The constantly changing social media landscape is having long-lasting impacts within the restaurant scene. While serving quality food has always been critical to a restaurant’s success, it is also equally important to understand what impact social platforms like Instagram are having on your restaurant.
You can control the quality of your food and service, but you need a digital action plan to help shape the online conversation about your brand. Whether you like it or not, people are taking photos of your food and having conversations about their experiences in your restaurant and they’re being shared with hundreds of people with the click of a button.
Most restaurants have embraced technology, from the way they accept reservations through to how customers pay their bills. So why does it seem to be taking restaurants so long to embrace social media and understand its importance to their operations and branding?
With the advent of cell phones, every customer has access to a high-quality camera which they use to capture their life. These experiences are then shared through their social media profiles. Restaurant experiences are one of the most popular types of photo sharing in social media. There are over 368,000 photos tagged with #torontofood and 215,000 photos tagged with #tastetoronto – and it’s growing every day. People are continually becoming more obsessed with photographing what they eat.
Millennials are spending more on dining than any previous generation, according to Restaurant Marketing Labs, who say millennials spend $174 a month on restaurants and they’re increasingly influenced by Instagram as where to spend that money.
Here are three ways restaurants are adapting to photo obsessed diners:
1. Decor and Design
You just have to look at Planta, the new plant based cuisine concept restaurant on Bay Street in Toronto, and see the photos that are tagged at their location.
They have achieved phenomenal success with their modern retro interior design, and it is having a huge impact on their followers. The proof is in the pudding when one sees the pops of color, flood of light, and materials used when dining at the restaurant.
2. Quality Photographs of Menu Items
It’s no longer acceptable for reputable restaurants to share pixelated, poorly lit photos of their dishes anymore. Look at restaurants such as Figo, whose Instagram feed capitalizes on their stunning venue and gorgeous dishes. Capturing high quality and engaging social media content has never been more important to engaging regular and potential diners.
3. Word of Mouth Effect
Similar to the traditional word of mouth effect, a growing list of influential ‘foodies’ can make or break a restaurant. Chefs and owners worldwide are appalled by a bad review on Yelp or Tripadvisor, but sometimes a bad photo or experience shared on social media can have a bigger long-term impact. Not only is a picture taken within your restaurant free advertising, but it can also influence a huge circle of followers to visit, or avoid, your restaurant.
Just like building a menu, your restaurant’s digital presence requires time and effort to ensure that your brand is represented responsibly online. This requires a comprehensive digital strategy that will help shape the conversation, image and reputation of your brand among your customers.
We recently supported East Tea Can Middle Eastern Canteen with a 3-month Social Media strategy to support their brand development for their opening. See the results HERE.
Check out our Social Media Management Program to learn about how we can help.