The dining market is extremely competitive. We speak frequently of ways restaurants can enhance their offerings by creating dining experiences that give a customer more than just a nice meal in a restaurant.
People are drawn to wonderful experiences, and this couldn’t be more true of the restaurant industry. However, to stay current and win over a large share of customers, you need to have a fully visualised online presence.
The bigger your net, the more fish you’ll catch.
Expanding your online presence is important to reach more people. Especially, these days when people rely on the web to tell them where it is best to go.
When people want to dine out, they often look to the internet for directions on where to eat.
Whether through a Google Search, reviews or recommendations on social media, the internet is heavily relied on. This is especially true when visiting new areas.
Having a website to inform your customers of your menu, directions and contact details is no longer enough. Successful restaurants will use strong digital marketing strategies through blogging and social media.
Through the use of interesting, educational and even entertaining articles, restaurants can entice website visitors to enjoy their content and in time, sway them to indulge in their dining experience.
A blog is important for a few reasons.
You have a platform where you can directly share stories, information and news to your customer base through articles. This also gives you richer content to share on your social media profiles.
You can harness SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques to boost you to the top of Google results, skipping ahead of all your competition when diners are deciding where to eat. This is essential, as most internet searchers only consider the top 3 results on search engine result pages.
A blog also gives you an opportunity to capture personal details of website visitors. By using a pop-up email subscription to your blog, you have the desire and permission from readers to send them new content, promotions, and dining information. This is key to forming a relationship and encouraging returning visitors time and time again.
It’s important you create email campaigns to support your digital marketing strategy. - Remember if they give you their personal contact information they want to be notified of this information.
Setting up a restaurant blog with one or two articles won’t give you successful results.
Restaurateurs need to have a regular flow of content to not only keep loyal readers interested but to get higher SEO rankings on Google. Which equates to more website visitors!
So now you may realise the importance of a blog, but your next question is, “what do I write about?!”.
Maintaining a mix of content that entertains, educates and informs will capture the interest of an audience for your blog. Below we will give you ideas of content that follow each of these categories.
Think about the style of your writing to suit your audience. If your audience is the hipster, foodie crowd then use a relaxed and friendly tone in your posts. Likewise, if you’re a fine dining restaurant, think about the tone and language used of your customers, this tends to be more formal.
A great place to start on an entertaining blog post is to share your personal story of how you started and where you are today.
People love stories. Sharing your story is a really important way for people to understand why and how your restaurant started. It connects them to you and creates loyal followers.
A great example of people buying into a brand and wanting to be more involved is the Welsh restaurant, The Hang Fire Southern Kitchen. Two local female Welsh butchers had a dream of producing locally-sourced ethical food, away from the congested chain-led culinary landscape we often see bloating the dining industry.
They share their epic journey to success starting with travelling the states to master BBQ.
On their return, they put into place what they learned. They began small with pop up BBQ restaurants throughout Wales. From this, they gathered a HUGE following (myself included!) Until they grew large enough to open their own restaurant.
With their dream realised, they now sell branded merchandise, sauces and even a cookbook sharing their recipes and giving instructions on how you can BBQ yourself. - I’ve purchased most of these items!
Their epic journey draws in supporters as people want to experience a part of their tale.
People love to hear a success story and love to support hardworking, passionate local businesses. You can create this with your personal story too. Each restaurant journey is unique and special, and people like to feel a connection with them.
You can share the origins of your dishes if some have been passed through your family, or inspired by your hometown.
Or maybe even the history of the restaurant building is an interesting and captivating story.
Just remember to make it personal!
This topic can be entertaining or informative depending on how you deliver your message, but a fun topic can be sharing culinary behaviours and practices from other cultures in the world.
Do you remember the HSBC advert of the difference in eating behaviour between the British and Chinese? I’ll remind you. The British man, among a crowd of Chinese businessmen, is served eel, and as a British courtesy, he finishes the dish -not to offend the Chinese. However, in China, finishing a dish is an indication that you’re questioning their generosity. So you can imagine how this ad plays out.
Shining light on the different dining cultures and behaviours of the world could be a fun category you can routinely bring to your blog.
Sharing cooking and dining tips in your articles can be a great way to establish a loyal readership base. Then over time once they have grown to love and appreciate your content they will absolutely HAVE to dine at your restaurant as the connection and relationship is already present.
You can share the recipes of your best dish, and at the end of the post ask them to share their version on social media to generate more interest and a deeper relationship. Make sure to engage with your audience through these posts. You can even encourage them to come to try your version of the dish someday!
The prospect of eating an elaborate dish incorrectly in a public restaurant can be embarrassing to many people. So they typically stay away from ordering it, even though they may really want to try it!
You can inform your readers of dining etiquette and how best to enjoy eating certain dishes. For example, showing the right way to eat meat from a lobster or how to eat oysters, can be desired pieces of information that your readers will search for and value.
You could create a list of favourite dishes which pair exquisitely with the best wines at your restaurant.
Your alcohol sales make a huge difference to your profit margins. At every opportunity, you need to be upselling your finest wines with each dish served. The best way to do this is to become an expert at wine and food pairing and to sell this through your educational blog posts.
Defining your cuisine style is a very important step in establishing your culinary brand. You can get some ideas here about what culinary styles to choose.
Once this is established, its a great idea to share this with your audience. One of the best ways to do this is to have recurring content that your audience can become familiar with, whilst getting informed of your dishes at the same time.
This is your opportunity to really sell your dishes, describe where the inspiration came from, what in-season ingredients you use, where you obtain your locally-sourced produce etc.
Whether it’s your 1st, 5th or 20th restaurant birthday. Or maybe you’re hosting some spectacular events. -This is your platform to make all singing and all dancing praise around it.
Informing readers about your local area will give them more incentive to visit and dine in your restaurant.
You want to attract a wide range of diners to your restaurant. But for many, the distance will be off-putting if it’s too far to travel. By creating a full holiday experience by including local businesses around you, you will sway the desire to visit in your favour.
Talk highly of neighbouring hotels, shops, attractions and communities in your restaurant blog. By being proud of your local area you are supporting other local businesses while encouraging your own business. Give your readers an idea of places to see, things to do and places to stay to make a well-rounded and memorable experience when they visit you.
You could produce personal pieces that inform your customers about your team. Where your chefs have come from, their level of training, their favourite dishes. This could be in an interview form of questions and answers, or in a neat biography form. Either way, this is a great opportunity to engage your audience by encouraging them to get involved and ask questions of what they would like to know about your restaurant team.
We hope that you can feel inspired by our suggested blog topics for your restaurant blog. Half the battle is getting people through the door of your restaurant, so make sure that you are fulfilling every opportunity to attract and entice customers through your online profile.
If you want more information on how to increase your revenue in your restaurants see our post refer to "How to make more profit in your restaurant with vouchers".