add an elevator pitch, outline your target audience, and lastly, describe your restaurant marketing voice and tone.
Your mission statement is a few sentences about your restaurant’s purpose, core values, and goals. It’s also a way to set your restaurant’s concept apart from competitors.
Your elevator pitch allows you to explain your business in a short time (60 seconds or less). It needs to briefly and effectively explain your business to someone who’s never heard of your restaurant and pique their interest, too.
Your target audience is your ideal customer base, which you identified based on your restaurant market research. This also includes the motivations behind where they choose to eat. What will motivate them to come to your restaurant time after time?
Voice and Tone
Your voice and tone are part of your restaurant branding and how you’ll speak to your audience based on your mission statement and target audience market research. Think of characteristics that make sense to include in your brand voice, as well as ones you want to avoid.
Remember, this is where you get to give a unique sound to your business and make your restaurant marketing stand out. So do what makes sense for your restaurant, instead of trying to follow competitors or brands you’re a fan of.
Marketing Goals and Channels
Lastly, you and your team need to fill out your restaurant marketing goals and the methods you’ll use to achieve those goals. Make sure they are SMART goals, meaning specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Your goals should be about how you will acquire and retain customers (which ladder into your revenue goals), as well as how you’ll get the word out about your restaurant to a potential guest.
Our restaurant marketing plan template also helps you cover both traditional and digital advertising channels. Don’t forget to include your budget for all restaurant marketing tactics.
Traditional Channels for Restaurant Marketing
- Traditional marketing includes things like direct mail, print advertising, events, and more.
- These kinds of campaigns can help build more tangible human connections and unique experiences that put a face to your restaurant with your target audience.
- Traditional marketing can be expensive if you try to reach too many people or try multiple tactics at once. So, narrow down your options to the best tactics that will appeal to your ideal customer.
Digital Channels for Restaurant Marketing
- Digital marketing includes social media, restaurant emails, search engine optimization, and more.
- When considering something like social media, think about which platforms would make the most sense for you to be on. For example, can you reach your target audience better on Instagram than Facebook?
- Digital marketing tends to feel less human, so think about how you can add a personal touch to your digital campaigns.
- You can also take advantage of automation to help you save time with digital marketing, like setting up automated email marketing campaigns.
Restaurant Marketing Plan Next Steps
After working with your team to complete each section of our restaurant marketing plan template (free download), you’ll be left with a comprehensive marketing plan and actionable next steps. This will set you up for success against the restaurants you’re competing with, while also creating a positive guest experience.
It’s also wise to revisit this free restaurant marketing plan template and update your restaurant marketing strategy over time, especially as your business evolves and grows.