Let’s face it. In this day and age, blogs are one of the most powerful tools on the internet.
Blogs can increase the traffic to your website in a multitude of ways- from social media posts, to SEO, to internal/external links to and from other websites, all so that consumers can find your restaurant.
With the restaurant industry being a social network to begin with, best practice is to share each blog post via your social media platforms as well. Encourage consumers to share your blogs on their own Facebook or Instagram profiles, generating new exposure to new potential customers.
Tie the sharing of these blogs to some type of promotion, making it worth it for the customer as well, creating ambassadors of your brand.
Many customer loyalty programs include email campaign functionality- gathering emails from guest profiles and compiling them into a list. This list can be an enormous asset to increasing awareness around your brand.
Sending out blogs in a weekly newsletter format or activate a blog subscription email to your customer base- this is a great way to stay connected.
Struggling with what to write about? Not sure which topics would interest consumers the most?
Below are some popular suggestions:
New Menu Items
There is nothing more exciting to a consumer than seeing the word NEW!!!
Pockets start to itch, purses fly off their hooks, and wallets are reached for.
NEW makes people want to BUY!
Spark curiosity from consumers by explaining the story behind the inspiration and reasoning for a new menu item.
If possible, share photos of the new dish or item itself, so customers have a visual image to connect to, causing sensory overload, and a feeling of immediate want that must be satisfied.
- The owner of Glazed and Confused in Syracuse, NY loves rap music, and especially enjoys jamming out to Notorious B.I.G. This has inspired him to create a new donut called, “The Notorious P.I.G.”
Stories about popular menu items
Create content on your website that can link current and potential customers to the story behind your brand, and your popular menu items.
In every Five Guys around the country, there is a dry erase board stating where the potatoes used for that day’s French fries came from. This allows the guest to relate even more to their meal, thus augmenting their experience.
- Are you using your great, great grandmother Josefina’s (who is 100% authentic Italian, who hand-sewed wedding gowns in her small village outside of Naples) marinara sauce recipe in your Chicken Parmesan dish? TELL your readers!
You can even include customer quotes/testimonials, sharing WHY they enjoy popular items on your menu. This increases your credibility.
Consumers want to believe that you and your restaurant are the trusted experts.
Share kitchen tips, recipe ideas, or “how to” video demos with your consumers and viewers, adding them to your website and YouTube channel.
- Does your bar have a signature Pineapple Martini with a pineapple garnish? How about making a quick, 60 second video on the proper way to cut a pineapple? If your restaurant has a signature dish, maybe make a post about what to do with your leftovers.
- Do you have a signature dish? Why not suggest to your guests what they can do with their leftovers the next day? “Leftover greens and potatoes? Try them in the morning mixed with scrambled eggs and toast for an awesome breakfast option!” Then add a photo of the scramble itself.
- Are you a specialty seafood restaurant? Why not post a video of your Executive Chef on “How to properly open and eat crab legs or lobster?”
Something like this can be fun and engaging, for viewers, but is also specific to your brand.
Answer Questions about your Menu
You and your staff are a source of valuable data, which can be translated into useful analytics in determining consumer behavior, buying tactics, and creating marketing strategies around your findings.
Ask your servers and bartenders which questions they get the most from guests, then turn these questions into interactive social media posts or blogs on your website.
- “The top wines to pair with your steak”
- “Which dishes are gluten-free”
- “Which menu items came from locally sourced venues
The more personal you can make these questions to your own restaurant, local area, menu dishes, and current season, the better.
Share your Events
If you want large crowds to flock to your events, you need to inform consumers, and get them excited to participate.
- Live music at your bar this upcoming Friday night?
- Are you sponsoring a local golf tournament?
- Do you host weekly trivia, with BOGO appetizers from 7pm-9pm?
Whatever it is, put it up on your website, your Facebook page, and your Instagram story!
Support Local Events with Specials
Consumers love seeing businesses invested in their local communities! Check out what local events are going on and design a monthly calendar of specials or discounts to promote them.
- Does your local hockey team have a game against their top rival this upcoming weekend?
- Is a headlining musician or band playing at your local auditorium?
Why not create a special or a discount to drive sales and increase revenue?
- Cheer on the Utica Comets with Buy One Get One Free Burgers on game night!
- Welcome Bruce Springsteen to Utica with half off Utica Club Beers!
Advertise Additional Services
What else does your restaurant do that consumers might not know about?
- If your restaurant is doing a catering for a private party or a baby shower, be sure to document a few photos of the menu, the spread you create, or people gathered around the table enjoying the selections. Share a pic on social media, with a blurb about, “Did you know we also cater?”
- Does your restaurant also have a food truck? When and where can consumers find it? Take a picture, create a schedule, and be sure to add that content to your website!
Consumers love a deeper dive into your brand, and the faces behind it.
- Feature a highlighted employee of the month, asking a few fun questions, and writing a paragraph or two about your employee, with a photo for a blog post.
- Has one of your valued staff members just celebrated an anniversary with your restaurant? Why not create an employee profile to share with customers?
- Did one of your hostesses just run a half marathon? Why not post a photo of her with her racing bib, and a promotion around that?
- We are so proud of Jessica for completing her first half marathon! Congratulations to all runners! Bring in your racing bib and enjoy 15% off your meal!
This type of window in to the “behind the scenes” look at your staff sets a cadence and gives your guests something to look forward to on your website each month.
Does your bar or restaurant support a local charity or community event? If so, share your business’s involvement, and the “why” behind it.
- Does your restaurant gather a team to participate in the America’s Heart Run & Walk each year? Design a shirt with your logo, order them for your team members, and take a photo at the event, and invite guests to participate.
Write a Thank You Letter to Your Customers
Following the proverbial “Dear Abby” format, write a personalized letter to all your valued customers, letting them know you appreciate their recurring business and support. This will not only be well received by your current customer base, but it will inspire new guests to visit your bar or restaurant.
Get in the Holiday Spirit
Do you decorate, have a holiday signature cocktail, or holiday themed dishes that only come around once a year? Create a post about them and be sure to share photos!
- “Join us for our Annual Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice event- with a pumpkin carving contest and BOGO Pumpkin beer and Pumpkin cheesecake.”
- “Stop in on Friday from 7pm-9pm and Vote for Your Favorite Christmas Tree- all Decorated by our Chefs! Enjoy 20% your total bill.”
Showcase Your Local Vendors
Consumers love restaurants that support other local businesses. Highlight the local farms your produce comes from, or the local artists whose artwork decorates your wall. Explain why you are proud to work with these other local vendors and talents, and cross-market each other.
Implementing a restaurant blog gives consumers a reason to return to your website frequently. In an industry that is deeply saturated by competition, only a small minority of bars or restaurants update their blogs regularly, if at all.
Blogging is an amazing opportunity for your restaurant to stand out!