restaurant franchise marketing
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

The larger your franchise operation, the bigger the task of managing—and marketing—it. Maintaining consistency and brand values across all locations is essential, and restaurant franchise marketing is no exception.

Traditionally, marketing materials are passed down from franchisor to franchisee, but it’s better if both parties work together to create a cohesive strategy.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do that—as well as some tips for managing business operations and customer relations.

Create a Restaurant Franchise Marketing Plan

Whether you want to use traditional or online marketing strategies, it’s important to come up with a plan that all the locations can use.

Identify a target market

Consider the audience you want to reach. Do you aim to stick with the demographic you traditionally target or expand beyond it?

Will you use the same messaging nationwide or allow franchisees to create localized marketing strategies to reach potential customers in their area?

Thanks to modern technology, you can create highly-targeted marketing campaigns. For example, you can collect customer data through WiFi sign-ins or loyalty programs, then segment the audience and align your messaging with their preferences.

Read more: Restaurant Target Market: How to Identify It and Why It Is Important for Your Business

Establish your brand image

marketing franchise business

It’s vital to maintain a consistent message across all restaurant locations and marketing channels, and that includes your brand image.

Create a brand policy covering the whole franchise organization, with guidelines on the use of logos, colors, fonts, tone of voice, and images.

You could also set up custom templates and a media library to ensure that franchisees stay on-brand while doing their own marketing.

Encourage communication between franchises so that if one franchisee comes up with a great idea, all the others can use it.

Have a strong social media presence

Social media is ideal for promoting restaurants. Think discounts, giveaways, competitions, menu updates, and mouth-watering food photos.

Decide if you want separate profiles for each franchise location. It may make sense for Facebook, but you could have just one Twitter account for the whole brand.

Make sure you respond quickly to questions, online reviews, and comments. Franchise owners may want to handle this themselves, but as messages often concern a specific franchise, the relevant franchisee should address them and use their knowledge of the location or promotion.

Develop a loyalty program

Loyalty programs encourage repeat customers, which increases revenue, even when you factor in the cost of the rewards.

This marketing method works particularly well for restaurant franchises where people can visit multiple locations.

Customers might earn loyalty points with each visit, adding up to a discount voucher, or get a virtual “stamp” each time they order an item and get the tenth one free. You can also personalize the rewards to keep people engaged with your brand.

Do Restaurant Franchise Management Right

Even the most successful restaurant franchise marketing can’t help you unless your business operations are running smoothly.

Employee hiring and training

restaurant marketing solutions

Whether you’re hiring chefs, bartenders, or marketing specialists, employing professional and engaged staff is actually a form of marketing. These people care about promoting the brand and will work hard to deliver the best results.

It’s usually up to the individual franchise to hire employees, but the franchisor should ensure that the same processes are followed across all locations.

Put together a franchise-wide package of training methods and online learning opportunities, and make it available to everyone.

You can take this a step further and employ dedicated HR management software across all branches. This can help you have a unified approach to onboarding, training, and other HR processes, including shift scheduling and performance tracking.

Product and service quality assurance

The quality of your products also has to be consistent across the franchise, even if menus differ between locations.

Take time to source the best suppliers, check your ingredients as they arrive, and pay attention to storage instructions and expiration dates.

If your franchise locations have different menus, here’s a simple and easy way to keep track of each, update them on the spot, and add new menus as you expand:

Consent needed
Manage all your franchise menus under the same convenient dashboard Use GloriaFood’s intuitive menu builder for multi-location restaurants

Service quality matters, too. Customers won’t return if their server was rude, unfriendly, or spilled the soup.

Franchise managers should monitor what’s happening on the restaurant floor, listen to feedback, and offer more training where necessary.

You might also like: How to Deal with Rude Customers in a Restaurant

Utilizing restaurant technology

Throughout the franchise organization, technology helps you optimize and streamline operations.

You can make life easier for staff and customers with online ordering, table reservations, pre-ordering, ordering at the table, and online payment options.

You can get access to all of these services for your restaurant franchise by signing up to GloriaFood and enabling the multi-location dashboard.

Enable online ordering at your restaurant franchise for free Boost online profits by accepting orders in all locations

Here’s a step-by-step guide to enabling online ordering for a multi-location restaurant using GloriaFood:

Consent needed

Other specialized software solutions you can use for your restaurant franchise include inventory tracking, POS systems, accounting software, workforce management, shift scheduling software, and communication systems.

These tools can all help make the day-to-day running of your business smoother.

Inventory and supply chain management

Imagine you’ve promoted an exciting new dish via social media, and the restaurant is fully booked—only for you to run out of the key ingredients.

You can prevent this kind of disaster by managing your inventory and supply chain effectively.

The right accounting software for hospitality can help you track your inventory by giving a real-time view of what’s in stock and what’s not. It also helps you manage your invoices so you can pay your suppliers on time.

This will go a long way towards building strong relationships with suppliers to ensure timely delivery and favorable prices.

Strategizing scaling and expansion

Successful franchisors will be looking to expand—but you need the right strategy in place.

This should include a process for negotiating budgets and marketing plans with potential franchisees and checking that they’re the right fit for your brand.

You also have to ensure there’s a receptive customer base in the potential new location. If your trendy BBQ-and-craft-beer franchise attracts hip younger people, there’s no point opening in a sleepy town with an older population.

Build Customer Relationships and Loyalty

Keeping your customers happy will give a boost to your restaurant franchise marketing efforts and help build your brand image. Here’s how:

Deliver outstanding customer service

how to advertise your franchise

As well as providing outstanding service to diners and takeout customers in the restaurant, franchises must be ready to handle inquiries even when the premises are closed.

Customers might contact you to check opening hours, book a table, or ask about allergens.

You should be contactable on multiple channels, and it’s important to reply quickly, even if it’s an automated response to say the message has been received.

Train your staff in using communications technology as well as customer service techniques.

Respond to customer feedback and complaints

Responding to feedback shows that you care about your customers. It’s a good policy to acknowledge positive comments, even if it’s just a “like” on social media. If a customer makes a suggestion and you implement it, let them know that their input is valuable.

For complaints, handle the situation with polite professionalism, no matter how irate or unreasonable the customer may seem.

If someone writes a negative review, respond with “We’re sorry you were disappointed. . .” and offer a private chat to discuss things further.

Engage customers and reward loyalty

Keep customers engaged with fresh content on your socials and email. We already mentioned loyalty schemes, but you could also reward VIP customers with discounts on their birthdays or access to exclusive content.

Incentives for referrals (such as “refer a friend and get 10% off your next meal”) will encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t forget to reward employees for delivering great service­ too!

Set metrics for customer satisfaction

Unless you measure and quantify customer satisfaction levels, you won’t know if you’re getting it right. Metrics might include Customer Satisfaction Scores, Net Promoter Scores, and the number of repeat bookings and referrals over a specific period.

Social media engagement can be harder to define, but you can measure likes, comments, and shares. Once you’ve collected the data, you can make improvements where necessary.

The Recipe for Restaurant Franchise Marketing and Management

Mastering restaurant franchise marketing and management takes time and effort. It’s not just about creating messaging that captures customers’ attention but also delivering outstanding service and quality food to keep them coming back.

Alongside a smart marketing plan, you need strategies for hiring employees and streamlining business operations. If you get it right, you’ll see an increase in customer loyalty and revenue—which will help you expand the franchise.

This article is a guest post.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.