When writing a business plan for a restaurant—whether it is a local or national brand—it behooves the entrepreneur to take a serious look at the promotional plan of the company and how that will relate to the market he/she is targeting. A restaurant is a "sink or swim" industry and good restaurateurs and consultants skilled in writing restaurant business plans have a clear understanding of just how important a good promotional strategy is.
A promotional strategy in its simplest form is the distributed communication methods used to communicate a product or service to its intended market in a controlled and monitored format. The promotional strategy includes every marketing initiative that will impact the customers' purchase decision including: public relations, personal sales, sales promotions, packaging and advertising.
Public Relations: every restaurateur must understand how his/her restaurant relates to local or even national media. You should develop a list of media that can impact consumer opinion or demand of operators in the foodservice industry.
Personal Sales: the personal sales section of the promotional plan includes the restaurants plans for salesperson marketing responsibilities, customer service policies, sales presentation methods, adjustment rules and pricing procedures. This doesn't necessarily need to be reflected in your restaurant business plan for funding, but you should be prepared to answer these questions—so plan ahead.
Sales Promotions: a restaurant business plan should touch on the initiatives instilled to support the sales message. Sales promotions should include: a schedule of planned promotional activities; and a description of collateral marketing material. Be prepared to deliver this information to your restaurant business plan consultant.
Packaging: the packaging of a product and/or service is the appearance and first impression a potential customer has. In the restaurant industry it is the menu, the exterior façade, the wait staff uniforms and the interior décor. It also can include any trademarks, labels and service marks.
Advertising: a restaurant business plan should summarize the company's creative message and advertising budget. However, it is also imperative that you, the entrepreneur, plan at least the first quarter's media schedule.
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