Restaurants aren’t typically known for their values. In the past, patrons weren’t necessarily going to choose a place to eat solely based on what that restaurant believed in. But, that mindset might be changing.
Nowadays, people are passionate about their own values and beliefs. Things like sustainability, inclusivity, and equality are at the forefront of every conversation. As a result, more people are willing (and wanting) to support businesses that align with their values. One study found that 72% of U.S. consumers want brands to reflect their values. That runs the gamut from clothing companies and big tech corporations down to hometown restaurants.
Whether you’re just opening a restaurant or have years of business under your belt, it’s never a bad idea to have some form of values you can stick by and demonstrate. Using social media to demonstrate them digitally and conversationally will get the word out quickly, and help you appeal to a wider target audience of people who share those values.
So, why should you effectively demonstrate your business’ values via social media? How can you go about doing it?
Let’s cover a few helpful tips that can take your restaurant to the next level simply by being honest.
When you do, you’ll open yourself to a new audience for the restaurant, and even the possibility of new employees.
Why Does it Matter?
You might already have company values that you’ve stuck by for years. Maybe they’re documented somewhere, or maybe they’re even up on your website. So, why share those values on social media?
Simply put — to broaden your audience of potential customers.
Social media increases your exposure and opens your restaurant to new audiences you’ve not thought about you before. When used the right way, it can increase your success by boosting your growth and humanistic qualities. In a world that’s inundated with advertisements and cold branding efforts, that makes a huge difference. Social media can boost your restaurant’s overall value by:
- Increasing brand recognition
- Growing sales
- Enhancing your reputation
- Improving patron satisfaction
Furthermore, showcasing your values on social media is a great way to spark conversations. If you’ve been trying to jump on current social media trends to get more engagement, you might find that simply being yourself and telling the world what you’re all about is one of the best approaches.
By demonstrating your values, you’ll be able to answer further questions people might have, engage directly with commenters, and continue to demonstrate what you believe to show people you’re the real deal. You can take it one step further by posting behind-the-scenes photos or hosting live stream events.
Social media matters, especially when it comes to your values because it sets the tone for your existing and potential audiences. They’ll know who you are and what to expect before they even walk in the door.
Put Your Passions Forward
No matter what your values are, it’s a good idea to hone in on a few central ideas and drive them home. It should be a part of your marketing strategy, but it needs to be much more than a ploy to get people in the door.
Consider what you’re truly passionate about as an individual and a business. Don’t be afraid to ask your staff members what their values are, and what they’d like to see your restaurant represent. Some ideas include:
- LGBTQ+ friendly
- Equal rights/pay for all workers
- Zero food waste
There are plenty of causes and values that can come to the forefront nowadays. You don’t have to stick with just one. But, your restaurant will undoubtedly start to become known for the values you represent. So, make sure the things that are most important to you are utilized frequently in your social media strategy.
For example, diversity is another major issue in the workplace right now. Many patrons want to see diversity when they’re dining so they know your restaurant is inclusive. Diversity creates a warm and welcoming environment — not only for your guests but for your employees. You’re more likely to attract top talent with a diverse workplace, and it’s been shown that diversified businesses are more profitable.
Sustainability is another hot topic, especially in the restaurant industry. One survey found that 83% of consumers want restaurants to use more environmentally-friendly practices. That could include anything from sourcing local ingredients to ordering meats that are sustainably raised or caught.
Reducing your carbon footprint as a restaurant is a fantastic thing to share on social media. Restaurants, unfortunately, generate around 33 million pounds of food waste each year. Lately, they’ve also been contributing to more emissions as food delivery services have picked up throughout the pandemic. By sharing your efforts to be “green” and environmentally friendly on social media, you’ll gain more attention from current and prospective customers. This will also make them feel good about dining in your establishment.
Don’t Do It On Your Own
Chances are, you got into the restaurant business because you either know how to manage people well, or you know how to cook well. You may not necessarily know how to expand your business plan.
But, being able to make changes, share your values, and grow your brand is important, especially in today’s competitive market among other restaurants
Now is a perfect time to make those changes. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard. Thousands of places had to shut their doors completely. If you were lucky enough to stay afloat, you’re probably still working through issues like staffing shortages, supply chain issues, or simply keeping your workers and patrons safe. Some people are still uncertain or fearful about the virus and its variants. So, whatever you can do to make your audience feel confident in their decision to visit your establishment should be a top priority.
Demonstrating your values is a great way to do that, and you don’t have to “figure it out” on your own.
By working with a business consulting company, you can learn some of the best social media practices for the restaurant industry today. The right company will even help you with everything from setting up a professional website to guiding you through exactly how to demonstrate your values.
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to face in sharing your values on social media is getting over the fear of doing it. Demonstrating your values, no matter what they are, will show the personal side of your business. It will also let your patrons know, without a doubt, where you stand on certain issues. Unfortunately, some people use social media as a platform for negativity. So, while your overall experience will likely be positive and encouraging, be prepared for a few negative comments, as well. Not everyone will agree with your beliefs — especially from behind the safety of a computer screen. By staying true to who you are, you’ll show your audience that they can trust what you have to say. That’s the kind of trust that builds customer loyalty.
If you haven’t demonstrated your values through social media already, it’s time to include them in your content strategy. Whether you do it on your own or work with a consultant, it’s never a bad idea to share your passion for the restaurants and the purpose with your patrons.