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Boost Your Online Reputation with Seasonal Menus
Natalia Zaugg, Founder
26 November 2018
During the holiday season, the number of meals eaten out increases significantly. Christmas dinners, corporate as well as private, are followed by the New Year’s celebrations. As a restaurateur, you should take advantage of this season to boost your online reputation.
Best practices for seasonal menus
According to a recent study, guests, next to the freshness, give a lot of value to the seasonality of products served to them in a restaurant. Roughly 58% of all respondents would like restaurants to pay more attention to seasonality, which is followed by the fact that every second guest is looking for regional origin, home-made and handmade, fresh and natural products.
If handled correctly, this fact can be turned into your favor and enhance your image online. Especially during holiday season, it’s easy to draw attention to festive seasonal menus that deliver unique culinary experiences. Here are some tips on how to get guests talking about your venue.
1. Let your customers know about your offer
Inform your current and potential visitors about seasonal menus. Loyal guests will revisit your restaurant to try the limited-time offerings and the new guests may be inspired to come in because of the seasonal connection.
Many restaurants perfectly execute the offline part – putting up blackboards with the seasonal menu outside of the restaurant, making an extra seasonal menu for the guests, etc. However, quite often the online execution is forgotten. We suggest that promoting your seasonal menu online will give you at least as good results.
- Use Google Posts to inform your guests about your offer. Since Google introduced a “Follow” Button in Google Maps App, it’s important that you stand out from the competition with attractive Google Posts.
- Post photos from your test-cooking on social networks. Facebook and Instagram are the perfect platforms for sharing pictures of the menu and the crew.
- If you have photos made by a professional photographer, make sure to upload them to your Google My Business account, so users can see them when searching for your restaurant.
- When you update a menu or introduce a new seasonal menu, it makes sense to run a remarketing campaign in Google Display Network to let you current guests know about the news.
“58% of people would like restaurants to pay more attention to the seasonality.”
2. Make the offer attractive so your guests will be motivated to try it
Highlight the origin of the ingredients. Whether or not the products are sourced from the regional or local suppliers makes a difference. Research shows that 59% of the guests today are ready to spend more in a restaurant if the products come from the region.
We suggest highlighting your local suppliers. It’s a great idea to make a joint communication of your offer as it will certainly bring more guests into your restaurant.
People like to celebrate special events in groups. Especially before Christmas, group offers are in high demand. It’s recommended to create an attractive offer for your desired group size whether it’s a sharing dinner for 2 or a special menu for groups of 10 people and more.
Pay special attention to the booking process. Make it easy to book online or on the phone and train your staff to handle groups of all sizes.
Embracing a seasonal menu is a great way for your restaurant to bring more diversity to the existing menu and create more opportunities to increase business.
3. Increase staff engagement
According to our data, service is mentioned in approximately 50% of the reviews. Most people have a certain expectation of the experience when they go out, and excellent customer service is part of that.
When it comes to seasonal menus, the service staff should be well-informed about your offer. Changing a menu, even if it is just for weekly specials, allows your kitchen team to experiment with the new ingredients and preparation techniques and let their talents shine. The waiting team excited by the change will pass along that enthusiasm to the guests.
4. Make your guests promote your menu
Guests love giveaways. How about printing out a recipe for your seasonal dish and handing it to the guests after dinner? They’ll have some memories of their experience and be more likely to come back. Posting a recipe on your social media channel will generate likes and shares by your followers, which will broaden the audience who sees it.
Another idea is to create a hashtag which your customers can use when sharing their pictures on their social media profiles. Don’t forget to add it on your Facebook or Instagram post or print it out on the seasonal menu.
Having photo contests is an easy way to boost engagement, ask your guests to upload their best photos to social platforms. After your guest left the restaurant, you can still follow up with an e-mail saying “thank you” and asking to leave an honest feedback.
In the end, it all boils down to delivering products and experiences that are memorable and shareable. But with some of the tips mentioned above, you can achieve more engagement among regulars and attract new customers. Seasonal items will bring more diversity to your existing menu and create more opportunities to increase business.
Let us know about your experience with seasonal menus. We are looking forward to your comments.
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About the Author
Natalia is a creative writer at re:spondelligent. She is passionate about helping businesses manage and respond to their customer reviews and loves sharing her industry and marketing knowledge to help brands succeed.