Written by: Dean Hua

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A restaurant which receives more store traffic on a weekly basis than another has an advantage. It means it can tap into a larger base of influencers and evangelists who can spread the word should it wish to implement a proper social media campaign. The business with a bigger social media army has a better chance of winning.

For example, a fast casual restaurant concept has more customers on a weekly basis than the high end restaurant. The fast casual concept sells a meal that averages $10. This, versus the high end concept who is focused more on the ‘experience’ whereby the average meal per customer is $75. As such, you would think this gives the fast casual restaurant an advantage if it were to create a social media campaign because its playing the ‘numbers game’.

But wait right there. The situation is not so black and white. Let’s add a new layer to this comparison.

That very same high end restaurant that receives less instore traffic isn’t necessarily at a disadvantage. Because they focus on the dining experience, that experience may be memorable enough to get customers talking and spreading word of their experience through the various social media platforms that the customer is on. Compare this to the fast casual restaurant. It may receive more instore traffic but perhaps it’s dining experience is more of a commodity. Commodities are unoriginal. Unoriginality doesn’t get people talking. Only remarkable concepts get people talking.

So you’re thinking that the high end restaurant may win. Wait just one second. Let’s add one more layer to this already complex situation.

While the high end restaurant offers a remarkable experience to its diners, perhaps its customers do not use social media enough to warrant the restaurant investing into a social media campaign. Whereas the demographics for the customers of the fast casual chain suggest that they tweet and check-in religiously. Any online marketing strategist would dream of having an audience base whose fingers are ready to Tweet at a moment’s notice.

Does this mean the fast casual restaurant should definitely implement a social media campaign? Does this mean the fast casual restaurant will have a more viable social media campaign relative to its more expensive counterpart?

Smart Social Media Marketing requires strategic thinking and understanding all the layers involved. As you have read from the above scenario, it is very rare to get a fair apples to apples comparison. And therein lies the problem. Most prospective clients come in and say, “Oh,well, Donnie’s Diner is doing great things with their social media campaign. Here at Sam’s Steakhouse, we want to do what Donnie is doing. We both are in the restaurant business so surely we can just copy what they are doing and get similar results. You can do that Dean, right?”

Donnie and Sam have two different concepts. So let’s treat it as such.

I don’t ever make the mistake of pigeonholing one business with the rest because I know there are many layers involved. Good strategic thinkers and consultants take into account all the layers involved before presenting the solution.


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