Food, glorious food. These days it’s hard to avoid seeing photos of scrumptious dinners, desserts and other dishes that will make your mouth water. You might have the tendency of rolling your eyes whenever a friend whips out their phone to take a snap at the table, but who doesn’t appreciate a photo of a tasty looking meal?

Whether we’re taking a shot for future recipe ideas, or just sharing the delightful culinary marvel before us, it’s clear that social media plays an important part in spreading the word about good food. For restaurants, cafés, and other eateries, these interactions on social media are crucial for helping your business develop and grow by keeping an eye on how customers are rating your food. These days, everyone’s a critic and you want to be able to keep track of the kind of talk going around about your service.

Local Measure can help deliver the conversations that are relevant to you. Whether it’s a customer gushing over one of your special dishes, or an unhappy review, we can alert you when these things happen.

Why the focus on social media?

Word of mouth has always been the main way people find out about good restaurants, but with the increased usage of smart phones and other mobile devices, it’s easier for people to share their dining and eating experiences with family and friends at a click of the button. Even after hearing about a restaurant or diner from friends, family or acquaintances, 80% of people still consult online review sites to get a better picture of the place in question.

People no longer need to wait for afternoon lunches or get togethers to tell each other about good places to eat. If you’re stuck for a good place near by, it’s easy to look up a local restaurant, or call a friend to get a recommendation.

News.com.au conducted a survey last year and found that 54% of 18-24 year olds take a photo of their food, while almost 40% go on to post it online. When you consider that 80% of people look at restaurant websites and review blogs before choosing to dine out and 57% say they rely on these review and information sites to help them make dining decisions, it’s evident that social media can be a powerful brand advocate.

Celebrate with style

Restaurants and diners are no strangers to the celebratory lunch or dinner, whether it’s for an anniversary, a graduation, a birthday or other special occasion. With moments like these, patrons are looking to make the event a happy memory for loved ones, and there are a variety of ways you can help to make it a great celebration.

‍Patrons celebrating a birthday

It’s the small, thoughtful gestures that are the most meaningful. Whether it’s drinks on the house, or a handwritten note, complimentary dessert or even a small cake with a candle, these are moments that can brighten up a patron’s day.

With Local Measure, you can create keyword filters that will alert you immediately when a post contains words like ‘birthday’ or ‘anniversary’, as soon as it is posted, allowing you to make the most of the opportunity by making the guest’s visit extra special. Don’t wait until you come across a birthday status update the day after, or a week later. While it’s always helpful to reply, even after the fact, it’s the interactions you could potentially be making in the moment that can boost your brand’s reputation amongst your patrons.

Encourage guests and patrons to share

There are a billion photos of food doing the rounds on the internet as you read, but serving the food is only half the work. It’s important to create opportunities for guests to post photos of your food to fuel a customer driven brand image. By allowing your guests access to free Wi-fi at your location, it makes it easier for them to share the moments they’re experiencing at your restaurant.

You can also add special touches to the food you’re delivering by simply changing the presentation, or applying this strategy to the overall look of your restaurant. Decorations can do wonders to change the ambience of a room. Seasonal deals and menus are also a great way to keep in touch with various holidays and events as the year goes by.

Customer advocacy

When it comes to food, your customers can be your best advocates and worst critics. People rely on word of mouth and the opinions of other patrons before deciding whether or not to eat at a venue. After all, what better opinion to listen to than someone who’s experienced the restaurant first hand as a guest? By sharing customer photos and posts you are consolidating these experiences from reliable sources, which helps to promote your brand.

In the above post, the patron has posted a photo of the gelato they ordered along with some high praise. As the poster has a high follower count, this photo would have potentially been seen by 3000 + people. This would be a great opportunity for the brand to engage with the poster, and it also provides valuable customer insight. The poster also mentions that they are sitting for the HSC exams, giving the brand the potential to use this information to reach out, perhaps create a study centric campaign or promotion to appeal to other students.

This next photo is also a powerfully positive post for the restaurant. The customer also has a high follower count and is not only complimenting the food, but recommending the restaurant to their followers. Sharing this photo on the restaurant’s public profiles also opens up a dialogue between the customer and the brand and builds a two way relationship between them.

‍A photo by a happy customer after an impromptu visit to a gelato store

Deal with brand risk and keep track of service feedback

Negative feedback from customers is an inevitable and stressful part of working in the food industry. However, there is always the potential mitigate bad reviews, and in some cases, they can be converted into positive experiences.

In this review, the customer gives a detailed recount of the bad service they received. Not only does the brand have the opportunity to apologise and make amends, but it also signals that staff might need to be retrained, and review their customer policy. By replying to the post, the restaurant demonstrates that they care about the customer’s experience, but it can also help them keep track of their own staff performance and target areas in service that may need improvement. Addressing the issue as soon as possible can also prevent this from becoming a negative post on restaurant review sites.

In contrast, this customer gives similarly detailed, but positive feedback about the venue. They also provide commentary on the location and visibility of the bar – something that might be useful for the brand to take into account. From this point, they might decide to focus on how to improve visibility and increase foot traffic to their business.

Brands can also reply to customer queries from our platform. By addressing questions quickly and soon you can gain insight as to what information you might like to broadcast from your platforms. For example, if you have a menu that changes on a regular basis, you might like to share this information across all platforms. Questions can also reveal what is popular with your customers and what areas might need a bit of work.

There is a wealth of content and data out there that could benefit your eatery. By using Local Measure, you could make the most of this and turn what begins as an impersonal, online conversation into real life interactions that matter.

For a trial of our platform, email us at support@getlocalmeasure.com or fill out a demo form here.