Need a marketing plan for your restaurant? Start here!

Do you have a Restaurant Marketing Plan?

Marketing plans might seem intimidating at first, but they are very manageable and can even be inspiring to put together. A well-written marketing plan can help visualize your goals, identify your limitations and capitalize off of your best features!

1. Start with a Brainstorm Session

Gather key personnel in your restaurant (owners, managers, head chef etc.) and openly discuss the direction of your brand. You may also want to include one or two loyal or potential customers in this session, if they’re willing.

Some questions you might ask the group:

  • What is the theme of our restaurant?
  • Who is our ideal customer?
  • What is our greatest quality?
  • What areas can improve?
  • How can we save on marketing costs?


The brainstorming process should be open and all ideas are welcome. Write everything down and try not to restrict anyone’s input.  You’ll use this information in steps 3-5.

2. Research Sample Restaurant Marketing Plans

The perfect place to start forming the actual plan is an internet search of other restaurants’ marketing strategies. You can check out a sample restaurant marketing plan to get some initial ideas. This is a great example of the layout and subheadings your plan might need.

3. Perform SWOT and ‘Four P’s’ Analyses

The best marketers in the world still do SWOT analysis. 

The letters in SWOT stand for (S)trengths, (W)eaknesses, (O)pportunities and (T)hreats.  Think of the first two as internal to your company, and the second two as external environmental factors.

For example, your restaurant’s main internal strength might be its use of only organic, local ingredients, which relates to the external opportunity of increasing health-conscious consumers in our society. Your restaurant’s main weakness might be an outdated POS (Point of Service System), which relates to the threat of competitors who use sleek, new digital systems for wait staff.

The ‘Four P’s’ stand for (P)rice, (P)roduct, (P)romotion, and (P)lace. This model will help you identify the key strategic elements of your brand. It’s kind of like the when, where, what, why and how of marketing. If you’re just starting out, identifying the four P’s will help you develop the initial image and outreach of the restaurant’s marketing techniques. If you’ve been in business for a while, this model will be useful as a revision and refinement of your marketing plan. Again, draw up a customized diagram, based on something like this, to visualize the four P’s specific to your restaurant.

The notes and ideas from the brainstorming process in step 1 will be useful in this process. By having notes from the group meeting, you’ll be able to incorporate everyone’s ideas with just one person independently conducting the actual SWOT and Four P’s analyses.

4. Restaurant Marketing Plan: Formulate, Implement, and Evaluate

Put your ideas, goals and strategies into a written report. End that report with a series of key steps you plan to take to achieve your goals.

Make the steps as specific as possible, so that when it comes to implementing and evaluating them there won’t be room for misinterpretation. For example, a bad step description would simply say ‘complete print marketing campaign.’ A good step description would read as follows:

  • Date: February 1st-14th
  • Campaign: Valentine’s “Dinner for Two” Special
  • Medium: Printed coupons in Townsville Daily newspaper
  • Budget: $2000-$2200
  • Sales increase goal from last Valentine’s dinner: 5-7%
  • Method of evaluating campaign success: Keep and count used coupons, compare to total sales volume

Include a series of steps like this in the first or last section of your marketing plan, so they’re easy to find. For each step, leave space to record your notes and observations as the plan is implemented. That way you can learn from successes and failures.

Having a written marketing plan is a must for your restaurant. Become your own marketing strategist by following these four steps, and remember, don’t forget social media!



Buying your first home? Ask these 5 key questions.

First time home buyer? Here are some useful tips.

So you’ve decided to take that initial plunge to buy your first home. Congratulations. Now the fun begins. If you’re single, it can feel like a daunting task. If you’re in a relationship, I hope it’s on solid ground – because this process will surely test many aspects how you and your partner make decisions. But first things first. Where do you start your search?  



Realtor or Broker – Does it matter?

Will you use a Realtor or real estate agent. Which begs the question – what’s the difference and does it really matter to you in the end?

According to Northern California 26-year veteran Realtor and agent Ken Rogai, most consumers don’t know the difference. According to Rogai, all Realtors are licensed real estate agents. However all agents are not necessarily Realtors. The primary difference? Realtors are members of their local, state and national associations. They are sworn to a higher ethical standard and get access to websites and forms approved for their professional use.

Ultimately it just will depend on your level of comfort in deciding whether to go with a broker or Realtor.

Questions to ask your professional when deciding on that first home.

Depending on how you came to discover your professional (friend, referral, open house meeting), you may need to do some further investigation with whom you might end of working. After all, buying a house is likely not only an expensive ordeal but often a very emotional one.


  1. Are you a local? – Does your agent know the good neighborhoods from the bad? The good school systems versus the not so great. Listing a home in Richmond while your broker/agent lives in San Jose ( hours away) could prove to be a bad move.
  2. Are you full-time? Someone dedicated to their craft should be a priority in helping you buy your home.
  3. Have you sold homes recently in the area? Another good sign they are dedicated, knowledgeable and successful.
  4. Ask for references. It’s always a good idea to hear from previous buyers so I hope they would some references for you. If not…time to look elsewhere.
  5. What benefit, if any, is associated with a larger company versus an independent broker?  Even though  an agent/broker might have access to MLS listings of homes in the area, one with a larger firm should have access to upcoming listings not yet on the market. Additionally working with so many other agents offers the larger company agent greater opportunity to network and thus give you greater inventory to choose. In a competitive market, any small advantage is good to have.  

Be Patient

Buying your first home (or any home for that matter) requires cooperation from everyone. The seller, agent and buyer all have to work together in order to find agreement. Often times things can go sour whether during an inspection or if the buyer or seller has a change of heart. It’s important to try and not get too emotionally high or low, especially if the house of your dreams goes to another buyer.

In the end, with a top notch professional guiding you through the process, it should help ease the many emotions you will go through in buying your first home. I myself was lucky – the guy I chose 20 years ago, turned out to become one of my closest friends and the drummer in my Beatles cover band. Maybe you’ll have that type of good fortune as well. Happy house hunting and good luck in your journey!


Dan Chicorel is founder of, a San Francisco based agency specializing in branding, content marketing and social media marketing. Follow him @adceterabayarea on Twitter or reach out to him at Ken Rogai is a leading broker serving clients in the East Bay for over 25 years. You can reach him at

Who cares about Bowl Games?

It’s Bowl Season Again! Who cares?

The holidays are upon us again, which means one thing:  It’s Bowl Games Season. But I ask: who cares? I know I don’t. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Is that what college football fans have been anxiously waiting for all year?

When bowl games meant something

For nearly a century, the names Rose, Orange, Cotton and Sugar bowl games were the purview of only the very best teams. Since the 2010-11 bowl season, a steady proliferation of new bowl games required 70 participating teams, than 80 participating teams by the 2015–16 bowl season. As a result, the NCAA has steadily reduced the criteria for bowl eligibility, allowing teams with non-winning records a chance to appear in what was once reserved for only the best of the best.  For the 2016–17 bowl season, 25% of the bowl participants (20 teams) did not have a winning record. Which leads me to asking you…

Do you care? Are you that much of a football junkie that watching The St. Petersburg Bowl is must see TV? Or how about the Belk Bowl? What is a “Belk” anyway? And if you aren’t watching, who is and why?

Everyone needs a sponsor

In a day and age where there is a sponsor for every broadcast moment – The Hertz Play of the Day Moment or the State Farm Coaches Corner – when is enough, enough? Can you believe there is a game called The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Game? That just rolls right off your tongue.  It’ll be an epic match between the 8-4 BYU Cougars and that dynasty the 8-5 Wyoming Cowboys…

Even rotten teams get bowl invites

As a former sportscaster and die-hard sports fan, I understand the allure of extending the sporting season of our choice. If some is good, more is better. Not always. I think you would agree, everything has gotten so watered down these days, one has to ask does it really matter? There’s 64 teams in the NCAA Basketball Tourney. There’s over 40 Bowl Games. Is more better? Outside of the alumni of BYU and Wyoming, why on earth would anyone want to tune in to see this game. And I’m not just picking on these two teams. You don’t have to look far to find other mediocre teams or games.

I’d be curious to hear what you think? Do these games matter anymore or should they just locally broadcast the game? For that matter – should they even exist?

Dan Chicorel is founder of, a San Francisco based agency specializing in branding, content marketing and social media marketing. Follow him @adceterabayarea on Twitter or reach out to him at

How does that pie taste? Taste this growing marketing trend!

One surefire way to increase your revenue: mobile apps and online ordering ARE A BIG DEAL in restaurant marketing.

Ten years ago, no one knew what an “app” was. Five years ago, they started popping up all over the place. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, in October of 2013, there were over one million apps in the Apple Store alone, with over sixty billion downloads. SIXTY BILLION. Almost as much as Warren Buffet is worth! 

Double that when you consider other mobile platforms, and you have a big number of users finding all kinds of things to do on their phones.  Although we love to click on our flashlight app or play Angry Birds, many apps provide practical options, such as accessing a favorite restaurant for ordering, directions, and much more.    


JOIN THE PARTYZagat-to-Go-app.jpg

The reality is, if you are trying to figure out restaurant marketing trends and gaining share of voice, this is one avenue to turn towards. Being one of the most competitive businesses in the world, it seems in order to succeed, great food and service alone won’t always win you the the business. 

Did you know that about 69 percent of consumers order food online using a mobile device, according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Viggle. In the study, IAB and Viggle found that restaurant-specific app downloads are on the rise. The study found that users use their mobile device to find out restaurant locations, check out menus, and see other users’ reviews. 

Each day more and more consumers use their smartphones to navigate some aspect of their lives. Whether it’s mapping a destination or ordering a pizza – mobile use is now a given and should be an integral part of your marketing efforts. Yelp screen shot.jpeg

The study found that 50 percent of consumers surveyed downloaded a restaurant-branded app, while another 55 percent downloaded restaurant review apps.

 According to the study, Yelp was the most popular restaurant review app. 37% of respondents downloaded the Yelp app. Urbanspoon came in second to Yelp in the category.

The message is clear – mobile applications are a must have for your business. Whether to view your menu and specials or to use today’s technology and order online.

Online ordering is growing exponentially in the restaurant business these days. With the ease of developing an app for your restaurant, online ordering is easier than ever to create and integrate with your website. 

Its pretty clear – it doesn’t matter how you feel about technology. What matters is how your customers choose to order and what’s easiest for them.  Grab a piece of the mobile online ordering pie today – it’ll put your restaurant in their pocket or purse 24/7!


DC-Smile-225x300.jpgDan Chicorel owns Ad-Cetera, a freelance content marketing agency in the San Francisco Bay area. You can contact him today to discuss your marketing challenges at 510-662-7325 or reach him at

The 4 U’s Formula For Writing Effective Headlines

In working with clients large and small, I find it interesting how often they don’t realize the power of a well written headline. I think most are in a rush to get to the copy of what they are trying to sell. I understand that all too well. 

I’d like to share an “insider” trade secret. Consider it free advice.

It’s called The 4 U’s Formula For Writing Effective Headlines. The developer of this formula is a gentleman named Michael Masterson who is a colleague of Robert W. Bly – author of many books on the art of copywriting.  In his book “The Copywriter’s Handbook”, Bly talks about how short of a time you have to get a readers attention and hopefully draw them into the body of content you want them to read. 

The 4 U’s stand for:


I’ll briefly share key aspects of each “U” that should be considered as you write headlines for any marketing related piece of collateral. 


As the name implies, urgency is the name of the game here. Does your headline have a sense of it? You often can create a sense of urgency by incorporating a time element, “30% off sale this weekend” has a greater sense of urgency than “30% off sale”. 


This headline is meant to be powerful and impactful. It states something new or re-states something the reader has heard before but in a new and fresh way. Bly explains “Why Japanese women have beautiful skin” was the headline in an e-mail promoting a Japanese bath kit. This is different than the typical “Save 10% on Japanese Bath Kits.”


Ultra-specific headlines are meant to tease the reader into reading further. Examples: “When should you stop eating to avoid nighttime heartburn”, “Bills it’s okay to pay late”, “Three sure-fire ways to drop inches off your belly”. 


This is where a strong subject line offers your reader a benefit to them. “Save money at the gas pump and eat healthy produce”, the benefit is savings and also a way to eat healthy. And aren’t you a little curious as to what that could be referencing in the headline?

There is more to this topic, matter of fact a whole book could be written about headlines. But the next time you are writing a headline for your email subject line or on your website, consider how your headline rates in any of these four categories. If 4 is the highest rating, try and attain as close to that in at least 2 of the 4 U’s. It’ll be sure to increase the effectiveness of your content. 

Dan Chicorel is owner and operator of Ad-Cetera, a free-lance commercial copywriting agency based near Berkeley, CA. You can call me at 510-662-7325 or reach me at for a free assessment of your current marketing challenges and possible solutions I can offer.