How to Make a Business Plan for a Restaurant

You love both food and people. And you want the business plan for your restaurant to grow. You know you need good marketing plans, but making one and putting it into action seems hard. How do you begin?

You might not have a degree in marketing or even know what each social media channel can do for you. But it’s easy to make a good marketing plan for a restaurant when your goals are clear and concise.

This post will summarize the key essentials of a highly effective restaurant marketing plan. Additionally, we’ll offer you some advice on setting up your marketing apparatus.

But first, let’s quickly go over what a marketing plan for a restaurant is and what it does.

What Is a Restaurant Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic document that explains how a restaurant will promote its brand, get new customers, and improve the customer experience.

It highlights a specific time in a company’s existence and demonstrates various marketing procedures, including goal-setting, budgeting, and content planning.

You are learning how to make a marketing plan, which makes you think about the promotions you already have and what you can do to get ahead of the competition.

Some restaurants include their marketing plan in their overall business plan because marketing is important for getting and keeping customers. However, it is best to have a well-researched marketing plan.

It’s a good idea to make a working document that you can refer to and add to over time. You can add this document as an appendix to your restaurant business plan. How to make a good marketing plan for a restaurant

Set up your new computer using these procedures. The new plan and start working toward your unique goals, covering all the different marketing parts of a restaurant.

Set measurable goals

Setting some goals is the first step in making a marketing plan for a restaurant. How do you plan to reach your goals? Have you thought about what you want your team to accomplish?

If you make your restaurant marketing strategies work, it will happen because you’ve got a vision of what you want to achieve during the first year and subsequent years ahead.

Depending on your current ambitions and workforce, goals can range from smaller, bite-sized purposes (like getting ten new shares every week on your restaurant’s Facebook page) to bigger, grandiose objectives (such as doubling restaurant sales each quarter). Start by writing down goals that are realistic for you.

For example, some of your restaurant’s goals could be:

  • 12 percent more money from each table
  • 10 percent more money from drinks
  • Make $3,000 more during lunch.

Also, give specific numbers and dates for your overall goals. For example, you could give yourself three months to reach your goal and check your daily progress. Then, make a simple wall chart to hang in your office so you can see your goals and how you’re doing with them. You might also want to take your sales goals and make more detailed plans for the wait staff to help them reach their goals.

Some goals for waiters and waitresses could be:

  • Get at least ten guests to order an appetizer.
  • Get five takeout orders per shift. 
  • Get one order per 2 tasting plates.

Identify your target customers.

If you ask any successful restaurant owner their secret, they will all say the same thing: know who your ideal customer is.

It’s tempting to think that everyone wants to eat at your restaurant, but if you focus on a narrowly defined ideal customer, you won’t waste months trying to be everything to everyone.

This is where a profile of the perfect restaurant customer comes in handy.

An ideal customer profile is a made-up version of your perfect customer that helps you tailor your sales and marketing efforts to each person.

It lists out demographic information like age, gender, and income, as well as qualitative details like what they enjoy in certain places and their preferences when picking a restaurant for lunch or dinner. To make one for your restaurant, think about how you can get useful information about the kind of customers you want to serve. Tried-and-tested methods include: 

  • Check out your restaurant’s website, Facebook page, or email message. Then, use SurveyMonkey or a similar tool to run the whole process independently.
  • You put comment cards out on your tables. Don’t ask, “Would you tell a friend or family member about us?” – Ask why or why not to take it a step further.
  • I was looking into online groups. Quora, Reddit, and other sites have made communities and subgroups their main focus. For studying and gaining insight into your ideal customer personas, the information posted by and exchanged between the members is as good as gold.

You need to know your ideal customer, whether they are families, college students, or both. Creating customer profiles is great because you can use them to help with many different parts of your branding, product, and marketing strategy.

Evaluate Your Current Standing using SWOT 

The significance of self-evaluation cannot be overstated, particularly when creating a brand-new marketing strategy.

Restaurants need to be evaluated based on their strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to find out what you do well and where you fall behind other businesses.

Choose three strengths and three weaknesses of your restaurant by talking to some of your customers or just sitting down and writing it down.

Be clear and ask your servers and management to write them down. Then, compile them and look at what’s going great and needs improvement. 

These could be:


  • You have a plate runner, so the food is always hot.
  • The quantity of food is always satisfying and filling.
  • The atmosphere is always friendly and interesting.


  • The ground is always slippery.
  • Kitchen chatter is constantly audible.
  • The seats are tough.

Make sure your clients are aware of your strengths!

Concentrate on a quality that sets you apart from the competition and spread the word widely.

Make incremental improvements to the weaknesses by starting over and reevaluating what went wrong with the strategy or choice or resulted in a negative outcome.

Not. A restaurant SWOT analysis is another way to keep track of the opportunities and threats your business might face. Doing so could lead you to a market you haven’t reached yet or help you find problems that could hurt your restaurant’s profits. Create your marketing plan.

You’ve established the framework. It’s now time to develop your restaurant marketing plan. Before redesigning a promotion, you should first decide on the methods you’ll employ and the duration of each campaign.

Choose a few of these tactics to use initially, taking into account your objectives, customer profiles, and strengths:

Implementing a framework for restaurant marketing is another option.

 Social Media Marketing 

Although you can run a campaign on almost all social media platforms, we advise you to concentrate on the following:


Although you can run a campaign on almost all social media platforms, we advise you to concentrate on the following:


Instagram makes it simple to display your menu, setting, and every aspect of your customer experience that is visually appealing. Post-eye-catching pictures of food plates, satisfied customers, attentive servers, and management on Instagram because everything is in the photos. This is your chance to demonstrate what they can anticipate at your restaurant.

If you’ve already launched a campaign, we have some advice to help you cut through the clutter and improve the Instagram marketing for your restaurant to increase engagement and conversions.

You can also add a “reserve” button to your Instagram page to drive reservations through your carrier. This eagerly anticipated feature makes it easier for restaurants to convert their followers into customers.

Find out here how to add a reserve button to your Instagram profile.


A platform with more than 2 billion active users each month can give your restaurant a lot of exposure.

Create a page for your restaurant on Facebook and post high-quality pictures of your food and captions that will entice people to come to your establishment. Next, plan posts to publish even when you’re unavailable to account for weekly traffic peaks.

Customers at restaurants are no different from the 72% of customers who prefer businesses to contact them via email.

Customers become more loyal when they frequently see your restaurant’s logo and receive event updates, menu specials, coupons, etc. In addition, they start to feel like they’re a part of your exclusive community when you send out regular emails to people who have subscribed to your email list.

You can strengthen that feeling by including a brief note from your executive chef or another member of staff who serves as your company’s face.

By classifying your subscribers into distinct groups for more targeted promotions, personalization and segmentation will also aid in the success of your email campaigns. Consider using an automation system, such as Eat App, to build an automated marketing flow that sends tailored and personalized messages to your customers based on visitor data, such as the number of visits, days since the last stop, spending amount, special events, etc. (For example, if it is the guest’s anniversary today, send them an anniversary message; if a guest reached “100” visits, then they should be tagged as “VIP” and messaged a congrats message).

Email Marketing

Businesses would rather contact seventy-two percent of customers through email, and restaurant customers are no different. Sending signups’ emails regularly up for your email list helps build loyalty. When customers see your restaurant’s logo often and get your event updates, menu specials, coupons, etc., they feel like they’re part of an exclusive group.

Including a short note from your executive chef or someone well-known as your business’s face can enhance the experience.

By placing your subscribers into specific groups for more targeted promotions, personalization and segmentation will also help your email campaigns attract more attention. Consider using an automation system like Eat App to create an automated marketing flow that sends tailored and personalized messages to your customers based on guest data like several visits, days since the last stop, spending amount, special events, etc. (For example, if today is a guest’s anniversary, send them a message about it. If a guest reached “100” visits, they should be tagged as “VIP” and sent a congrats message).

Loyalty Programs

Even for well-known restaurants, it can be expensive to get new customers. Loyalty programs can help restaurants build brand value by getting repeat business from people who are already happy to eat there.

In these programs, restaurants offer memberships to regular customers and give them reward points that can be used to get free desserts, discounts of up to 50%, and other perks.

It’s easy to start a loyalty program at a restaurant. First, you’ll have to order some punch cards and give them to your regular customers. Then, when a member asks for something from the menu, you stamp their card.

When they get a certain number of stamps, they get something for free. But loyalty tools for restaurants have made it possible to digitally give out points and rewards.

Determine Your Restaurant Marketing Budget

If your restaurant is brand new, you’ll need to spend more advertising to get the word out. Plan to pay 25% and 35% of your income on marketing. Use more if you need to get more traction and less if your team is already strong.

When your restaurant is well-known and has a steady business, you can cut your marketing costs to 12–18 percent, depending on how much competition you have and how much money you make.

If your sales are going down because of the economy or competition, the best way to get more new customers is to raise your percentage by 3–10%.

Choose to put your money into the channels that bring in the most money.

When a budget gets smaller, marketing is often the first thing to go, even though it should be the last. So don’t give in to the urge to cut back on marketing since you need a buzz in the market to bring in business.

For example, companies that spent 16.5 percent of their budget on marketing grew 1–15 percent yearly, those that paid 22 percent grew 16–30 percent, and those that spent 50 percent made 31–100 percent more. Based on what Small Business Marketing Tools found, you can see how important marketing is for growth.

The Takeaway

Here is a step-by-step plan for making a great marketing plan for your restaurant.

Marketing is the call to arms for your business, and it’s a key part of doing well. For example, no one will come to your restaurant, no matter how good the food or the atmosphere is if they don’t know it’s there.

People don’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to go to them with your business.

This could take anywhere from one day to a whole month of doing nothing but making your plan and marketing calendar repeatedly.

But don’t worry. Once done, you’ll know exactly which way to go and how to use your marketing to its fullest potential to make more money.

Ready to start making a marketing plan for your restaurant? You can use our free template to help you get started. Click here for more information.

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