Our agency has been involved in the web marketing of catering for several years. During this period, we have gained a lot of awareness of this particular and delicate sector.
Therefore, we have decided to publish a set of articles highlighting what, in our experience, are the key points for successful marketing in the restaurant business.
Let’s start with this article dedicated to the marketing plan essential for increasing the visibility of a restaurant.
What is a restaurant marketing plan?
The success of a restaurant’s promotional activity largely depends on its marketing plan. But what is a marketing plan?
In the catering sector, the marketing plan is a detailed document that indicates the strengths and criticalities of the activity to be promoted, the objectives to be achieved, and finally, a temporal roadmap with concrete actions to achieve them in the medium and long term.
The importance of a marketing plan is evident. It gives you a clear idea of the restaurant’s real situation and the budget allocated to the promotional activity to implement the best marketing strategy to achieve the objectives.
The steps to create a marketing plan are as follows:
- Carry out a market analysis.
- Analyze the competition.
- Identify the buyer personas.
- Define goals and actions to achieve them.
- Carry out the drafting of the document.
How to create a restaurant marketing plan
Having clarified the importance of having a marketing plan for restaurants, let’s analyze the steps for its realization.
Restaurant marketing plan, step 1: market analysis
The market analysis makes it possible to highlight the strengths and criticalities of the activity and then identify the opportunities to be exploited to obtain greater visibility.
First, the strengths must be identified, i.e., all the elements that differentiate the restaurant from its competitors. There is always a strong point, whether in the format of the restaurant, in the price, in the menu, in the chef, in the position, the ideology, or the diet.
Having done this, it is also necessary to identify the weaknesses. By nature, identifying them is easier as it is easier to be critical. Among the most common defects are a format that is not distinctive, an antiquated brand image, and an unfavorable position.
Then you need to line up the information on the table to identify opportunities for the restaurant. From the point of view of web marketing, both trend analysis and exhaustive keyword research are carried out to determine how restaurants with the characteristics whose strengths are sought by potential customers in the area.
Once the keyword research has been carried out, the website must be analyzed. It is essential to have an effective website for restaurants. The site must, in fact, not only highlight the strengths but have an effective structure and communication to respond well to the search intent and obtain excellent positioning in terms of local SEO.
Restaurant marketing plan, step 2: competitor analysis
Competitor analysis is the second step of an effective marketing plan. For us who deal with web marketing, competition is related to web traffic, brand reputation, and image on social media.
As a first step, we will identify the competing restaurants on the first page of Google for the keywords identified during the keyword research phase. Then, we do the same for the restaurants listed on TripAdvisor and TheFork in the geographical area of competence.
For each restaurant identified, we go to create a card where we determine the strengths and weaknesses. It is also essential to understand how and how much they invest. An idea of how the competing marketing agency works could also give us advantages.
It is essential to understand how they manage their image on social networks. It is necessary to analyze the publications’ timing and the post type if there is a social media manager behind the magazine.
The same is to be done with websites. Analyze the positioning, analyze the backlinks, verify the presence or not of an editorial plan based on the publication on a possible blog, etc. On TripAdvisor and TheFork, we go to analyze the reviews. They are an excellent source of information as they allow us to understand what the restaurant excels at in detail in customers’ eyes and what it lacks.
Finally, all this information allows us to implement a strategy to achieve micro-objectives in the medium and long term to obtain concrete advantages over the competition.
Restaurant marketing plan, step 3: a potential customer
Identifying the buyer personas, that is, the profile of the typical customer of the restaurant is essential for the success of good marketing.
Some agencies often ignore this step, which makes the mistake of driving as much traffic as possible to the restaurant’s website by neglecting the quality. The result is bad conversion rates and wasted money.
Each restaurant has its own identity and responds to specific needs. Therefore, referring anyone to a vegan restaurant website or vice versa vegans to any restaurant website will increase the conversion cost.
The market analysis allows us to understand how users search for the restaurant. This is excellent information to enable us to start planning SEO and pay-per-click campaigns to respond to specific needs.
It is necessary to look at the restaurant’s advantages. To identify the niche and intercept its tastes.
This allows you to create an editorial plan of publications to attract potential customers better and build a community of readers who, sooner or later, will come to taste the dishes.
Drawing a profile of the potential customer allows us to create effective photographs published on social networks to trigger sweet emotions and encourage comments and sharing. Customers who share photos of dishes with pleasure are among the most effective marketers.
Restaurant marketing plan, step 4: roadmap with objectives and actions
At this point, the situation should be clear enough. We know where the competitors are strong but also where they are weak. We can begin defining the various objectives by creating a temporal roadmap. Click here
The roadmap contains sections containing:
- Time frame to reach it
- Series of actions aimed at achieving the goal
Of course, everything must be related to the budget for web marketing operations. The budget is important as it allows you to consider or discard more or less expensive actions.
An example of a roadmap section could be:
- Objective: to position itself among the top 3 seafood restaurants on the sea in Catania
- Time frame: 6 months
- Actions :
- You are creating or upgrading the restaurant’s website.
- Website content on-site SEO optimization.
- Optimization of the photographs that highlight the characteristics of “restaurant on the sea,” “fish restaurant,” and “restaurant in Catania.”
- Off-site SEO parameters are improved by combining link-building and digital PR efforts.
- PPC campaign to start getting results in the short term.
- Loyalty programs at checkout offer a prize in exchange for a TripAdvisor review.
- Staff training on how to respond to reviews correctly.
- Facebook page management.
- We are creating a plan for a cookbook featuring traditional Catalan fish dishes.
Restaurant marketing plan, step 5: drafting of the document
Finally, all the information must be contained in a document divided into chapters representing the restaurant’s marketing plan. Of course, in our case, we refer to the web marketing plan.
It is good to clarify this difference as a marketing plan generally includes actions beyond the web, such as changing the restaurant’s concept, logo, and menu and radical changes in the gastronomic offer.
We have come to the end of this first appointment dedicated to web marketing of catering. In the next few days, other articles will follow that will cover:
- how to attract customers to the restaurant
- how to make a website for restaurants
- how to manage brand reputation
- how to build customer loyalty and upsell
- what are the mistakes to avoid online
- the alarm bells you need to pay attention to
- how to manage a restaurant’s Facebook page
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