How To Create Your Emergency Restaurant Marketing Plan

Sunny Stree

Hard times happen in the restaurant industry. (*Cough* – does anyone remember 2020?) Revenue can drop, guest count can decrease, and it might even be other factors completely outside of your control. It could be the weather, a new restaurant opened up across the street, or everyone is out on their summer holidays. Whatever the reason, if you’re a restaurant manager or owner there will be times when you really need to fill those tables to make your bottom line. Having an emergency marketing plan already plotted out will help relieve some of the stress of that already stressful time.

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Build your email list

From day one (or even before opening) you should start collecting email addresses. There are always rumors flying around that email is dead and everyone is overwhelmed by their inboxes, but the fact remains that once you have an email address you have a free way to contact your guests. When times are tight the last thing you’ll want to do is spend money on advertising. Read our article on 4 Tips To Develop Strong Restaurant Email Marketing to learn more.

Continually engage your email list

Building your list isn’t enough. You could have 10,000 people on your list but when you send out a blast only 1% opens, and of that 1% open only 2% actually clicks on anything. That means only 2 people truly engaged with your message. Be sure you are continually engaging your email list with special offers, menu updates, and behind the scenes information about your restaurant. Having a strong and engaged list will make it easier for you to reach out to them when you really need it. This might even help you never have to implement your emergency plan!

Have an offer in mind

Do your homework ahead of time. If you know you have a very popular dish, or people tend to order certain things together, package them for a deal. Offers don’t have to mean a coupon. It could just mean a slight discount for an already popular item, or a new menu special to get customers back in the door. Continually test offers to see what your guests respond to the best so when you really need to fill those tables you’ll have a solid offer with guaranteed revenue.

Utilize your social networks

Having a following on Facebook and Instagram is key for the modern day restaurant. Although Facebook’s algorithm now makes it virtually impossible for Business Pages to reach their followers organically, it’s still possible on Instagram. Instagram is an engagement-focused platform and seemingly created just for foodies. Best practices is to post every day. It’s not as daunting as it sounds- just snap a photo of your food or your staff! Don’t forsake Facebook though. They have incredibly powerful targeting capabilities, from just your followers, to people who have engaged in your Page, even to a 1 mile radius around your restaurant. $15 still goes a long way in reaching a few thousand people, which might be just what you need to get new people in your door.
Creating your emergency marketing plan while things are going well will help relieve the burden and stress when your guest counts are low. It takes work, but having all these things in place will make it easier to reach out to your guests and get them back to enjoy your great food and service. Good luck!


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