Restaurant Buildrz


Every restaurant should invest in taking a little time to create a marketing plan!

So where do you start and what make sense today! Not five years ago. A restaurant marketing plan should be re-written every year.

Marketing techniques and channels change every year, so you will need to stay up to date on the latest trends.

We work with hundreds of restaurants and analyze hundreds more. We figured out where to spend your precious time and dollars when it comes to restaurant marketing.

We created a step by step marketing plan template to help guide you in the right direction.

What will you find in our Restaurant Marketing Plan?

  • 1. Guide To Setting Up A Successful Marketing Strategy

    A step by step guide to setting up a successful marketing strategy for your restaurant business and the action items to delegate to your team.

  • 2. Budgeting Properly

    Once you set goals, you create a budget with the goals in mind. This will avoid wasted spending.

  • 3. Tracking Return on Investment (ROI)

    How do you know if your marketing and advertising investments are working? Track them!

  • 4. Social Media

    Where to spend your time and money. How to post, how often, how to get ROI from it.

  • 5. Private Party Lead Generation

    Private party lead generation system for booking groups and events Increase your leads and book more groups. Increase your leads and book more groups!

  • 6. SEO and Adwords

    Everyone uses Google search to find restaurants. We give you the details on how to focus here.

  • 6. SEO and Adwords

    Everyone uses Google search to find restaurants. We give you the details on how to focus here.

  • 4. Social Media

    Where to spend your time and money. How to post, how often, how to get ROI from it.

You won’t find any theory and generic marketing fluff in this restaurant marketing plan.  This is based on real life restaurant specific success and the steps to achieve the same results.

Know that every restaurant is different and results will vary.  Follow this guide and you will be more organized and disciplined in your marketing efforts.  Feel free to use some or all the suggestions we provide in this template.

This template is focused on top line revenue goals.  Margins are a result of operations and a totally different template.  Your revenue is based on customers:

  1. New Customers
  2. Returning Customer Frequency (how often they return in a period of time)
  3. Average Customer Spend Per Visit

We are covering the first two in this plan template as we believe average spend is a customer service initiative to upsell.

Also note, returning customers are a results of quality product, service and marketing.  Don’t ignore investments in service and product quality for marketing alone.


You have to start with the end in mind.  Where do you want to be a month, year or 5 years from now?  The main goal is sales, but it should not be your only focus.  There are a few areas where we suggest setting goals and they all help sales.

  1. Revenue (obviously)
  2. Email Subscribers
  3. Social Media Followers/Audience and/or Engagement
  4. Private Dining, Events or Catering Leads
  5. Google Search & Maps Results/Rank
  6. Website Traffic
  7. Direct Mail Redemptions

You need to make a note of where you are now and where you want to be for all the goal categories. This part can not be skipped.  There are probably other categories you might want to set for goals, we are only listing the goals we know you can directly track through marketing.

Revenue is the top goal, but we need to identify the channels which drive the most revenue.

Revenue Goals

We suggest starting with a calendar year ending December 31st and give yourselves a revenue goal.  Then we break down the layers of the annual goal.

Let’s say last year your restaurant did $1,000,000 in revenue.  Congrats!  Now, what do you want to hit for revenue goals this year?

Without an expansion in space or some sort of big change in your location, your increase year over year will need to be a conservative and realistic goal.  New restaurants 1-3 years might be able to experience higher growth rates of 20 to 50%.  More established places will see 5-15% increases unless this is a bar rescue situation where nothing has been done for marketing up to this point.  Then expect bigger increases with added efforts.

Let’s shoot for a 20% increase in sales this coming year as part of our example plan goals.  $1,000,000 last year with 20% increase this year brings you to $1,200,000.  Now we will breakdown the $200,000 increase.  Most restaurants operate their forecasts in weeks, some on a 13 period calendar with 4 weeks per period.

$1 million per year is roughly $20,000 per week in sales.  The $200,000 increase annually translates to $4,000 per week average increase.  Seems really achievable right!  I could show you how to hit this number by closing three private parties or catering gigs per week and not increasing your expenses much at all.

That’s it, plan over.  This was easy, congrats.  Just kidding!  We have a lot more to cover.  The important part is breaking down your revenue goals into smaller chunks rather than targeting the big year end numbers.  It will make things a lot more realistic.

Now break down your $24,000/week target into your nightly goals.  I’ve noticed most restaurants pull in ⅓ of their sales from Monday to Thursday and the remaining ⅔ on the weekend.  So chop it up by day of the week, play with the totals and see where you need to be.

  • Monday – $1000
  • Tuesday – $1000
  • Wednesday – $2000
  • Thursday – $3000
  • Friday – $6000
  • Saturday – $8000
  • Sunday – $3000

Email Subscriber Goals

Still to this day email is one of the best converting marketing channels available to us.  Most restaurants completely drop the ball on this channel and miss huge opportunities to stay top of mind with customers.

Make a note in the worksheet tracker right now on how many subscribers you currently have.

I have a client who pays a staff member to collect emails every night.  He has a box in his office with two years worth of emails collected, but no one typed them in to mailchimp or constant contact.  Great effort on the collect, total wasted on the follow through.

I know some businesses put a value on their emails.  This might teach you to treat their acquisition and retention a little more seriously.  What if I told you every email was worth an extra $50 in revenue per year?  Your $200,000 goal from above would be solved with the collection of 4000 new emails.  You would only need to collect AND enter into your database 75 emails per week.

Do you collect emails from Open Table or whichever reservation service you use?  Most restaurants do not, they never import them into their email service provider.

Do you run contests on facebook or Instagram like the old school fishbowls?  “Win a free happy hour”, and have people sign up on your website by entering their name and email for a chance to win.  We have clients collecting hundreds of emails each week with this tactic.  We show you the exact method in our training courses.

BONUS: Collect their birthday at the same time and set up automated birthday promo emails that send to the subscriber 14 days before their birthday with a promo or incentive to book a party or table.  Congrats, you just made an extra $1000 per week on this tactic alone!

I know restaurant who sell out their Valentines and New Years Eve with email alone.  Imagine what you could do with a constantly growing list of subscribers.

Set The Goal – How many new subscribers do you want each week?

Task your staff with the methods on how to achieve the goal and then have reports from your email service provider and hold someone accountable for the results.

  • Reservation System Downloads
  • In Person Collection
  • Online Contests
  • Website Sign Up Form

BONUS #2:  Sign up for Zen Reach.  This is email marketing and return customer marketing on steroids.  It leverages your “free” wifi by collecting emails from customer for letting them access your wifi, then it logs their device and knows all kinds of crazy data like how often they visit.  It can’t integrate with POS sales to for a complete loop on sales data.

We are a Zen Reach partner so hit me up about this service for discounted pricing you can’t get by going direct.

WARNING!  Don’t buy lists.  Email marketing works best when permission is given by your subscribers.  You can kill your deliverability rates if people mark you as spam.  Buying lists will cause more harm than good.

Social Media Followers / Audience

I’ll make this one brief because it is easy to understand.  Make a note in the spreadsheet tracker we provided of each social media channel.  The important thing is not stopping with only Facebook and Instagram, you need a few more…

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter


I’m not going into details about how to grow your social media audiences, we have a whole set of courses on these topics.  Instead understand your reach and revenue potential significantly increases as you grow your social audience and engage with them.

What is the point of spending time and resources posting to facebook and Instagram if you have less than 5,000-10,000 followers.

It is literally a waste if you don’t have a plan to grow your audiences each week.

There are also ways to automate the process of posting and sending out to all channels at once, saving time.  I explain this in the courses.

For planning purposes, set your goals and how many followers you want to grow each week for each channel.  Hold yourself or someone accountable to hit the goals.

Private Dining & Catering Leads

The average group booking for a private or non-private party is around $1500.  This covers all kinds of occasions like baby showers, rehearsal dinners, corporate event, etc.

This strategy alone will increase your revenue by 20% if properly executed.  Book only four of these per month and you are seeing $6000 in incremental revenue or $72,000 per year.

Booking these groups you need to generate incoming leads/requests.  Generally we see a 10-20% closing rate on incoming leads for restaurants that respond quickly and follow up with organized food and beverage options.  That means every 10 incoming leads, you should be able to book 1 or 2 with an average of $1500.

Make a note of you current incoming leads through both phone calls and website requests.

If you don’t have a dedicated page on your website for private parties, groups or catering lead captures, you need to make one NOW!  Even if you don’t have a “private” space, you will still get requests from groups looking for a place to book dinner, drinks, etc.

The Goal is increasing the inbound volume of these leads.  We cover a whole series on how to do this in our video courses, but the basics are picking the right channels and optimizing your conversions.

It is a moth game.  Increase traffic to your lead capture page or phone, increase the conversion rate of the traffic to leads.  Then close the deals.

Use the following for best results:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – everyone uses google to find restaurants for groups or private dining.  Are they finding your place as an option or your competition?  Get on the first page and watch the leads pour in.

Google Adwords Pay Per Click – If you can’t rank on the first page for the google searches, pay for them.  Typical cost per click is $1 to $2 per click.  Send the ads to your lead capture page, NOT your home page.  You can waste a bunch of money here if you are inexperienced.  It’s best to get some training or hire a pro to set this up.  Done right it pays back big time!

Google Search & Maps Rank

I hinted to the benefits of google search optimization above with the group leads.  If ranking on the first page of Google search for your restaurant is not on your priority list, you are missing a big revenue source.

Ranking on the first page and at the top for searches about “restaurants in [your area]” or “happy hour spots in [your area]” or “brunch restaurants in [your area]” could mean the difference in a few people coming into being fully booked.

This channel is primarily focused on generating new customers.  People who are looking for a place to go or something to do in your area.  They don’t know of you business, but they are looking for what you provide.

There are 4 ads, 3 map spots and 10 regular or organic spots on the first page of google results.  You are in competition with your neighboring restaurants for those coveted spots.

Show up in those first page results, reap the benefits in new customers.  Not on the first page?  You are basically invisible.

The goal is rank on the first page for both the maps and organic results when people search for restaurants, happy hour, brunch, your cuisine, or anything related to your business.  You should without trying show up on top for your business name, so don’t make that a focus at all.  Unless you are not on top for your business name, then make it the top priority.

Sorry for another plug on our marketing course, but it is so good and will teach you how to easily dominate search.  Make sure you check it out for the how to do this stuff.

If you want a simple gauge on where your restaurant currently is ranked, do a search in google.  Type in restaurants in {insert your town here} and see if you are in both the maps and on the results below the map.  The do the same search for additional keywords, happy hour in…, brunch in…, etc

If you are not in the maps and the results under the maps, you are missing tons of potential customers and need help.

Website Traffic

Having the ability to work with hundreds of different restaurants, there is one thing common among the successful and the failures.  Website traffic or lack of.

There is a direct connect between High Website Traffic = Highly Successful, or Highly Successful = High Website Traffic.  Either way, we have yet to see a successful restaurant with little to no website traffic.

The difference comes down to paid traffic vs earned.

There are a few ways traffic ends up on your website.  These are the metrics you can see in Google analytics under acquisition channels

  1. Direct – this is when people type your domain name/website address directly into the address bar of their browser.  They know your website address and just go directly to it, no need to search.
  2. Organic Search traffic – As you can guess, this traffic comes from Google, Yahoo, Bing search engines mostly.  People might type in your restaurant name to search, or search for restaurants in your town, or your cuisine, etc. and end up finding your website in the search results.  They click the link and it counts as traffic from search
  3. Paid Search – This is typically Google’s adwords pay per click service.
  4. Referral – This is traffic that enters your website from a link on another website.  If your restaurant is named in a blog post on a local magazine’s website with a link to your site, that is a referral.  Sponsorships, blog posts, forums, etc all are referrals
  5. Social – almost the same as referrals above, but analytics tracks traffic coming in from social post links to your website.  Facebook, twitter, linkedin, instagram, etc.
  6. Email – If you send out emails (and you absolutely should) most sending services add analytics tracking to each email you blast out.  If so, it will show up in this tracking.  If there is no tracking in your emails, it will count as direct traffic above, so make sure your emails are tracking.
  7. Display – This is an banner ads you might be running on other websites with images or video people click and end up on your website.

Some restaurants have tons of free traffic and others have to pay thousands of $ to get the same amount.  The difference can be one has a great brand, celebrity chef, top of the page SEO/Se

arch rank.  The others have none of the previous and must spend money on adwords, facebook ads, instagram ads, etc.

Beyond Digital

Direct Mail

We are dedicated to digital marketing mostly because it works so well and you can track 100% of the success or failure from your efforts.  BUT if there was one service outside digital which we would recommend, it is direct mail through the good old post office.

They have a service called EDDM, Every Day Direct Mail. USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM®) is an affordable targeted advertising technique that lets you map your marketing mail audience by age, income, or household size. You can use the EDDM mapping tool to choose the ZIP Code and carrier route that will target your best possible customers—current and future. The EDDM mapping tool is easy to use and discounts are available even for small businesses.