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Survey: Our Members' Best Marketing Practices

At RestaurantOwner.com our mission is change lives by educating and inspiring independent operators to create restaurant success stories. We know that an important part of running a restaurant is implementing and maintaining an effective marketing system to ensure that new customers visit your restaurant and existing customers return more often. Periodically we survey our members to find out what marketing systems are working in their situations and publish the results. After compiling more than 500 responses, here are the results to high-value questions that will give you new marketing ideas and see what other operators are doing to market their restaurants.

Approximately 76% of the responses were from full service restaurants, defined as casual, family, or fine dining with table service -- with some takeout or delivery. About 17% of the responses were quick service restaurants, buffets, cafeterias, or counter-service with some takeout or delivery. The remaining 7% of responses were from bars, taverns, takeout, catering, or delivery only operations with little to no seating. 63% of the responses were from single-unit restaurants, 30% operated 2-5 restaurants, while the remaining 7% operated more than 5 restaurants.

Restaurants typically have a limited marketing budget, and 31% of respondents stated that less than 1% of their monthly sales was dedicated to marketing (excluding discounts and coupons). 41% spent between 1% and 2% of their sales on marketing while only 28% spent more than 2% of their sales on marketing. Marketing related discounts and coupons looked very similar, with 36% stating that discounting comprised less than 1% of their monthly sales. 38% spent between 1% and 2% while 26% reported sending more than 2% on coupons on discounts.

When asked if they were changing the amount of discounting used in their marketing, 41% of operators expected it to remain about the same, while 23% use no form of discount marketing. 15% of operators expected to increase their discounting while 21% wish to reduce their use of discounts.


Click on the buttons below to see detailed responses for each question:
Please indicate the extent to which your restaurant uses the following marketing activities: View Responses
What is the MOST successful ONE-TIME promotion that you've ever done? Please include a brief description of what you did and the results you achieved. View Responses
What is the MOST effective ONGOING marketing activity you are involved in on a regular basis? Please describe and explain why you believe it has worked so well. View Responses
What is the LEAST effective marketing activity you have tried in the past year? Please describe and explain why you believe it didn't work. View Responses



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