How to Create a More Social Restaurant

by Andrea Reynolds

When we’re talking about restaurants and being social, we used to envision spaces that welcome conversations with comfortable areas to gather and enjoy each other's company. And while those places still exist, a socially-focused restaurant of today takes on a whole new meaning. Leading restaurateurs today understand you need to create spaces that embrace great food and conversation, and also foster a social presence through technology.

So what are some things a restaurant owner should do to maintain a more socially-savvy reputation? It starts by making sure you have a well-designed and mobile-friendly website with menus your customers can navigate through easily. After you’ve done that, here’s what you focus on next:

Food Reviews Apps

Yelp! reigns as King over the restaurant business today with millions of engaged users posting reviews and photos of their dining experience instantly. Neglecting this area can cause a devastating impact on your business because many potential customers are making their dining decisions solely on how many stars you have. But the beautiful thing about Yelp! is the ability a restaurant owner has to engage, post photos, and respond to reviews - both positive and negative. It’s a fantastic tool to stay connected with guests even after they walk out the door.

Engaging on Relevant Social Media Platforms

For most restaurants, it wouldn’t make sense to have a LinkedIn profile, but it is critical to have a presence on Facebook and Instagram, and for the super social go-getter, maybe even Twitter and Pinterest too. These platforms provide a compelling place to establish your brand presence and promote your food, drinks, and perhaps a touch of the human element with your staff.

Pay Attention to Google

Although you may not need to utilize the social media aspect of Google+, you still should set up and maintain your account. Reason being, it works with the Google Knowledge Graph, which provides business information during Google searches. The graph takes information directly from a Google+ profile, giving you some control over what people see when they are searching for you. Additionally, take a few minutes to set up Google Alerts, so you know when someone else is talking about your business on the web. When you have this information, it provides yet another way to engage with guests and promote your business.

Get Blogging

Have a delicious new dish on the menu? Did you just hire a new chef with a ton of experience you want to brag about? Food blogs are hot, and there’s no reason your restaurant shouldn’t be one of them. Post daily, weekly, or whenever you have a few minutes available - then share all over your social media platforms. Doing so not only gives customers an insider's look at your business, but it’ll help you climb in search engine results, too. 
One of the best things about the suggestions above is they are all free to set up. Now, of course, it takes lots of time and effort to establish yourself as a leading social restaurant of today, but it is proven to be worth the investment in the end.  The more time you invest socially, the more your customers will thank you for interacting with them beyond just the time they spent in your restaurant.