Delicious food, attractive interior design, hygiene at a high level and good customer service are the basis for the successfully operation of restaurants and bars, but that will not be enough if you want to attract new guests. They want more than that.
You did nothing without good advertising.There are quite a lot nice restaurants and bars around us where we see only a handful of guests during the day. Why is it so?
People will not visit your restaurant just because you offer cheaper beer or a meal at half of price, they will come if your complete offer meets their needs and habits, or if it involves a certain excitement that will attract and make them happy!
Promotion of restaurants and bars is one of the essential activities for successful business, but where to start?
Regardless of whether you’re a new in this business or working in catering for a long period you should know that good marketing needs adequate planning. To make you closer the whole process of restaurant promotion planning in the following text I will not write about the importance of promotion, I will explain in detail each step that needs to be done for successful planning and proper selection of marketing strategies for your restaurant or bar.
Analyse Current Situation of Your Restaurant or Bar
Any business planning starts with a good analysis of the current situation to be able to set realistic goals. What are the advantages and what weaknesses of your restaurant business? How can you increase sales?
With the analysis of the current situation of your catering facility, you will be able to determine your possible attributes for success. Use simple SWOT analysis to identify your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
How to do this analysis? Take some time, a pen and paper and write it down! I will give you one example of SWOT analysis for restaurants.
Strength: Uniqueness of your offer, exceptionally good service, nice interior design.
Weaknesses: Large number of items on the menu, high prices, customer wait too long for ordered food or drinks
Opportunities: Turn current visitors into loyal guests, make changes in menu, organization of special events.
Threats: The competition is offering free food delivery, the competition has a specific offer (Chinese food), your place is to close to similar restaurants or bars.
This is only one example how you can analyze your business and determine your potential guidelines for making a promotion plan. In any case, the analysis of these four aspects is a good start to build a marketing plan that will open the door to fresh ideas that can be furthered transform into your own unique marketing strategy to attract new guests.
Analysis of Competitive Restaurants and Bars
What did other restaurants and bars in your environment to increase sales? How do they promote their services?
Business Analysis of competing restaurants and bars can be of great benefit. This is not applying only to successful restaurants and bars but also to those that has been failed. From successful once learn what to do, and from those who had been failed, perhaps even more importantly, what not to do!
You need to constantly monitor the work of the competition. Go out, be a good neighbor, talk to other restaurant owners and managers. Also, you need to subscribe to newsletters on their websites of the competing restaurants and bars, like their Facebook pages etc. In this way, every news in their offer or information about special events will be sent directly to your inbox.
Identify Your Target Guests
Before you start with the promotion activities it is necessary to investigate your potential guests. You need information about their needs, desires, expectations and behaviors. To know how, or better, what kind of marketing strategy you will choose to attract customers you need to find out what they like or not. What information you should look for?
- General information about the age of your customers and their purchasing power.
- Information about employment, where they work, their salaries, what’s their working hours if they work and when they have a break for lunch.
- Information about eating habits, where they go for grocery shopping, what kind of food they buy mostly.
- Which channels they are using to inform themselves (newspapers, Internet, TV, radio).
All this information will be of great benefit to offer a right thing that will attract your guests and to use proper channels so the information will surely come to your targeted audience.
Research about your current and potential guests can be made in several ways:
- Using existing data from the catering industry
- Through questionnaires that you’ll offer to your guests
- By submitting a question or poll on social networks
- During direct conversation with your guests
- By observing the behavior of your guests
Find Out What Your Customers Think About Your Restaurant or Bar
Identify your business. Find out who are your guests why they are visiting your restaurant.
Find out more about them, their attitudes and expectations from your restaurant but also from competing restaurants and bars in the region. For example, find out what they think about the following:
- The quality and variety of food and drinks on the menu
- Customer service
- Special events
Check Does Your Restaurant Have New Potential Guests
Yes, of course that your restaurant has potential new guests but you just need to recognize them, identify their needs and know how to attract them.
Let’s say that you own a bar or restaurant that has been visited by people only during spare time, but what about your offer for business people? Maybe while you’re reading this article they sitting in office buildings close to your catering facility unaware of your existence because your offer is not adapted to their needs?
Think about that. If you customize your offer to the different market this could open the door to new guests and that will certainly result in increased traffic.
Get Involved in Different Organizations
At first glance involvement in clubs and various organizations has nothing to do with your business. Are you sure about that? Sure it has. Even your hobby plays an important role. Because people like to do business with people they know. It is very important for you as the owner or manager of restaurants or bars to participate in different professional and social local organizations and to meet new people in everyday life.
Determine professional organizations that you are already a member or could become a member and assess their effectiveness in a promotion of your restaurant or bar.
Plan your Budget for Restaurant Promotion
The goal is to plan a successful promotion but certainly you do not want to exceed the sum of money that you have on your account for this purpose. Calculate costs for restaurant promotion and you will avoid unrealistic marketing strategies such as big discounts or excessive use of services of an overpriced marketing agency. Take a look your financial situation and determine a realistic amount of money that can be spent for this purpose and act in accordance with that information. It would be the best to practice doing the annual budget planning so that you know in advance how much money you have for certain marketing strategies. Marketing expenses should average in the range of 2 to 4 percent of your total revenues. (source)
Best Timing For Promotional Activities
Now when you’ve planned your restaurant or bar promotion starting from targeted groups of guests for promotional strategies and budget, the next step if not one of the most important steps is to choose the right time to launch your marketing campaign. The marketing campaign that starts too late would be overshadowed with other marketing campaigns. Also, if you start too early you will risk wasting valuable resources.
For restaurants, good time for the start of the promotional campaign is 15 days before holidays such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. For holidays such as Christmas or New Year when your guests have pre-planned vacations would be best to start the campaign 30 days in advance.
Also, good timing for promotion is before some important social, cultural or sports events in the region, and of course, in any period of reduced visits to your restaurant.
After you develop a plan to promote your catering facility it would be much easier to choose a promotional strategies that suit specifically to your business.
With a little luck and a lot of effort, you will bring new guests in your restaurant or bar and increase sales!