Restaurants! Look, we all love you. You’re where we eat. You’re where we go on dates, celebrate anniversaries, hold business meetings, AND where we can experience unique cuisine. Do your customers know that? Do your customers know how unique you are? Maybe you think they do, but do they really? If someone hasn’t discovered you yet, do you have vibrant content out there pulling them in & making their mouths water?
OK, enough questions. Here are some solutions to problems you might not even know you have. Getting your restaurant noticed and setting it apart can be difficult. Well, it was difficult, but now you’re reading this blog. Say goodbye to the word “difficult.” Here we go.
1. DAILY SPECIALS NOW! – Using Snapchat & Instagram video
You might be saying, “What’s Snapchat?” Great question. Snapchat is the latest app that utilizes pictures, video, text, and drawing, to tell a story on social media. Your restaurant should be telling a story every day. You have daily specials on drinks. You have daily special meals. Maybe you have live entertainment. Show it off. Show how busy the kitchen is. Show how busy the bar is. Tell people what the wait time is. Make people feel like they’re already there without stepping in the door. The more alive your restaurant feels, the more people are going to want to eat there. 20 minute wait? Sure that may seem like a while, but wait at the bar with our house made sangria. Try one of our new appetizers.
Utilize one of your wait staff or hosts with an energetic personality to create videos and pictures on Snapchat to inform your potential customers. Not sure about Snapchat, then utilize Instagram. It has the same great photo/video capabilities as Snapchat, but with comments & likes too. Either way, respond to comments, answer questions, and keep your restaurant feeling fresh. Doing this on a daily basis, or even just the weekend, will add a whole new element to how people connect with you and your menu.
2. UPDATE THAT MENU/UPDATE THAT TWITTER
Another extremely useful social tool is Twitter. With Twitter, each tweet has a shelf life of 20 to 40 minutes. So sending out multiple updates in a day, each with similar content, is standard practice. Let’s say you’ve got a Chilean sea bass on special for a Friday night. Show the dish from different angles. Show it being plated. Show which wine, beer, or cocktail pairs best with it. Show a staff member or customer savoring it for the first time. Spend the whole day talking about that Chilean sea bass (4-6 tweets). If you switch up each tweet, the content won’t be repetitive or spammy, and you’ll get mouths watering.
You can also implement this strategy on Instagram or Snapchat. The key is to assess which social media platform works best for your restaurant. There’s no need to put effort into one platform if you have say 50 followers, when on another you have 500. Pay attention to how each is growing, which is getting the most engagement, and if people are mentioning that platform to your wait staff and hosts.
3. GET THE CHEF OUT THERE!
Back to that Chilean sea bass, why did the chef put it on the menu? What makes it great? Have your chef tell the story of that fish. Take a short video and post it to Snapchat or Instagram. Take a longer video and post it to Facebook and YouTube. One way to create synergy between your social pages is to promote them. Post a picture on Instagram and tell people to check out your Facebook page for a video, or vice versa. If you have a charismatic chef who believes in his menu, your customers want to see that. Let his/her passion shine through and captivate the audience. If the owner is oozing charisma, put him/her in front of the camera. Showcasing energy and passion for a dish is a sure fire way to get people in the door. It’s hard to do that through traditional print ads, especially in real time.
4. REMIND PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Your servers should remind customers about your social media at the end of each meal. “Thank you guys so much, remember to follow us on Instagram for daily specials, and Facebook for weekly coupons. Have a great night!” Something that simple puts your social media in that customer’s head and is more likely to get them to come back in on a regular basis. People want to eat delicious food over and over. They want to sample more items on a menu then just “what I always get.” Give them a reason. Give them access to your restaurant on a daily basis right from their mobile device or computer.
Also, put your social media on your menu. Don’t just put social media icons. Put your @usernames or your Facebook URL along with your website. I’d recommend putting it on every other page. Along with those URL’s & usernames, give a sentence or two about why they should follow you there. Have it mirror what your servers are saying at the end of the meal. I know how valuable space on a menu is, but trust me, this is something not enough restaurants are doing, and it will pay off. You’re trying to build a community around your restaurant just like any other major brand or public figure on Twitter. If you’re a small, local business, doing little social reminders like this is crucial to keep people aware of your brand.
I hope these tips help you and your restaurant. With all you have to worry about as a restaurant owner, social media marketing can slip through the cracks. Find out which one of your staff is social savvy, and have them take over some of these tasks. You can also hire a small firm to handle your social marketing. It’s not as expensive as you might think. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!