A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Influencer Outreach

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The process of identifying a social influencer that aligns with your brand and subsequently securing a partnership can seem daunting at first. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to ensure you’re not committing a major faux pas in the process. 

Identify Your Platform

A critical first step to kicking off your social influencer outreach is identifying the most appropriate platform for your brand. You know your target consumer better than anyone, what platform do they most actively engage on? Whether it’s twitter, instagram, facebook or Pinterest, nail down your platform first.

Conduct Initial Research

One thing you’ll notice almost immediately is that many successful influencers have found success in a specific niche. While you’re conducting your initial research, you’ll want to focus on those with a strong following in your local market who also have niche in food culture or general lifestyle with a focus on restaurants.  

Initiate Outreach

Be thoughtful in reaching out to influencers that you believe to be a good fit. Rather than sending out a slew of blanket inquiries, take some time to craft a custom message to each influencer. Why do you think your restaurant would be a good fit for their brand? What exactly do you have to offer them and their followers? Focus on what differentiates you from your competitors. Be sure to communicate any initiatives you’re prioritizing. Are you making a concerted effort towards increased sustainability? Partnering with an influencer in the culinary space who is also committed to sustainability would be ideal.

Formalized Engagement

Every influencer has different brand guidelines but most seek out partnerships that match their brand, some are very specifically defined. When formalizing your partnership, be transparent about your expectations and be sure to communicate your own brand guidelines as well. The sweet spot is partnering with an influencer whose brands seamlessly mirror one another for the most natural fit. 
 

3 Free Ways to Generate More Buzz Among Social Media Followers

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The social media accounts you manage for your restaurant are a key component to building your online reputation. As you consider effective ways to generate more buzz among your social media followers, keep a few basic best practices in mind. 

Increase Posting Frequency

One of the most effective methods to improving social media engagement is to boost your activity, consistently. Be strategic about your social media efforts. For the first two weeks, consider posting at different times of day to gauge what time of day will generate the most engagement with your follower base.  Pay close attention to what your followers are saying as their insights can help provide valuable insights for your brand.   

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

As you create and share content with your followers, have a clear call-to-action in your posts. As you develop a relationship and build trust with your followers, they will be more inclined to share your posts with their friends, improving visibility for your restaurant. An effective strategy to incentivizing participation is to hold a photo contest, launch a giveaway or establish a contest. Ask your followers specific questions, such as what their favorite menu item is, to increase follower engagement. This is a great opportunity to get to know those that love your brand most, seize it!

Tailor Your Content

Every social media platform features its own features and purposes. With some overlap, the followers you have on twitter are different from those that may be following you on Instagram or Facebook. While you should absolutely repurpose the content you’ve worked hard to create, each content piece should be tailored and refined for that specific platform and demographic. Regardless of what medium you are posting on for your brand, always try to drive value for your followers and share relevant, compelling information whenever possible. 
 

Best Practices for Creating Top-Notch Video Content

Video content reigns supreme when it comes to effective content marketing. Now more than ever, companies are leveraging video content  to get their brands noticed. Simply put, it has been shown to boost follower engagement and generate more buzz than simple text and images. Before rolling up your sleeves and diving right into video creation, we’ve identified a few video best practices to keep top of mind. 

Have a Plan

While it’s valuable to keep the content you create organic and authentic, it’s still important to have a plan. Going into production, know the key points you’d like to communicate. Having a plan will go a long way in helping you stay concise and compelling. The content you land on should be relevant to what viewers want to see. 

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Focus on Differentiation

A video is your opportunity to communicate why someone should visit your restaurant! Is it your beautiful, dog-friendly patio? A unique and flavor-packed menu? Consider what differentiates you from competitors and be sure to communicate any upcoming events or promotions you have in the works. 

Promote, Promote, Promote!

Creating a video can be a deeply involved process. Don’t let all of your effort go to waste. Take time to create a thorough promotional strategy to share your video and get it in front of potential customers. Encourage your followers to share your video to reach new followers. 

Keep it Simple

Especially when creating your first video, keep  it as simple, short and concise. Rather than investing in tons of visual elements and complicating the process with different shooting locations, why not just shoot from one spot in your restaurant? You’d be surprised by the big impact proper lighting and a simple space will have. 

As you prepare for filming your first video, be sure to keep the best practices we’ve outlined above and be sure to have fun throughout the exciting process. 
 

Sustainability at the Top of 2018 Culinary Trends

Does sustainability make a difference for restaurant patrons? Absolutely, as many consumers look far beyond the menu offerings and service. The efforts to reduce waste, recycle and donate food are finally being recognized by a sophisticated generation of restaurant patrons.

According to the “What’s Hot” survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, environmental sustainability is ranked among the top 10 culinary trends in 2018. More than 55% of consumers consider waste reduction efforts as important when choosing a restaurant.

Local Sourcing

Restaurants who obtain food locally are not only supporting their community but also attracting consumer interest. Over ¾ of family dining, fine dining, casual dining and fast casual restaurants have experienced increased demand for locally sourced meal items.

Also among the hottest trends surveyed across 700 chefs in the American Culinary Foundation,  hyper-local sourcing is the number 1 culinary concept. This new age restaurant trend incorporates house specialty-made menu items, onsite brewing and even onsite gardens.

Sustainability Marketing

How do restaurant operators approach marketing their sustainability efforts? While there are dozens of ways to display sustainability efforts, the most effective way is to print it where every patron will see it -- on the menu. It is also vital to house sustainability information on the restaurant website and social media profiles.

If you are looking for other ways to spread the word, have your employees talk to patrons to develop rapport and share sustainable practices. Donating leftovers, conserving utilities and using packaging safe for the environment are just a few initial steps to take that can make a huge difference in your following.

As you explore a sustainable journey, the National Restaurant Association has networking opportunities and learning programs to guide restaurant owners in reducing their environmental footprint.

Download the State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 report to learn more about how culinary trends are impacting  food service operations.

Is Your Restaurant 'Insta-Worthy'?: 5 TIPS from DFW's hottest Insta-foodies

If you’re an Instagrammer, you already know what this term means.  But If you’re a restaurateur, you best get familiar with what it takes to be "Insta-Worthy".  With the food boom in DFW, you need not just participate in the social game….you’ve got to compete.

But be glad!  You've got a business that deals in more than just one of the five human senses, and social media is all about sharing that experience.  

So what does it take for a restaurant to offer an experience that makes people pull out their phone, snap a picture and brag to the world about it? We asked some of DFW’s hottest "insta-foodies" what it takes to turn guests into brand-buzzing ambassadors. 


 
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@dfwfoodgirl says,  “The best Instagram food posts are those that feature excellent lighting, plating and should feel inspired. If the food doesn’t evoke excitement to feast I probably won’t post the picture.  As a foodie I want to display the food on my page in a way that will engage the senses of my audience. They should be albe to see the post and have an idea of the delicious taste and smell of the food before even reading the copy.” 
— @dfwfoodgirl

@just.dallas.things says, “I love a restaurant that values good food presentation. If the food is beautiful to look at, I’m definitely going to photograph it. The aesthetics of the restaurant are also important - does it have jaw-dropping decor? Light-up signs? Painted walls or murals? I love anything that makes me go ‘wow’. Last but not least...natural light = stunning photos! 
— @just.dallas.things
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@kawaiidfw says, “In a well-composed food photo, the background is just as important as the focal point. Every surface in a restaurant is a potential backdrop - both inside and out. Think color, texture, and print. Whether it’s a rustic, unfinished wood table top or a photo friendly wall with the perfect eye-popping pattern, the right background can transform a simple food photo and make it instantly share-worthy.”
— @kawaiidfw

Most importantly, lighting is key. I want to be able to see the meal without having to filter it. A filter can take away from the true colors in the food and make the photo less authentic. Plate presentation is important too. I don’t tell a lot of restaurants that I’m a foodie because I want my viewers to see how their food is truly presented. Finally, a fun atmosphere, sign, or view can help a shot go a long way!
— @dailydallaseats
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People eat with the eyes first so presentation of the dish is what I look for. I also eat out so much that restaurants blur together so memorable pieces in decor is important. It’s always fun to have a conversation piece or artwork as a statement...
— @still_hungry_dallas

 

214EATS stands is proud of Dallas, TX, and is excited to be a part of such an enormous food movement. We appreciate all of our city's Instabloggers and know how hard it is to maintain an audience with delicious pictures. Keep up the good work! 

5 Creative Content Ideas for Promoting Your Restaurant

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It’s not uncommon to hit what you might consider a dry spell in terms of content production. Fortunately, a restaurant has almost limitless opportunity for fun, valuable and engaging content ideas!

Guest Photos

Take advantage of owning a restaurant during the digital age when people of all ages are sharing their experiences online. If one of your foodie friends snaps a great shot of  their meal, be sure to share it. Don’t place all the pressure on yourself to generate content when there are so many opportunities to leverage the creativity of your guests.

Menu Items

Do you have new menu offerings? Let your followers know! Take an opportunity to highlight your most popular offerings.  

Events

If you have any events on the horizon, be sure to promote them several times. Start a few weeks in advance with a save-the-date posting and continue to tease the event. Don’t forget to share photos post-event to show what a great turnout you had. Considering partnering with a local charity to plan an event that gives back to your community.

Specials

Whether it’s happy hour or a holiday-related special you are offering at your restaurant, be sure to share information on your specials! Not that you need any reason to celebrate but holidays sure do present a great opportunity to do so. Identify a holiday that your restaurant aligns with a plan a special cocktail or discount to celebrate it. A Halloween contest, for example, is a fun and creative way to riff off of a well-loved holiday while drive traffic to your restaurant.

Job Opportunities

Service is a huge component to a cultivating an incredible dining experience for your guests. Yet finding top-notch talent that fits your company culture is no simple feat. Why not promote the opportunity among those that already love your restaurant? Share job opportunities with your followers and you may just get connected to the next perfect fit.

3 Benefits of Targeted Social Influencer Outreach

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Partnering with an influencer has proven to be an effective marketing strategy to boost visibility for brands across industries, the restaurant industry included. Doing so could present a stellar opportunity for restaurants to engage with new prospective guests while aligning themselves with an influencer with a strong following in the local market.

Follower Engagement

In many ways, influencer outreach can be considered the modern day form of the good ol’ word-of-mouth referral. Social influencers invest considerable effort in engaging with their followers to create a long-lasting relationship built on trust. Many followers rely on influencers to qualify and suggest new products, services and restaurants. For the restaurant, this follower engagement can represent a boost in media referrals and an exciting opportunity to get in front of new guests. 

A Fresh Perspective

Succeeding as an influencer requires a tremendous amount of creativity. That creativity is especially valuable in looking at your restaurant through a new lens. An influencer can help bring a fresh and discerning eye to your space, menu and services. They may see a new way to promote a particular menu item or space in your restaurant that you hadn’t considered before.

Content Creation

More often than not, partnering with an influencer will warrant some type of content creation from the influencer. Whether it’s a post on Instagram or a pin on Pinterest, the result is a fresh piece of content carefully curated by a professional. Depending on the formal agreement you have, your restaurant can then share the original post and benefit from the top-notch content created by your partner. Influencers may also include back links to your website or social media page, driving traffic. It’s a win-win!

While partnering with a social influencer shouldn’t be your sole marketing strategy, it can serve as an effective complement to your overall marketing efforts.

8 Marketing Metrics for Website Performance

When analyzing performance at the end of the month, online marketers have a wide variety of metrics that they look at for digital marketing. With so many different reports and statistics available how do you know where to start?

Here are top eight marketing metrics that are used to measure the performance of a website:

  1. Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is an efficient way to measure the effectiveness of your website and its content. It tells you how many people visit your site and leave instantly. A low bounce rate is good as it means relevant traffic, high average time and good conversion rate.

  2. Return visitors Rate – This metric gives you the insight into your loyal customers. They are either your customers or you can easily convert them. A high Return visitor’s rate indicates that you have good engagement with audiences and they like your website.

  3. Average Time – it gives a clue to what kind of content your target customer likes. According to digital marketing experts, the more a visitor spends time on your website, the more he is likely to visit your business. 

  4. Average Page Views per visit – This metric shows how many pages of your website visitors go on average. It also indicates high-quality relevant traffic and popularity of your website.

  5. Cost per Lead – Success of a digital marketing campaign is measured by conversion of web traffic and the cost occurred to achieve the desired result. The main goal of the marketers is to get the maximum number of leads at the smallest cost. 

  6. Click Through Rate – It is the number of clicks on an advertisement divided by total impressions. CTR is measured in PPC ads and email marketing campaigns. Higher CTR leads to better quality score and lower advertising costs.

  7. Inbound Links – Also known as backlinks; incoming links are an important component of a website. It helps in driving traffic and improve the ranking of your website. Linking your site to high ranking and popular site is recommended.

  8. Referral Traffic – Referral traffic are visitors who come to your site through direct links from other websites. It is considered as a recommendation to the content of your website, so having more referral traffic is better.

Interested in learning more about how we can help with your marketing success? Contact us at 214 Eats!

5 Tips for Getting Your Business Photos Noticed

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Upload Quality Photos that Build Connections

When you are constantly uploading photos related to your business, it will help to create a better experience for visitors. Encourage customers to upload pictures and tag your social media profiles or use a specific hashtag that is unique to your brand.

The more active you are on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, the easier it will be to create new connections and drive web traffic. If you aren’t putting out eye-catching photos, it will be harder for potential clients to get a feel for your restaurant or bar.

Look at Your Highest Performing Content

You should look at the photos, videos and blog posts that have the most views and engagement on your website and social media platforms. Keeping up with trending topics and popular images will help you position your marketing for success in the future.

If a particular piece of content is not attracting any attention, it may be necessary to redirect your attention. Not only should you look at your own trending statistics but you can also take a look at your competition to see what is working for them. Your online presence should never be a copy of another business, although there is nothing wrong with wanting to get an edge up on the local competitors.


Capture the Entire Picture

When you only upload a few pictures of your business, consumers are left to wonder what else is inside. Many businesses make the mistake of only uploading exterior pictures or snapshots of menu items. Visitors often want to get a feel for what it’s like to be inside your restaurant, hence the importance of capturing as much as possible.

One best practice for taking photos is to stand in the back or corner of your business to get the widest view. Don’t just snap a picture on your phone and upload it, make sure the images reflect what distinguishes your place from others. Use different photo effects or editing tools to make the images look professional and highlight the style of the inside.

Need help establishing your brand presence online or managing social media profiles? Contact us at 214 Eats to learn more!

3 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2018

One of the most effective ways for restaurants to reach new customers is through social media. Establishing your presence online involves much more than just creating a Facebook or Instagram page.

In order to captivate your audience’s attention, you need to be using your profile to engage your target market. Here are three social media trends in 2018 that can be used to grow your business.

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Follower Generated Content

The power of followers should never be underutilized. Consumers advocating for your offering will always hold more weight in the eyes of your target market.

The best form of proof is the word of other customers. Encourage restaurant patrons to tag your business in their post with a specific hashtag. The more diners who are sharing your meals and events on social media, the more effective your social media campaign will be.

Invite the Competition

Amp up your engagement by posting a competition for a fun prize such as a free dinner, a 10% off coupon or a special event reservation. The competition can be as simple as uploading a picture at your restaurant or using a designated hashtag.

Not only is the choice of the competition up to you, but you also get to choose the prize. Encourage followers to share the posts in order to maximize your reach. 

Build Your Email List

Another way to make the most of your social media strategy is to focus on collecting email addresses for your mailing list. Send special offers and event flyers to your customers on nights that are not normally busy to boost traffic.

Stay in contact with your social media followers both through engagement on your posts and email marketing campaigns. You will be converting first-time diners into loyal patrons!

Need help managing your online presence? Contact us at 214 Eats to learn how we can help manage your social media profiles and increase your following!

How to Boost Your Visibility with SEO

No matter how your website has performed historically on search engine, there is always room for improvement. Focusing on search engine optimization will help drive new traffic to your restaurant’s website by increasing your rankings.

Increasing your visibility means more patrons walking in the door and more sales.

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Define Your Approach

Before starting to use a mix of different channels, define what you want to accomplish with your SEO efforts. Once you know what your goals are, you can decide on which tools will help you succeed.

Restaurants and bars thrive from local popularity, which means the geographic area you should be targeting is close by. Your approach will be shaped by the crowd you which to reach whether it is hometown families or young millennial s.

Deliver Relevant Content

One of the most important parts of ranking is having a wealth of quality content that is applicable to your target market and customers. This will not only help to build your brand but it will create engagement which translates into a higher slot on search engine result pages (SERP).

Posting regular content that helps you stand out from the competition is only one piece of the puzzle. Give details that excite readers such as your latest recipes or why your steak is the best in Dallas!  

Go Mobile

According to a study conducted by Google, almost ⅔ of search traffic is from tablet or mobile devices. Many people use their phone to search for restaurants nearby, hence the importance of a fully responsive mobile website.

The responsiveness is just the start as you want to make sure there is appropriate rendering on your pages and an overall impressive user experience.

Need help with planning your SEO strategy? Interested in learning about how to optimize your website? Contact us at 214 Eats for more information! We are happy to help with all of your brand strategy needs.

3 Tips for Stellar Social Media Marketing

Owning a restaurant in Dallas is a challenge in itself and trying to tackle social media marketing is a completely separate beast. Whether you are completely lost in managing social media or your web presence is existent but not reaching its full potential, we at 214 Eats can help with your social marketing strategy.

Instead of adding hours of work on social media, there are a few things that restaurant owners can do to improve their business development strategy. Here are 3 tips on how to use social media for stellar marketing performance.

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Engagement is Essential

If you are posting, posting, posting constantly; your followers will probably not remember all of the content. Make your posts more memorable by creating fun conversations with social media users.

Asking for recommendations will encourage your followers to respond such as with a question like “What new entree would you want to see on our menu?”.

Highlight Your Amazing Staff

Bringing out the people behind the restaurant is a great way to connect with customers. Not only are you showing appreciation for your employees, but you are setting your business apart from the other boring places in town.

Sharing interesting facts about the employees or praising them for awards will humanize the social media profile by making followers feel closer to the business, the service and the people behind the kitchen.

Utilize the Power of Video

Pictures draw people in but videos give you an even better chance to portray your restaurant’s message to your followers. You don’t need a professional camera crew to show videos of your staff enjoying their jobs or a funny skit on the daily special.

The possibilities when it comes to video are virtually limitless, you can spread the word about an upcoming fundraiser, promote a sports viewing event and much more!

Ready for us to help you expand your social media reach? Contact us at 214 Eats to learn more!

Celebrate the Holidays with the Dallas Santa Crawl

Come celebrate the holiday season Santa-style with the Dallas Santa Crawl on December 16th from 8 to 11 pm, presented by Vodka Trot. This quarter-mile event will be full of fun and vodka as crawlers trot through the West End District.

The streets will be fully blocked off in reservation of the Santa Crawl, centered on Record, Corbin, Ross and Market streets.

Participants will be receiving a drink tasting wristband and commemorative glass at the crawl finish line. Take your wristband and glass to gain entry to the tasting festival and best of all, a FREE vodka drink and 4 vendor samples.

Dallas will be home to one of the largest Santa bar crawls in the nation as this event includes music, lip sync contests, costume awards and many more! Dancing, singing and alcoholic beverages, what more could you ask for in a holiday event?

Dress for the holiday spirit as the winner of the Santa costume contest will leave with an exclusive bottle of Glass Vodks.

Vodka Trot will have 4 different vodka brands and their best concoctions along with the bars and restaurants along the West End strip.

If you plan on attending, you can visit the Vodka Trot website to pre-register and save on your entry. The cost is $20 per person and $15 for the designated driver (with no alcoholic beverage comp ticket). If you wait until the event, it may be sold out and the tickets are $30 on site.

After the event is over at 11 pm, Tutta’s Pizza is hosting an after party event with more live music, delicious food and drink specials.

Saturday night will surely be an event to remember with the kickoff of the 1st Annual Dallas Santa Crawl. Take in the rich history of the West End and enjoy adult beverages and delicious food!

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3 Marketing Ideas to Attract and Retain Patrons

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The competition is fierce when you are running a bar or restaurant, and sustaining your customer base can be an uphill battle. Keeping up with social media, your website and online chatter is only part of the challenge, you also need to keep people walking in the door to meet revenues goals.

It can be a tough industry, but the bright news is that there are simple things you can do to improve your marketing plan and keep patrons coming back. Here are 3 marketing ideas to take your business to the next level.

Prioritize Customer Service

Many restaurants invest in marketing to attract new patrons, with little emphasis on retaining the patrons that have already visited. Customer service remains a fruitful opportunity to stand out from the competitors and build loyalty to your brand.

The nature of the business is that other local restaurants may undercut your pricing or come out with similar offerings. What keeps your company in a favorable position is the dedication to exceptional service, not only for aggrieved customers but for every single patron.

Spice it Up with Culture

Creating culture videos and inspirational stories to share on your website will help to personalize the interaction between your restaurant and the community. People naturally want to do business with places that they feel are making a positive impact, whether it is simply through providing delicious cuisine or actually lending a hand to those in need.

Explore the culture of your brand by connecting with your target market on a personal level, not just be sharing pictures of food. Utilizing cultural stories on social media will have a powerful influence for all generational groups, especially the millennials.

Choose Your Advertising Wisely

It is easy for businesses to get conned into spending money on an advertising strategy that has no clear objectives established. When you are putting money into advertising, make sure it is going to actually help you win new patrons and build brand loyalty.

Advertising is not a magical phenomenon, it will take work to build your presence online. Some restaurants underestimate the power of a strategic online advertising plan and throw away money to low-cost providers. Find someone you trust to handle all of your advertising needs, not a company just trying to make a quick buck.

Want to see how we can help you craft a winning social marketing plan? Contact us at 214 Eats!

Improving Local SEO - 3 Tips for Success

Don’t feel like you’re alone not knowing how to navigate search engine optimization, as many business owners have no idea where to start. Chances are that you get all kinds of solicitations promising the top slot of Google for a hefty price. Before investing money in SEO efforts, there are a few quick things you can do to optimize your web presence.

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Here are 3 tips to improve your local SEO strategy:

Complete Business Directory Listings

It may seem tedious but going through all of the business directory listings to claim your business name will signal search engines to refresh your position. The greater level of certainty that search engines have in your business contact information, the more likely they are to rank your listing higher.

A few of the important citations to claim include Bing Places, Superpages, Angie’s List and Trip Advisor. Take a few minutes to search other directories as you want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find your business when searching the web.

Conduct Keyword Research

You can target your advertising strategy by finding what queries people use to find a restaurant or bar in your region. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is an invaluable tool that you can use for keyword ideas and competition analysis.

A good place to start is by coming up with a list of queries that you think would be used to find a business in your area. By using keyword research, you can find out how frequently the terms are searched and how much competition exists.

Improve Your Homepage

After you’ve conducted keyword research, you will want to structure your homepage for the queries with the most opportunity. Search engines only see the raw HTML of your website, so it is important that the content is optimized for your target keywords.

It is best to limit your keywords to no more than 2 as it will help your homepage rank higher for those queries. Never overlook the power of keyword usage as it is what will connect consumer searches to your business.

Need help keeping your web content fresh and implementing search engine optimization strategies? Contact us at 214 Eats to help you with website management, online reputation strategy, social marketing and much more!

We Give Yelp a "1"

Many of our clients ask our opinion of Yelp prior to disclosing their review of Yelp, to which we have historically stood neutral...let's say a 3.  However, we are changing our 3 star review of Yelp to a 1.  And as we frequently read from Yelpers reviewing local restaurants, "if we could give negative stars we would".  

We've bit our tongue for years because some of our clients do see value in Yelp. Even those who aren't spending money on "featured listings" see actionable data (albeit from Yelp) and believe Yelp drives users to their business.  Nobody is debating that millions of people use Yelp to locate a restaurant in their area (usually an unfamiliar one).

However, the majority of our clients are fed up.  They are adamant Yelp is bad for their business, and that they have little-to-no control over what users see and post on Yelp.  With mounting public lawsuits from local businesses, Yelp has made themselves indefensible to these accusations.  

Yet it doesn't seem like Yelp could care any less. Their shoulder-shrugging attitude combined with their claims that "it's just a platform, and we don't control the content" has infuriated business owners.  According to Harvard Business Review, one un-responded negative review can cost a restaurant $7,000 annually.  

Yelp knows this, and they have built a business model around it.  They know reviews can make or break your livelihood, and what do they want in return? Your money.  Our clients frequently tell us they feel like their good reviews are being suppressed, while the bad ones stay at the top until their perky ad rep calls and says, "yeah we can probably help you with that...oh and if you pay extra we'll ensure your competitors don't show up on your own page".   Here's a screenshot from just one of our angry clients who launched a new restaurant last month:

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We could go off on a tangent about the core of the problem - Yelp reviewers. You know the ones who leave their little apartment to make a big impact on the culinary world by posting a scathing review about their $6.00 burger not being "medium rare plus"? Those people have no idea the damage they are doing to their own local economy.  These keyboard warriors are real tough until the manager responds trying to rectify the situation and then, silence; but we'll let a real chef elaborate here:

So what's the basis for our own blasting of Yelp?  As if they haven't harassed the restaurant industry enough, Yelp decided to cut its ties with review software platforms that help agencies like ours manage the reputation of our clients. This means agencies and local businesses who rely on software to pull in reviews from the entire web aren't able anymore to see Yelp reviews or historical data without going to Yelp directly.

Why is Yelp doing this? Most likely the same reason our restaurants claim they suppress positive reviews and promote negative....Wall Street $$$$.

To make things worse, Yelp claims they did this is because "reviews should be organic and unsolicited" .  And if you didn't just spit out your coffee at the hypocrisy of that message, you can read this ridiculous press release by their VP.  

So let's summarize: Yelp creates a platform for users to complain on, local businesses then try to get their happy customers to post reviews to balance the negativity, and then Yelp tries to shut down this practice by suppressing positive reviews, cutting ties with software platforms, and then asks for money.  What decade is this again? 

The good news is the tide is turning, and with user behavior changing this will soon be a non-issue for local businesses.  Google, Facebook and Instagram have done a tremendous job for local businesses, and the numbers are showing. Google's display of local results along with reviews, photos, menus, interior 360 shots, and Facebook's check-in functionality and promotional aspects are winning users over. Instagram has become the mecca for food & wine bragging rights, which does nothing but compliment and help grow a restaurant's business.  Our clients have seen a drop in Yelp reviews by 18% this year, with that percentages directly crossing over to Google and Facebook.   

For now, we urge our clients to educate their customers about Yelp's business practices. Give your customers a voice (preferably before they leave), and let them  know their reviews are welcome on your own website, Google or Facebook.  If the Yelpers quit their yelping on Yelp, Yelp's market share will dwindle faster than you can stay Yahoo! 

Promoting Your Restaurant - 4 Steps to Success

You’ve put a great deal of work into getting your restaurant up and running, now growing your business can seemingly be a challenge. In a tech era full of social media and websites, there are many different options for promoting your business. The key to success in bringing in new customers is to nurture the foundation and have a structured plan for promoting both locally and online.

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Follow these 4 simple steps to attract more patrons and use the digital world to increase your customer base.

  1. Expand Your Online Presence - In order to bring in new customers, you need to focus on new ways for people to find your restaurant. Make sure your menu is posted on your website and you may also consider listing your offerings through third party service providers such as Uber Eats or GrubHub. Social media is an absolute must in the digital age, certainly don’t limit your activity to just one platform. Press releases on local websites and registering with local business organizations will also help spread the word.
  2. Level Up the Engagement - Digital tools are the cream of the crop when it comes to connecting with prospects. Instead of just posting on social media, use your creativity to stimulate interaction. Use a call to action statement on posts for readers to share their experiences or comment with their input. For example, posting a picture of a few different dishes and asking for opinions on which option to add to the menu.

  3. Connect with a Plan in Mind - Communicating with potential customers online will only get you so far without any goals. Identify your target customer and decide on a plan to reach them. You want to narrow the market down in order to focus your resources toward efficient advertising methods.

  4. Stay on Top of Your Reputation - It is important to monitor your social media websites as well as online chatter to keep track of customer feedback and gauge the competition. You can easily set up Google alerts to watch out for instances of your restaurant or competitors. Keeping an eye on your reputation can help you expand by presenting marketing opportunities as well as retaining your existing customer base.

 

When managing your promotions, think about not only how you will get customers in the door, but how to will keep them coming back. You want to differentiate your restaurant from the competition; whether it’s through cuisine, entertainment or your authentic hometown vibes. Be committed to a solid plan and stay engaged with your client base.

How to Manage Multiple Social Media Pages

Does your restaurant have multiple locations? Do you know how to properly manage the different locations on social media? 

It is important to have a different page for each location. This enables you to target specific audiences, especially in terms of geography, and address each audience’s unique needs. Additionally, each location may have different specials running or different products. If you have separate social media pages for each location you do not have to worry about customer confusion. 

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Develop a Franchise Digital Marketing Plan

Even though your restaurant has multiple locations, they should all be on the same page in terms of digital marketing goals. What does your restaurant value most? What message do you want to convey? Make sure the answers are the same across the board. 

 

Cater to Your Audience

What kind of audience are you trying to bring in? Is your restaurant family-friendly or more of a date night spot? Your digital marketing should convey this and be consistent across all locations. 

 

Decide on Content to be Shared

Just because one of your restaurants’ pages shares something, it doesn’t mean another one can’t. Especially when it comes to holidays or general posts, utilize it and share it on all of your pages. As long as it isn’t specific to a location it will work. No use trying to create more content when you can just recycle! 

 

Be Organized! 

This one can’t be stressed enough. If you have multiple employees accessing the restaurants’ social media pages things can get out of control quickly. Create a master schedule shared across all locations for employees to update as they share on social media. This keeps everything organized, you know what was shared and when, and it allows you to schedule specific posts. 

 

Is this just too much for you and your restaurant? Let us at 214 Eats help! 214 Eats specializes in social marketing, online reputation management, search engine optimization, and dynamic websites for restaurants! We look forward to connecting you and assisting you with your next steps! 

4 Popular Marketing Mistakes

Everyone wants to promote their restaurants in the best light, but doing that requires a good strategy. What happens when your strategy goes awry? What did you do wrong? Don’t worry, 214 Eats here, and we will help you through this! First things first, avoid making the following mistakes: 

 

No Social Media? 

In today’s day and age social media is everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but a lot. This is where many of the younger generations go to find new restaurants and read reviews. If you don’t have a social media presence you are missing an entire generation (or two) of customers. Be active on your social media page! Showcase promotions and new entrees! 

 

Avoiding Emails

Many businesses avoid email marketing because they believe it to be ineffective. They couldn’t be more wrong! Over 90% of adults surveyed have said they enjoy getting promotional emails from businesses they frequent. Take advantage of this and email coupons and promotional events! 

 

Paying for Followers

Nothing says untrustworthy like bought followers, right? People who are checking out your social media accounts are more intelligent than some businesses give them credit for. If someone can tell you are paying for followers you are immediately deemed untrustworthy. But that’s not you, you know they are smart! You are going to earn your followers the correct way! Real people tell their friends about awesome restaurants they’ve been to, you can’t lose. 

 

Getting Social Media Crazy

What do we mean by this? Do not send direct or private messages. People do not like to be “spammed” with messages from businesses on their social media accounts. Share things on your page or tweet, but do not directly contact someone. If a person wants to find out more information about your restaurant make sure that information is available on your page. 

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Afraid you can’t handle the digital marketing of your restaurant? No worries! Let us take care of it. 214 Eats specializes in social marketing, online reputation management, search engine optimization, and dynamic websites for restaurants! Let us know how we can help you today! 

Big Tex Choice Food Awards

It’s time! For what? For the Great State Fair of Texas! The State Fair kicks off tomorrow, September 29, 2017 and goes through Sunday, October 22, 2017. 

The State Fair offers more than 100 shows DAILY, as well as family-friendly activities, fantastic food (this is where we at 214 Eats will be), and competitions. 

Let’s take a moment and talk about the food. Specifically the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards. The Big Tex Choice Awards started in 2005 as a way to debut the most insane, and scrumptious, edible concoctions available at the fair. The awards are “Best Taste - Sweet,” “Best Taste - Savory,” and “Most Creative.”

The contest to discover the winner actually started this summer, in mid-July, with 47 entries. Competitors must “have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the Fair to enter the competition.” Once the judges go through all 47 entries, they are narrowed down to 30 semi-finalists. 

From there, the entries are narrowed down to the top 10 finalists. Finally, the entries that are award worthy are announced. 

Taking the award for “Best Taste - Sweet” is the Gulf Coast Fish Bowl. This entry, put together by Clint Probst, is a blue punch cocktail that comes in a fish bowl with Nerds candy, Swedish Fish, and other yummies. Probst has been in the semi-finals eight times, but has never won before. 

The award for “Best-Taste - Savory” and “Most Creative” actually went to the same entry! The winner for these two awards is the Funnel Cake Bacon Quest Burger put together by Tom Grace. This scrumptious winner has funnel cake ‘buns’, burger patties, and delectable cheese dip. 

Finalists include deep fried froot loops, pinot noir popcorn, deep fried chicken noodle soup on a stick, fried texas sheet cake, texas fajita fries, the tamale donut, fat smooth, and surfin’ turfin’ tator boat. 

Hungry yet? 

Get on down to the State Fair of Texas, starting tomorrow, and try everything for yourself!