11 Ways too Set Your Restaurant Up For Success - George Wells
Restaurant Marketing 2

11 Ways too Set Your Restaurant Up For Success

Business Success

How to set up your restaurant for success

Having your own restaurant can be the most lucrative investment you’ll ever make, or it can be a millstone around your neck and cause you significant issues with, health, wealth and relationships. If you are going to create a restaurant business and not a hobby, you need to be adopting the correct strategies.

If you do so, then you will be rewarded handsomely, because your restaurant has the potential to be inherently successful. How do I know this? Because countless others have had success and where they have had success so can you if only you know what to do. The following 11 areas will set you up for success. 


1) Know where you are going with your restaurant

Every restaurant that has ever failed, had a business plan. Every one that has succeeded has also had a business plan. Why does one fail and the other succeed? In my opinion and my experience a restaurant fails for only one reason, the owner failed it. 

Creating a clear picture of where your restaurant will be at a point in the future 5, 10 or 20 years time will stack the deck in your favour. It is much easier to reverse engineer success if you have a clear picture of what that success looks like. The clearer the picture and the more you commit to achieving that picture the better chancer you will have of success.


  • Get Clear on Your Vision
  • Reverse Engineer your Journey

2) Have a defined food offering

Continuing on with having a clear picture of your restaurant is having a clearly defined food offering. Once you have determined your food offering, then it becomes much easier to home in on your target. You cannot blindly poke around in the dark in the hope that your marketing will attract the right clients if you have no idea what market you are targeting.


  • Know your food offering
  • Target only clients who want that offering

3) Know your target client

Once you have defined your food offering, you then have to define your ideal client.

  • Who do you want to serve? 
  • What age group are they
  • What do they want from a restaurant in your niche
  • What gets them angry about their current restaurant experience
  • What frustrations do they have about restaurants 
  • What language do they use when talking about restaurants
  • Where can you find them online

Once you have this clear picture, you can start to use that in every aspect of your marketing. You will literally be speaking to them. You will genuinely be able to empathise with them. They will become attracted to you because they know that you know them and that you’ve got their best interests at heart. This level of empathy cannot be asked so if you do not empathise with them at this level don’t try to fake it as they will know.


  • Know who you want to serve
  • Know their problems and frustrations with existing restaurants in your category
  • Know what language they use when talking about restaurants

4) Create a position for your restaurant

Whether you like it or not your restaurant has a position already. It is the one that your clients and potential clients have formed in their head based on where they perceive you to be in the marketplace. I will let you into a secret it may not be correct or fair on you, but unless you actively take a position in the market, then your clients and prospective clients will decide it for you. Not taking a position will limit how your clients see your offers and whether they consider them to be of value. 

Positioning yourself can be as easy as saying that you are the number 1 French Restaurant in your geographical area. Famously Avis used the positioning statement of “we try harder” when positioned as second in the marketplace to Hertz. They used that position for 50 years until replaced by a new one. So even positioning yourself as not the number 1 can great for business.


  • Actively position your restaurant
  • Use your positioning in every part of your marketing
  • You can still have a very successful business and not be positioned at Number 1

5) Know why your clients should eat in your restaurant

Knowing why your clients should eat in your restaurant is another key element of ensuring your success. This one takes typically quite a bit of soul searching and asking yourself the question why should your target client eat in your restaurant. The secret to this is then to apply the so what test to your answer and continue doing this until you illicit multiple layers of the answer, and you can no longer come up with any further reasons why they should buy from you. When you have this, you then include this in every aspect of your marketing.


  • Know why your clients should eat in your restaurant
  • Use the so what to illicit further insights and go deeper into why they should eat in your restaurant
  • Include this why in every aspect of your marketing

6) Calculate the lifetime value of your clients

Without paying clients, you don’t have a business. Knowing how much a client is worth to your restaurant over the lifetime of your relationship with them is key to understanding how much you can afford to invest to get a client to buy from you the first time. It is a relatively simple metric to work this out, and it can be estimated if you are just starting up or don’t have good data. The formula looks like this

Ave profit per meal x no. of visits per year x no. of years = Average Lifetime Value (ALTV)

e.g.  Av Profit £15 x Num visits 6 x Num years 5 = £450 ALTV


  • Calculate Average Lifetime Value of your clients
  • Ave Profit x No. of Transactions per Year x No. of Years = ALTV

7) Determine how much of this lifetime value you can invest to gain your client

Using this example above means that you could afford to invest £200 to get a client to eat in your restaurant for the first time and still make an £250 profit for every client you attract. Knowing this means that you can look at strategies differently than you would if you didn’t know this information.

Each restaurant is different depending on how much cash reserves you have never bet everything on any one marketing campaign.


  • Determine how much you can invest to gain your client
  • Never risk the restaurant be conservative 

8) Master copywriting

There can be few skills more important to master owning a restaurant than copywriting. Even if you don’t plan to do your own copywriting understanding and mastering copywriting will pay dividends for you for the rest of your business life whether that is used in writing copy, scripting vlogs, writing emails, scripting sales calls and the like knowing how to present your offers to your clients will see your business shine. Mastering copywriting is a skill that pretty much anyone can master if you put in the effort.


  • Invest time in mastering copywriting
  • Use this skill in all aspects of your marketing and sales process even if you are not the main copywriter

9) Write conversationally

Your copy should be written how you would speak. Forget the grammar rules of your English teacher, in fact, one of the best ways to write anything is to record it and have it transcribed. Doing so will ensure that your copy is written conversationally and will engage your audience


  • Write as you talk
  • Forget what your English Teacher taught you
  • Record yourself and have it transcribed

10) Create a Swipe File

We are all exposed to a treasure trove of ads that work every day. From now on any ad that has you clicking to the next level you want to swipe out and keep it in your swipe file. A swipe file is merely a file of adverts or copy that is good and that you can use to come up with your own copy. Never copy someone else's ad word for word. But feel free to use all the headlines you have in your swipe file when you are coming up with headlines for your offer. Your swipe file will become irreplaceable to you once you have collected and learned how to use it.


  • Create a swipe file of ads and copy
  • Use this swipe file as inspiration for your own writing and ads

11) Constantly and actively build your network

There are few better ways to build your restaurant and get high-quality leads than by referrals from someone in your network. There are multiple businesses who’s only way of gaining new clients is through referral. It works, and the lead it produces is of the highest quality. To get these referrals, you need to consistently and actively build your network. You should put aside part of each day in building your network. It takes time and for it to work you need to build the connection with your network. The most important strategy is to give referrals to your network, by giving you will get referrals from your network. 


  • Actively network everyday whether in person or online
  • Give referrals to your network partners


  • Set yourself up for success from the beginning
  • Know where your restaurant is going and reverse engineer your journey there
  • Define your food offer and only market to prospects in that niche
  • Define your ideal client and only market to them
  • Position your business for success
  • Know why your clients eat in your restaurant and educate them why
  • Calculate your average lifetime value of your client
  • Use average lifetime value to determine your marketing spend
  • Become a master copywriter
  • Write conversationally
  • Create a goldmine swipe file
  • Network your socks off 

About the Author George Wells

George Wells IEng FIHE is an author, consultant and coach. Author of 107 Marketing and Lead Generation Tips to Turbocharge Your Business in 60 Days or Less. Nomad currently travelling slowly in Mexico. George is the founder of George Wells Marketing and is on a mission to simplify marketing for 10,000 business owners over the next 5 years.

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