Lean Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Laptops open on a table.

Since 2003, I have been navigating my way through the world of brand building, first as creative director for some of the world’s largest corporations and most recently as a CMO in the hospitality space. Innovating in independent restaurants forced me to think creatively, and I needed to figure out the best way to use the resources available so that the business could have the biggest impact.

Understanding Your Data

Small marketing teams consisting of only one to three people can focus and direct marketing efforts with minimal effort. An excellent place to begin is to examine customer data. When there are limited resources and budgets you’ll want to determine what data is going to be actionable and then take small iterative steps to act on this information so you can measure and respond quickly. With the right technology, you can collect data and create creative marketing strategies that are based on guest behaviour. This saves you time and money.

Use Technology Effectively

Technology is a key component of marketing strategies. You need to have the infrastructure in place that allows you access enough information without overwhelming your staff. You need to know which data points you can access quickly, even if resources are limited. Historically, I’ve found the most applicable insights have come from loyalty programs, POS data, and reservations data.

Target Your Audience, Then Segment Your Audience

Marketers have the primary responsibility of attracting customers and connecting them to our brand. We can collect this information via email, social media, and in-store. This allows you to analyze the customer’s habits. You must focus on building your brand if you want maximum engagement. If you can convert someone into a loyal member of your brand community, you won’t have to be as aggressive with discounted promotions.

Marketing to the masses may not be possible due to your limited budget.Knowing your audience is key to designing a brand that resonates with them. This will allow you to craft a message for your brand that is relevant to your audience. Once you understand your audiences’ interests you can take it a step further and segment that audience into even more specific verticals—wine enthusiasts, health and wellness, families, etc.—and create marketing campaigns and programming that speak specifically to those segments. Personalizing your approach will make customers more loyal. It will improve their loyalty to your brand.

Your Database is the Mirror of Your Target Audience

A database is an individual’s consent to receiving marketing messages. It is an excellent resource for gathering data and feedback to improve the guest experience, drive bookings, and to gather information. You can grow your customer base and build loyal relationships with clients by using affordable options. Solstice asked its guests their top seasonal dish to add to our list. Our guests were notified by email if their preferred dessert was chosen. This simple tactic allowed us to establish a relationship with our guests and added 10,000 emails to our list in one year.

Market can be both experiential and value-driven, as well as exploratory.

Good news for teams with smaller budgets is that discounts aren’t what generates loyal customers, creating tailored experiences and memorable moments do. Creativity and collaboration are key ingredients for creating unique programming. but in return you’ll be able to attract new customers while also providingIt is important to market new activations. Your customers can request a customized reward program They might be granted exclusive access to special events or other offers.

Every organization has its own unique selling points, and your ability to share that story with the masses can—at times—be limited to budget. While it may not always be feasible for companies to spend unlimited amounts of money, all businesses can access data insights. You can use this data to help your business grow by creating new experiences or new initiatives.Impact of your marketing dollars.

Shardul KiriA seasoned brand strategist, creative director and award-winning brand strategist, he has extensive industry experience. As a consultant, he helps restaurants to develop their brands. Shardul began his career working on brand development in a number of the country’s most awarded design studios where he developed strategic and creative solutions for existing and emerging brands. Shardul quit these smaller firms to gain more experience in larger agencies and at-home. Expedia.com, UnitedHealthcare’s experiential brand brands as well as DirecTV (Old Navy) were managed by Shardul.

In later years, he founded a branding and marketing agency. His role was to manage the business development and strategy teams. He also created unforgettable brand experiences for clients in a variety of industries including technology, finance and hospitality. Clients include Activision, Mercedes-Benz, Kia Motors, Harry & David, Nestlé, Mina Group, Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, and San Francisco Soup Company. After 10 years of building his own agency, he joined celebrity-chef, Michael Mina’s company, MINA Group, as CMO/VP of Marketing, Sales, and Brand Development. He created twelve brands and fifteen restaurants. In addition, private dining services were introduced. He also launched a loyalty program that covered the entire portfolio of MINA Group. Innovative businesses have been able to navigate the changes and succeed with their 20-year experience developing brand strategies and solutions.


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