Sample marketing plan for a restaurant

Read this sample marketing plan for a restaurant for some strategic marketing tips and advice.

Establishing a marketing plan for a new restaurant or revising an old marketing plan is a serious undertaking that requires knowledge of your potential customers, understanding of the current restaurant market and a strong grasp of your restaurant's branding strategy.

Below is a sample marketing plan for a new restaurant. Existing restaurants should incorporate these elements into their new marketing plan, as each new marketing strategy should be viewed as a fresh, first-time endeavor.

3-Step Marketing Plan for Stools and Tables Restaurant

1. The Market

It is vital that you have a strong grasp on the current market before establishing the marketing strategy for your restaurant. Ask yourself the following vital questions:

1. What makes our restaurant different?

2. Why would people want to come here as opposed to a similar establishment?

3. What do our potential customers want?

4. What additional features can we offer?

Stools and Tables Restaurant will open up in Richmond, Virginia's "Fan District." This is a neighborhood with an average of one restaurant per city block. It is the highest per capita restaurant location in the country. Residents look for unique neighborhood dining establishments that they can frequent regularly. Most restaurants turn into a bar or jazz club in the evenings.

Statistics on the local market:

* The (mean) average household income is $40,000.

* The (mean) average individual is 32 years old.

* The (mean) average number of residents per home is 2.3.

* The (mean) average number of times residents take-out per week is .56.

* The (mean) average number of times residents dine-in per week is .73.

* The (mean) average person likes to eat-in versus take-out.

* The (mean) average restaurant reports annual earnings of $146,000.

* There are 86 restaurants in the Fan District limits.

* There are 14 ethnic varieties.

* The average seating capacity is 45.

* The most popular day to eat dinner is Saturday between 6pm and 9pm.

* The most popular lunchtime day is Sunday between 10:30am and 2:30pm.

2. The Competition

In the restaurant business, your draw will lay largely in your ability to not only make delicious food, but also in presentation, atmosphere and offerings. When establishing your business and your marketing plan, it is important to know how others position themselves in order to get and retain customers.

3 Most Competitive Business Rivals

A. Munchy Monkey

3 years old.

Annual income: $300,000

Munchy Monkey is popular at all times of the day. During weekend lunchtime hours, families wait for up to an hour to be seated. Weekday lunches are frequented by local business people because service is fast and the food is filling. Generous portions of food, colorful d├ęcor and friendly wait staff make Munchy Monkey popular all week long.

During the evening, Munchy Monkey becomes a popular smoke-free jazz club, selling tickets at the door for $5. Most patrons by high-priced cocktails and appetizers after 7pm.

In general Munchy Monkeys is known for its family-friendly, entertainment savvy atmosphere. Outside, there is even a water dish for dogs.

B. River Ravage

15 years old

River Ravage, as the name would suggest, is a popular diner for the younger generation. The diner stays open 24 hours, 7 days a week and is frequented by the alternative crowd.

Wait saff sport highly visible tattoos and piercing. Many have unnaturally colored hair. The atmosphere is on-the-edge and the restaurant is smoky.

The major draw of River Ravage is its hours. The majority of business is done between the hours of 11pm-2am, when most other restaurants are closing or turning into bars. After music events, visiting artists and performers are known to frequent River Ravage, where they can expect diner style food and a small crowd.

The focus of River Ravage is being edgy and off-center rather than on food or service. Many people come just to people watch, as customers from all walks of life enjoy the famously greasy meals at River Ravage.

C. Sous She

1 years old.

Annual sales: $200,000

Sous She is the newest hot-spot in the Fan. Combining traditional French cuisine with Hibatchi-style Japanese makes this an eclectic restaurant and a curious attraction. Many people come just to sample the alternative sushi selections, such as the brie - eggplant roll-up.

In the evening hours, Sous She screens work from local filmmakers as well as traditional Japanese and French films. All tables are turned towards the screen and couples can sit intimately side-by-side in the closed booths. All tables are also candle lit.

3. Three Marketing Strategies for Stools and Tables

A. Themed Parties

Arrange with local clubs and organizations to host a members-only themed party for their next meeting. For example, invite the local Ad Club to set up member portfolios around the tables. Have a pre-event mixer where individuals can look through one anothers' work. Invite guests to sample from a variety of platters before dining on the main meal.

Also, establish once-a-month nights for local singles or other groups to come in. Call the evening "Dating for Dummies" and feature a speed-dating, speed-eating rotation.

B. Coupons

Send coupons with an announcement to all neighbors within a five-block radius. Offer them a free meal or a deep discount on either carry-out or dine-in meals. When they arrive to redeem their coupon, offer additional bonuses, such as a frequent customer discount card or carry-out bag.

(Studies show that the most regular customers are the ones who can walk to the restaurant. Treat these customers like your best friend.)

C. Block Party

In addition to establishing recurrent or one-time only theme parties, organize a grand-opening (or grand-reopening) block party. Obtain a permit from the city to shut down the street or side street attached to the building. Cater the event and sell tickets for $3 (or give them away for free.) Arrange it in the evening hours when people are out walking with their families and pets. Have a moon bounce and juggler for the kids as well as live musical entertainment for adults.

Having a block-party will help to establish your restaurant right away as a community-friendly organization. It is the perfect way to make an entrance into the Fan District.

Now that you have read a strategic marketing plan for a restaurant business, create your own. Be sure to stick with your branding strategy and create marketing opportunities that are within your (probably limited) budget. The key to establishing a good, reliable restaurant reputation is to market yourself as community friendly and entertainment savvy. Remember that people dine out not only to eat good food and avoid the kitchen, but also to enjoy and evening of entertainment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011