A Guide For Writing Restaurant Blogs by David Hayden: Restaurant Idea Roundup

David Hayden of Hospitality Formula Network

David Hayden is an expert on blogging and restaurants. He is the author and creator of The Hospitality Formula Network, a series of five blogs covering multiple facets of the restaurant industry. Four of his blogs were recently included in a listing the top sixty restaurant industry blogs, including two in the top ten. His first book, Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips, has been receiving rave reviews throughout the industry. We asked David to write about how a restaurant can better leverage its blog for success, so sit back and enjoy learning from his years of experience in this area!

Best Practices For Your Restaurant’s Blog

Restaurants seeking a competitive advantage in marketing through social media are producing incredible results with restaurant blogs. These restaurants are finding value in placing blogs at the core of their social media outreach programs. A successful blog can compliment all of a restaurant’s other marketing programs while creating a level of engagement that cannot be found on other platforms. This is because blogs allow for the casual fan to learn far more about the restaurant than they can, or should, learn from a traditional restaurant website. When successfully executed a blog can reinforce your concept and connect to your guests in a way that other types of outreach cannot.

A restaurant blog should be an extension of your restaurant’s concept and is the best format for providing the in-depth information that your guests seek. Your restaurant’s website should provide basic information like your location, hours, and menu. Your restaurant’s blog should go a step further by providing details on the food you serve, the neighborhood you are located in, and the staff that create a memorable dining experience. If your restaurant’s website is a resume, the blog would be the autobiography. The website gives an overview, but the blog tells the stories. Most importantly, your blog allows you to tell the stories you want to tell in the way you want to tell them.

Definition of a Blog

The 5 Best Restaurant Blogging Practices

The key to creating a successful blog is providing content your guests and potential guests want to read. If you use your blog for posting thinly veiled advertisements, you will be disappointed in the response it creates. Your guests will not go out of their way to read your advertisements. They will read your blog and return if you provide them content that is interesting and informative. A blog is not about advertising to your guests, but rather engaging them. Successful restaurant blogs do this by posting information that emphasizes their knowledge, expertise, and personality. This information in turn creates engagement with the guest that will lead them to your tables. When you provide something of value that your competitors do not, you will find guests eager to support your restaurant.

With this understanding of the value, purpose, and focus of a successful restaurant blog, here are five best practices that can take your restaurant’s blog to the next level.

  • Showcase Your Experts: A blog allows you to showcase the talents and expertise of your staff in a way that you might not be able to do in other formats. A chef writing in-depth about the importance of the mother sauces or their passion about sustainable seafood will make a strong impression on your readers. A bartender explaining the differences between types of Scotch or the techniques they use to create a crafted cocktail will have your guests anticipating happy hour. Your blog should capitalize on the knowledge of your staff to create experts that your readers will seek out. These types of posts will give your guests confidence when they dine with you.
  • Share The Spotlight: One of the easiest ways to gain exposure for your blog and build a following is to showcase other individuals or organizations. At first glance this may seem contrary to highlighting your restaurant. The reason this is so successful is that those you share the spotlight with will turn it back on your restaurant’s blog. They will broadcast this content to their friends, fans, and followers. These people in turn will visit your blog and most likely read some of the other content you provide. Profiles of your staff members, reviews from your regulars, and content about other community organizations will all create more exposure for your blog and your restaurant. Choosing to highlight those with an audience similar to your target demographic will increase these results exponentially.
  • Use Multiple Media Formats: Blogs can be used for far more than text. Posts containing only text are actually less likely to be shared on other social networks than those that contain multiple media formats. Every post should contain at least one picture. A video of a bartender creating one of your signature cocktails that are accompanied by a recipe are far more likely to be shared by others than the recipe alone. Interviews should be accompanied by pictures. A great restaurant blog looks more like a magazine than a novel. When you keep your content interesting with multiple media formats and you will keep your readers coming back for more.
  • Network With Other Bloggers: One of the biggest advantages of starting a blog is that it provides you with some degree of membership into the blogging community. You will find that most amateur bloggers are incredibly helpful if you provide content that goes beyond advertising. This can be a great source of guest posts, reviews, and favorable mentions. A link on a popular blog can cause a significant spike in traffic. Look for ways that you can create mutually beneficial relationships with other bloggers. Once you seek entrance into this community, you will find many bloggers eager to help you and spread the word about your restaurant.
  • Utilize The Talents Of Your Staff: It is safe to say that most of your staff does not see their current job as a career. Almost all of the members of your staff will have talents and skills that could prove helpful in creating a blog that your guests will find interesting. Seek out those with graphic design, website programming, editing, photography, and video editing skills to get involved in this project. This will help them improve their resume and portfolios. It will also create a sense of ownership in the blog that will have them invested in seeing it succeed. When you make the blog a team effort, you will find the burden of upkeep much lighter with a much more professional finished product.

A restaurant blog should be an extension of your restaurant’s concept and is the best format for providing the in-depth information that your guests seek. Your restaurant’s website should provide basic information like your location, hours, and menu. Your restaurant’s blog should go a step further by providing details on the food you serve, the neighborhood you are located in, and the staff that create a memorable dining experience. If your restaurant’s website is a resume, the blog would be the autobiography. The website gives an overview, but the blog tells the stories. Most importantly, your blog allows you to tell the stories you want to tell in the way you want to tell them.

Man On Typewriter Writing a Restaurant Blog

In Conclusion

Most successful restaurants have embraced social media as a low cost/high return method of driving guests through their front doors. A restaurant’s blog can be an extremely powerful part of an overall social media marketing strategy. A properly utilized blog will allow your customers a level of engagement that no other form of marketing can offer. Providing entertaining and informative content will reach potential guests and convert them to future reservations.

- David Hayden

Hope you enjoyed David's post about restaurant blogging! What about you? What has been your experience with blogging for your restaurant? Any other tips or advice you would add? If you thought this post was helpful, please tell your friends about it by clicking on one of the social media icons to the left of your screen!