• Branding, Copywriting

    How to Use Content Strategy for Restaurants

    Content strategy for restaurants is a highly underutilized marketing strategy. While restaurants DO have some sort of presence online, it's time to do more. -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

    As a restaurant, there are different streams of revenue generating activities:

    • Diners
    • Carry-out options
    • Catering
    • Private events

    The main goal, however, is to bring MORE people to your restaurant, more regulars, and have a few catering and private events booked throughout the year. Right?

    Many restaurants rely on platforms such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. where patrons can find reviews, photos, and a menu uploaded online. This is great, but this is where I think restaurants lose the opportunity to connect with their audience on a much more human level.

    Review websites (ie: Trip Advisor) are a great way to get your restaurant seen in front of LOTS of people in a short amount of time. You’ve got everything up on there: photos, testimonials, menus, and general information. What you’re missing, however, is YOUR content, YOUR branding, and YOUR messaging. You’re letting these review websites represent you, without getting in front of your audience directly.

    The best way to talk to your audience and invite them in to try your new signature menu item is to talk to them personally. That starts by using a content strategy for your restaurant!

    Breaking it down by dish

    To create a personal interaction with your audience and talk to them directly – let’s break it down by “dish”. I’ve broken down in bite-sized pieces (hah, see what I did there?), the easiest way to set up a content strategy around your restaurant. The main focus? Your food, of course!

    Main course

    There are three levels to content strategy that all revolve the “main course”, or what I refer to as the main goal of the content. I’ll break it down like this:

    MAIN COURSE –> Main Goal

    PROCESS –> Strategy

    INGREDIENTS –> Content

    DESSERT –> Your Brand

    To start with the main course, it’s important to develop a MAIN GOAL for the content that you want to produce. These goals vary for different types of restaurants, bars, etc. – but ONE main goal must be developed before digging into the process and ingredients.

    After you’ve decided on a “main course”, the next step is developing the process (also called strategy) to reach the goal.

    For example, for this post, let’s focus on bringing in more private events to a restaurant.

    Best Ways to Use Content Strategy for Restaurants

    Process

    Now that we know what to focus on, it’s time to understand the process of “how to make it happen”. This is also what I call the “strategy phase”, where we sit down and develop a clear strategy to reach the main goal, through content marketing!

    Like all delicious main courses, there is a clear process (or recipe) that one should follow to make sure the main course is the same each time it is produced. The strategy for content marketing, however, varies a bit.

    First, to create the strategy we need to figure out exactly what platforms are already being used for marketing purposes. This can be social media platforms, websites, directories, paid ads, or review websites. These platforms are analyzed to review what’s working and what isn’t. Here’s my step-by-step recipe to start with the strategy:

    • Audit ALL platforms used for marketing
    • Take note of what IS working and which platform is getting the most engagement
    • Dump the platforms that are more “work” and don’t bring in results
    • Focus on the platforms where your potential diners could be hanging out on
    • Decide what type of content the restaurant will focus on (images, text, videos, a mix, etc.)

    Now, it’s time to grab the ingredients and start cooking.

    Ingredients

    The ingredients that make up a content strategy is… CONTENT! (duh).

    And restaurants have an entire treasure trove of content that they can use to highlight their menu, their staff, their restaurant culture, etc.

    Since we’re focusing on one goal in this post, which is to increase private events in the restaurant, let’s think about the clients this could appeal to.

    Depending on the establishment, private events can range from larger functions to small, intimate get-togethers. Using the restaurant (or venue) as a space to create content and share about the brand, all while redirecting traffic to private events is key for the “ingredients” we use to create the content strategy.

    Some content ideas could be:

    • Menus for large or small events
    • Staff and service throughout the event
    • Highlighting the “behind-the-scenes” of preparing for an event
    • What it would LOOK like to have an event there
    • Call-to-actions that point people to contact to set up an event

    Using all this content to focus and highlight on one “main course” (read: main goal) will be the key driving factor that guides your audience to learn more about private events in your restaurant.

    The “icing on the cake” type content strategy for restaurants

    Content strategy for restaurants wouldn’t make the same type of impact if your restaurant doesn’t have a clear message or brand. The “icing on the cake”, or what I’ll call the “dessert” for any content strategy is what wraps this all together – your brand.

    What do I mean by the restaurant’s brand?

    • Atmosphere and vibes it shares when diners walk in.
    • What type of service it provides with staff members.
    • Overall messaging and tone.
    • The decor and ambiance.

    All of that is part of brand messaging that brings the content together to share one principal message.

    Outdoor restaurant seating in front of a pink building

    Let’s take it back to our example for the post: bringing in more private event bookings in a restaurant.

    The dessert would be to share the atmosphere and vibes the restaurant has with diners, the service the staff members bring, the message and tone, and the decor and ambiance –> ALL THROUGH THE CONTENT and all wrapping around the idea for private events!

    READ: How Branded Events Create Brand Loyalty

    So, to review:

    MAIN COURSE –> Main Goal

    PROCESS –> Strategy

    INGREDIENTS –> Content

    DESSERT –> Your Brand

    Break them down from there to create an easy to follow content strategy that will focus on ONE main goal.

    And *PRO TIP: Stop relying so heavily on review websites to bring in your diners and share about your restaurant – it takes more than that these days!

    Does your restaurant use content strategy to upsell larger events or catering services? Drop a comment below on what you do to increase these reservations!

    *Looking to increase catering or event reservations and unsure how? Let’s set up a time to talk! Schedule a Strategy Session with me to see how we can brainstorm content strategy ideas together!


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    Best Ways to Use Content Strategy for Restaurants