The “4 Ps of marketing” may sound like blah business jargon to restaurant types, but these four principles—product, price, place, and promotion—can magnetize new guests and keep regulars coming back.
Here’s how to put the 4 Ps of marketing to work for your restaurant, plus a few examples to get you started.
What are the 4 Ps of marketing, and why are they important for restaurants?
The 4 Ps are the X factors businesses of all kinds should keep in mind when it comes to marketing anything, according to the American Marketing Association. The 4 Ps of marketing, also known as the marketing mix, are:
Let’s go through them one by one.
The product is what you sell. For restaurants, it’s an experience, not just the food or the hospitality, notes Green Seed Group.
Think about what makes your restaurant stand out from the competition. That’s what you want to highlight in your marketing.
When it comes to the marketing mix, price is what guests are willing to pay, according to Investopedia. But it’s not the only factor to consider when setting prices. You’ve got to cover your costs, turn a profit, and consider what competitors are charging as well.
Place is where you sell your product. It could be an elegant dining room, a buzzing cocktail bar, a takeout counter, or a food delivery app. You can also think about place as where you promote your product—in print, online, or by word of mouth.
This P covers anything you do to attract guests, including:
- Digital marketing
- Paid advertising
- PR campaigns
- Organic marketing
Promotion is how you reach your potential guests to let them know about your restaurant and why they must book a reservation.
Understanding the marketing mix for your restaurant
You can use the 4 Ps to figure out the best ways to reach potential guests. These are just a few channels to consider for your marketing strategy.
A savvy social media presence can be a super effective way to market a restaurant. That’s true whether you’re paying for ads or focusing on organic marketing.
Restaurant owners can run their own social media or hire a staffer, freelancer, or restaurant marketing agency to handle social. Use social media often to shout out what makes your restaurant special and get the word out about promotions.
Email is a cheap or free way to promote your restaurant directly to people who signed up for your email list.
A solid email marketing strategy can deliver serious results in the long term. Check out our tips for effective email marketing to make the most of your efforts.
Out-of-home advertising or outdoor advertising is marketing we see out in the world, like:
- Ads on buses and taxis
Billboards can be pricey compared to other marketing channels, so it’s important to track conversions. Consider putting a coupon code for online orders in your ad so you can measure ROI.
Word of mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing is something every restaurant should focus on. Not just because you can do it with zero marketing budget, but because it really works.
Remember, word of mouth isn’t just person-to-person conversations. It can also include:
- Online reviews
- Social media posts
- Influencer partnerships
- Referral programs
Supercharge your marketing strategy
It’s time to put the 4 Ps of marketing for restaurants into action. Here are a few examples to get your ideas flowing:
Highlight what makes your restaurant special
There are probably dozens of restaurants in your area with good food, fair prices, and a nice setting.
In your marketing, be specific about what makes yours stand out. People respond to details.
Maybe it’s your chef’s seafood tower that’s seven trays tall, a patio so plant-filled it could be a jungle, or Caesar salads made tableside in a way that transports guests to the 1960s. Put these details front and center in your marketing.
Fine-tune your pricing
Digging into the numbers can help you make sure a killer promotion is making money, not cutting into your profit.
Even the way you display prices on your menu can affect what guests order. Pro tip: reformat your menu to put prices at the end of item descriptions and nudge guests toward dishes with better margins. Try a bit of menu engineering to find out what works for you.
Freshen up your online presence
Experiment with promotions
With the other Ps on point, it’s time to launch a creative promotion. Go with something ongoing, like a can’t-miss happy hour deal. Or come up with a seasonal offer tied to an upcoming holiday or sporting event.
Now that you know about the 4 Ps of marketing, try putting them to work for you.
With a great restaurant, an appealing price, smart placement, and a killer promotion that guests can’t pass up, you’re ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level.