To make yourself an attractive marketing and sales candidate for a restaurant, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you have general marketing skills and know how to apply them to the specific needs of the dining field. Specific skills for restaurant sales and marketing include promoting the restaurant's brand – often built around its menu – taking advantage of the growing number of online restaurant review sites, and looking at different ways to deliver food, such as parties, delivery and catering. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of restaurant marketing and sales professionals will help you decide if this career is right for you and let you gain specific experience to land a job in this marketplace.
Product Mix Development
Marketing starts with the “Four P’s,” which consist of creating a product, setting a price, determining where you’ll sell and how you’ll promote the business. As a restaurant marketer, you’ll need to be able to help a restaurant develop its target customer base, discuss with a chef and understand his unique menu concept, help set the prices that fit your target audience, and promote the restaurant using a variety of general and specific communications. Addressing all of these areas will help you create a brand for a restaurant. To do this, you’ll need to work with the owner and executive chef to create a consistent product and message in all areas of the business.
Once you’ve addressed product, price, place and promotion, you must be able to maintain the brand you’ve created. This means knowing when to sacrifice revenue opportunities that can damage your image. For example, if you’re an Italian restaurant and add Tex-Mex items to attract the growing Hispanic demographic in your area, you might drive away your core customers who want an authentic Italian dining experience. Offering two-for-one coupons when you’re an upscale, fine-dining establishment can cheapen your image.
Sales and Business Development
A restaurant marketing and sales professional must be able to create a variety of ongoing promotional activities to increase revenues. These can include daily specials, coupons, discounts, a loyalty club that encourages repeat dining, and training wait staff to upsell appetizers, desserts and drinks. In addition to these types of promotional activities, you should be able to develop larger business opportunities, such as group sales, offsite catering, a proprietary, private-label sauce, delivery service and corporate events.
Restaurant marketers create advertising, public relations, promotions and social media campaigns. This includes creating ads and researching the best media in which to place them. It will require you to use social media to generate testimonials and referrals. You will need to manage the restaurant’s reputation by learning what’s on website review sites and countering negative posts. If you can get restaurant critics into your location, you can showcase your eatery for free. As part of public relations, you might provide websites and print publications with free articles on cooking or dining. Some restaurants partner with suppliers to promote their liquors, desserts or condiments, getting a reduced price on supplies in exchange for tabletop cards that promote the supplier's product.