Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant Profit Margin: Boost It with 3 Advertising Hacks

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Mailers, promos, flyers, email marketing, Facebook ads, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and, of course, Yelp. I marketed my restaurant a thousand ways, experimenting with new avenues my entire career. 

Out of those methods, the one that creates the most anxiety is the one I understand the least: social media advertising.

I see so many restaurateurs backing away from advertising. Many of us don’t know how to use it or how powerful the results can be. I myself find the whole process pretty confusing. 

What can I implement to be strategic and decisive when it comes to marketing?

That’s why I spoke to Brett Linkletter, the mastermind behind international marketing agency Misfit Media, to learn more about how restaurateurs can leverage advertising, and accelerate their businesses. 

Specialized Targeting 

One secret Brett revealed is exactly why social media ads work so well for restaurants. 

“Social media advertising works because it is hyper focussed. You can literally type in your restaurant’s address, set a 1mile, 3mile, or 10mile radius, and easily show ads to people in your area using whatever targeting criteria you want to make”. 

What this says to me is to advertise effectively, I really need to know my customer. 

  • Do they live in Brentwood or Inglewood? 
  • Are they families or hipster millennials? 
  • What kind of enticing offer would appeal to their personality? 

Facebook in particular has so much information on..well… everyone! It makes this hyper-specific targeting possible to get the results we want as restaurant owners.

Intelligent Investing

When I started marketing for my restaurant, I went in with the notion that more is more. 

I wanted to throw all the spaghetti at the wall, trying all of the things that could bring customers in. Now that restaurants are reopening, I can see that familiar panic amongst my peers. 

How much is sensible to invest in advertising to attract new customers?

“We recommend an ad spend of $500 per month per location,” Brett advises, “When you look at ads, you can see how many times someone has seen your specific ad. If you keep pouring in money and one person has seen your ad 18 times, it is just a waste at that point. $500 is all you need”. 

Metrics to Measure

This part always confused me. 

We have KPIs in the restaurant business that we are all familiar with. 

Per person average, Food cost percentage, Break-even point – those all make sense to me. 

“Reach”, “Frequency” and “CTR” – not so much. 

Staring at my analytics on Facebook makes me want to back away slowly and take a very long nap.

“One of the most important KPIs that I look at when running a lead generation campaign is cost per contact collected. The customer clicks the ad, we gain a subscriber on Facebook messenger, then ask for an email address and phone number. For that information, I am expecting a $1-$1.20 cost which is healthy.” Brett details,”Say that 20% of the customers I collect information from comes to the restaurant. That is a $5 cost of acquisition per customer. Pretty sweet!”

Very sweet in my opinion! Low, low cost of acquisition is even more available now because the market is slower and quieter. Leveraging this time to reach new people and connect with the community seems like an advantageous strategy.

I learned so much about how to optimize my advertising efforts just with these three nuggets of wisdom. Marketing will always be a process of trial and error, I think. At least with these expert tips, I can steer my ship to a brighter shore and reach my new audience. 

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