How many times have you seen restaurant patrons Instagraming their brunch or dinner the moment the waiter sets it on the table? Guilty! It’s as if modern day table settings should require a spot for a smartphone just to the right of the water glass. Long gone are the days of etiquette when phones at the table were not allowed. And who can resist the perfect shot of a gooey egg yolk dripping off the perfect piece of avocado toast or the beautifully plated scallops with painted beurre blanc sauce?
For what may seem like a big annoyance to the restaurant staff -- the chef wanting folks to eat the food while it's warm or the serving staff having to set plates down around a sea of smartphones -- can also be a huge opportunity for any restaurant.
Restaurants that embrace this new digital age can benefit in a number of ways and here’s how:
It’s FREE Promotion: Let us repeat that - It’s free promotion. When patrons tag your restaurant or link to your location in a post, others can click to learn more about your restaurant and follow you.
User Generated Content Makes Your Life Easier: As a restaurant you should have a presence on social media and if you don’t, get in touch with us and we’ll change that. We know that as a restaurant owner or manager your time is limited and requires wearing many hats. Planning your social media posts might not be on the top of your to-do list. When patrons tag you in an image you can then repost their photos giving them credit, of course. This allows you to fill the gaps in between planned posts.
Word of Mouth Marketing: If you’ve done any marketing for your restaurant you know that third party reviews or recommendations can hold more weight than you talking up the restaurant all day long. Social media is an extension of work of mouth marketing. People trust what their friends and family recommend, even if that “friend” is just someone they have been following for awhile on Instagram.
Value Equals a Healthy Bottom Line: Having patrons post about your product is what many companies hope and pray their customers will do. While there are no guarantees, we see food in our feeds all day long. When customers share their experiences and your product online, that shows that they truly value what you are producing. That value often translates into sales.
While it is great if all of the above is happening for your restaurant online, it is even more important to be present on the same social media platforms as your patrons. This way they can accurately tag you and more importantly, you can engage with them too. Social media is a two way street and you get back what you put in. Customers value relationships with those that they post about. Be present; like or comment on posts you have been tagged in. Reward those who post about your restaurant and build a relationship with them. After all, they are brand advocates who could be returning again and again and bringing new customers with them each time they visit be it in person or online.
Need help with your restaurant’s social media strategy? Learn more about our signature service, #OwnYourSocialStory.