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Restaurant Marketing: The Big Picture

Have you ever tried baking a cake with flour alone? Exactly. Just like the best recipes cannot be made with a single ingredient, the best restaurant marketing strategy cannot be executed with a single tactic.

With abundant information and hundreds of channels to utilize, marketing can overwhelm even the most experienced business owners. So it’s not surprising that restaurateurs are often confused about the most essential elements of marketing and how to implement them. If you want to successfully market your restaurant, it is necessary to understand the full marketing picture, also known as The Marketing Mix.

Since the 1960’s, marketing professionals have used The Marketing Mix as a managerial teaching method. The Marketing Mix describes the different aspects of a business that, when controlled, ensure customer needs are met. One of the first tasks in restaurant marketing is analyzing the restaurant based on this model. This is the first step in moving from an ad-hoc approach based on hunches to a strategic approach based on data. In this blog, we’ll discuss the 7 P’s that comprise The Marketing Mix and how you can effectively leverage your restaurant.

1. PRODUCT: what you’re selling.

restaurant product

A restaurant’s product goes beyond food. Product includes atmosphere, cleanliness, quality, and all other aspects of the customer experience. Think about each want and need of the customer so you can provide them with the experience they are looking for.

Ask yourself: What features, advantages or benefits do your products and services provide? What types of vendors are being used? Does your product align with your atmosphere? Are products and services being looked at objectively?

There is much to consider about what you’re offering. A quality product/experience is the most fundamental element of The Marketing Mix and without it, all else fails.

Think I’m exaggerating? Think again.

2. PRICE: the amount people are willing to pay.

menu prices

Prices are always up for examination. It is vital to understand what type of restaurant you are: counter service, casual service, fine dining? The price of food is directly impacted by the style and stature of the restaurant.

Ask yourself: What type of restaurant do you have? What are your competitors charging? How do prices align with the current market?  How much is spent on resources and production? How much is the overall experience worth?

Price and quality coincide: prices must complement what is being offered. With a fluctuating marketplace, sometimes prices must decrease and sometimes prices must increase. Be open-minded and consider what the target consumers are willing to pay, what exactly they’re paying for, and if it’s reasonable.

Not sure where to start? Here is some advice on how to set appropriate prices.

3. PLACE: where the product or service is located.

Convenience is king, and customers will not go out of their way just to get in the door. Your product or service must be easily accessible to customers. Place also refers to outside placement and distribution.

Ask yourself: How convenient is your restaurant? Is there a central location and is it crowded? What is the parking like?  Can the products be delivered directly? Do we sell at a market or festival? Where are we advertising?

For more information on choosing the right location, click here.

4. PROMOTION: various elements like advertising and PR.

Promotion depends on the brand, product, and target audience in order to attract the desired customer base. Ranging from billboard ads to events, to social media, appropriate promotion methods are vital. Set a consistent tone for all promotional messaging that will resonate with the intended customer and evoke action.

Ask yourself: What discounts and specials are offered? Are promotions relevant, unique, and true to company values? What times of day are promotions occurring? What other social events are happening and how can these events be used advantageously? Lastly, are the promotional activities measurable?

Effective promotion depends on understanding the customer, the community, and the restaurant’s benefits. If promotional activities and messages are executed consistently with these aspects in mind, the brand will grow itself.

Here are tips to measure your restaurant’s promotional success.

5. PEOPLE: restaurant employees.

The product is linked to those who make and serve it; restaurant employees often define the customer experience.

Ask yourself: Are employees well-trained? Do they know the menu thoroughly? How do they interact with guests? Do they understand the company values and positively portray the brand?

Restaurant service is reproducible, but company culture sets service apart. A connected, communicative team is crucial in maintaining a hospitable environment and positive reputation.

Want advice on training employees? Look no further.

6. PROCESS: the efficiency of your restaurant.

Efficiency in the front and back of the house impact customer experiences and your brand. No one likes to wait around excessively; the customer must enjoy their experience from the second they enter the restaurant to the second they leave. A timely process is a part of what the guest is paying for and is what will keep them coming back for more.

Ask yourself: Do employees strive for efficiency? Are restaurant technologies up-to-date? Are there clear procedures put in place to ensure the consistent delivery of food and beverage? What is the standard wait time for each dish? Do staff know how to handle a customer complaint?

Answering these questions will lead to consistent timing and customer service, which are equally as important as product quality.

Do you need extra info on how to establish sound processes? You’re welcome.

7. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: how inviting your restaurant is.

Physical evidence can be interchanged with the physical environment. Physical evidence is not only the appearance of the restaurant, but the look of your packaging, branding, and even the way the employees present themselves. Physical evidence is every surrounding detail.  Make it a point to regularly look around your restaurant and take it all in.

Ask yourself: What is the restaurant’s atmosphere? What is the vibe? How does the ambiance differ from day to night? How is the interior design affecting guests? What types of reviews are coming in? How does the food packaging represent the restaurant? What is the employee uniform like? What does food look like when it’s plated?

This will all be directly impacted by comfort, cleanliness, music, speed-of-service, and overall attention to detail.

Looking to improve your restaurant atmosphere? Look here for suggestions.

Marketing is frequently misinterpreted as an exclusively external process. The Marketing Mix shows why you must also control internal factors for marketing success. Advertising (one promotional marketing element) tells consumers why they should choose you, but the comprehensive Marketing Mix shows consumers firsthand why they should return. Marketers can only effectively do their job when there is sufficient understanding of The Marketing Mix. Products, prices, places, promotions, people, processes, and physical evidence must be regularly monitored by restaurant managers and owners. If you need further clarification on The Marketing Mix or any other restaurant marketing assistance, contact us at Absolute Marketing Solutions.

Phoebe

A recent graduate from the University of Tampa, Phoebe brings an understanding of journalism, PR, advertising & branding to the Absolute team. Her extensive customer service and cross-cultural communication experiences give her insights into various perspectives.

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