According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2011 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 88 percent of adults say they enjoy going to restaurants. However, with over 960,000 restaurants in the United States and expected industry sales of $604 billion in 2011, the restaurant market is highly competitive. To stand out in this business, you need to follow a sample marketing plan to help you build a strategy for promoting your business to customers.
The executive summary of restaurant marketing plans consists of a statement of your marketing objectives, your mission statement and a high-level overview of the rest of the plan. For restaurants, examples of marketing objectives may be, "Average $100 per table per party," "Generate $25,000 in sales in our first month" or "Increase wine sales by 10 percent by the end of the quarter." Your mission statement should describe why you are in business. For example, "We offer gourmet food that focuses exclusively on locally sourced meats and products."
The next part of a marketing plan for a restaurant is the market analysis. This is where you describe the target market for your restaurant. For a restaurant business, you need to understand who your customer is and why she wants to eat at your restaurant. To determine this information, go to your local library and ask the business librarian to help you utilize free research resources. Your analysis should include a demographic profile for each of your customer segments. For example, for a health restaurant you may choose to target highly educated women in their 30s and 40s who like to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and their families.
All restaurant marketing plans should contain a competitive analysis. You should include a description of each restaurant that will compete with you for business, their target market, pricing strategy and marketing tactics. Visit each of these restaurants and note the decor, ambiance and types of customers you see. You should get the most accurate idea of how the restaurant operates and who they focus on by visiting it on a Friday night and observing these things. List the strengths and weaknesses for each restaurant that competes with you and then state how you will capitalize on those weaknesses.
The marketing strategy includes specific actions you will take to reach your target customers. For example, let's say during your research you discovered one of your market segments is older women who are educated but not technology-savvy. You would probably want to stick to traditional marketing mediums like newspaper and magazine ads, coupons and newsletters. You could also reach this audience by attending networking events and conferences that this market is interested in. List each of the marketing tactics you will use to promote your restaurant, your budget for each and your anticipated return on investment.