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Blog at Chefify

Managing your marketing budget - how much should you be spending?

Jun 8 2018 - 5:20pm
Marketing is a key component in restaurant success. The big question for many businesses is how much should you be spending on marketing activity? There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to determining marketing strategy and budget; it will depend to a certain extent on what stage your restaurant is at and what your objectives are.

What percentage of revenue should marketing take?


There is no consensus in terms of how much of your revenue you should be allocated to marketing. 3-6% is often reported to be the average of monthly revenue that is pushed towards marketing spend. However, general business studies have shown that the more of your budget you can allocate to marketing, the more growth this will achieve. For example, according to the annual CMO survey, companies growing up to 15% a year spent 16.5% of revenue on marketing. Those growing up to 30% allocated 22% of revenue while those growing up to 100% were spending an average of 50.2%.


Clearly, spending half of your revenues on marketing will not be feasible for many – and may not even be necessary. This will depend hugely on what stage your business is at too.


A start-up restaurant. Your marketing is going to be key to establishing your new restaurant as a brand, in getting the market research right and reaching your audience. Anywhere up to 35% of revenue could go towards marketing a start-up.


An established brand. When your business is well established and going through a period of growth you need to be competitive but not eat too far into profits. So, marketing budget could be anywhere from 10 – 15% of revenue.


Challenging times. Marketing is one cost that you can vary if your business needs a little help. If you’re struggling to get people through the door then boosting marketing could be game changing, even if it costs you some of your revenue. Up your marketing spend by around 3% for 3 – 6 months for a trial period of time and see if it makes a difference.


What kind of marketing costs do you need to consider?


Your marketing needs will be determined by your business, but there are some common components for everyone in the restaurant trade.


  • SEO – you need to be found online, especially for local searches

  • A better website – an important part of getting diners through the door in the real world

  • PPC – not necessary for every type of business, but can be an effective way to reach potential new consumers quickly

  • Social media – a great way to make an impact across a broad network

  • Marketing images – investing in great images will give you content for social, as well as flyers or articles

  • Mainstream media – adverts can be costly and features difficult to get. A PR business might be able to support if you have the resources to pay them

For more information on marketing, read our blog on the subject of restaurant marketing.


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