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Hidden Costs of Restaurant Marketing editorial staff, writer
Mar 17, 2017
> Marketing

Find out what expenses restaurant owners often overlook.

Your new restaurant might serve the best food in town, but if no one knows about it, you will never have enough customers to stay in business. Even if you have a great restaurant with first-class service, you need to create a marketing plan to spread the word about your business.

When you create your plan, it is important to identify hidden costs of restaurant marketing. If you target costs early on in your planning process, you will not have to worry about going over your budget. Here are a few hidden costs that may present themselves when marketing your restaurant. 

Website Development

Everyone knows that an attractive, user-friendly website is the first step in advertising your business. While modern website builders make designing a website for your business easier than ever, a website does not come free.

Behind-the-scenes costs of a good professional website include fees for website hosting, a website-building platform, a domain name and, if you do not have the time to create your own site, a customized template. Some of these, like a template creation fee, are just one-time fees. Other fees, like website hosting, may be monthly.

Direct Mail and Email Campaign

Direct mail and email campaigns are good ways to keep your business top of mind with customers and promote upcoming events or sales. While these are each effective tools for promoting your company, the costs add up. If you are on a budget, an email marketing service is your best option. Small business plans start at around $50.

If you decide to do a traditional mailing campaign in conjunction with or in lieu of an email marketing campaign, then make sure to budget for printing and mailing, which can cost hundreds of dollars per month.

LoyaltyProgramsand Contests

Other costs that business owners frequently overlook are those of discounts and giveaways. For example, if you run a loyalty program where you offer the sixth meal free, you need to consider the cost of the "free" meal as a marketing expense and budget accordingly. The same is true for contests and other discounts that you offer.

Marketing your restaurant is vital to a successful business. While marketing might be a major expense, it is not something you can afford to overlook or omit from your business plan. When you create your budget, make sure to look closely at your marketing plan to identify hidden costs. By recognizing hidden costs early in the process, you can save yourself time and stress.

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