Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:00

Effective Restaurant Marketing - The Basics

Restaurant sales slumped as the U.S. slipped into recession. The restaurant owners and their marketing departments have to do all they can to make sure their customers can still afford them, find them, and enjoy their meals.

Some vital criteria for restaurants' success including creating consumer interest and desires in trying their new menus, showing up at the very top of local search results, having a mobile friendly site so consumers can find you easily, and providing excellent service and quality food so that return visits and new referrals are encouraged.

According to a recent study by National Restaurant Association and LivingSocial, among restaurants that have used various marketing communications, TV ads are still ranked as the most effective communication media with the largest proportion of responses (94%). Other popular communication channels include email marketing (ranking number 2 with 90% responses), social media posts (84%), daily deal provider emails like LivingSocial and Groupon (78%), and SEO (70%).

This graph represents the different levels of effectiveness that media can have for advertising restaurants.

Additionally, considering consumers' recollection of the restaurant marketing communications, more women recalled seeing an ad, receiving an email, or seeing a special deal on the internet than men. Also more women considered restaurant marketing communications to be effective in encouraging them to learn more about a restaurant than did men.

Of course when considering an effective marketing communication channel, the cost cannot be neglected. Though TV ads ranked as first in effectiveness, the ad production cost, the TV channel selection, and the media charges might be too much for most family and medium-size restaurants.

However, this study does tell us the importance of utilizing multiple media channels to optimize marketing communication effectiveness. No matter how much you can budget for your marketing expenses, do not put everything in one basket; and when you do allocate them, don't forget to connect the pieces together.

More importantly, you might have collected some data yourself, and that would weigh heavier than the secondary research results that we mentioned above. Spend some time to take a look at what you have done in the recent years in terms of marketing (communications, promotions, loyalty programs, etc) and evaluate the pros and cons of each marketing effort. If you have not done much to market your restaurant, it is time to strategize and plan a holistic marketing approach by embracing modern strategies such as social media, mobile devices, and other technologies, to reach consumers beyond traditional media.

FiG understands that it can be very time consuming and difficult to analyze the past marketing efforts, benchmark your progress against industry competitors, revamp your best practices, plan new marketing campaigns, select media, and create a cohesive network of communication and evaluation. When you feel overwhelmed with this work, feel free to give FiG a shout! We have a whole team that can work towards your goal and make your job much easier.