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What’s New on the Menu? Social Media and Restaurants

Social Media and Restaurants

Every industry niche has its own challenges and the multitude of dining establishments out there vying for market share are no different, especially when it comes to social media. We aim our eagle eye at the restaurant industry, from the corner diner to national franchises, and serve up our take on 10 best practices for our food service friends.

  1. Dish.There’s nothing like a mouthwatering photo of today’s special, an update about that fresh-from-the-market herb delivery or a snapshot of biscuits while they’re baking to inspire your customer’s next food outing. Show them the dish, then dish about it—tell them what makes it so special. Maybe your line cook Joe based it on his grandmother’s recipe. Sharing those little tidbits builds connections with you and your audience.
  2. Show Your Social Savvy. Whether you have a mobile app, like Jimmy Johns, a check-in on Foursquare like Denny’s or an active Facebook page like Red Lobster, be sure to shout it from the rooftops by adding your social icons on all your advertising and take-out menus.
  3. Respond. Reply. Recognize. Along with all those “We love your chicken special” comments, you are sure to get your share of “I had horrible service the other night” comments too. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Take the time to respond to any negative comments and reviews and make them right. Customer pay attention to those comments and they really take notice when the restaurant goes out of its way to fix any problems and make the customer happy. You response turn negatives into positives.
  4. Keep it Genuine.
    Resist the temptation to be over promotional on Facebook. Try to keep your tone as though you are talking to a friend, not a customer.It’s okay to tout new additions to the menu or even a new promotion, but be careful not to fall on the other side of the promotional fence, where customers just feel like you’re screaming “Come eat here now!” at them.
  5. Share Your Press. Receive a good review recently? Share it on your Facebook page, within Twitter tweets and be sure to add a humble “thank you.”
  6. Keep it Seamless. From the dining experience to your Facebook posts to your website, your customers should feel like they’re engaged with the same entity. Don’t farm your website out to some agency, but then have your part-time hostess manage your Facebook page. Keep the experience consistent across all touchpoints.Chipotle Mobile App
  7. Get Moving. Are your customers on the move with their smart phones and busy schedules? Then a mobile app may be the best new addition you can make to your menu. For example, Chipotle’s mobile app provides customers on-the-go ordering.


    Whether you create a mobile version of your website or a custom application, the more you make it easier for customers to choose you, the better.

  8. Listen up. One of the beauties of social media is that it works both ways—for you to talk and to listen. So take advantage of these newfound tools and listen to what people are saying about you. If you’re on Twitter, search keywords that relate to your restaurant. This kind of insight can be eye-opening and valuable.
  9. Yelp About It. Yelp is a social site where users can leave reviews about your business. There is probably already a Yelp page for your company, but you can claim your page and then have access to responFive Guys on Yelpd to your reviews. Claiming your page will also prove valuable in your local search marketing efforts.


    10. Find Your Voice. No matter which social media tools you employ, make sure that they all come back to your single branding voice. Maybe it’s the voice of the owner and how he speaks to everyone who comes in the door, or it’s a franchiser’s need to stay more in line with a corporate branding strategy. Whatever it is, social media is the place to enunciate plain and clear.

Are you a restaurant looking for ways to engage, keep and grow your customers through social media? Let the social media experts at Customer Insight Group help you navigate the landscape and build a strategic plan the makes sense for you.

jill Manser