The Top 3 Marketing Mistakes That Restaurant Owners Make

Male restaurant owner in restaurant kitchen looking through reports on laptopMaking mistakes is part of any restaurant owner’s journey. In fact, making the occasional mistake can be a valuable learning experience, teaching us something important about how our business operates, or how to train our staff, or how to bring in the right customers.

However, when you’re operating a business on tight margins, in an industry with a statistically high failure rate, you want to make as few mistakes as possible. With that in mind, here are 3 of the most common marketing slip-ups that restaurant owners make.

Thinking they don’t need marketing

One of the most common misconceptions about marketing a restaurant is thinking that you don’t need marketing.

No matter how amazing your food, how beautiful your space, or how attentive your staff may be, if people don’t know you exist, they’re not going to walk in your door. And while word-of-mouth is definitely helpful, it will not, by itself, bring hordes of hungry customers to your tables.

Marketing is important for any restaurant, no matter how innovative and hip it may be, or how well-known the brand is. Consider this: the biggest, most successful restaurant chains in America put major resources into marketing themselves when they open a new location. Given that reality, independent restaurants and smaller chains have to invest in marketing if they want to grow their businesses sustainably.

Relying on anecdotal evidence rather than data

You know your business inside and out – but that doesn’t always mean you know which menu items are really your highest profit-earners, or how the weather really affects your sales.

If you’re relying on your own and your staff’s observations to make all your decisions, you’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle.

So often, we hear from our customers that the data is telling them something completely unexpected. Maybe they thought that their biggest seller was a pasta dish, when it was actually a chicken dish. Maybe they thought one employee was their highest performer, when it turned out to be someone they’d overlooked.

By incorporating data analytics software into your business operations, you’ll be able to get a true picture of your customers, your menu, your staff, and your business as a whole. With that hard information to rely on, you’ll be able to move toward success much more quickly.

Failing to establish a documented marketing plan

It’s easy to come up with ideas for coupons, promotions, or ad campaigns on the fly, then set them into motion without considering how they’ll fit into a holistic marketing plan.

However, marketing this way won’t allow you to reap the greatest possible benefits. Instead of setting out with a documented plan you can take action on, you’ll end up in a reactionary mode – and that’s not very effective when it comes to getting the word out about your restaurant.

Even though it takes up time, and a good deal of effort, it’s vital to create a documented marketing plan that you and your staff can use as a guide.

It should have some level of flexibility built in, since you want to be able to pivot if things aren’t working as you planned, but knowing what steps you’re taking and how they all fit together will allow to be much more effective than creating one promotion here, a social media post there, and buying social ads now and then.

Marketing your business is absolutely necessary if you want it to succeed, but doing so doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Data analytics software like Marketing Vitals can help you discover exactly what’s working, what isn’t, and how to fix it.

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