Let’s face it, what restaurant owner doesn’t dream of a packed house with lines out the door?
Well, it can happen with a little social media help…
Like many, John McMillan dreamed of having a restaurant. That dream came true when he opened Whitbie’s Fish and Chips. With everything in place, McMillan’s restaurant sparkled, ready for customers.
The days rolled by into months — into years — but barely anyone came.
It wasn’t until marketer Colin Ross discovered the restaurant, that McMillan’s business started to pick up — quickly.
After eating at Whitbie’s Fish and Chips, Ross couldn’t believe that this clean restaurant, serving fantastic fish and chips, by a “good-hearted, super awesome guy” was empty.
So, Ross took action. He created a sincere, heart-felt Facebook post that told McMillan’s story, also urging local people to share the post and to check out the fish and chips restaurant.
The results were staggering.
People started flocking to Whitbie’s Fish and Chips — one day, four hundred customers, the next, five hundred. The lines snaked around the restaurant and out the door on a regular basis. John ended up increasing his restaurant sales by 20x in only two days. All because of a Facebook post.
Why Social Media Works So Well for Restaurants (If Done Correctly)
In today’s digital world, social media is probably the easiest and best form of discovering a restaurant. Customers “found” Whitbie’s Fish and Chips through a simple Facebook post that took less than 15 minutes to set up using little to no money to promote it. People shared the post, engaged with it, and started flocking to the restaurant.
There are 1.86 billion monthly active users on Facebook
1.74 billion people access Facebook with their mobile device
That means targeting the right audience with a well-crafted Facebook post or ad can trigger a “Whitbie’s” response, as in, “This restaurant sounds great and it’s close by — let’s go!”
Here’s the exciting part…
Restaurants can create a social media marketing plan that precisely targets customers by interest(s), location, age, gender, income, and much more…
For example, the Ocho Mexican Grill in L.A. ran a Facebook ad campaignthat targeted local customers that fit their target audience demographic. Here’s how it went:
- The restaurant reached 21,233 people within a 3-mile radius
- They invested $2.01 per thousand impressions (CPM)
- Local customers each saw the ad a total of 2.35 times throughout the campaign
So, for the customers looking to have lunch close to work, Ocho Mexican Grill was on their mind and in the perfect location.
However, Geoffrey’s Malibu hired us to run a similar Facebook Ad campaign and the results were 3x more effective…
- The restaurant reached 60,152 people within a 25-mile radius
- They invested a maximum of $.01 per video view
- OpenTable reservations were integrated into the ad, resulting in 300+ reservations within the first 5 days through the ad alone
We used our unique marketing and restaurant industry expertise to maximize every dollar spent and focus on real results: actually getting people into the restaurant. We also put together a content-focused marketing plan ahead of time to ensure our client was properly set up for success before putting out the ad.
Remember that using Facebook and Instagram to get “lines out the door” requires developing a strong social media strategy. Of course, there are also key social media “tricks” restaurants can implement in their strategies that put them ahead of the competition:
Customers Will Remember a Story
Every restaurant has a story to tell. For John McMillan, it was about leaving Scotland and sharing his treasured cuisine with his new community.
Customers want to hear these stories. They’ll love how a restaurant creates dishes, say, from their rooftop garden. And they’ll remember how a local brewery partnered with a restaurant to develop an exclusive brew.
The storytelling opportunities are endless. And they’re a powerful tool for connecting with customers — before they ever get to the restaurant and long after they leave.
Think about it:
Eating is a sensory experience. And, as they say, customers “eat with their eyes” first. So, it’s important to ignite that visual sense. And what better way to do that than with powerful images and video content?
Great Photos Create Desire
Customers want to see what restaurants make. And they love quality food images.
So, when a restaurant presents images of its artfully plated food to customers on Facebook and Instagram, they’re inspiring people, bringing them up close to the food, and to the table.
Professional Video Feeds Curiosity
People are naturally curious — which is why customers love to get a glimpse “behind the scenes.” And if the head chef and/or owner of the restaurant is showing them around — even better.
Video content creates real-time interest. That might include a video of the chef preparing a new dish on the menu. Or maybe a short how-to video for making a popular drink from the bar. And, of course, a video tour of the restaurant — with the head chef — would certainly be a big win!
The thing is, if a customer can see the restaurant in action, they feel part of the food experience — before they even walk in the door.
Bringing Everything Together
With the right approach, social media marketing offers restaurants the opportunity to get more foot traffic, create customer loyalty and, of course, increase revenue.
And when that strategy includes powerful, visual content, customers respond with their feet.
Product (food/service/ambiance) + content (story) + visuals (photo/video) + distribution (social media/advertising) all need to work together holistically in order to trigger an action that will turn a potential customer into a loyal customer.
The end result?
Restaurant owners enjoy a packed restaurant with happy customers and lines out the door — every night.
That’s the magic formula that helped John skyrocket his restaurant and the magic formula that many successful world-class restaurants use in their marketing every single day.
So if you’re a restaurant owner or manager looking to drastically increase your restaurant’s sales in a short period of time, schedule a free call with us today and we’ll audit your restaurant’s marketing efforts and give you free advice to help take your business to the next level. Our goal is to at least double or even triple our client’s foot traffic within the next five to six months of working with us.
You can also learn more about us by visiting our website.