Restaurant Marketing Budget: What Is It and How To Use It

Marketing 14 minute read 26th September 2023

While everyone knows the importance of marketing, few business owners consider dedicating a budget to these activities. Setting up a restaurant marketing budget instead is a crucial step to ensure the success of your venue. It will allow you to measure the results of your marketing efforts and have numbers under control.

In this article, you’ll learn how to budget for your marketing activities and what campaigns you should run for the best results. Moreover, you’ll read how to market your restaurant if you are tight on budget. Let’s start!

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What Is the Average Restaurant Marketing Budget?

A restaurant marketing budget is more than just allocating funds to some marketing campaigns. This activity embodies your vision and goals as a restaurant owner. If you are ambitious enough, you want to see your venue grow. However, you know that resources are scarce. Therefore, you have to allocate them wisely. A marketing budget for your restaurant ensures that every marketing dollar spent translates into footfall. In other words, the more you spend, the more customers walk through your doors.

Digital marketing for local businesses simplifies tracking and results. However, it is not a silver bullet. You must pick your tools and use them wisely. Otherwise, you might end up wasting money. The burning question for many restaurant owners, however, is: “How much should I spend on marketing?”

Unfortunately, there is not an answer that fits every business. Nonetheless, industry standards suggest between 3% to 6% of total revenue as a benchmark. The average restaurant marketing budget might thus seem broad. However, you must consider that your restaurant’s location, competition, and size can significantly influence it. For example, a cafe in a populated area might need a more substantial marketing spend compared to a Michelin-rated restaurant.

However, the weird thing about marketing is that some activities might take a lot of money while others don’t. For example, if you get a lot of Google reviews, you won’t pay a cent, and Google will work for you.

How To Make a Marketing Budget Plan for Restaurant

Learning how to make a marketing budget plan is the first step to creating successful campaigns. A structured budget plan streamlines your marketing efforts and maximizes the impact of every dollar spent.

  1. Define your goals. Before you allocate any funds, you must decide what you aim to achieve. Depending on your goals, you‘ll require different actions. Do you want to attract more local diners? Do you want high-ticket customers? Without deciding your goals, you won’t get far and waste resources.
  2. Consider your costs. Some marketing tools, like email marketing integrations or monthly fees for social media management platforms, remain constant. Others, such as ad spending or influencer partnerships, can vary. Ensure your plan accounts for both.
  3. Prioritize. Running social media ads might cost more than organic posts but could bring more immediate results. Not all marketing channels will require the same investment. Therefore, you need to prioritize according to your goals.
  4. Review, Adjust, Repeat: As trends change, your marketing plan should evolve too. To get great results, you need to track your marketing campaigns and see what is working. Also, discard what is wasting resources. Set aside time to assess your strategy’s effectiveness and adjust your marketing expenses.

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Best Marketing Activities To Consider for Your Restaurant

Choosing the right marketing activities for your restaurant influences how effectively you use your budget. Moreover, your budgeting should reflect your restaurant marketing plan. Otherwise, they would both be pointless.

There are hundreds of tools that one venue can use. However, the best results come from the simplest marketing campaigns. Let’s analyze these tools.

Social Media Marketing

Social media are the best digital spaces for promoting your venue. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok offer direct access to potential customers. Therefore, you must promote your brand in the most authentic and compelling way. Craft engaging posts, take beautiful pictures and videos and collaborate with influencers to showcase your dishes and special offers.

If you get trendy, diners will share their experiences and will amplify your reach. Finding social media ideas that work might be hard in the beginning. However, with some practice, you’ll get good at it.

Getting Reviews

People read reviews before choosing a venue for dining. It is no longer a secret, and that’s why restaurant reputation management is crucial for succeeding. Getting reviews is probably the single most important activity for your business. Therefore, encourage satisfied diners to leave reviews on local review sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Positive reviews build your restaurant’s reputation and attract more customers. Moreover, you don’t need to spend any money on it. If you deliver great services, they will flow naturally.

However, many business owners struggle to get reviews consistently. That’s why WiFi marketing solutions are becoming so popular for local businesses. These solutions allow local businesses to automate this activity with dedicated software.

Nonetheless, if you have no budget for it, you can still rely on other strategies like asking or placing a QR code in the bill.

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Restaurant advertising can be a game-changer in attracting new customers and driving revenues. By creating enticing offers that resonate with customer profiles, restaurants can effectively boost their bottom line. The key here is to craft compelling messages that highlight unique selling points while also appealing to consumer preferences.

You can also test multiple platforms to see what works best for your venue. Facebook and Instagram enable you to reach a wide audience at relatively low costs. Instead, utilizing Google Ads allows targeted advertisements to appear when users search for relevant keywords or locations. In turn, this will create more footfall and conversions.

However, if not properly handled, restaurant advertising can become expensive. If you use paid ads, ensure to monitor consistently the effectiveness of your campaigns. Furthermore, customer data collection can help determine which promotions are driving business.

How to Market Your Restaurant on a Shoestring Budget

If you are wondering how to market your restaurant on a shoestring budget, the answer is working more. A limited budget doesn’t mean limited visibility. However, it means more effort on your side. Nonetheless, with a bit of creativity and strategic thinking, you can make a significant impact without breaking the bank.

For example, you can encourage customers to share their dining experiences on social media. A simple hashtag or a monthly photo contest can lead to a flood of organic posts, giving you free publicity.

Another effective way to market your restaurant is through email campaigns. These allow you to engage with your customers directly. However, you need to build a list of contacts first.

Also, optimize your presence on local review sites. Platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor allow you to list for free. Ensure to update these listings and respond to reviews (negatives and positives). Also, ask consistently for reviews and take advantage of QRcode marketing to automate it.

Maximizing Your Marketing Spend: Tips and Strategies

The strategies mentioned above are the basics of great marketing for any restaurant. By leveraging social media channels and creating engaging content, you can create a community of regulars and attract new customers.

That said, when you do allocate funds for marketing activity, make sure you’re tracking the return on investment. You can always improve what you can measure. Moreover, platforms like Facebook and Google offer comprehensive analytics. These dashboards will allow you to see what results your marketing dollars are providing.

However, from time to time, ensure to try different things. You might try guerrilla marketing and discover it works well for you. Or else, you might run regular events and attract customers that you like. Consider also restaurant loyal programs to capitalize on regular customers. These can help you gather data to improve your marketing campaigns.

All in all, marketing is about testing. When you find what works, stay there. A restaurant marketing budget is the first step to being conscious about your marketing. However, you can’t avoid making mistakes. The most important thing is learning what is not working and adjusting accordingly.

If you want to automate your marketing campaigns and create promotions based on data, check out Beambox. This WiFi marketing platform allows you to gather data from your real customers and use that knowledge in your campaigns. Moreover, it helps you get reviews on autopilot with customizable prompts. Try it for free for thirty days!

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