MARKETING OF A RESTAURANT OR RESTAURANT CHAIN
FEATURES OF THE INDUSTRY
The restaurant business is an extremely interesting and competitive market with certain characteristics that are unique to it. Understanding these features is common among experienced restaurateurs, but often lacking for those opening a restaurant for the first time or dreaming of starting a business in the restaurant industry. So, here are the main features in question:
- More than just food. The key in the restaurant business is to understand that a restaurant is often not just about food, but about other things - entertainment, image, status. Indeed, in our times, a significant part of society still needs a "night out," but for various reasons, it is quite skeptical about, let's say, theaters, opera, concerts, and other "classic" forms of entertainment. Restaurateurs know that by creating the right atmosphere and image for the establishment, the restaurant becomes the most acceptable alternative for most people, providing pleasant and interesting leisure, supporting the image of an individual or company, adding status to meetings with partners, and so on.
- High competition. Although restaurants are physically located in specific locations, which might limit competition to nearby establishments, the reality is different. Guests are willing to visit the establishment they like the most, even if it means traveling to another part of the city or even outside the city. On the one hand, this allows attracting guests from remote locations, and on the other hand, it can lead to fierce competition between establishments in different locations.
- Loyalty maintenance. One of the most significant challenges in the restaurant business is balancing the guest's interest in both the cuisine and other elements of the restaurant - concept, interior, programs, making the restaurant business quite dynamic. An experienced restaurateur knows that if changes are not made to the cuisine, design, or entertainment for an extended period, some guests will prefer a more active and dynamic venue over time.
- Variety of strategies. In the restaurant business, there is a wide range of strategies regarding the concept of the establishment, types of cuisine, target audiences, guest loyalty levels, marketing methods, and more. The restaurant business impresses with its diversity - from elite restaurants with a refined menu and exclusive service to cafes, fast-food outlets, and fusion restaurants, each with a unique strategy aimed at attracting and retaining customers.
- Fashion and culinary trends. The restaurant business is sensitive to fashion and culinary trends. The ability to quickly adapt to new tastes and trends in other areas of social life can determine the success of the establishment.
- Reputation dependence. Dependency on reputation is a crucial feature of the restaurant business, as customers often make decisions about choosing a place based on its rating and reviews. Creating and maintaining a high reputation requires consistently providing quality services, considering customer requirements, and effectively interacting with guests and the target audience.
Therefore, as we can see, the restaurant business is a complex field with many features that need to be considered in planning for commercial success. Moreover, the multitude of possible strategies for various aspects of business leads to a vast number of potential combinations for a successful restaurant business.
SOME GENERAL STRATEGIES AND APPROACHESS
Nevertheless, let's try to provide the main approaches and tools in the field of marketing that are often applied by restaurants when creating a restaurant marketing plan:
- Choosing between a clear concept and flexibility. This is a fundamental dilemma that confronts restaurateurs at the very beginning of their business. A clear restaurant concept that defines the cuisine, interior, and entertainment for years ahead can be a powerful marketing element, quickly providing uniqueness and setting the establishment apart from competitors. However, a clear concept carries certain risks - over time, the concept may become outdated, uninteresting to the market, or face competition from similar establishments, and updates and changes may be challenging for the current target audience to accept, leading to a loss of popularity. On the other hand, an alternative is to create a unique, hard-to-copy but flexible umbrella-type concept that allows relatively free maneuvering between the main parameters of the restaurant business and adapting to current needs and trends without the need for a complete change of concept and its elements.
- Zoning of premises or territory. Ideally, a restaurant should be thoroughly planned and zoned for various purposes, types of entertainment, and leisure activities to cover the entire spectrum of needs that guests may have. The ideal scenario is a restaurant with a large area outside the city, where different needs and types of entertainment can be separated and harmoniously combined. Depending on the restaurant's strategy and size, it is possible to consider a business lounge (business lunches and dinners, presentations, corporate events, etc.), banquet halls (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc.), an area for regular leisure (daily visits), a concert hall, a game zone, a workshop area, a children's sector, and many other potential elements that can distinguish the restaurant from competitors.
- Cuisine and gastronomic features. Of course, the central element of any restaurant is the choice of cuisine and the composition of an optimal menu. Restaurateurs face the choice of the number of dishes on the menu, their sophistication, the balance between types of dishes, the selection of drinks in the wine list, additional services such as hookahs, and more.
- Promotion of the chef. Creating a distinctive profile for the chef on the restaurant's website, social media, producing video content on food preparation, sharing unique culinary secrets, and telling interesting stories about the restaurant's kitchen, conducting masterclasses, interviews, and participating in various public events - all of these contribute to the restaurant's image, attracting and retaining guests in the long term.
- Powerful marketing in digital channels. Restaurant marketing primarily relies on programs in the digital field, strategic use of social media, content marketing, geolocation services, and mobile apps to create an attractive image, interact with customers, launch creative campaigns, and provide virtual ordering and delivery, maximizing the restaurant's presence in the online environment and ensuring effective customer acquisition and retention.
- Referral marketing. Reputation is crucial for the success of a restaurant business. It preserves the customer base for years, helps attract new guests, stimulates loyalty, and helps differentiate from competitors. Moreover, a satisfied customer usually attracts the attention of friends and partners to the establishment very quickly. Therefore, referral marketing is an extremely powerful tool in restaurant marketing.
It should be noted that within one article, we cannot show all the pitfalls or demonstrate all the marketing methods and tools specific to the mentioned industry. In other words, these are just a few examples of quite general marketing approaches that can be applied to restaurant business. From a practical point of view, everything is much more complicated - the choice of a specific marketing strategy and tools depends on the target audience, competitive environment, and unique advantages of the company, etc. At the same time, it is desirable to understand that restaurant marketing may encounter a number of specific problems that are unique to each individual case and require an individual approach to their solution.
Achieving the commercial objectives of a company through effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the market situation, consumer needs, the ability to analyze and explore alternatives, and a creative approach to problem-solving. Our company has extensive experience in defining optimal marketing strategies for our clients' businesses, creating a strong brand and market positioning, as well as developing a marketing mix and implementing the chosen strategy. You can familiarize yourself with the services and solutions our company offers on the "Services
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