Restaurant Success Tips

Harness the power of recipe-sharing to give your restaurant’s marketing strategy a boost.

Recipes are more than just a simple list of ingredients. They can be the stuff of legends. They catapulted Julia Childs into stardom, giving Americans the confidence to substitute casserole dishes for French gastronomy. A recipe can be passed down through generations, and sometimes they’re valued so highly they are kept secret. A great recipe might even have inspired your own restaurant concept.

Below we reveal several ways your restaurant can use recipe-sharing to boost your restaurant marketing. The long-term effects could be a game-changer. Through recipe-sharing, you can build a stronger sense of community with your customers and earn their trust.

Recipes Make for Excellent Restaurant Marketing

The food industry has had enormous success using recipes as content marketing strategies. Kraft Foods is an excellent example. Their successful content marketing relies almost exclusively on the sharing of recipes. They even built a separate company website to provide recipes their customers might like to try: kraftrecipes.com. More important than having a successful Facebook page, Kraft Foods created an identity for itself as a trusted food producer.

One of the more successful Kraft campaigns targeted Philadelphia Cream Cheese shoppers. Kraft started a trend and created a community of cream cheese lovers by asking consumers to share their recipes. Through this genius, social media marketing plan, a thriving online social group, The Real Women of Philadelphia, came to life.

Kraft credits this one cooking group alone for boosting its cream cheese sales by 5%.

Supermarket chains Whole Foods and Wegmans provide other examples of successful recipe-driven content marketing campaigns. Whole Foods’ strategy hopes to make the brand more than an organic grocery store; it would turn Whole Foods into a lifestyle brand. By offering advice for healthier eating habits and affordable shopping tips, the chain’s reputation grew.

Customer engagement began to skyrocket, though, when Whole Foods started to share its recipes. The popular organic foods shop now has a large Twitter following that Whole Foods regularly engages with by posting recipes and sharing recipes submitted by followers.

Wegmans publishes a quarterly magazine that includes helpful and reliable articles on seasonal products, as well as dozens of recipes that incorporate those seasonal ingredients. The online site even offers a segment called Wegmans Menu, which helps home cooks prepare holiday feasts from start to finish.

Through powerful content marketing centered on recipes, these already successful companies became trusted brand names.

How to Share Recipes

How you choose to share your recipes should depend entirely on your customer base. First, consider what your customers’ lifestyles are like and how they interact with others. For a younger crowd, social media might be the best avenue to share your recipes. If you have a loyal and older crowd, then developing a recipe book could result in a stronger reception. Here are some other publishing options:

  • Magazines (free or for a small fee)
  • Books (go the self-publishing route to publish a compilation of branded recipes, or reach out to publishers to offer your recipes for cookbooks)
  • Video sharing on YouTube
  • Instagram posts
  • Facebook Groups
  • Printed-out recipes that are distributed with checks
  • Websites and blogs (see, for instance, how Bon Appétit promoted 30 recipes from top US restaurants)
  • Apps for Recipe sharing such as Allrecipes

If you do decide to publish online with social media, look at where you have the largest following and start engaging there first.

Choosing the Right Recipes

Once you decide on a method for publishing and sharing recipes, choose recipes that people will not only love but that they can do at home. Stick within a basic level of cooking expertise to garner the highest level of engagement.

It’s also important to work with ingredients that customers will have in their pantry, or that can be found at a regular supermarket. For instance, the odds are high that your clientele won’t have white truffles on hand to make your legendary fettuccine al Tartufo. By suggesting a substitution with easily accessible truffle oil, you open your recipe up to reinterpretation by chefs at home.

Customer Engagement

Offering recipes gives your restaurant a more positive reputation, but engaging with your customers is a surefire marketing tactic that can have incredible results. Get your customers involved by building a sharing community of recipes–like Kraft’s cream cheese initiative–or turn it into a friendly competition. Set up a campaign at your restaurant and through social media, asking customers to submit recipes. How you decide to award winners is up to you! Offer a free dinner, include the winning recipe as a special, or even add it to your menu.

Steps to Setting up a Recipe Contest on your Facebook Page

        Go to your Facebook Business Page

        Check for updates to Facebook rules for running a contest

        Outline the rules of your contest clearly

        Add photos or a video explainer for your contest

        Add a countdown (this makes winning seem more likely and urges consumers to participate now instead of waiting)

        Pick a prize that fits your target audience – here are some examples of prizes for recipe contests for your restaurant to offer:

    • A free meal at your restaurant
    • A feature of their recipe on your website

Using Social Media to Share Recipes as part of your Restaurant Marketing Plan

Your customers want to feel connected to your restaurant brand, and sharing recipes lets them enjoy their favorite dishes at home. While some restaurant owners worry that sharing favorite recipes with their marketing campaigns may mean fewer visitors in the door, the opposite has been seen in online recipe sharing marketing plans.

Brand Awareness through Recipe Sharing

Think about Red Lobster, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s not Lobster. It’s their famous cheddar biscuits. This coveted recipe is shared on social media daily and gets people talking about the restaurant.

        If you sell condiments such as your own special sauce, try sharing recipes that call for using ingredients that can only be obtained at your restaurant.

        Share your best selling dishes as a recipe

    • This shows transparency in what ingredients your kitchen uses and builds trust with your restaurant brand.

Another great way to raise brand awareness is by retailing your most beloved menu items.

How well does your POS work for your needs? A mobile restaurant POS system can be the backbone you are looking for.