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Quite often operators are faced with being the head of every department, HR, Accounting, Maintenance, FOH, BOH, and one where the mistakes are most visible, Marketing. If this is the situation you are in, there are a few tricks to remember, and a few mistakes to not repeat.


You can’t be everything to everyone.


Advertising is a big investment financially and has a direct impact on your bottom line, too often we see operators try to cram their ads with every offer they have.  You’ll see print ads with daily specials, weekly specials, happy hour specials, drink specials, and whatever else they can fit in there.

Focus your ad on one or two offers that will be compelling to the intended audience – if it is in the local newspaper, who is their reader? If you tailor your ad to the audience you’ll see better results.


Choose the right medium for your audience

 You’re most likely inundated with sales pitches from a newspaper, radio, sports teams, digital marketers, and more. Spending time to educate yourself what audience those vendors reach is going to impact what offers you are advertising, and the knowledge will give you an upper hand when negotiating with sales reps.


Your ads should be a graphic representation of what the guest will experience

Investing the time and money in professional design will not only make your ads stand out, but it will set the tone for what potential guests will expect. If your ad is cluttered, uses 8 different fonts and clip art, potential guests will expect the same kind of disorganized mess in your restaurant and most likely just skip it.


Invest in professional photography

You’re investing in ad space, don’t waste the opportunity with poor photography. A properly planned and executed photo shoot will provide you with high-quality images that will represent your brand and your product the right way.  There is no comparison between shooting a photo on your iPhone and having a professional do it with their equipment, and the results will show how your ad performs.


Define your goals

Don’t just advertise for the sake of it, define your objectives and how you will measure the results before you jump into any advertising.  Using this information you can work backward to find the right medium, be it the newspaper, radio, digital or something else.

Having an understanding of how you want to measure results will also help you choose what type of campaign you run, will it be measured by sales, coupons returned, or something else?



Building your marketing strategy can be a daunting task along with every other detail you have to worry about in your business. Investing of time to write a proper plan will provide you with a clear roadmap, clear goals, and in the long term, save you from throwing your advertising dollars away.



Travis Talbot

Author Travis Talbot

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