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    The 7 Stages Of Restaurant Marketing

    By Abhishek Shridhar / February 26, 2018

    The restaurant business is one of the fastest growing in the world. The US market records a sales figure of $799 Billion which expands to trillions when seen at a global scale. It also employs 10% of the entire workforce in the US economy underlining the significance of its growth. These figures seem unreal when viewed in light of the different additional factors that have to be dealt with in the industry. The industry operates in a mix of goods and services, deals in perishable goods, has to endure subjectivity of customers, has to bear heavy regulations (Varies tastes) and is heavily dependent on its supply chain. But these factors haven’t deterred players from entering the market.

    restaurant marketing

    source: restaurant.org

    The 7 Stages Of Restaurant Marketing

    On the outside, restaurant marketing might seem to be nothing but marketing the taste of the food. But in reality, it is much more intricate than that. There are certain stages which a consumer must pass through to finally be a customer of a restaurant and this movement is aided by restaurant marketing.

    restaurant marketing

    Unaware and Unbiased consumer

    At this stage, the target market is neither aware of the restaurant and offerings nor has preconceived notions about it. At this stage, restaurants must undertake marketing processes to form as many positive impressions as possible. When the customer starts as a blank slate, the objective is to lay the foundation for the further steps and ensure smooth consecutive transition

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    The modes of marketing used should depend on the objectives of the restaurant. A big brand should opt for mass media advertising which intrigues the consumer enough to try it out over its competitors and at any one of its locations. Restaurants with a small scale and/or single outlet has a limited geography to focus on. Therefore they should opt for sales promotion, references and word of mouth marketing

    Aware consumer

    Once the consumer is aware, they can be interested in the restaurant’s offering, not interested or be indifferent. The restaurant should be more focused on converting the first and the third segment. They have to ensure that the interested consumer’s transition through the stages is quick and smooth and the indifferent consumer is converted to an interested one. It would require a greater proportion of resources to change the not interested one and would only be viable with an established operation and a pool of potent feedback.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    The preferred mode of restaurant marketing at this stage would be direct marketing. It would convince the customer to make the effort and try the restaurant’s offering. Sales promotion via discounts, bundling and limited edition offerings can also trigger the action in a consumer and turn her/him into a customer.


    This is the start of the person as a consumer of the restaurant. He visits the place and starts to gain information and starts to form opinions about the restaurant. In this phase, the restaurant must market itself as a welcoming option which would accommodate the expectations and tastes of the person. As this process is an ongoing one with many new customers interacting with the restaurant on a daily basis, the restaurant must always be on its toes and reduce customer attrition in the initial phase.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    Marketing at this stage can be aided by media which aid the process of information collection by the restaurant. The lighting, the décor, the music playlist, everything needs to be in order to engage the customer. Starbucks, for example, applied this mode of marketing by changing the shape of its table to circular. They noticed that quadrilateral tables formed corners which were occupied by customers, giving an individualistic vibe to the entering customers. Circular tables were perceived to be more open and welcoming which appealed to the young college grads who eventually became a large chunk of Starbuck’s customer base. They devised this strategy to align with their objective of providing an unforgettable coffee drinking experience.


    At this phase the focus shifts on the cuisine of the restaurant. The restaurant must present the customer with options that are in sync with the expectations and preferences of the person. Restaurants also have to fulfil the offers that they had marketed in the initial phases with minimal glitches. This can be aided by a skilful waiter or cashier who can persuade the persons by recommending them the preferred options of the restaurant.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    Marketing at this stage can be through bundling of items on the bases of cuisines, types, meal times and price. At this point, the customers make their choices by relying on the limited information from the earlier phases and therefore it becomes all the more crucial for the staff to provide fruitful recommendations and suggestions.


    This is the stage when the consumer experiences the restaurant and its food. The information and opinions formed at this stage help her/him make decisions about any future engagements with the restaurant.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    It is crucial to make this stage as memorable as possible and therefore the restaurants marketing strategies should include courteous staff, quick and effective service, a tinge of personalization and symbols for the customer’s memory which can trigger the good experience. A barbeque joint in India Barbeque nation has extremely alert chefs who along with cooking visit tables regularly, taking real-time feedback that can be incorporated in the next serving. Customers feel as if there is personal chef cooking just for them. The chef, along with the manager, forms a bond with the customer at this stage which would be remembered by them when making a choice about the next visit.

    Post- Transaction

    At this stage, the customers begin to process the information and start sharing opinions amongst the group. This stage also needs to be smooth as glitches post the meal like bringing the wrong bill or haphazard clearance of the table might ruin the whole experience.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    Restaurant marketing can be carried out making the customer believe of an even better service the next time. Pizza Hut has a bell that can be rung by a customer if they are happy with the service. This projects the outlet as one big family which was happy to serve you. This also makes the customer believe in an even better service as she/he is a part of the family now.

    Feedback and Future

    At this stage the interaction is complete and the restaurant must provide incentives for the customer to return and eventually be a loyal customer. This is the stage where a new customer can get converted to a loyal one.

    Modes Of Restaurant Marketing At This Stage

    Marketing can be done via loyalty programs, personalized communication and wishes, collection and incorporation of feedbacks and promotional incentives.

    Go On, Tell Us What You Think!

    Did we miss something?  Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on restaurant marketing in the comments section.

    About the author

    Abhishek Shridhar

    Abhishek Shridhar is a student of the Integrated Programme in Management at IIM Indore. He has been involved in the field of article writing for the past 2 years and was a part of the Media and PR team of i5 Entrepreneurship Summit 2017.

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