5 Restaurant Promotional Plan Essentials

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5 Restaurant Promotional Plan Essentials

If you are like most busy restaurant owners and managers, it’s easy to let your restaurant’s promotional plan fall by the wayside amidst all of your other responsibilities.

But a restaurant with no promotional plan, or one that is outdated, is a recipe for disaster. For your business to grow, you need to be aggressively promoting your restaurant, and without a well-thought promotional plan, you are just flying blindly.

If you find yourself with no promotional plan for your restaurant business or one that is in desperate need of a refresh, here are the 5 essentials you will want to include in one to succeed.

1) Focused objectives:

While this seems pretty straight-forward, if you don’t set forth clear and attainable goals for your promotional plan, it will be easy to veer off course. When thinking about your promotional plan goals, aim to be very specific about what you hope to achieve within the parameters of what you think are realistically achievable goals.

2) Budget:

Set an annual budget for your promotions and build your plan around what you can afford to invest. Promotions can get pricey, especially when you add up the costs of collateral development, printing and postage for traditional print mail and promotions. Determine your budget and then build your priorities around what you can spend. Once you have a dollar figure in mind, you can begin to build a plan that makes most sense for your business.

3) ROI and results measurement: 

Promotional tactics, as you know, are not an exact science, requiring a bit of trial and error to find the right mix. If you have any data to support your decisions from what may have worked for or against you in the past, definitely use it to your benefit to make future decisions. If not, develop a way to measure the response and results from your promotional efforts by utilizing tracking codes, web analytics, social media measurement tools, etc. to see what tactics are giving you the best response.

4) Out-of-the-box tactics:

Take your promotional plan a step above the typical promotional tactics restaurants use to help make sure that your restaurant stands out from the crowd. For instance, rather than just passing out flyers about your menu, special events or offers, give people actual food samples as they walk by to grab their attention. Make sure you have plenty of creative tactics worked into your plan.

5) Timeline:

Once you have all of the elements you need for your promotional plan be sure to include them in a detailed timeline or schedule to make sure that they get executed according to plan. This is also an important exercise because after creating your schedule, you may realize that you have more great ideas than you do time and resources to execute them properly. You will then be able to take a step back and re-prioritize your plan for success.

Finally, keep in mind that your promotional plan does not replace the need for a marketing plan which looks at the bigger picture of your entire brand marketing strategy. The promotional plan is a subset of your marketing plan, but an important one, nonetheless.

For more promotional ideas for your restaurant, you may also find this Houston Chronicle article useful, Promotion Strategy for Restaurants.

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