With the ongoing impact of COVID-19, creativity is essential to develop a restaurant marketing plan for 2022. The pandemic has created new challenges for the restaurant industry, which will undoubtedly continue throughout the new year. Whether it’s budget, staffing, supply chain, or customer foot traffic, little has been left undisrupted.
To support food and beverage establishments as we enter 2022, we’ve put together restaurant marketing plan examples to help guide you. Let’s dive in.
Planning & Preparation
Like all planning phases, this one starts with gathering knowledge and insights. Understanding the customer traffic patterns associated with your own business and who your customers are will be imperative to defining your 2022 restaurant marketing plan and building campaigns to support it. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer:
- What are my peak busy hours (days of the week and times)?
- Do I want to support traffic to my business during slow times or heavy times, or both?
- Who is the ideal customer I’m trying to reach? Think about both demographics and psychographics.
- Is my customer’s awareness of my business high or low?
- Am I trying to attract net-new customers or increase the visit frequency of my current customer base?
- Who am I competing with locally? Consider both dine-in and takeout/delivery competitors.
- Are there any key dates/events/milestones I want to promote this year?
If the answers to the above questions are not available to you, consider employing in-store analytics technology to help you access this information in a readily accessible dashboard. These types of platforms can help you identify peak traffic hours, customer volume, and even customer types with very little maintenance or hands-on management.
If you have been considering this type of technology, there’s no better time to follow through on setup than right before the new year. As you start collecting this data, you’ll be equipped to plan more effective marketing campaigns for the year.
On that note, it’s important to mention that any opportunity to integrate automation into your restaurant should be seized prior to your busy seasons, especially those technologies that are most important to restaurant guests. Here are a few restaurant technology examples:
With stronger foot traffic and potentially smaller seating areas, a more streamlined way to manage tables with reservation and waitlist technology should be at the top of your list. This will not only give your customers a better dining experience, but it will also give your employees one less thing to worry about during a dining rush.
Contactless menus allow you to effortlessly update your menu while saving on printing costs and offer a hygienic option for your guests. This can be especially valuable for pricing changes during this time as labor, food, and fuel costs continue to see increased volatility. The adoption of contactless menus was throttled during the pandemic, and 76% of restaurants say they plan to keep them moving forward.
Customer Email Collection/Loyalty Sign-Ups
Consider the pen and paper or fishbowl you’re using to collect customer contacts: not only do these methods require manual entry on your part, but they leave room for human error. They also don’t immediately incentivize customers to participate. Instead, leverage a value exchange like a guest WiFi access sign-on or loyalty program, which captures the customer’s email and immediately gets their information into your database for your marketing efforts.
As more restaurants pivoted towards contactless technology during the height of the pandemic, consumers are not only appreciative, they’re looking for this trend to stay. According to a recent study, 77% of Americans said they prefer to pay for food and beverage with contactless payment.
Guest WiFi Network
Did you know that 96% of customers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers guest WiFi? Not only that, but they’re also more likely to spend more time and money there. Offering guest WiFi access appeals to customers and allows them more opportunities to post about their experience at your restaurant on social media, be it checking in, sharing a selfie, or perhaps the Instagram-worthy appetizer you just served.
2022 is the time to optimize your profile on any third-party delivery services you use. Consider opportunities to add visuals and photography of each dish, as it’s well known that customers eat with their eyes and will be more likely to try new restaurants if they provide food photos. Menu items with imagery next to them lead to higher sales than items without imagery.
Point-of-sale systems help streamline and simplify the operations of your restaurant. However, each POS system is different, and you’ll need to analyze what your current system can offer your business. Not only can POS systems place orders and track sales, but they can even assign seats and manage when employees clock in and out. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what your current POS system offers and take advantage of every feature.
Are you already feeling confident about your on-site technology? Pro tip: Make time to check that everything is working as intended before entering a busy season.
Once you have a solid base of insights and automation, now it’s time to start marrying your business goals with campaigns. Ideally, you should create a quarterly plan during the previous quarter that outlines the campaign type, goal, target, message, channels, timing, and budget. Below is an restaurant marketing plan example to get you started:
2022 presents a new opportunity for you to capitalize on increasing guest foot traffic and open-mindedness through a creative restaurant marketing plan. Establishing the technical foundations and integrating tactics focused on both new and existing customers will help you stand out amongst the competition and drive increased business throughout the year.
Are you ready to take advantage of these 2022 restaurant trends? Download The Ultimate Restaurant Marketing Guide.