How much are you paying for your restaurant's marketing needs? If you're paying anything at all, I can almost always guarantee you're paying too much.

So let's get right to it... How much should you be paying for marketing? I wish I could give a straight answer, but it does depend on how big of a restaurant you run. More revenue coming in and more customers coming through the door almost always equates to a larger marketing spend.

So let's generalize for a moment. Let's say your restaurant does about $1 million in annual revenues. That's somewhere around $85,000 in sales per month, before expenses come out. What should you be paying for a website, email marketing, and so forth? Most people peddling marketing services say you should spend somewhere between 3-6% of your total sales on marketing. But don't fall for it!

Here's a rough guideline of what a restaurant owner should be paying:

  • Website: $1500 max for initial setup, no more than $150/mo in maintenance
  • Email Marketing: Less than 1000 contacts? No more more than $100/mo
  • Social Media: No more than $100/mo beyond your advertising spend
  • Other Design/Consulting Services: No more than $100/mo in other fees
  • Total Monthly Cost: Less than $500  (but ideally much less!)

The truth is that if you wanted to, you could be paying a fraction of all of this just by doing it yourself. If you want a simple DIY website, Squarespace plans currently start at $12/month paid annually (or $16 paid monthly). For email marketing, Mailchimp has a free option for those just getting started. Designing for social media is free, and sites like Canva can make anyone a pro designer so your social media ads stand out. So at the end of the day, if you've got patience to learn, you could have a powerful DIY marketing toolkit for less than $20 a month.