Ef­fec­tive ac­tion plan for restau­rants

Chadi Chidiac, man­ag­ing part­ner of PRO­TO­COL, breaks down the key el­e­ments of an ef­fec­tive restau­rant mar­ket­ing plan and pro­vides an ex­plana­tory and read­er­friendly roadmap that can be used to suc­cess­fully de­sign an ac­tion plan for the year ahead

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS -

The for­mu­la­tion of an ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing plan for any given restau­rant is a te­dious job, un­less you do it with a pro or like a pro. There is no rea­son to con­ceive a 15page plan with min­i­mal font-size and no spac­ing doc­u­ment if you and your team won’t be read­ing it. The more you write, the more you're likely to re­peat your­self, or over­an­a­lyze your strate­gies. The key to a good an­nual mar­ket­ing plan (yes, an­nual, since PRO­TO­COL strongly ad­vises a manda­tory re­visit and re­vi­sion of the plan on a yearly ba­sis) is con­cise­ness.

Mar­ket­ing plan by def­i­ni­tion

Think of your mar­ket­ing plan as a mile­stone chart for the up­com­ing year (12-month pe­riod). It should high­light each and ev­ery event and pro­mo­tion that you in­tend to run be­fore the end of De­cem­ber, and the out­come you are ex­pect­ing to ex­plore as a bot­tom line. By pin­point­ing your pro­mo­tions ahead of time, you’ll be far less likely to go over­bud­get on un­fore­seen or un­ex­pected costs and ex­penses.

Struc­ture and skele­ton of a mar­ket­ing plan

There are a few key things to con­sider in your plan, re­gard­less of how you put it to­gether. These con­sid­er­a­tions are: • Goals set for the year • Mar­ket­ing bud­get (an­nual) • Pre­set cal­en­dar of all in­tended events

and pro­mo­tions • Strate­gies to use • Ex­pected out­comes to achieve

Your goals set for the year

Be­fore the kick-off of any plan(s), it’s im­por­tant to visu­al­ize and de­fine your over­all mar­ket­ing goals for the year. These should be ob­jec­tive-ori­ented and mea­sur­able, so you can gauge how far you’ve come over the plan’s pe­riod (12 months).

A few goals to con­sider im­ple­ment­ing

• Boost­ing your yearly gross rev­enue (YGR) by [x] amount • In­creas­ing on­line reser­va­tions by [x] • In­creas­ing hits vol­ume or clicks on your

web­site by [x] • In­creas­ing your con­ver­sion rate (the ra­tio of web-vis­i­tors that con­verts into con­firmed reser­va­tions or book­ings) by [x] • In­creas­ing so­cial me­dia (Twit­ter/

Face­book/in­sta­gram) fol­low­ers by [x] • In­creas­ing news­let­ter’s sub­scribers by [x] • In­creas­ing men­tion­ing of the brand in

the me­dia by [x] • Raise pos­i­tive re­views on ma­jor search, dis­cov­ery and re­views ser­vice pages (Tripad­vi­sor/yelp/zo­mato) by [x]

An­nual bud­get­ing

Set­ting an ac­cu­rate an­nual mar­ket­ing bud­get can be a daunt­ing task, be­cause there’s no way to iden­tify or to quan­tify how suc­cess­ful your pro­mo­tions are go­ing to be; they’re sim­ply a guess or a hunch. It’s com­monly ac­cepted as an in­dus­try stan­dard to spend be­tween one and 10 per­cent of your sales on mar­ket­ing, though this de­pends on sev­eral fac­tors, like the type of con­cept and its op­er­at­ing profit mar­gin. When you pro­pose an an­nual fig­ure, bear in mind ad­di­tional ex­penses, like sub­con­tract­ing pro-con­sul­tancy, hir­ing free­lancers, at­tend­ing mar­ket­ing sem­i­nars and con­ven­tions, as well as other train­ing. Then de­cide the rate and per­cent­age

point of your bud­get to be al­lo­cated to all dif­fer­ent ad­ver­tis­ing medi­ums. Con­sider his­toric data (if avail­able) and what’s worked best for the en­tity in the past. If you’re gain­ing trac­tion through be­low the line mar­ket­ing (BTL) with so­cial me­dia like Face­book, for ex­am­ple, then drive more of your spend­ing power and in­vest­ment into that.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est study con­ducted by PRO­TO­COL in April, which cov­ered 1050 F&B es­tab­lish­ments in the MENA re­gion and Europe, 68 per­cent of SMES found email mar­ket­ing and so­cial me­dia to be their most ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gies, closely fol­lowed by so­cial me­dia en­gage­ment (67 per­cent). In other words, a con­sid­er­able num­ber of small busi­nesses have be­come strong be­liev­ers in in­vest­ing in so­cial me­dia as a cost­ef­fec­tive medium with a high reach fac­tor and pen­e­tra­tion ra­tio.

Cal­en­dar of pro­mo­tions to con­sider

In or­der to suc­cess­fully pre­plan which pro­mo­tion you want to run, draft out a cal­en­dar break­down of sig­nif­i­cant hol­i­days and lo­cal events. Based on that, con­sider the events you would like to turn into pro­mo­tions. Bear­ing in mind that any event or pro­mo­tion should be com­pat­i­ble, so match your restau­rant con­cept and cus­tomer pro­file. Aim for slow months (e.g. the holy month of Ra­madan) where an un­usual pro­mo­tion could boost rev­enue.

Strate­gies you plan to use

Once you’ve set your pro­mo­tional days, break each one down so you can for­mu­late a more de­tailed strat­egy. Your com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy should take into con­sid­er­a­tion the crowd which your ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign will tar­get, the ad­ver­tis­ing medium(s) you will use, and per­for­mance mea­sure us­ing met­rics tools.

It’s com­monly ac­cepted as an in­dus­try stan­dard to spend be­tween one and 10 per­cent of your sales on mar­ket­ing

rate, cost per click, and/or num­ber of book­ings. Re­fer­rals, as well as tes­ti­mo­ni­als and PR men­tions are ex­pected to ramp up sig­nif­i­cantly once sys­tems are set (cus­tomer re­fer­ral of­fers, sur­vey or com­ments cards by or­der, in ad­di­tion to press re­leases for ev­ery theme night).

PRO­TO­COL as­sumes from ex­pe­ri­ence that the av­er­age cus­tomer will re­turn ev­ery other month lead­ing to a trans­ac­tion rate of 0.5 month-on-month (m-o-m) on a monthly ba­sis for a given turnover fig­ure of USD 1.4 mil­lion end­ing first year. Ex­pec­ta­tions are for a slight in­crease over the next two years, along with a cor­re­spond­ing rise in the av­er­age trans­ac­tion per cus­tomer.

Sales pro­jec­tions

Sales pro­jec­tions are based on first-timer meals ris­ing from four to six per­cent each month on the back of con­stantly re­mod­eled and bol­stered mar­ket­ing ef­forts and reg­u­lar meals in­creas­ing by three per­cent per month. First-timer meals are a huge con­trib­u­tor and have great po­ten­tial to be­come reg­u­lar meals, as many of these first-time cus­tomers will con­vert to reg­u­lar meals. The top-line rev­enue is usu­ally the same for both types. How­ever, there are gen­er­ally pro­mo­tional fac­tors with high dis­counts for first-timer meals which are ac­counted for as a di­rect cost of sales, bear­ing in mind that growth will also be­gin to slow start­ing in the third year or af­ter 36 months. This oc­curs as restau­rant sales reach their max­i­mum and hit a ca­pac­ity plateau.

Tar­get out­come

It’s im­per­a­tive to set just one re­al­is­tic goal for each pro­mo­tion. Say­ing, “I want to at­tract more cus­tomers,” isn’t enough. Be prag­matic and ob­jec­tive about how many book­ings you need to break even. “I want to at­tract 75 con­firmed book­ings,” is bet­ter. It’s also im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge any ob­sta­cles that could get in your way, so you can plan around them. For ex­am­ple, com­pet­ing restau­rants might be of­fer­ing a sim­i­lar event on the same day. Be­ing aware of this gives you time to think what you can do to make your pro­mo­tion stand out or what method of ad­ver­tis­ing you can use to reach a wider au­di­ence.

There are no short­cuts when it comes to writ­ing a mar­ket­ing plan for your restau­rant, so map it out in a way that makes sense to you.

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