The Marketing You Have to Do Before Opening a Restaurant

Cheerful restaurant owners standing with "we are open" blackboard.There’s a persistent statistic that 9 out of every 10 restaurants fail within the first year. While this is a frightening anecdote, it’s also not true. Why is this rumor so prevalent then? Of all the startups in the US, restaurants are often the most visible as necessary brick-and-mortar locations with purchase prices within the means of many. While that 3D printing shop down the street might close, it was also wedged on a side-street with an expensive product few locals were interested in buying.

So, when restaurants fail, people notice. Now, there are many reasons that a restaurant that opened six months ago might be shuttering its doors today. Maybe they had too stiff competition. Maybe their food wasn’t something the local demographics were interested in. Maybe it was just a bad business model by the owner. But there are other problems that could have been solved, and one of them is proper marketing.

In this article, we’re going to look at the importance of marketing a new restaurant brand or location before opening it to grow momentum and increase sales. Doing so will lay the groundwork for success.

1. Craft a Marketing Plan

In a way, every tip after this is included in this one: a marketing plan is the blueprint of all the marketing you’ll be doing for your restaurant. Having one created allows you to lay out your goals, the resources (people, time, and budget) you’ve got to work with, the options to market with, and the results you’re looking for. A good marketing plan uses facts over feelings, and it’s often advisable to get a consultation from a marketing agency (or better yet the creation of a marketing plan). This will get everyone on the same page – the last thing you need is for parts of your marketing to go off before the others.

2. Polish Your Brand Until It Glows

Name? Check. Logo? Check. That’s the start of your brand. While you’re working up menus and finishing renovations, it’s important to spend a little more time on your brand. Make sure everyone is on the same page on what your restaurant is and isn’t. Your logo, color design, images, font, and even voice need to be consistent everywhere you put them. Do you have professional photos? You need to make sure they are ready for the online world by having the right resolutions and layouts for the logo, banners, and more for your favorite social media platforms.

3. Carve Out Your Online Presence

Ideally, you’re having a website built,   which acts as a hub and primary source of information for your restaurant. But above and beyond that it’s important to claim and safeguard your online presence on the platforms you want to be seen on. When people search for you online, make sure they can find you.

  • Claim Your Google Listing: Chances are, if you’re working out of an established building or lot, there’s another closed business with your address. Go to Google Business, claim the location, and fill your listing out. Google Maps is used by many users and apps, so don’t pass this up.
  • Create Pages for Reviews: Restaurants can live or die by their Yelp reviews. Make sure to get your page set up there and other review sites, and make sure to have this information ready for later.
  • Set Up Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: get your accounts name claimed and filled out with your branding. Like with review sites, keep this information on file. You can probably skip LinkedIn unless you want to hire from there or provide franchise opportunities.

4. Get the News Out of Your Opening

Okay, so what are you doing for your grand opening? You’ve got your social media platforms. You might have your website. Anything else? Think about passing a press release on to your local online or offline papers, as well as reaching out to food critics and influencers in your area for a grand opening event. Like with branding, make sure the information is consistent and polished, from release dates to where to go for more information.

5. Monitor, Respond and Engage with Users

As you roll out the various parts of your marketing plan, it’s important to track and respond to users engaging with your restaurant on any platform. It’s all about managing your reputation. Have the tools and time in place to track website form submissions, social media messages, IMs, and reviews. More than just looking, it’s important to respond and engage with users on everything from social media messaging to Yelp reviews.

Interested in more restaurant related marketing tips? Make sure to check out our blogs on restaurant marketing tips and dealing with restaurant hospitality groups. If you’re looking to partner with a marketing agency to help you design and execute a marketing plan for your new restaurant, it’s time to contact Vision Advertising. We’re a full-service marketing agency, specializing in comprehensive internet marketing – from websites to social media and everything in-between, to help you not only succeed but thrive. Let’s get your restaurant started right.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by his background, Alex writes “social media content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to whitepapers and beyond. In addition, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision’s clients, along with social media advertising for others. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, compiles tabletop roleplaying system conversions, and cooks a mean Chicken and Dumplings avec Peas. A videogame enthusiast, he is also developing his first video game with the startup game studio, Pretty Weird. He is terrible with plants*.

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