How Restaurants Can Navigate the Social Media Mine Field



Social media can be a blessing or a hindrance to many smaller and medium-sized restaurant owners.

There’s always the concern that a bad review could limit your business’s patrons. But, what is far more worrisome – and hard for restaurants to overcome, is a lack of presence online. If your business isn’t using social media, you’re losing out on customers.

Having a website and a blog isn’t enough. Using online review sites are important, but that’s far from the only or best option out there.

How Can Social Media Enhance Your Restaurant?

Social media is an excellent tool that allows individuals to connect directly with brands like your own.

As a restaurant, you know that word of mouth is by far the best marketing tool for your customers. People love to talk about and share information about the food they eat. But, they are no longer only telling their neighbours and family members. They are using social media to share those views.

So, how can this help your business?

In short, it helps to build your brand. You’ll see more customers frequent your restaurant. You’ll learn what people like and dislike about your product. And, you’ll find out what you can do to increase their visits, average checks, and overall satisfaction. It all comes from providing a platform to share those opinions.

Navigating the Risks

There are risks to using social media, however, here’s what’s most important to know. People are going to talk about your business online no matter if you have a Facebook page or not. In other words, it’s up to you to create the platform – one which you can control to some level – to launch your social media success. Here are some tips on how to make it work well.

  • Establish social media pages on the largest of sites. For the restaurant industry, this includes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Use vibrant photos of your food and staff. Encourage people to share their thoughts and opinions about each dish.
  • Respond to customer questions and information as soon as you can. The sooner you do so, the more likely it is that your customers will walk away with a positive experience. For example, if your customers are upset about a dish, provide instant support and help. This transfers that negative experience into a positive one – and they will talk about it.
  • Monitor your social media presence on an ongoing basis. That is, know what reviews of your company are out there and take action to improve them.
  • Incorporate social media into your marketing and promotions. Depending on the software and apps you use, you may be able to offer instant promotions, online reservations, and capture emails to market to your customer base more thoroughly.

Social media isn’t something to fear as a restaurant owner. It is something you need to embrace. With the right foundation, you can turn it into a marketing tool that draws in customers from a larger area and gives them a reason – and a desire – to come back many times.

Now it’s your turn. What experience have you had with social media? Share with us below.

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