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Build a better restaurant marketing plan, part 2

In part one of this blog, I discussed how to develop marketing materials to reach a variety of audiences. Part 2 focuses on the elements of a good marketing kit for a restaurant.

You should assemble a restaurant marketing kit that you can use whenever the opportunity arises to communicate about your business: as referral materials, to the media, during events, for partners, etc. Your restaurant marketing kit should contain the following:

1. Case statements and customer stories. Nothing encourages emotion, identification and trust like a good story. So describe your restaurant business like a story, and tell some anecdotes about customers that potential customers can identify as themselves. Paint a picture of your business experience. You will both express an understanding of what the customer is looking for and how you are going to give it to him. Create an emotional connection. Make customers realize that they would love to discover a business just like yours. Show your potential customers just what their experience will look like. Show the what they can expect in terms of ambience, service and food. Use photos and words to paint an attractive experience. Then create a call to action to give the customer a reason to come and experience everything that has been promised.

2. Unique selling proposition (USP) list. This is a list or paragraph of what makes your restaurant so special. Your unique approach, menu, staff…in other words, the little things that you do. This is the time to mention a money-back guarantee, personalized service, a children’s activity area or other important benefits.

3. Personal information. Now it’s time to get personal. Just as people like to surround themselves with inspiring people, they also like to do business with people they like and respect.

Who are you and your other team members? Talk about what you do, and why. State your professional experience and activity in any related and community organizations. Include any cookbooks, recipes, etc that you or any of your team are responsible for, or where they have previously worked. Paint a picture and communicate your vision with people. They’ll be happy to be part of your bigger plan, and most people, once they understand the big picture, will help you get there.

4. Menu and what your restaurant offers. Describe in clear detail your menu, ambiance and services, the prices, the facilities, the little extras, etc.

5. Testimonials. Include as many testimonials as possible, in all formats (text, video, etc). Sprinkle these throughout your marketing materials as well as consolidating them in one place, i.e. sheet in the media kit, page on the website.  

6. Partner list. Have a list of your impressive partners and suppliers, and where possible, use their logos (which are often more recognizable and impressive than their names). If you use a special product, or cater for a large company, talk about these partners. As with celebrities, their reputation will rub off on you just from association.

7. Press. Include any and all press the business, and you personally, have received.

8. Free samples and trials. Give free samples or offer a trial of your product whenever possible. Nothing sells a business as well as a taste of the goods! Take advantage of conferences, local fairs and other events to give away samples. You can also stand outside the restaurant and hand out sample products to passersby. Be sure to choose your most popular products to wow people and make them take notice.

9. Website. Even the smallest business now needs a website if it is going to survive and grow. More and more people research, look for or check up on a restaurant through the Internet. Use your website to entice customers and to supply all of the basic information (directions, hours, menus, pricing, etc.), which will cut down on the time spent on the phone as well as be more convenient for your customers.

Don’t hold anything back, such as pricing. Customers will find this information out in the end and will only find it frustrating to have to hunt for it. They will also find it strange that you don’t speak about pricing, and may not contact you because they assume your prices are too high.

A well-prepared restaurant marketing kit that you can use on every occasion will save time and enable you to seize important marketing opportunities.

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