How To Audit and Update Your Restaurant’s Marketing Plan For 2016

How To Audit And Update Your Restaurant's Marketing Plan For 2016

Start 2016 off with a solid marketing game plan.

Before you can update and build your restaurant’s marketing plan for 2016, you need to first go through the process of a marketing audit. This integral piece to your marketing strategy is often forgotten by many busy restaurant owners.

Why? For most people, it’s simply because it can be time consuming. Whether you do it yourself, task it to an employee, or hire an outside firm, your marketing audit is the first step to building your 2016 marketing plan and budget.

Your marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic, un-biased evaluation of your restaurant’s marketing. In this article we’re going to tell you how to audit and update your restaurant’s marketing plan for 2016.

What is a Marketing Audit?

The marketing audit uses a structured approach to collect and analyze data from this year’s marketing. It looks at what’s been done, what’s worked and what’s failed. Its purpose is not to criticize, but to identify areas for improvement.

The marketing audit is the cornerstone or foundation for your 2016 marketing activities. (tweet this) It requires objectivity from all involved parties.

Now, let’s talk about the steps to take to audit your restaurant’s current marketing plan so you can update it for 2016.

Write an Overview

This is a pretty simple step. Start your audit with a written overview of your company, the date established, number of employees and sales history. Evaluate your brand awareness.

Examine ROI of Current Initiatives

Did you meet your marketing goals and objectives for 2015? For example, did you increase brand awareness, maintain your market share, increase revenue, generate more sales, introduce a new product or hone your customer service skills?

Look at what’s helped you grow your restaurant and what fell short of expectations. This is also the place to review your competitors. Have they done something you’ve liked or that worked really well?

Here are some specific things to look at when evaluating your current strategies and initiatives:

  • Can you pin increases in revenue on specific strategies?
  • What was your marketing mix? Break it down and define what worked.
  • Did you meet or exceed your budget?
  • Is your marketing plan effectively implemented?

Describe Your Goals and Objectives

What do you want to accomplish for 2016? Set long term and short term goals. For the long term, set six to eight goals to be accomplished next year. For the short term, consider setting quarterly goals.

Evaluate Your Restaurant Customer

Things to look at here include the size of your customer base, their ordering behaviors, income, diversity, geographic location (do they travel to dine at your restaurant) and other demographic indicators.

Describe Your Ideal Restaurant Customer(s)

Are the customers you described above the only ones you want to target? Or, are there customers in other areas you’d like to reach out to? For example, if you primarily serve families with children under 12, would you like to reach out to busy under-30 somethings?

Ask yourself about the needs of your target customer and how you can meet them. What is their perception of your restaurant? How do they perceive your value? What strategies can you use to reach them where they are?

This is also the time to bring out a big word – buyer personas. Used by marketing gurus, buyer personas tell you what your prospective restaurant customers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to eat at your restaurant and do business with you.

Buyer personas can change over time. What you defined in 2015 may not be relevant in 2016. For example, one buyer persona may have stated, “reads newspaper every morning.” If this potential customer’s persona was developed several years ago, we bet they no longer read the newspaper, but now they gather news online.

This is an important part of your updated marketing plan. It helps you target the right people at the right time, and helps you decide what medium to use to reach them.

Look at New Opportunities

You’ve looked at what worked and what didn’t. Now it’s time to update your 2015 plan and begin to outline your 2016 marketing plan. Be sure and include the marketing strategy that worked well in 2015 along with any new ideas.

Start listing the vehicles you’ll use to market your restaurant. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Your website: Is it mobile friendly? Does it need updating? Do you have an online menu? Do you take online orders and/or reservations?
  • Your blog: Do you have a content marketing plan?
  • Social media: Which platforms are using? Have they worked? Can you add others to your repertoire? Have you tried paid social media ads? If not, give them a try in 2016.
  • Pay-per-click: Think Google AdWords. This is a great vehicle for promoting your restaurant.
  • Broadcast advertising: Radio and TV work for some restaurants.
  • Email marketing: If you aren’t doing this, we recommend adding it to your 2016 marketing plan.
  • Print media: Newspaper, magazines, collateral such as brochures and business cards.
  • Tabletop ordering: Yes, this is part of marketing.
  • Market research and tracking systems
  • Special Events in-restaurant and out, such as food festivals.

Determine 2016 Budget

To set your budget, determine a ROI (return on investment) goal. This helps you calculate how much money you should spend on marketing. This helps you be confident you’re spending the right amount of money.

Find Marketing Partners

Marketing partners are a great way to extend your restaurant marketing budget. (tweet this) Some ideas for marketing partnerships include:

  • Area businesses
  • Food festivals
  • Food writers
  • Media personalities

By aligning with a marketing partner, you save money and extend your marketing reach at the same time.

To Conclude

Don’t let the marketing audit take a back burner. It’s a fundamental part to your successful 2016 restaurant marketing plan. It’s worth noting, too, that marketing audits are not only important at the end of a year and at the beginning of a new one.

Marketing audits are worthwhile on an ongoing basis. In the digital age, it pays to review your strategies on a quarterly basis so you can update your restaurant’s marketing plan and adjust for the big winners and the big losers.

Have you conducted a marketing audit to update your restaurant’s marketing plan? If so, please share your tips below.

If you’re looking to add a line item to your marketing plan that includes a new mobile friendly website, feel free to request your complimentary consultation today!

Images: Simon Cunningham and visit Greenland

Free Checklist For Your Restaurant!

5 Steps to Attract More Customers With Your Website

Get Your Free Checklist!
Restaurant Customers Dining