Bacolod restaurants

10 Social Media Tips for Restaurants

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Use social media to your advantage.

None of us were really “educated” on the use of social media. But if you are a business entity, particularly a restaurant in a small city that uses the internet heavily, it is now a must that you create your social media presence. It will really boost your popularity among your target audience and of course, increase sales. Consider social media as your marketing tool.

1. Create a social media account or accounts. The first step to having a social media presence is, of course, creating an account. If you are here in Bacolod, you can have a Facebook page or an Instagram account–these two are widely used by Bacolodnons so your restaurant will surely gain mileage. Plus, it is easy to share content from these platforms. That’s free advertising working for you.

If you don’t create an official account, it is easy for anybody to make an account for you because of those check-ins and if people will click on the link, the contents are not structured. These unofficial pages look like a child’s poster when he got access to stickers, markers, and crayons — kalat. And since you don’t have control about the content, anybody can post anything under the sun, even if it’s something embarrassing or derogatory. Make your own account and include pertinent details–your menu, address, tel. nos., hours and day of operation, amenities, and modes of payment. Potential customers will really appreciate that.

2. Update your accounts regularly. When people would like to eat out, they would most likely check your page before going in order to be reminded about your specialties and maybe learn about your current promos or new dishes. If you haven’t posted in a year, they might think that your restaurant is already closed.

3. Answer queries as quickly as possible. People like instant results, including answers to queries on your page. Try to answer them as quickly as possible and as politey as possible, even the most ludicrous ones. Start with a greeting and end with a thank you. That will give your restaurant a nice personality.

4. Hold online promos. Hold regular online promos. A free meal will get you a good attention and it doesn’t cost much. You may want to do it monthly so that you don’t lose your market’s awareness.

5. Invite bloggers or social media influencers. You may also want to hold blogcons where you may talk about your menu, introduce new dishes, tell the bloggers about great dish combinations, or how to particularly enjoy a certain “complicated” dish that needs some preparation. You may pay them or give them tokens as they will spend time with you, take photos, edit them, and of course write about you. You can then expect that they will FEATURE you in their blogs and social media accounts. But they will not be expected to give a REVIEW, as that would no longer be objective.

food bloggers
When invited during openings, bloggers write about the event as well as share your business to their followers and friends. This was during the opening of Dexter’s Pizza Bacolod where I was requested to cut the ribbon.

6. Sponsor posts. If a blogger features you, you may sponsor his or her posts on Facebook or Instagram. These platforms are designed to “hide” posts unless they are “boosted”.

7. Invest in good photos. You cannot communicate taste and smell through photos. But you can communicate colors and arrangements. Needless to say, if your food posts look amazing, then customers will “want” to try it or have it again (if they did already). These kinds of posts will potentially earn more “likes” and “shares” and thus result to more mileage.

8. Offer free wifi connection. If you have free wifi connection, internet savvy customers will most likely take photos of their meal and post them immediately, while checking in at your place or tagging your restaurant’s page. That’s the best “word of mouth” advertising there is, done digitally. It’s fast and free (except for your monthly internet bill).

9. Make your interiors Instagram-worthy. But there are restaurants that opt not to have wifi connection because it is their aim to get their customers to socialize and “talk to each other”. While they cannot stop those who have mobile data, at least, the internet connection did not come from them. One such place here in Bacolod is Quino’s Cafe. But while Quino’s does not have wifi, they have a really nice interior, lovely nooks and crannies, that people love to take selfies and groufies and post them online. Of course, their food is good, so people keep coming back and keep posting about them.

Quino's Cafe
A mom and her two kids pose at a message wall of Quino’s Cafe.

10. Make your own gimmick to connect with customers. One restaurant here in Bacolod that became really successful not just in Bacolod but among international diners is Rau-Ram Cafe, formerly known as Saigon Cafe. Back in those days when they had a cafe in the owner’s backyard, the staff would take photos of their diners and post them on Facebook, every single day. Diners gamely posed and it was like the “in thing” back then for your photo to be posted on their page. While this doesn’t seem to work much now, as other restaurants also followed this “style”, you can create your own gimmick in order to connect to your customers.

Rau-Ram Cafe Bacolod restaurant
The Facebook page of Rau-Ram Cafe. For a Bacolod restaurant, they have quite a following.

Related story: Where to Eat: List of Bacolod Homegrown Restaurants

If you, as a small restaurant owner, do not know how to make or maintain a social media account, hire a freelance or full time social media specialist who will handle your accounts. Just make sure that you’re one of the admins and the account is connected to your email. It would also help if you sit down for a tutorial. Keep a copy of all passwords, too. The social media account should not be co-terminus with your staff. It should continue even when the staff has left the company. Just hire a new one to take his or her place.

Also, maintain the quality of your services and products. While it is easy to promote on social media, the downside is, it is also easy to spread complaints. That is the reason why some restaurant owners shy away from social media–they are afraid that they can be easily destroyed by a single bad review. But it is better to be present and deal with the problem than just wake up one day that one page or user already tore you down. That is why we have the following sub-topic about handling complaints and bad reviews.

Handling Complaints and Negative Reviews

No matter how hard you work to give your best, there will always be something that will go wrong from time to time. Perhaps your staff doesn’t share your passion in serving only the finest. Or your chef had a bad day. Or you just had the misfortune of entertaining someone who never gets pleased. While you take steps in real-time to make amends, you will have to be more careful when you do it online. One public Facebook rant can be a fiesta buffet for gossip and negative comments.

During the Dine Victorias event here in Bacolod last December 2016 organized by Victorias Foods Corporation, Adolf Aran of Courage Asia Management Consultancy said that the owner should handle the issue immediately. Steps should be done to assuage the angry customer. Sometimes, all it takes is a sincere apology plus a gift certificate to calm down an irate customer. But it is best if the owner of a small restaurant will deal with the issue personally because it tells the client that the owner cares about its customers.

Aran also adds that owners or managers should never engage irate customers in a “word war” in public posts. The issue will just escalate and it will most likely be to the detriment of the business owner. Chef Jam Melchor, also a speaker in Dine Victorias, echoes the same sentiment in his food business–he personally deals with complaints so that the issues do not escalate anymore. Without saying it, I think both of them are endorsing “humility” in dealing with complaints.

If there are bad reviews on your Facebook page, Aran advises not to delete them. It is natural to have bad reviews. Instead, owners can learn from their mistakes and improve their operations. Good reviews will naturally come. They can also ask customers who had good experiences with them to write good reviews so that those negative ones will be “buried” eventually.


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35 thoughts on “10 Social Media Tips for Restaurants

  1. Great tips for a newly opened cafe’s or restaurants. Specially the advises on how to handle negative feedbacks from costumers or reviewers.

  2. Bacolod is slowly turning into a food tripping destination. While locals enjoy the countless choices of where to eat in the city, tourists also need to know about what we have to offer. This post will help boost not only the popularity of restaurants and food establishments in Bacolod, but will also help upgrade their social media presence and the way they interact on social media. I like a show in FYI (a cable lifestyle channel) where restaurants get a make over based on reviews of customers and food critiques. We don’t have a show like that that will help Bacolod’s Food industry, but these tips will be helpful to them.

  3. I observed that the FB page is very effective especially for a newly-opened resto, promos and photos about the food and the place itself brings more customers as more foodies nowdays search restaurant pages on Facebook.

  4. Top 10 tips indeed! Most restaurant owners don’t know the importance of their presence in social media but I hope they will venture into it sooner and not later! Tsaka ako I always do reviews, kahit for free pa, kahit no exchange, basta feel ko ung restos, pero I am also honest in posting bad reviews especially if hindi masarap ang food at mahal pa. Hehehe

  5. These are great tips for resto owners. Unfortunately, many don’t know yet the value of the social media in their businesses. While other have Fb presence, these pages are seldom updated/visited by the owners. Instagram and Pinterest are great social media platforms for food businesses as they are very visual 🙂

  6. Good post, if I am thinking of going to a restaurant I always check their website. If they don’t have one I probably won’t go, I want to look at the menu and see pictures of the interior first,

  7. I’ve had my share of running our small resto’s Social Media accounts last year, and it truly helps to be visible online, check ins through Facebook and Instagram really help to drive people into your establishment. 🙂

    These are amazing tips!

  8. Great tips! I will relay this to my relative who will be opening a fast food/restaurant business soon.

    Good job, Sigrid! 🙂

  9. Dapat gd kwa bloggers para ma ubrahan write up ang food kung nami or indi. Para guided ang customers kag kabalo na sila what to expect before going to your resto.

  10. Good read! These Tips may come in handy for Restaurants, Fast food businesses and the likes. If I may add up as the 11th considerably helpful tip, Consistency. Restaurant will capture the interests of its target niche by following the shared 10 tips, but as always ‘consistency’ is the key to its success. Kudos!!

  11. This is true, and I hope restaurant owners, old or new alike will see the value of social media. That social media can ACTUALLY help boost their rep, and that this is just the way to go with the number of people constantly online. And I agree with one of the comments above, consistency is the key, both in updating social media as well as customer service to the clients, and most especially in the quality of the food they serve.

  12. Social media doesn’t stop in posting, it’s the start. But it will only start if you have an ample amount of audience. The real question is, how can I increase my audience? It’s a mixture of relevance + creativity + entrepreneurial spirit + core values.

  13. In this day and age, it is a must to take full advantage of the online platform and get as many people involved in promoting your brand. Having them to as many websites and blogsites is the current trend in marketing. When you say inviting bloggers and social media influencers, restaurant owners should note of various kinds. There are some who offer objective review, so they come incognito. As long as you offer good food and service, you have nothing to worry. There are others who are open to collaborations. You can place an ad to their website but there is also an option wherein you place a sponsored post about your restaurant. However, instead of paying the article (which can often be in dollars), they can opt to provide freebies instead, which is value-for-money as this is a creative way of online advertising.

    1. I agree. Who wouldn’t want extra promotion? Collaborating with bloggers doesn’t need a lot of budget but it pays to have a good relationship with them because aside from what they article in the blogs, they also take time to share or promote our promos even without asking for anything in return. I am thankful that I know bloggers because they have helped our restaurant a lot.

  14. Thank you Sigrid for sharing these tips. They are very helpful, effective and practical. As a VA for events, we cannot deny the fact how bloggers and social media had tremendously helped my client’s business grow. In fact, working with media partners (particularly bloggers) is now one of the top ways on how we market our events and products. There is great potential with this type of partnership as these bloggers/ social media influencers are very effective in reaching out to our target market.

  15. I totally agree with you that if you don’t want to install WIFI, then make sure your place is instagrammable. IG-worthy place will surely get social media shares even without the owner asking them. Make sure to have good food as well to keep social media feedbacks positive.

  16. Great and quality photos are essential I guess in this line of business. Quality photos can be very convincing. Great tips and thanks. I once dreamed of having a restaurant or the likes but, well things didn’t go my way.

  17. this is just a good blogposts i need to share for other restaurants in dubai to know, most of the restaurants here or cafe don’t have official Facebook Page mostly goes by The People’s Check-In and thats it! I agree that it is very important for businesses because everyone some how depends on reviews and updates from social media

  18. These tips are for all business owners and not for restaurant only. I agree with all the points you have mentioned here. Business owners should hire people to answer customers concerns and complaints immediately so that it will not escalate.

  19. Sound tips for seasoned and would-be restaurant owners. The problem, sometimes, is that most business owners do not realize the power of social media and the advantages of maintaining an updated Facebook or Instagram Page.

    I think I like that gimmick of photographing diners and uploading them on Facebook, but some people who value their privacy might have issues with that. Totally thumbs up on having an Instagram-worthy place, too!

    1. You’re right about the privacy thing. That’s why it’s important for the restos to always ask if it’s ok to take photos of their clients. For all we know, they are also trying to hide their date, hihi

  20. That is true. My observation focused on #1, 2, and 3 which are Create you media account, Update it, and Answer questions and comments as quickly as possible. While other “things to do” maybe icing on the cake, so to speak, the three are, to me, important. For example, I wish to go to a hotel in Lapinig Island in the North-east of Bohol, I ask a question about rates, and how to get to the island. For the past many days there was no reply. That loses my interest to stay in that hotel. See? If you are a restaurant the following are, to my mind, important information : Location, Contact Numbers, Business Hours, Services like wifi, Catering, In-house banquet, Sample of Packages – wedding, birthday, special event, etc… Awards (in the US restaurants display their awards and accreditation sticker or whatever it is, etcetera and so on and so forth…Be sure that what you publish is what you are in reality. For example, a resort published some beautiful pictures of their facilities, the beach, etc. When the tourists/customers saw this on their facebook page, instragram account, etc. the customers decided to visit or stay in that resort, only to find out that what they saw in the facebook page, is not what they see in real time or “face time” – face to face with what the resort is….I will not cite example even if it is far down south…haha…

  21. I am not active gid sa social media. I just read what other people post. And I learn a lot from posts of the bloggers. Sometimes, it’s nice to see an ad but it’s different if someone has tried the food and wrote about them. And if I’m in doubt, i send a msg sa writer, asking for more info.

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