Before you decide to take out a mortgage to purchase a restaurant, it is essential to work out your marketing strategy. If you get it wrong, the chances of your restaurant business surviving are slim.
Location matters. For a particular site, you need to identify where you would draw your customers from and, once you satisfied that this pool of diners is big enough to support your venture, you then need to evaluate your competition.
For example, do you really want to open a fast food outlet if McDonald’s or Burger King are established nearby? Another curry house in a street full of Indian restaurants? An Italian restaurant next door to a well established trattoria?
Customers can be fickle and restaurant trends change over time. If you can identify a new food trend for which you can cater, your restaurant could become very successful and profitable. For instance, Thai and Sushi restaurants have become very popular in recent years, but what is going to be the next big thing in the restaurant business?
When you open a new restaurant you want to encourage customers to come and see what you have to offer; more importantly, you want them to return. If your marketing budget does not run to newspaper, radio or television advertising, consider distributing printed flyers with details of your menu and ‘money off’ coupons to homes in the neighbourhood. This type of promotion can also boost trade at quiet times of year, especially if you offer seasonal specials on your menu. However, if this form of marketing is carried out too frequently, some customers will only visit your restaurant when discounts are on offer.
Benefits can be gained by coordinating your marketing with other local businesses’ marketing campaigns and tying promotions in with local community events. Anything that can help promote your restaurant in the public eye to positive effect is likely to increase the number of customers coming through your restaurant doors.
- Devising an appropriate marketing plan is key to the launch and continuing success of a restaurant;
- Be aware of your competitors and make your business decisions with them in mind;
- Regular promotions will help to maintain customer awareness of your restaurant.