You own or manage a restaurant, chances are people are talking about it. Let’s face it, everyone is a critic these days. And with numerous outlets for the critics it’s easy for your restaurant to receive reviews (positive & negative).
Positive reviews will likely attract more people to your restaurant. Speaking from personal experience I can tell you this is true.
Recently I was looking for a restaurant to take my wife out to for her birthday. I wanted to go somewhere other than our usual choices of restaurants. I asked some friends for ideas and got a different answer for every person asked. My wife is a very picky eater and only likes certain types of food so making an educated choice is important, or she will not eat. I used OpenTable to find a restaurant rated highly and with food, she would eat. I also used OpenTable to make the reservations.
Think about that for a minute. I never interacted with the restaurant until arrival. I used a 3rd party social media app to choose and reserve the table. Is your restaurant taking advantage of these apps?
The Dirty Half Dozen
Yelp allows users to search for anything…locally. It lists businesses from restaurants to computer repair to chiropractors and everything in between. Users can then rate the businesses they visit and provide a review.
Yelp is also more of a social site in that you can add friends, create a profile and share your reviews on Facebook. Yelp also allows businesses to claim/create their profile, post specials and pictures and communicate with others.
Yelp is king of the hill right now when it comes to reviews of local businesses (other than Google, Yahoo, Bing). You will want to ensure that your business is claimed and properly updated on Yelp, and address all reviews.
If you’re not checking in on Foursquare then you weren’t really there, at least that’s what the people going to the gym believe. Foursquare is an app used to check in to a location, typically a restaurant or retail establishment. This allows your followers to see where you are.
Foursquare goes beyond just a simple check in though. You are also able to leave feedback, take pictures and rate the check-in experience. Businesses can also partner with Foursquare to offer promotions whenever you check in.
Recently I took my car to have the oil changed at a Valvoline. While waiting I checked in using Foursquare only to discover that they were offering a $5 off coupon just for checking in.
From a restaurant, aspect having the ability to simultaneously offer discounts for checking in, and encouraging reviews and images of your establishment and the food can really help improve the visibility of your restaurant..and ultimately your traffic.
Instagram is a photo sharing site (and 15-second videos). It is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today. While typically people post selfies, family pics and other personal items, you can often find people posting pictures of a meal at a restaurant.
A restaurant could use Instagram to post pictures of menu items, daily specials, and customers enjoying their food in the restaurant. With the rapidly growing popularity of Instagram, it would behoove any local restaurant to ignore it. While Instagram may not be a traditional restaurant review forum it definitely get’s used by consumers to post their own reviews, which often get shared to their Twitter and Facebook accounts instantly.
Instagram has also added the ability to include 15-second video clips to their site, and in doing so has allowed businesses to create short commercials for their products or services. Imagine the possibilities with a smartphone, an Instagram account and a few seconds of your time. You just might develop your own following and generate new business that was never before attainable.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, Foodspotting is counting on that.
Foodspotting defines itself as a visual guide to good food, and where to find it. What separates it from other food review sites is you don’t necessarily review the restaurant but rather recommend an actual menu item..including images.
Users of Foodspotting can then see what others have photographed (and hopefully eaten) to help them decide on where they should go to eat. And users of Foodspotting may discover a restaurant they never heard of and would love to try (as I did while researching for this post).
If you are traveling and want to plan out where to eat in advance then TripAdvisor is the way to go. TripAdvisor is really the go-to site for planning out a trip in advance. TripAdvisor includes Rentals, Hotels, and Attractions, and allows users of the site to leave reviews for all of the aforementioned categories.
As you can probably imagine TripAdvisor is a very powerful site given the ability to find out exactly what to expect in advance of a trip.
TripAdvisor includes a section for restaurants allowing you to search out restaurants in an area you anticipate visiting. You can then see reviews and ratings for those restaurants, or add your own feedback.
You do not have to be on a trip to use TripAdvisor. Many locals also use TripAdvisor making it even more important to pay attention to. You might be surprised at the reviews being left for your establishment, especially if they are not as good as you believe your business to be.
How’s this for a claim?
Our diners have spent more than $20 billion at our partner restaurants.
Wouldn’t your restaurant want a piece of that pie (no pun intended…well maybe a little)? In all seriousness can your restaurant afford not to use OpenTable (or any of these apps).
As I opened this post I told a story of how OpenTable was used for my wife’s birthday dinner. OpenTable’s primary purpose is to simplify the reservation process but it goes well beyond that.
Users of OpenTable can review and rate restaurants. Restaurants are sorted into categories thus allowing users of OpenTable to find restaurants ranked high that fall into a category of dining the user would be interested in.
Are you mobile?
We went over 6 mobile apps that are getting used quite a bit by diners looking to find the next great meal. We didn’t discuss the obvious like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ because hopefully you already aware of and using those platforms. Today’s consumer is savvy and has tons of options available to them at their fingertips..literally. The question is not whether you can afford to invest in marketing on the internet and mobile, the question is can you afford not to.
We’d love to hear from you! Did we leave out an app or a feature of one of the apps above? Let us know.
Need help with your local internet marketing plan? Contact us now!