4 Steps to Writing an Effective Restaurant Marketing Budget

Marketing is essential for your restaurant's success, just like any other business. In the competitive landscape of the restaurant industry, gaining customer loyalty is a constant battle. However, marketing requires financial investment, and it's crucial to allocate your resources wisely.

If you've been grappling with questions like "Where and how much should I spend on marketing?" and "What are the best marketing strategies for restaurants?" as the year comes to a close, this guide is here to assist you in devising a plan for the upcoming year. We will walk you through four preliminary steps to create an effective restaurant marketing budget. By outlining popular restaurant marketing channels and determining the appropriate allocation of funds, we will help you achieve your goals successfully.

How to Split Restaurant Marketing Budget Effectively

Set your objectives and goals

Studies show that businesses with set and defined goals are 10X more likely to succeed. So before diving into the process of setting your budget, it's crucial to establish clear objectives and goals for your restaurant. Research indicates that businesses with well-defined goals are ten times more likely to succeed. When selecting your goals, be highly specific and focused. For instance, you might set a goal such as, "In the first quarter, I aim to introduce a new Spends Tracker concept that rewards customers at specific spend values, increase sales by 5-10%, and acquire loyal customers through targeted marketing channels."

By clearly defining your objectives and goals, you provide your restaurant with a sense of direction and purpose. This clarity enables you to align your marketing efforts and budget allocation towards achieving those specific targets. It also helps you measure your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies as you work towards accomplishing your goals.

How much should be my marketing budget?

Once you have defined your goals, the next step is to determine the appropriate marketing budget to achieve those goals. However, it's important to note that there isn't a magical, one-size-fits-all number when it comes to budget allocation. It's crucial to align your marketing budget with your specific goals and regularly monitor and evaluate it.

As a general guideline, most businesses allocate approximately 3-6% of their sales towards their marketing budget. This range serves as a starting point, but it's important to consider your unique circumstances and adjust accordingly. In the restaurant industry specifically, many establishments allocate between 3% and 10% of their sales towards marketing efforts.

For startups aiming to establish their brand name, it's not uncommon to allocate a higher percentage, even up to 30% of their revenue, towards marketing activities.

Let's take an example to illustrate this. Suppose XYZ Restaurant, a startup, generated $50,000 in gross revenue in 2020. They decide to allocate 25% of their revenue towards marketing efforts. In this case, 25% of $50,000 is $12,500. Therefore, XYZ Restaurant's marketing budget for the upcoming year would be set at $12,500, which amounts to $1,000 per month.

By aligning your marketing budget with your goals and considering industry standards, you can ensure that you allocate an appropriate amount to effectively promote your restaurant and achieve your desired outcomes.

How much should I spend on different marketing channels?

Once you have set your goals and marketing budget, the next step is to determine how much you should spend on different marketing channels. Take a moment to review your business objectives and assess how much you are willing to allocate to various marketing strategies.

For Instance; Following the 70/20/10 principle can be a helpful guideline.

Allocate 70% of your marketing budget to proven techniques that have worked for you previously,

Fortunately, in today's digitally-driven world, the flexibility and choices in restaurant marketing and advertising have expanded. It's no longer necessary to be present on every channel or spend a significant amount of money on each one to acquire customers. Instead, it is recommended to select a few industry-dominating channels that align with your target audience and stick to them.

Attract potential customers through engaging giveaways, captivating imagery, irresistible deals and offers, and supplement these efforts with well-placed advertisements. It's important to be strategic and wise in your decision-making process. Instead of spreading your budget too thin across multiple strategies, focus on fully investing in one or two techniques that have proven to work well for your restaurant in the past. This approach strikes a balance between experimentation and relying on what has already demonstrated success.

By carefully selecting and investing in the right marketing channels, you can maximize the impact of your budget and effectively reach your target audience, leading to increased brand awareness, customer acquisition, and ultimately, the success of your restaurant.

👉Also Read: 360 Degree Digital Marketing Strategy for Restaurants

If you are a new business, see what your competitors are doing and implement it in your business. 10% of spends can be on trying out new techniques and identifying opportunities for growth. Don’t expect any returns from this 10% - it’s more of an investment.

Lastly, see what worked the best out of the 10% in the previous year and spend the last 20% on it this year.

Most importantly, create a calendar

As a restaurateur, your first step is to create a 52-week calendar where you can organize and plan out all the different campaigns you intend to run throughout the year. Consider incorporating festive seasons, holidays, special occasions, and other relevant events into your calendar. If you're just starting out, it might be more feasible to prepare a monthly calendar or plan ahead for 3-6 months.

Setting your marketing budgets in advance is crucial for your restaurant's success. It allows you to effectively measure the impact of your marketing strategies. As you progress, you can make necessary changes to your strategies or introduce innovative ideas to keep things fresh. If you find that something isn't working quite right, be quick to change your focus and adjust your budget accordingly.

Remember, it all boils down to delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. Having a solid restaurant marketing plan in place will enable you to manage and allocate your marketing budget wisely. By doing so, you can maximize the impact of your marketing efforts and ensure the success of your restaurant.


Now, armed with the knowledge of the right steps to create an effective restaurant marketing plan, you are well-equipped to take your restaurant's success to new heights. By following these steps as your guiding light, you can chart a course that will drive your marketing efforts in the right direction.

With these steps in place, you can strategically attract customers through enticing giveaways, captivating imagery, enticing deals and offers, and well-placed advertisements. Additionally, leverage the power of social media, Google Ads, Facebook & Instagram Ads, and other channels that have proven successful for your restaurant.

Embrace the opportunities presented by today's digitally driven world while staying true to the core principles that have worked for your restaurant in the past.

Now is the time to put your knowledge into action and watch your restaurant thrive. With a well-crafted marketing plan, you can navigate the competitive landscape, win customer loyalty, and secure the long-term success of your restaurant.

Looking for a online ordering software that empowers you with right set of marketing tools? Look no further than Restolabs.

Book your free demo call with our sales executive today to see how Restolabs in-built marketing tools can help you optimize your restaurant's marketing budget in the right direction.

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