Maximizing Your Restaurant Advertising ROI

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5 min read

Nov 23, 2021

Maximizing Your Restaurant Advertising ROI

Advertising is an effective way to spread the word about your restaurant to new customers, keep guests coming back, drum up interest for new menu items and events, and much more. Every dollar counts in the restaurant industry, so you need to make sure that every penny you invest in marketing generates even more in revenue.

Whether you’re taking the DIY approach to promoting your business or are working with an advertising agency, you need to know how to make the most of your investment. We’ve create this guide to restaurant advertisements to help you understand:

Digital and traditional advertising options
How to optimize your restaurant marketing ROI

The restaurant advertisement playbook: Digital vs. traditional ads

There are two primary types of options when it comes to advertising your restaurant: digital ads and traditional ads.

Digital ads can help you target a very specific customer base while keeping restaurant advertising costs low, while traditional ads are best for reaching a wider audience. You can hit a sweet spot by using a little bit of both. 

Consider adding these advertising media to your marketing playbook to maximize ROI.

Digital advertising options

Traditional advertising options:

Print ads in magazines, newspapers, and local business mailers
Direct mail campaign
TV and radio commercials
Event sponsorships

How to maximize restaurant marketing ROI while keeping advertising costs down

Follow these strategies to make the most of your advertising efforts and optimize your restaurant marketing ROI.

Restaurant advertising tip #1: Establish goals

The smartest way to get an ROI is to understand what kind of return you want. In other words, you shouldn’t be advertising just to advertise. You need to be deliberate about why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

Create goals for your advertising efforts. What do you want to achieve through advertising? Perhaps you want to increase revenue, get customers to show up to your grand opening, increase online orders, or boost brand awareness.

Whatever your goals may be, make sure they’re SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. For example, instead of just saying you want to make more money, convert that goal into increasing online orders by 20 percent in November.

Benchmarks can help you set attainable goals. Using past data is your best bet. For example, when setting the above online ordering goal, you could check your online ordering data and discover that you typically see a 10 percent increase month over month when you don’t advertise. Doubling that growth is an attainable goal with a restaurant advertisement campaign.

If you don’t have historic data you can reference, look up industry standard benchmarks to set realistic goals.

Restaurant advertising tip #2: Select the best media for your goals

Next, select the advertising media that will best help you meet your goals. You don’t need to be Don Draper to figure this out, as advertising is pretty intuitive.

For example, if you want to increase online orders, your best bet would be to 1) reach new online ordering customers, 2) get existing dine-in guests to order online, and 3) get customers who order online to do it more often or spend more.

You could combine digital and traditional advertising means to achieve this goal. 

For example, you might reach new customers with a coupon in a local coupon mailer and social media ads that target people in your area.

You could reach dine-in guests with an email offer for a discount on their next online order and a check holder postcard that reminds them that you have online ordering.

Finally, you could reach online order customers with targeted social media ads, email offers, and takeout bag postcards that give them a freebie on their next order of a certain amount or more (valid through November, to help you meet your target).

Restaurant advertising tip #3: Run A/B tests to maximize ROI

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Test your advertising efforts by running a short marketing campaign with two versions of each ad and see which one people respond to best.

For example, you could see which email subject lines customers open more, which photo in an Instagram ad people click on more, or which poster gets the most inquiries.

Once there’s a clear winner from your experiments, invest the rest of your marketing budget into the ad that performed best. Many digital advertising tools, like social media ads through Facebook, automatically let you A/B test ads and will show the winner and stop showing the poorly performing ad.

Restaurant advertising tip #4: Send customers to the right place

If you want people to take your desired action when they see an ad, you need to send them to the right place. That means being intentional with the call to action you use. 

Drive customers to direct booking and ordering sites, instead of third-party partners, to ensure you can keep the relationship going, even after your marketing campaign is over. 

For example, if you want customers to place online orders, tell them where to go. In social media ads, link to your direct online ordering site instead of your third-party ordering page. And if you want to increase reservations, link to your direct booking landing page

How do you send customers to the right digital destination from a postcard, flier, or poster? For printed advertisements, include a QR code that sends customers to the right destination. You can even include a shortened link to the proper destination to make it easy for customers to type in. For TV or radio ads, send customers to a link that’s easy to remember.

A direct customer relationship isn’t just about getting that first order or reservation; it’s about driving repeat business after you capture diner information up front. With marketing automation software, you leverage the data you collect about your guests to keep them coming back.

Restaurant advertising tip #5: Track your success

How will you know if you’ve met your goals if you can’t track your success? Digital advertising makes it easier than ever to understand how your ads performed. 

You can see metrics like: 

Reach: How many people saw the ad.
Impressions: The cumulative number of times the ad was seen.
Clicks: How many times the ad was clicked on.
Conversions: The number of times people took the action you wanted, such as placing an online order, after seeing your ad.

Traditional advertising also offers metrics, but they aren’t as precise as digital advertising metrics. You may be able to find out reach, such as how many people watched the TV show that your commercial was aired during, or how many houses received your postcard mailer. 

For certain promotions, you can track conversions by creating coupon codes and making them unique to the medium (ex: 10OFFTV, 10OFFRADIO, 10OFFFLIER), so that you know that only people who saw your commercial or heard your radio ad used it.

Wrapping up: Maximizing restaurant advertisement ROI

Every dollar counts in the restaurant industry. When you invest in advertising, you want that investment to pay off. 

When you set goals, choose the right media for your ads, experiment with them, send customers to the right place, and track your success, you’ll be able to make the most of your marketing budget. 

SevenRooms can help you maintain the relationships you develop with customers you gained through advertising via marketing automation software, guest profiles, and more. Request a demo today.

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