This is a guest post by Linda Dessau of Content Mastery Guide.
Food is a big part of life and an easy topic to work into conversations, yet many restaurants aren’t using a blog to have ongoing conversations with their customers. Now you might be thinking:
“But we post all the time on Facebook!”
Being social on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter is important and valuable, but that’s the equivalent of handing out samples at a big food fair. Right after they consume your sample (your message on social media), readers are likely to encounter another interesting delicacy and may soon forget all about you.
Compare that with the impact you can have when someone actually walks through your doors. Even though the food may be the same as the samples they ate at the fair, you have way more control over their dining experience. From the décor and lighting, to the greeting they receive from your hosts at the door, to the colours on the menu, it is all 100% your brand.
Your website is an extension of that brand, so as part of your conversations on social media, it’s crucial that you’re inviting people back to your place on the web – your own website, where you control the user’s experience.
For a restaurant a blog is both welcoming and informative for guest. It can extend the restaurant’s experience online.
A regularly updated blog creates fresh new content and a reason for customers and prospective customers to visit your website. Once there, they can easily find other important information like your address, menus, and specials, and hopefully take the action to plan a visit or call and make a reservation.
Here are five specific reasons I wish more restaurants were blogging, along with some examples of restaurants who are delivering some delicious posts:
- Your customers are hungry for new discoveries – At Chili’s, they interviewed the creator of a new recipe on their menu, who gave some tempting insights into what went into the dish. Megalos Restaurant pledged to help customers stay healthy during the holiday season by providing mouth-watering healthy recipes like this one for Winter Squash Risott. And one of several Disney food blogs offers special restaurant tips just for parents visiting with kids. What are your customers hungry for?
- Your vendors have stories to tell – On the Farmstead blog, they offer a backstage tour of where their delicious food comes from, in this profile of cheesemaker Consider Bardwell. Which of your vendors would you be proudest to introduce to your customers?
- You have values to share – The PizzaExpress chain that opened their first restaurant in the UK in 1965. Their business is clearly rooted in their values, and in this post they express their value of healthy eating by encouraging their customers to join a “meat-free Monday” campaign. What could you write about in your blog to inform and remind your customers about the values that are important at your restaurant?
- Your customers have lives in between their meals – At the Chilis’ blog, they put a lot of thought into compiling fun facts and useful resources for their customers, like this blog post about TV shows that ended in 2013, or this handy checklist for travel essentials. They even offer a Chili’s-themed playlist of tunes.
- You have amazing staff – Staff can tell their own stories by contributing a blog post or two (and team blogs can be easier to manage), or you can write about them and what makes them so special. You can also highlight a group of staff for the difference they are making in their local communities, like this Chilis story about Christmas carolers raising funds for a school for children with developmental disabilities.
If you have a blog, try infusing it with more variety by adapting some of these examples. If you haven’t yet added a blog to your restaurant’s website, perhaps it’s time to take that step!
Linda Dessau is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of Content Mastery Guide. Her hands-free blogging services help small businesses attract their ideal customers with captivating content.