Restaurant Marketing: A double edged sword?

This article has been written by potato manufacturer, Aviko:

The world of marketing has become more open and connected than ever before. Businesses and their customers can engage with each other on a mass scale. The rise of the Internet and, in particular, social media, means we all live connect lives.

The social media age is particularly relevant for restaurants and foodservice businesses as consumers can play a massive part in whether a restaurant is successful or not. The power is firmly with consumers and if they have a bad experience, they can easily let all of their friends, family and neighbours know about it, on the flip side, should they have a wonderful experience they can sing your praises and promote your restaurant to their online network.

Only last night we were alerted to our phone buzzing, someone was wanting to chat on Facebook, luckily for us, or should we say good work to the production team rather than luck, it was a consumer wanting to congratulate us for having great products.

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In reality not all messages sent to businesses are positive, so huge effort needs to be taken to ensure that every customer experience is exceptional to encourage your restaurant customers to become your very own brand ambassadors singing about the merits of your food and service.

You may think that the risk of negative comments is too high so shy away from utilising social media and digital marketing as a tool to promote your restaurant. Don’t let the negatives put you off, partly because people can still review your business even if you don’t have any digital presence, but mainly because if done right, the Internet age can help to drive business, increase sales and help provide your restaurant with long-term success.

Here are a few tips to get you thinking:

Pretty Plates

Instagram is awash with food and people take great pleasure in posting, viewing and sharing food that looks too good to eat. It’s a powerful way to portray your menu and get it seen by lots of potential customers. Plus, it’s FREE.

By taking effort to present your food in an aesthetically pleasing way you can achieve greater exposure and with that, more punters through your restaurant door.

Only this morning we were wetting our appetite in the office looking at the Instagram profile of Yakumama, a Latin American restaurant in Todmorden, and admiring their food, most of which is consumer generated content. With over 3,000 followers, this restaurant is demonstrating how important it is to portray their amazing food in a pleasing way and it’s producing results for them.

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Customer Reviews

Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook and many other places on the web are prominent for reviews and reviews themselves have great power.

86% of people read reviews for local businesses (95% of 18-34-year olds). Reviews build trust and act as a decision-making tool for consumers to make a buying decision. Therefore, restaurant reviews are so important to attract new customers to your establishment.

Influencer Marketing

OMG! Did you see what [insert reality star or YouTube celebrity name here] was wearing? We may have been using a bit of tongue in cheek there, but influencer marketing is big business and restaurants and other industries are taking advantage of influencer’s sway.

According to research, for every $1 spent on Influencer Marketing you can expect an average return of $18 (bear in mind the source of this research). So, according to the research, companies out there are benefiting from using the large networks of influencers to promote their own offers. After all, it makes sense; if someone talks about your restaurant and 1,000 people listen, that’s 1,000 new people who become away of you, your business and your food.

The bigger the influencer the more expensive it’s likely to cost and they could well be irrelevant due to the global nature of social media. The best influencers to work with are those who have an influence in your area and your demographic. They don’t even have to be a person, for example, in Manchester there are companies such as Manchester’s Finest who provide their audience with reviews about restaurants and many other activities. Their audience on Instagram is 64,000, so if we were a Manchester restaurant, we’d be inviting them to dinner and looking to wow them.

Influencer Restaurant Marketing

The key to influencers is ensuring they are relevant to your business. Look at who follows them and the sort of engagement they get from their posts and make a decision from there, many smaller influencers will be happy with a free meal too so don’t offer to pay straight away.

Restaurant Experience

Okay, we assume you’re doing this already, providing your customers with a great experience, everything from your customer service through to your amazing food. It could seem patronising to tell you how important your customer experience is to your business, but it’s a point worth labouring on as in the world of social media where everybody has a voice, providing the best restaurant experience every time to every customer is more important than ever!

Without a first-class service your consumer generated content, reviews and your everyday influencers aren’t going to be singing your praises and without that your restaurant will be missed by a lot of people on the Internet.

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