social media

Marketing for the size of your restaurant

By Jordan Knox

Choosing the correct marketing vehicle for a restaurant can be a daunting task. With new social media platforms popping up regularly and conventional marketing becoming more specific, it is important to know how to effectively use both. Social media is most effective when the content is consistent, so focusing on one or two platforms will have a greater impact than trying to have unique material for each social media stream. Conventional marketing, on the other hand, is completely opposite and depends on the target customer being exposed to the ad in as many forms as possible. In the same way that a national media campaign would not be appropriate for an 80-seat standalone restaurant in North Bay, Ontario, the same can be said for some social media posts from a national multi-unit chain.

Social media marketing

Social media has been a great equalizer for smaller restaurants, as sites like Twitter often favor establishments that can have direct relationships with their customers. Creating a conversation around dining with your followers can lead to great indirect marketing and a way to spread the news about upcoming events.

The challenge with Twitter for larger multi-unit restaurants is that the conversation is hard to manage from one central point on behalf of a collective group. This can also be a factor when responding to criticism on social media. A platform like Instagram, on the other hand, drives social media marketing for larger restaurants in a different way. It is less about the conversation and more about the images created by guests. This plays to the strength of a business that spans across different locations and can generate a large amount of content in a relatively short amount of time.

Conventional marketing

Conventional marketing traditionally favours larger restaurants, as their larger budgets often allow for increased exposure, creating an increased amount of return. This has not changed a lot, but some of the larger expense marketing like television and radio have seen a transition. With the increasing number of media options like Netflix on TV or Sirius on radio, the population is becoming more segmented in where they get their entertainment and information from. In some ways, this allows the restaurant to target a more specific demographic, and may allow smaller competitors to use their budgets more effectively in local market television or radio ads. With large budget advertising, the focus will always be to achieve the most exposure which is typical of large sporting events, music, or arts-based performances; however, the emergence of travel, home and garden, and culinary-based programming can have a significant impact if it aligns with the restaurant’s target customer.

No matter how expansive social media gets and how far of a reach conventional marketing can have, the best marketing will always be word of mouth, and the best way to impact this marketing tool is by providing great service and putting a great product forward.

About the author:

Jordan Knox works at Northland Properties and is a General Manager in training at Moxie’s in Vancouver, B.C.  With over 18 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Jordan has worked throughout North America and the Caribbean with industry-leading companies. He received his diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from SAIT Polytechnic in 2000 and is a lifelong student of the food and beverage industry, always looking for what new trends are emerging.