Should I Write a Blog for my Restaurant?
It’s safe to say that there are very few restaurant owners or managers who entered the business because of their writing skills. This means that writing a blog is not going to be a natural fit for most restaurants. There is already not enough time in the day of most managers without having to sit down and put out a blog post. After all, most restaurants already have a website and pages on Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and other social media sites. Why spend the time to write a blog about the restaurant?
In some cases, a blog might make a very minor impact. But in the vast majority of cases, a well-composed restaurant blog that highlights the value of the business to current and potential customers is a great idea. One of the major challenges of this business has always been finding ways to get outside the four walls of the business. The answer to this challenge requires knowing how customers digest new information, and more people than ever are doing so through personal blogs.
The other reason that a restaurant blog makes sense is the many visual and textual opportunities it can provide. Customers want their info in snippets of text and bright, vibrant photography, both of which are perfect formats for selling a restaurant.
Just a few tips are all you might need to get started building a great restaurant blog.
Get the News
Most customers think of most restaurant sites as static, unchanging sources of information like menus, the restaurant’s history and management profiles. They also look to sites like Yelp for customer reviews and feedback. A restaurant blog represents a chance to manage customer perception, primarily through reports of news, events, menu changes, and special offers.
Sure, these should already be announced through emails, flyers, Facebook, and in-store ads (table tents, posterboard, etc.). But a well-designed blog can supplement these messages in an attractive, personal and eye-catching format.
News, events and menu changes build excitement and harness word-of-mouth. These things give customers something valuable and constructive to talk about. Most restaurants should continually be evolving their menu and featuring special events. The blog should be considered as a showcase for the restaurant to go hand in hand with these changes.
Answer Customer Questions
A restaurant blog gives management a chance to answer common questions and respond to issues that arise in the building. Examples include:
- How the restaurant handles allergies
- Updates on holiday reservations
- Special menu offerings
- Seasonal changes in hours of operations
In each case, misinformation can be costly. Directly providing responses will often answer questions that would otherwise go unanswered. This also provides management with the means for making suggestions that will benefit the store.
Interact with Customers
Positive customer interaction is the hallmark of a successful restaurant. Potential customers who witness first-hand relationship-building between management and guests are likely to be attracted to the business. It is a good idea to take advantage of any chance to build positive interactions with guests.
Chances to interact with guests include:
- Photos of events
- Comments from customers
- Posts from customers describing great experiences
These all demonstrate a healthy level of rapport and help illustrate how much value exists in dining at your restaurant.
An unfortunate fact of owning a business in the age of Web 2.0 is the need to manage an online reputation. Too many small businesses lack the resources or inclination to do so. A restaurant blog that is optimized for SEO can push negative feedback further down a search engine listing.
A blog also gives management a great platform for addressing crises or criticisms in a direct manner. Negative word-of-mouth can strike the best restaurants at the worst time, especially in a smaller town with few restaurants. This makes the restaurant blog a great opportunity for getting out in front of issues.