The most effective way to invest marketing dollars is to start from within the restaurant and work outward in concentric circles. We recommend that 25% – 40% of a restaurant marketing budget be allocated to PR and digital marketing and the balance be spent starting from within the four walls of the restaurant. Of the four ways to build sales (new trial, frequency, check average and party size), frequency and check average are two of the most cost-effective to influence. A successful strategy for increasing frequency and check average is zone merchandising; using your own restaurant as a marketing channel to influence your existing customers perceptions and buying behavior.
To start, identify the various zones or marketing channels within your restaurant. This includes zones such as windows, bathrooms, greeter station, televisions within the restaurant, the actual tables (for instance you may use placemats or table tents at the table to communicate via this zone) and even the staff are a zone (what they wear and say is a “channel” to communicate with your customers).
With the zones identified, you can begin planning your programming. As you have a new promotion or something important to say, rollout the message via your zones. The most effective approach to this is to use each zone to reinforce a single message rather than clutter each zone up with competing messages. For instance, you will notice when Starbucks runs a promotion through their zone merchandizing, everything (from staff buttons to bathroom posters to internal signage) all reinforce the same message. If they are promoting a summer Frapaccino, all of the zones reinforce that one item (with alternative execution within each zone to keep the designs and messages fresh and engaging).