Food blogs are big business, and these days they can be a powerful marketing tool for the savvy restaurateur.
Owning your own restaurant is a labor of love. Long hours. Low profit margins. A highly competitive market. And now, the aftermath of the pandemic. It’s not an industry you get into unless it’s really a calling.
But once you’re all-in, there are few careers more rewarding, few sights more uplifting than that of a restaurant filled with happy diners, few feelings more nourishing than that of feeding your customers the food you you like.
It’s what brings restaurateurs into the profession, and it’s what keeps them there.
But as idyllic as the dream of owning a restaurant may seem, the reality is that it’s also a business. And it forces you to make smart, savvy financial decisions if your restaurant is to survive and thrive in the long term. One of the first and most important of these business decisions may well be to hire a food blogger to up your restaurant’s marketing game.
Why a food blogger?
Anyone who has spent any time in the food industry knows that budgets are as tight as competition is fierce. It’s imperative to make every penny count while ensuring that your store doesn’t just fade into obscurity simply due to insufficient marketing budget.
Partnering with a food blogger can be a perfect way to build your brand, increase name awareness, and capitalize on the huge and growing power of electronic word of mouth (eWOM).
After all, it’s not just restaurant budgets that are tight, but diners’ as well. Now more than ever, consumers are looking to do a significant amount of research online before making any type of purchase, and that includes selecting a new restaurant to try.
In fact, food blogs and vlogs are big business today, with some of the top food “influencers” boasting millions of loyal followers and lucrative deals with top restaurants and food brands.
Conclude an agreement
As lucrative as the industry can be, that doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire operating budget by partnering with one of these high profile influencers. That would defeat the purpose.
Instead, scale back, start small, and think local. Look for bloggers located in your area. Notice the types of cuisine they tend to write about the most and best. Also consider the responses they receive. Is the site active? Is the blogger reliable and consistent? Does it seem to have a strong and engaged following?
Once you have a good idea of who the blogger is and if their site would be a good match for your restaurant, contact them. Tell the story of your restaurant, explain why you think your restaurant might be a good match for their blog, and invite them to a free meal.
The terms of your partnership will depend a lot on you and your blogger. An established blogger, for example, can charge up to $1,000 for every 100,000 “impressions” generated by the blog featuring your restaurant.
Admittedly, this may seem like a pretty big expense, but compared to the volume of new business it can generate, the potential return can far exceed the initial costs.
take it home
As beneficial as partnering with an established food blogger can be, it’s by no means your only option. You can take the process in-house by creating your own food blog for your restaurant’s website.
It can be the perfect way, for example, for potential and established customers to learn about the menu, keep up to date with new offerings, current promotions, and even special interest events. And, of course, having a strong in-house blog can also be very beneficial if you choose to approach a food blogger for a partnership that will potentially broaden your two readerships.
If you’re considering starting a food blog, there are important factors to consider beyond the writing itself. Diners of all ages, and especially young adults, Millennials and Generation Z, don’t just want a treat for the taste buds. They want a feast for the eyes. Half the fun for diners today is searching for food images and videos online, as well as taking and posting photos of their own meals before diving in.
So if you are going to start a food blog, the visuals will be as important as the text, if not more so. To make sure your blog looks professional and will keep your foodie-savvy audience coming back, for example, it’s a good idea to invest in a robust suite of editing tools and learn how to use them. .
It doesn’t matter how delicious your food is, how thrilled your customers may be with your restaurant, or how witty and captivating your blog’s prose is, if your site is filled with badly composed and badly edited, you risk losing a large part of your target audience.
Food blogs are big business, and these days they can be a powerful marketing tool for the savvy restaurateur. Such partnerships can be formed in any number of ways, from cultivating paid sponsorships with established bloggers, to building new relationships with up-and-coming food writers, to starting your own in-house food blog, maintaining a blog visually. and textually irresistible on your own restaurant’s website.