The Restaurant Secret to Great Restaurant Marketing

Written by: Gabrielle F. Mather, Co-Founder & CEO of Restaurant Secrets Inc

Article marketing secrets2

While there are several components to successful marketing, a few key elements are essential to market your restaurant.


EFFECTIVE & SMART RESTAURANT BRANDING: spending on an expensive logo is not BRANDING. Unknown to most operators, a BRAND is a PROMISE. It is what your business stands for, what it does, what it sells & how it sells it. The brand should relay the core message of the product & offering instantly to the customer at a glance & within a few minutes of seeing it. It should then DELIVER that initial promise or initial feelings it has invoked in the customer through its product, service & experience. A strong brand survives years & generation cycles (eg the logo we developed for our brand Wokinaki has multiple layers, yet at first glance it portrays an Asian wok nature) by delivering its promise and constantly working to reduce the gap between promise and actual execution. It also ‘lives’ and while remaining the same through its core values & promises, it survives & leads the times & technology by always keeping itself one step ahead through RELENTLESS RESTAURANT MARKETING, trainings, engineering and above all, COMMUNICATION.

RESTAURANT BRAND POSITIONING: Your Brand will be remembered for what you want it to be. To stay in the customer’s mind as the first choice for their needs is how you want to position yourself. Customers compare you to your competition when choosing. Effective positioning means ensuring that your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) comes through immediately. For eg: our brand The Hampton’s cafe is positioned as the place for ‘the sophisticated & well-heeled café goer looking for urban satisfaction with heritage appeal’ whereas Roti Rollers, another one of our projects is positioned to be ‘Indian street food evolved for the exotic foodie’. This is how they ‘position’ and ‘communicate’ their brand. For either one of these brands to try and oust the other one out would mean a complete change of Product, Equipment, Cooking methods, so effectively a complete change in Business Model. Your brand positioning should ensure it communicates the uniqueness that only you provide & that customers choose you for.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Selling Ice to an Eskimo? Might not be such a profitable venture! Similarly, remember to market the products that are researched for the target market, market them while keeping social & economic barriers in mind. Speak the language of your customers. Because we understand this, flavors like Rose are used extensively in our brands targeted to the Middle Eastern audience. The Rose Croissant at The Hamptons café, the Cardamom Rose Chai Latte at Jolie & the Rose Chia pudding at B’Dou are examples of this philosophy in action.

MENU ENGINEERING: Every quarter, review the effectiveness of your menu mix. Every 6 months focus on ‘Special’ Item launches. Every year, analyze the menu profitability & either improve what you do good to great OR re-engineer to achieve the final result – Great, Memorable taste with consistency in product delivery & presentation. Do not be afraid to chuck out the slow performers & support your key Star menu items.

ON-GOING TRAININGS: No Marketing efforts can be truly effective, measurable & implemented without the right people & systems to convert the marketing into actual sales & REPEAT sales. Make sure your Operations & staff are performing at the ‘A Level’ expectation that your marketing & brand positioning has promised via its communications. Great marketing will just kill a badly operated restaurant even faster than its natural slow death. However great your marketing communication, however irresistible your offer, nobody will return for a second time if the service experience was not up to standard. Training is a vital component of restaurant marketing, you'll need an ongoing program that constantly improves and evolves your staff competencies. It's also a good idea to include a Restaurant Marketing & up-selling angle in your training program so that you have a staff of ambassadors to not just serve but also help your sales-building efforts.

And the best news is that RESTAURANT MARKETING does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. With innovative and smart methods you can stretch the dollar to achieve a wider range of communication by using: social media, neighborhood networking, community support events & sponsorships, regular newsletters, press releases & reviews, timely updates in food magazines and websites, partnership alliances with food related sites & ventures. There’s so much you can accomplish by thinking out of the box and ‘communicating’ directly to your customers.