According to Challenges, an average of 3.66 restaurants open whilst two are closing for good everyday in Paris. That’s a lot! Competition on the catering market in big cities is tough. I used to work in an Italian restaurant in Sydney 2 years ago, and the chef told me back then that few restaurants usually last more than two years in this city.
However, in the last few years, the way we choose where to eat has drastically changed, mainly thanks to the development of social media. This changes in modes of consumption is an opportunity for restaurants with strong identity to stand out. Here’s how:
1. Use your social media pages as your new online storefront.
The time when people went randomly in the first nice looking restaurant in their neighborhood ornext to the office is over. Nowadays, people know what restaurant they are heading to before living home. They like to try new places and don’t hesitate to take a bus for 20 minutes to eat their favorite meal.
A good-looking Instagram or Facebook page is like a beautiful storefront. The difference is that your social media pages can be seen without geographical constraints. You can basically attract people from everywhere!
People should be able to see on your restaurant’s pages all the elements they would see on your physical business storefront: the decoration, the ambiance, and the best dishes.
2. Let the customers do the work
Owning a restaurant means you have so much more to do than taking care of your presence on social media.
But consistency is the key to getting noticed on these networks. You should post pretty much everyday. That’s why you should let your customers create at least half of your content.
Talk about it with you customers. It’s not weird today to ask your customers to tag your restaurant if they put a cool picture of your dishes on social media. Then you can re-post them on your own pages while mentionning the customer’s account who posted the picture first. Doing this will even give a shout-out to your customer and make him/her happy!
3. Make your community write positive reviews
While you tell your customer to tag you on his picture, you can also invite him to rate your place on Tripadvisor, Yelp or Google +. Trust me, people do look at these reviews nowadays, and a good rating will definitely make your restaurant business stand out from the crowd.
You can even think about putting some “rate us on The Fork” / “follow us on Instagram” on your menu or on your napkin. Creativity is a great asset when it comes to social media.
4. Show your creations in their best light
Social media are a great opportunity to attract people who never passed by your restaurant. Show them the best of your cuisine, with high quality pictures. Like they say “we eat with our eyes first”.
Unfortunately, it is still too common to see few or no food pictures on restaurant’s pages. People want to know if they like what you’re doing. Give them the information they are looking for.
5. Build a community around your restaurant and make your place alive
Social media allow you to keep in touch with your most loyal customers. Animate your community by creating events, communicating about the daily specials, happy hours etc… Those infos and special updates are one of the main reason why people will follow a restaurant on Instagram or Facebook.