Category Archives: Business Insights

Dining in the Age of Social Media

It’s no longer sufficient to put an ad in the paper or write a standard, printed menu to entice and maintain cafe and restaurant clients. Any hospitality business not investing time, money and energy into their social media will simply not survive.

The reality of life is that everyone from primary school age kids to their grandparents are connected to the digital world 24 hours a day. Bombarded with images and ads, it is up to business and brands to cut through the noise and make it possible to develop a relationship with existing and potential customers.


By knowing what your strengths are as a business – do you make really nutritious meals? Do you deliver locally? Is everything organic? Can you cater to gluten-free and paleo customers? Is there a kid’s menu?

Whatever your strengths are, make sure the images, videos, music and stories you share via social media reflect what you’re really good at. Less ads and copying other brands, and more authentic storytelling is what will connect you with your target audience.

In 2019, diners aren’t choosing a breakfast venue based on an ad in the local newspaper or walking past. People are scrolling through their Instagram to see where their friends are going or searching via location and dietary preferences to narrow down their choices. So, here’s what to take note of if you want to stay relevant for digital age diners.

People rely on Instagram instead of a standard menu

Recently, while out at a cafe with a mix of 12 friends and colleagues, I noticed that half of us picked up the standard printed menu, while the other half went straight to their iPhones. Even those of us who had perused the menu then picked up our iPhones to see what the dishes actually looked like via Instagram. What had other people posted about them? Was it a big serve? Was the spinach fresh or pan-fried?

However much effort you’ve put into your print menu, put triple the time and effort into posting appealing photos of your menu items on Instagram and encourage your customers to take photos and share them. Sure, it means you need to put the effort into presenting food that looks good in photos, but that’s the reality of appealing to an audience obsessed with aesthetics.

PR expert in the hospitality industry, Renae Smith from The Atticism says: “A recent study showed that over 60 percent of diners look for photos of the venue’s menu on social media before dining and people are actually 25 percent more likely to trust ‘peer to peer’ venue review (such as on social media) over that of restaurant critics or even the mainstream media.”

By including location tags in photos, you’re more likely to appeal to clientele who live and work in the area. Share your clients’ photos and respond to them to increase engagement on your own social media channels. Thank people for dining with you, congratulate them on their choices, invite them to return.

Reliance on friends’ recommendations and online ratings

People are time-poor and overwhelmed with choices. Nobody wants to risk spending $20 on a meal that doesn’t taste good, in a venue that isn’t welcoming. There’s plenty of evidence that people rely on online review sites such as TripAdvisor and Zomato to assess dining venues based on user ratings. Zomato has over three million active users per month, with over 12,000 Sydney dining venues listed.

There’s no cheats or shortcuts to getting good reviews other than providing exemplary service and encouraging people to review and share their experience. In the event of receiving a bad review, respond with diplomacy and remember your reputation is on the line, so being rude or trying to delete it is likely to make the situation even worse.

When you get positive feedback, or someone posts a great photo of your food or your venue, share it. This encourages more people to engage with you and spreads the good word you’re getting.

Good design and usability of social media and websites is mandatory to succeed

Filling your website with images and videos that are slow to load only frustrates your customers. Keep your website simple and easy to navigate. Think about what people really want to see – a menu, your address and contact details, photos of your food and your opening hours. Make sure links to your Facebook and Instagram are obvious too.

Take photos of your food in natural light, with attention to the background (no dirty tables or smeared glasses) and make sure the food looks as delicious in the photo as you know it tastes.

“With social media, quality is definitely better than quality,” says Smith. “People often ask us how often they post and I simply say, “When you have good content.”  We often post two to three times a week or our clients; if you’ve got a special event, menu release or something exciting, posting high engagement content more frequently is often good to increase activity on your pages.”

By Cat Woods

Bar Boosters: Marketing Strategies for SMBs

All business owners are always looking to boost sales, but with a lack of time under their belt, and ever-evolving marketing tactics, knowing how to do so can become a blur.

Here are some pointers to help you pinpoint a few basic steps towards getting on the right track…

Assess the data through your POS

Whether you’re a retailer or a restaurateur, a good point of sale (POS) marketing strategy can increase sales and drive the bottom line.

Providing in-depth analytics and business insights, POS marketing requires not only the ability to promote a product to customers, but also to make a compelling value proposition to retailers.

But, to get the maximum out of your POS, you can also utilise built-in analytics systems to assess what’s working and what isn’t.

Most POS systems offer analytics with a real-time dashboard so you can consume highly intuitive data around sales, inventory, staff and more. One of the great POS analytics platforms is Lightspeed, whose system covers everything from inventory management to promotional data.

Signage is your signal

In collaboration with POS analytics, it’s important to have great signage in and around your premise. A report from POPAI Australia & New Zealand has a number of key findings after a clinical trial was conducted in the UK and Ireland.

Some of the major details argued that female shoppers who were in-store for 60 or more minutes, bought more from POS displays than male shoppers. Men, on the other, hand were more susceptible to in-store promotions.

Floor graphics and walkaround displays worked best for food and snack purchases, whilst premium displays were the most effective for when people made a trip to food and beverage retailers in a non-premeditated manner.

Taking advantage of the Aussie sports scene

In Australia, there is arguably no bigger sport than AFL.

According to Roy Morgan, 8.4 million Australians tuned in to the 2017 Grand Final, whilst another 1.8 million watched some of the highlights. A 2015 study from Australian universities reveals that 87 percent of alcohol advertising during the day is done during sports broadcasts.

By utilising sports marketing ideas for your bar or restaurant, you can gain the attention of sports-goers who are looking for a hotspot that caters to their interests. Consider including campaigns to support local teams through sponsored evenings, social media promotions, and blog posts on your website. Additionally, running your own tipping competitions, sports-dedicated nights and viewings can help leverage new customers at your door.

If that doesn’t fly, there’s always the favourite marketing ploy of naming drinks after athletes, and hosting replays of classic games during slow periods doesn’t hurt either.

It’s important to know that the only way to publicise your event however, is through the implementation of a bonafide social media strategy.

Develop a social media strategy

A recent study from Maru/Matchbox shows that 69 percent of millennials photograph their food and post it to social media before eating.

In light of this, developing a social media strategy to take advantage of this trend is one of the greatest values to your business.

A five-point strategy is one of the best methods to employ, according to Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce. Below is one model to consider:

  • Instagram: Some of the elementary advice is to not post pictures that look like ads, and do not rely on paid Instagram posts. It is important to set up a posting schedule by analysing market data and analytics, whilst employing basic media techniques such as “the rule of thirds” and “regramming”. One of the biggest winners is having a human touch; sharing photos and videos of your followers and their friends is a big win.
  • Facebook: One of the best ways to nail your marketing on this platform is to set up an event and encourage people to share by running a promotion (you do need a reasonable following to achieve this). Other methods of increasing views are to undertake the “three for three” trick. Spend three minutes commenting or liking posts of three other major pages around your area and watch the extra likes come in.
  • Twitter and Snapchat: Twitter is an easy way to grow but requires consistency and a lot of hashtags. On the other side of the coin, Snapchat is a great way to boost visual interaction through using a Geofilter. This tool gives you the ability to set a local tagline or graphic on your business posts that others can access and utilise.

Blogging and SEO: According to HubSpot, blogging is one of the best and most underutilised tools for small businesses. The research notes: “B2B companies that blogged 11 or more times per month had almost three times more traffic than those blogging zero to one times per month.” Blogging is a two-edged sword, as search engines use algorithms based on keywords to serve up relevant content to their users. Input the right words into your blog and you’ll have a higher chance of climbing search results and rankings.

With these tips in mind, consistency is the key for any content creation or content marketing strategy. Like all businesses, creating a successful brand requires time, effort and regular marketing efforts that are reviewed, assessed and updated.

By Timothy Buttery 

Digital Marketing Tips for your Business

Digital Marketing plays a key role in growing businesses of all shapes and sizes, all around the world. In this highly competitive landscape, it has never been more important to keep up to date with the latest changes and advancements in digital marketing.

In this Infographic, we show the importance of digital marketing to businesses today and the digital marketing techniques that marketers find most effective.


How Digital Platforms Influence Dining

Today’s busy customer expects restaurant-quality meals ordered in a few clicks on their phone and delivered to their door. Tall order, anyone?

Business owner Kate Toon says having food delivered to her door (or hotel) is a huge bonus. “I travel a lot and UberEats gives me a chance to try something new. As a vegetarian, there are so many options on the website.”

Recent research by found Australians spend $2.6 billion annually on having food delivered through companies like Menulog, UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora. Aussies clearly love the convenience and choice offered by these companies. It’s also commonplace to look up a restaurant and read reviews before choosing to eat there.

So, how do these digital platforms affect restaurant owners?

Read Google and TripAdvisor reviews

Many people look up restaurants on TripAdvisor or read Google reviews before making a reservation. Instagram is also a big influencer for millennials. Research shows one in three millennials avoid eating at restaurants that are not active on Instagram.

According to ReviewTrackers, 63 percent of people check Google reviews before visiting a business while 94 percent of customers avoid a company if they’ve read negative reviews.

Make sure you keep an eye on your listings and regularly search for any unhappy customers who may be sharing negative experiences, relating to your business, online. Quickly addressing these reviews can turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. By proactively acknowledging their complaint online and replying reflects positively on your business.

Tip: If social media overwhelms you, take it slow. Either hire one of your tech-savvy employees to #hashtag your social content, or learn how to do it yourself. Every 28 seconds, someone tags an Australian hotel, restaurant, or bar on Instagram. Don’t miss valuable social media traffic that can turn into actual customers.

Delivering food to customer’s door

Food delivery platforms like UberEats, Menulog and others have transformed the whole dining experience for customers in Australia. Even hatted restaurants like Sake allow customers to order through UberEats.

According to Morgan Stanley, more people will order takeaway food online by 2025 and the industry will be worth $4.2 billion. Busy customers are demanding more convenience and high food quality, as working hours become longer.

In Australia, UberEats, Menulog and other delivery companies have a list of restaurants on their websites. Customers order their meals through an app or the website.  The restaurant receives the order, makes the food and packs it ready for delivery. UberEats’ drivers take the food to the customer’s home or office while Menulog has restaurants make the deliveries themselves.

Get new customers

For Nerissa, owner of Lankan Tucker in Brunswick West, UberEats has brought more customers to their business since they signed up less than a year ago. “Despite the large commission (35 percent) charged by UberEats, we’ve managed to reach a lot more people who may not have found us otherwise,” she says.

“We’ve had a few issues with food going missing from bags or food going cold, which are beyond our control. Overall, the biggest benefit of being on UberEats has been more customers,” says Nerissa.

Running a restaurant is tough. Keeping up to date with what your customers want, and continuously looking for ways to increase sales and profits will keep you in business.

Digital platforms might be a way to reach more customers. But you also need to prepare for drivers turning up late, dropping off multiple orders affecting food temperature, high commissions affecting profit margins and kitchen staff stretched during busy times.

Like any other method, this approach needs careful analysis, monitoring and rapid problem solving to keep on top of results.

By Rashida Tayabali

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