Did you watch the tv series “Breaking bad”? According to many people, it is one of the best tv shows ever. One of the main reasons why it is one of the best tv shows is that ended just as it should – after 5 seasons. The story kept its attention all the time, it had a sense, therefore the popularity of the show was huge.
The keyword from the paragraph above is – THE STORY!
Why is the story important when we speak about promoting the restaurant online?
When we want to create something special, something that others want, including ourselves, we need to have a story. The story is related to our coffee shop, company, nightclub, or restaurant.
The professionals find a better word how to call it, and it is – “storytelling”.
In this blog, I am going to try to help you, to answer the one important question – how to promote the restaurant over the internet?
How to promote the restaurant using STORYTELLING
Probably 99% of you who read this blog post never even heard about Twisters. Twisters is a fast-food chain that has 20 stores in New Mexico and Colorado. Here is the one photo of Twisters, how one of their stores really looks like:
Of course, if you watched Breaking Bad, in a moment you recognized this legendary place from the show. The manager of the restaurant said that the profit grew considerably after their placed showed up in the series. Walter White and Jessy Pinkman fans necessarily stop by on a burger, on a place where the action happened in this tv show.
We have to say that we aren`t always that happy to have one of the greatest tv shows in the world recording in our restaurant. But, we can still make a story that conquers.
Here is an example of it.
Promotion of a two restaurants in Belgrade
You don`t know anything about these two restaurants, and that includes the location, the food they offer, and even their name. Additional condition: They have got only one chance to get you as a customer. This is what the first says:
“Enjoy the view over the Belgrade city, from the 10th flour, where you can try the best domestic food, with extraordinary service. Welcome, we expect you!”
And, this is the way the second restaurant represents itself:
“Check out every part of the Belgrade, which history is matchless. Experience Belgrade, through the sense of sight and taste. Welcome to the restaurant that represents experience!
What would be the restaurant you would choose? Which description is more appealing to you?
I`m almost sure that you would answer “the second one”, and here is why.
The first description is boring, monotonous, makes you only imagine the view you get in this restaurant.
And what about the second one?
Imagine all the periods this city has passed through history. It was intentionally written “through the sense of sight and taste” because we want to make it clear that we offer the domestic food. The story is told in a way that makes you say: “Oh, this city has a soul, and I want to feel it and see it! This restaurant will provide me that pleasure”.
So, the story doesn`t have to be something that happened in this restaurant, or who was your famous guest. It doesn`t even have to be founded on any historical facts. Of course, if your restaurant is there for 30 years, I am sure that you have some interesting stories to speak about, something that will engage your future guests.
But, if the restaurant is opened recently, and it doesn`t have any interesting happening to brag about, it doesn`t matter. Just tell a story on an interesting way, that will make people think in their head about what you describe. That way you will have success in managing the restaurant because the guests come for the story that makes your restaurant special.
One adorable specialty
Where is the best grill in the city? Where did you eat the best pizza in your life? Where is the best soup?
You have probably had the answers on all of these 3 questions. Let`s don`t get into the psychology why we think that on the one place we have a better grill, pizza or else than on the other, and let`s take a look why it happens in practice.
To favor one place instead of another, a perfect experience must happen – you liked the food, staff, or it was all about your condition on that day. You were very happy, or very sad and nervous, so the experience at the place you were has contributed to creating the chemical reaction in your brain. That reaction brought you to the sentence “Yes, that`s the place, the place where the best _____(specialty) is in the city!”.
There is a catch – the most, if not all “ordinary” foods are favored in the minds of the majority.
It would be considered as absurd if you want to enter the market and position with a new burger, because, as we know, there are many competitors that already cover 99% of the market.
But, if you really love the burgers, and you want to maintain a high market position with them then you have to do something that nobody is expecting, something that wasn`t seen so far. You have to add an ingredient that will change the whole game. That ingredient will be something everyone is going to speak about.
For example, in your menu add “burgers with vanilla”. This is just an example, but with these absurd ideas, many restaurants grew their brand. When you have a product everyone is talking about, there is a huge bunch of people that will come and try something that is incredible.
And soon, the story will spread and spread, and eventually, it will become a standard for something never existed before.
Of course, you will try to make something extraordinary (or just copy-paste it from another state and reshape it for your market), that will be instagramable. Now everyone is going to do marketing for you, over their social network accounts.
With a little effort, the story about your restaurant will spread, via word of the mouth. It`s only up to you if the experience of those who come to your restaurant is perfect or not. That way, when the reviews are positive, it`s the only way to promote your restaurant properly.
Why is interesting to eat lobsters? Because they are unusual, they don`t look like the “ordinary” things we eat. It is maybe even a little frightening.
Create your own “lobster”, and make it be something that people just got to try!
The game isn`t over after your customer leaves the restaurant
This strategy is something I like to apply, to my own customers, and so far each time it brought me incredibly positive reactions.
The first step is to know how to manage social media. The second is to follow everything that happens there, but also on your location and your profile. Third step – from time to time you should reward someone`s visit to your restaurant.
Would you reward your first-time guest or your loyal guest, it is up to you.
And this is how it`s done.
On the location of your restaurant, on Facebook and Instagram, there should be appearing images of people who visited your restaurant. Everything you got to do is to choose the person on a weekly or monthly basis and send him/her a message:
“Hello Eve, we saw you were in our restaurant recently, and we noticed you are our loyal guest. With this opportunity, we want to thank you and reward you with 2 portions of _____ next time you come to our restaurant. ”
Did it come to your mind that you can insert the “adorable specialty” from the text above? That way, your “Eve” will take a picture of it and share it over the social media, as it is so interesting and tasty that will make her brag about it.
What do you get with that? A few important things.
First, you noticed the guest, that`s something your guest will appreciate. With that, when your guest knows that you know him, it seems that there is a bond between your restaurant (or the one who manages it) and your guests, that will last for years.
The second thing – you gave him something for free, 2 portions, and that means that he will bring someone with him next time when he comes. If we assume that your restaurant’s service is at the high level, it will result with another potential guest who will come regularly because he has experienced a positive experience and has a friend who is recognized by the restaurant. Win-win.
The third is additional commercial. As we said, your guest will take a picture of that amazing meal and share it over his social media profile. That way some of his friends will come to try it too.
Use something that`s viral already
Something is always viral, there is always something everyone is speaking about. Use that viral wave and make a profit for your restaurant.
This is called – newsjacking. One of the most crucial things about newsjacking (besides good humor and the idea) is the fast reaction.
When you feel that something is becoming very popular, you should use that for your promotional causes.
Let`s check another example. When the GoT was on our TVs, a couple of restaurants made food in the shape of a throne from the series and that, of course, became viral.
The newsjacking can be an effective tool for promoting your restaurant.
Remember your restaurant guests, they will remember you
Among one of my favorite books is the one called “The entrepreneurship myth” or “E-Myth”.
In one part of it, it is described the writer`s experience in one of the hotels. When he came there for the first time, he couldn`t believe how much attention was paid to detail. I don`t want to tell you about the book, but I honestly recommend you to read it. It is very worthy!
But, here is the thing:
Remember your clients. Find ways for storing the info about your buyers, what do they like, what do they offer, do they smoke or no, etc. With all those details you will be able to make a bond with the guests and he/she will become your regular, but also the ambassador of your restaurant.
In my home town, there is one barbeque store that is full for the whole day. You can find young people, adults, almost everyone there. What`s the reason for it? The owners know every little additional ingredient and everything their customers want. They just gave their best to memorize it.
Memorize what your guests want, that way you will connect.
I hate sales, and you do too!
As a marketing specialist, I am annoyed whenever I see a price reduction and 20% on sale mark. What 20%? Yes, in many branches that are working, but in the restaurant business, that is a sin.
The problem with the price reductions is that people get used to them, and when you restore the prices they are unhappy with it. So look at yourself: when you get used to some benefits it’s hard to change your habits and return to a “full price.”
Do not get used to people coming to you just because it’s cheaper.
But, there is an alternative. People get used to sales and price reduction, but they don`t get used to “FREE”.
If you want to attract some new restaurant guests by giving them something, let it be free, like in the example we already mentioned about the rewarding loyalty. It is always better to give something for free, something that your customer will appreciate that to get a discount. After a while, he will think that the “old”, the standard price is just too high. Discounts are the “Pandoras boxes”, so don`t go that way.
Engage your audience over “Story”
Instagram offers us many options to engage our audience.
For example, you want to promote the lobster. If you have a designer (or you could do it yourself, but it probably won`t be as good) give your designer a task:
Let your designer make 3-4 stories where each of them will be an interesting fact about the lobster. Then, 2-3 stories with a “Quiz” sticker over them (if you don`t know what is that, just Google it, it is easy to do it). On those stickers should be the questions from the stories behind, to check if your followers learned something new.
After all of that, in the last story, there should be a promotional picture of a lobster, with information about your specialty (maybe even a price) and a call-to-action. Of course, you should write this in a better way, but I suppose you got the point.
That way, with 7 stories you will attract few customers who without you wouldn`t be eating those lobsters tonight. Well done, you used Instagram power!
Then, the manifestation of the social character of your restaurant is very important. Sometimes you can record “behind the scene”, about what happens (for example) in the kitchen. Or to record some funny situation where the cook is. There are many ways in which you can show your followers that the restaurant is interesting, not only for guests but also for employees.
Here is also one additional way to yous Instagram story:
When you feel that the bad period for your restaurant is coming, you can easily organize prize games. For example – the best picture of your restaurant will get the prize – dinner for two. The only condition for your followers is to put that picture on their stories and tag the restaurant.
That way, your advertisement will spread exponentially, and the majority won`t even know about the game. The best thing there – you didn`t spend even a penny for that advertisement.
Don`t let your friend take a pictures of your food
By my experience, there aren`t harder things to take a picture of than the food. Sometimes there are hours needed to make us happy with the picture of the food. That`s why I recommend you to hire a professional photographer who will do the job the right way.
Check out the difference between professional and the amateur photographer:
And here’s an example of restaurant that knows what works on social networks:
You probably noticed that those photos have their own stories? Their harmony? That`s the outcome when the professionals do their job. Make it like this, and believe me, it isn`t that hard to do it.
Promoting the restaurant online – Stats
This is a very important part.
If somebody enters your restaurant for the first time, and he/she has a great experience with you, statistically there is a chance of 42% that he/she will come once more to your restaurant. With the same odds that he/she will appear in your restaurant for the third time.
But, when the third appearance happens, there is a 70% chance that you will get the same guest for the fourth time. That`s why you should foster your relationship with your clients and make them become regular ones. After some time, that surely pays off.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to Google My Business
This is one of the most important steps for the passive attraction of your new guests. Let`s start with statistics and 90% of people who said that the GMB rating helped them make their choice and visit that place.
A number of conversions (in your case visits) is 133% bigger if your customers see positive feedbacks on your GMB profile.
So, Google My Business`s influence is unbelievable. For a start, something you could do is filling your GMB listing with the proper info.
After that, you should upload the professional photos. They are very important. When you set your GMB profile then you should start answering the customer’s critics. You should (even that`s hard) answer them all and thank them all, even if they are with a low rating. You should try to ensure them that you will make the things right next time that customer comes by. Some of your potential customers will notice your devotion and come to your place.
Use the GMB, because it can really make your restaurant grow in your customer’s eyes!
That would be all. I tried to provide you the proper answer on how to promote the restaurant online. If you follow all these steps, I guarantee you that your business will grow. Promote the restaurant, in the right way, using the internet and those marketing tricks, and write the comments. I want to hear from you, and I will be there to answer any questions.
Also, if you want to find out how you should (never) promote your restaurant event, follow the link.