Content Marketing for Restaurants in 5 Steps

The last 20 years have completely transformed the way restaurateurs communicate with guests.

Young waiter serving food to customers at table in cafe

You only have to look back to the mid-90s to see how few options were available to get your message in front of guests…and they were all expensive media like Newspaper, Radio and TV. Then came the internet and everything changed.

Email, the World Wide Web and .COM became mainstream terms with lighting fast speed. Overnight you could deliver your message to existing and potential guests instantly. Lost in all the euphoria was a simple truth…

What you share/say matters!

social media for restaurants

Is Content King Of The Restaurant Industry?

Surely you’ve heard the phrase “content is king”? It’s typically used in reference to big media like TV, radio and tent pole sites like the Huffington Post or Yahoo.

You can see crystal clear proof of content’s value when you hear about Nielsen TV or Arbitron Radio Ratings. The value of content is directly connected to how much these big players can charge for advertising on their networks. This is the ultimate form of content marketing, where the content engages the consumer and the provider can charge for their attention.

It’s unlikely you have heard the term content marketing applied to successful restaurant promotion, but we want to make sure you understand why it matters to you.

You have an endless amount of great content you can share to garner guest’s attention and influence their decision to visit you more often…or spend more when they do. Which is why we’ve identified 5 strategies for developing your own a content resources.

1. Start by determining what your guests will interact with and where they will engage.

This starts by reviewing the content you are already sharing.

Review the engagement metrics from your recent email campaigns. Are guests clicking on birthday offers, event listings, social media postings? Categorize your successful content and create more of it. If you don’t see any patterns, start testing content and track the reaction. This will tell you what guests are interested in seeing so you can deliver what they want.

2. Position your communications as expert.

You are an expert in all things restaurant. You know food, beverage, entertainment and culture. Share your favorite information or give them insight into what’s hot. This can be a great food/beverage recipe or info on new products that aren’t yet widely available. Everyone wants to be in ‘the know’.

Why not share a specific method of preparation or turn out that wouldn’t be widely understood outside a restaurant environment?

Additionally, by providing your expert insights you are creating a leadership relationship. People naturally respond to leadership and gravitate to those that provide it. Use your wealth of knowledge to demonstrate that leadership in the things they know you know well.

3. Give them a “behind the veil” look at how your restaurant operates.

A common adult fantasy is to own a busy restaurant. It’s the best mix of prestige, hipness and success. The success of reality shows like Restaurant Impossible and Bar Rescue are proof guests want to know about the inner workings of your business.

Involve guests as you research a new menu item or review your wine list. As you manage a vendor or recruit new staff, share the experience or process and be rewarded by guest engagement. Leverage tools like Facebook Live and Snapchat Stories to deliver that insiders view. You can show them a pre-shift meeting or introduce them to staff members to create a connection between themselves and your team.

Give guests insight into how you operate and they will feel a sense of ownership which will keep them loyal and returning for more.

4. Share your opinions, but balance controversy with content.

You are a leader in your community and not just as pertains to food and beverage. You run a successful business and people will value your opinion. This can be a little tricky, but offering your opinion occasionally on local issues can be a wonderful way to stay relevant in your community. It’s a fine line between sharing an opinion and preaching, but it’s worth sharing to prove you are an engaged member of your own community.

5. Ask them their opinion and act on the information.

Solicit the opinions of your guests whether through polling or direct questions. Ask them to respond and reward them when they do. Whether you offer a coupon or discount for responding or reward the best responses with some prestige or prizing this will encourage a conversation with your guests.

Creating a conversation will gain you valuable intelligence about how you’re doing and encourage the guest to feel a connection to your restaurant. This is how regular guests are won and loyalty is nurtured. Remember: These strategies are focused on what resources you have access to. You have plenty of interesting things to offer guests, and should share it!

(Source: Upserve; by Andrew I Jaffee)

Content marketing could be just the trigger to take your business to the next level. Why not inquire about a free, no-obligation quote from ARF Financial, and use the extra money to take advantage of it. We have low rates, fixed terms up to 3 years and a streamlined approval process. You could have your money in as little as 5-7 business days. Click here to get started!