Restaurant Marketing Strategy

When it comes to targeting your ideal audience through advertising, you will want to use a mixture of demographic, keyword, geographic, interest, and device targeting.

demographic targeting

If you don’t know the demographics of your audience, then you need to split test different groups. Lower the bid significantly for the audience that is bringing only about 20% of the results. You want to focus on the demographics that are bringing in most of the traffic and are fulfilling the current marketing objective. Examples include age, income levels, gender, ad placement, devices, competitors they like or follow, and anything that they’re interested in that might be related to your business. Don’t forget the times of day they might be most active as well after you’ve looked at the data.

Spy on your competition by following them to see suggestions you get from Facebook and check out who your competition is following as well. If you provide catering, Facebook ads can benefit B2B marketing efforts by targeting decision-makers at local companies. No other social media platform has this much data and detailed targeting.

Make bid adjustments in increments of 5% when enough data has been collected. Justify bid adjustments only when there is conversion data available, and there are either 100 clicks or 1-1.5k impressions. This is not a strict rule, but it is a good practice to follow. Never exclude a demographic, if possible; instead, try to significantly lower the bid.

On Facebook, you can create and build custom audiences. This can include those who visited your website, liked your business page, etc. You can create a lookalike audience of the custom audience you’re building if you want to extend your reach for advertising, or you can utilize remarketing by leveraging these custom audiences. If you want to target people for your catering services, you can focus on decision-makers.

People hangout together at coffee shop

keyword targeting

When using Google Ads and Bing, start with high-intent keywords like “Dominos near me,” for example, and then slowly start to explore other keywords for opportunities like “best pizza places nearby.” Utilize 20% of the budget on experimenting with keywords that might give interesting results in the search term query. Always use 80% of your budget on getting results for the business. Make sure you update the negative keyword list. Try to understand the psychology of your customers. Ask yourself what sort of problem your audience is trying to solve and what they would ask Google or Bing. Whatever keywords you might consider, that’s what you want to try to include in your keyword list.

You’ll typically be focused on keywords with a low cost per click (CPC), though some fine dining restaurants may have a higher CPC as they see more advertising competition.

When using keyword targeting, it’s vital to optimize the keywords used on an ongoing basis to get the most cost-effective ROI. Start by updating the negative keyword list by viewing the search term report, search for keywords that are bringing in bad traffic (these are peripheral, low-intent, and irrelevant keywords), and utilize the keyword planner to add more high-intent positive keywords (these are typically best added as an exact word or phrase match).

marketing analytics displayed on a computer screen

Keyword Targeting Strategies & Considerations

For keyword targeting, you want to maintain a quality score between 7 and 10, ideally. However, in some rare cases, this is not possible due to some industries being blacklisted under Google’s hidden, strict guidelines. A quality score of 1-3 is only okay if it’s not for a high-intent keyword or one that is bringing in most of the good traffic to the business. You can increase your ad rank for most important keywords by increasing the quality score and max bid. You can increase the quality score by trying to increase the expected clickthrough rate (CTR), ad relevance, and landing page experience.

Pro tip: Google secretly keeps a blacklist of certain industries where the highest quality score you can get is 4-6. Sometimes you can get lucky to increase this number – say, for example, from a 4 to a 6 quality score – by talking directly with a Google representative to ensure that you’re running a legit business. An example would be the word “Botox.”

Search Impression Share: Throughout this process, you will want to keep in mind search impression share (IS) at the keyword and at the campaign level (budget search IS). Use data of “search-IS” with data of “lost-search IS.” For example, low-search IS, high-lost search IS, and low-search IS (at the campaign level) is a clear indication that your bid for the keyword needs to be higher to stay competitive. If this is a high-intent keyword with a high conversion rate, then you need to allocate your budget appropriately to increase the search IS for this keyword.

Adjustments should be made on a case-by-case basis, but overall, you will want to pause lower-performing keywords and increase spend on high-performing keywords. Using this tactic, CPC will go up, but in the end, because you know that high-intent keyword has a high conversion rate, the cost will be offset from the potential increase in profits.

Bad Actors: One last thing to consider are bad actors, which are people who purposely click on your ads to drive up the cost. This is typically coming from competitors, which happens most often for highly competitive local businesses. If this does occur, you need to speak with a Google representative to get these bad actors filtered out of your ad spend.

closeup of a team analyzing data and graphs.

geographic Targeting

Set a small radius around the restaurant (about a 1- to 10-mile radius) and try to include locations individually at a granular level, such as cities, zip codes, or county, etc. Be sure to choose one type, such as zip codes only. Exclude locations in rare scenarios where the general population of a geographic location is negative towards the business or laws do not favor the business.

Try to avoid visitors “interested” in the location to prevent any traffic outside the country or unnecessary traffic. If the business covers all 50 states, then input all 50 states individually.

Make bid adjustments at the granular level at 5% increments. All bid adjustments must be justified with some conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and at least 1-1.5k impressions. This is generally a good practice. Lower the bid for low-performing locations.

3d pin on a map

interest Targeting

Start with the observational option to see the potential for an in-market audience. Don’t be afraid to split test targeting vs. observation.

If you are using the targeting option, split test various in-market audience combinations. Make bid adjustments in 5% increments, but ensure there is some conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and 1-1.5k impressions.

Interest Targeting Strategies & Considerations

Hour-Day Strategy: Adjust bids by day first, then by hour. Increase bids where there is a higher probability of conversion to occur, and lower bids otherwise.

Ongoing Optimization: Make bid adjustments in increments of 5%. Justify bid adjustments with conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and at least 1-1.5k impressions. Depending on the business, you may want to exclude bids, if, for example, the business is getting phone calls at 3:00 AM, which is more than likely irrelevant for your restaurant.

closeup of two workers analyzing data and graphs.

device targeting

Users among various devices behave very differently. Increase bids where there is a higher probability of conversion to occur, and lower bids otherwise. It’s best to significantly lower bids for lower-performing devices rather than completely excluding them. Make bid adjustments in increments of 5%. Justify bid adjustments with conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and at least 1-1.5k impressions.

Advanced Bid Adjustment Strategy: If your restaurant receives calls regularly, then it might make sense to make bid adjustments for call extensions. Observe data collected first before making any bid adjustment. Make progressive bid adjustments in increments of 5%. These adjustments need to be justified with some conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and at least 1-1.5k impressions.


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