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You have a catering business, but not enough guests yet. How do you make sure they know how to find your beautiful place? A strategic marketing plan for your catering business helps you reach and attract the right guests. With online marketing, you quickly entice people to come to your hospitality business. And possibly at a lower cost! 

There are more than enough opportunities to be visible online. Think social media, Google Ads, promotions and email marketing. That's quite a few options... But where do you start? And what will it cost?

Follow this roadmap, and your chances of a successful marketing strategy will be a lot higher than if you just start anywhere.

Marketing plan roadmap

Step 1: formulate SMART goals

What exactly do you want to achieve? Break down your goals into the following categories:

  • Name recognition (e.g. number of followers on social media)
  • Engagement (e.g. number of comments on social media)
  • Purchases (e.g. number of booking via Google Ads)
  • Retention (e.g. number of returning guests)

In any case, make sure your goals are SMART. SMART stands for specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time-bound.


Be as specific as possible when setting your goals. If you want to make more sales, ask yourself in what segment you want this.

For example, a specific goal is: 'I want to sell more vegan dishes this year than last year.'


Linking numbers to your goals makes it easier to measure and adjust your results. Think, for instance, of turnover, the number of reservations or how satisfied your guests are. 

An example of a measurable goal is: 'I want 20% more reservations this year than last year.'


Make sure the whole team is behind the goals. If it is acceptable to everyone, it will be easier to achieve the goals. Involve your team in setting the goals. This makes it more likely that you will be behind the goals together.


Make your goals achievable. So not too difficult, but not too easy either. As long as it is an ambitious challenge to achieve the goals, your team will stay motivated. 

For example, a realistic goal might be: 'I want to achieve 20% more sales this year than last year.' 

Of course, how realistic this is varies from company to company. It's just an example! 😉


Make sure you know when you want to achieve the goals. Adjust in time and evaluate afterwards. And then set new goals immediately. That will keep your team motivated. A marketing plan is usually drawn up for a year. But it is smart to also include short-term objectives, e.g. for a month or six months.

Marketing plan demographics

Step 2: Define target group specifically

Want to attract your ideal guest? Then it is important to know exactly who this is. Don't worry, you don't have to choose 1 type of guest. This can also be several target groups. Just make a specific description for each target group. Include:

Demographic data

Consider, for example, gender, age, family composition, place of residence, income group and even religion.


Is your ideal guest a healthy vegan foodie or yet a fast food lover? Or a purebred burgundian you can wake up at night for a fine wine? 


With what benefits do you invite your guests? For example, a shared dining concept, a culinary menu or an extensive menu. Know what gets your guest hot! 

Tone of voice

How do your guests want to be addressed? In a fancy restaurant, your guests expect a different tone than in an urban café. 


The more you know about your ideal guest, the more likely your marketing campaigns will catch on. Because you know exactly what your guests want and respond to it seamlessly! 

Marketing plan swot analysis

Step 3: Define your marketing strategy with a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is the core of your marketing plan. It allows you to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your hospitality business. You then link these to opportunities and threats in the market. This helps you make choices and see opportunities. 

Tip: pick the 3 most important strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and focus on them.

Strengths and weaknesses

Compared to your competitors, what are your strengths and weaknesses? Is your location less accessible by motorway, but does that give your guests a beautiful view over a picturesque meadow? Emphasise your strengths in your outward communication and try to improve your weaknesses.

Opportunities and threats

What opportunities and threats do you see in the market? For example: more and more people are vegan. Do you want to capitalise on this with your hospitality business? A current threat that all hospitality businesses are dealing with are corona measures. How do you deal with this? Do you design your business processes for a new possible lockdown? For example, by having a delivery feature built into your website (if you don't already have one).

Marketing right resources

Step 4: Choose the right resources

Do you want to reach your target audience and achieve your goals? Then of course you need the right tools! We list them for you here and give some valuable tips. 

Social media

Depending on the age and interests of your target audience, choose one or more social media channels. Does your target audience consist of hip gen Zs? On to TikTok and Instagram! An older target group, for example, uses WhatsApp and Facebook more. So do your research and be where your target audience is.


Do you want your potential guests to come to your website when they search for 'restaurant *place name*'? Then it's time for good SEO copy. Make sure your web texts score well on SEO, and publish new blogs regularly. 

For example, write about delivery meals and tips for creating a restaurant atmosphere at home (especially relevant during corona). Or about how much fun it is to work in the hospitality industry, to enthuse new colleagues.

Google and social ads

Want to advertise online, but have a relatively small budget? No problem: advertise via Google Ads or social media. Because you select your target group very specifically with Facebook Business Manager, for example, you make optimal use of your advertising budget.

Promotional actions

Think of a discount for regular guests or a competition where you give a special wine arrangement as a gift. Of course, much more is possible here, go brainstorm with your team and get creative! 

Email marketing

Send your regular guests a monthly newsletter with special offers. Or send guests who have made reservations just before their visit a wine package that they can book in advance.

Marketing plan results measurement

Step 5: Measure your results

The time has come! You've put a lot of time into creating a marketing plan to put your hospitality business on the map. You and your team are doing everything possible to achieve the goals. And you think you are doing pretty well.

But thinking and knowing are not the same thing. You want to know what the marketing actions will bring you in concrete terms. The advantage of online marketing? The result is almost always measurable. Useful measuring tools you can use for this are:

Google Analytics

It allows you to see exactly how many people visit your website, when and what the most visited pages are. But also how many visitors actually place a reservation.

Facebook and Instagram Insights

See how many followers you have, how many people interact with your posts ánd which posts score well with your ideal guest.

Facebook Business Manager

With this tool, you manage all your ads on Facebook and Instagram. You target each ad specifically to a specific audience. You also see the results of your ad and easily manage costs.

Step 6: Summarise your marketing plan

And now for the final step! To see at a glance your goals, who you want to reach and how you want to do it, a summary of your marketing plan is highly recommended. 

In no more than 2 paragraphs, summarise the conclusions of all parts of your marketing plan. This makes it easy and quick to read for everyone. Because to implement your marketing plan, you need support. So make sure everyone is aware of the marketing activities. And you will be ready to grow your hospitality business!

Marketing plan summarised

What does marketing cost for your hospitality business?

How much marketing for your catering business costs is entirely up to you. Which marketing activities you do or do not use depends on your budget. Usually, the larger your target group and the less competition, the greater your chances of marketing success. You then need less budget to persuade visitors to come to your establishment.

Ready for a rock-solid hospitality marketing plan?

Would you rather be running your hospitality business than writing a marketing plan? We get that. The Fully Bookers help you gladly. Feel free to take contact with us and we will help you out!





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