What social media for bars & restaurants is REALLY about

There seems to be ongoing confusion as to just how social media should be used by bar and restaurant owners, managers and marketers. I sent out a tweet yesterday that had no end of responses and retweets where I explained what social media is not. In this post, I want to elaborate on this further and explain what it is.

Before I do that though, I can’t help but wonder at what point did it become a natural choice to try and spam as many people as possible with messages written in capital letters with poor grammar and non-existent punctuation? It can’t be just the fact that there is a built in audience on social media and that if you shout to enough people, “someone” will hear it and take action, because if that was the case, newspaper circulation wouldn’t be in decline and by the same measure if you as a business owner ever saw a crowd of people in the street, you would run up to them and scream: “$2 DRAFTS 5-7PM, $1 PBRs, NCAA GAME TONIGHT, YEAHHHH!!!!!”,  but you don’t. At least I hope you don’t.

No, I think the answer is a mixture of laziness, misinformation and pure speculative marketing. Conversely, those businesses that actually use social media transparently, informatively and appropriately can often attribute sales and success to it. So why isn’t everyone doing it that way? Let’s break down what “doing it the right way” actually means.



First off, social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc were not designed for use by business. Not for a second. They all sprung up to serve the needs of ordinary folks like you and me. Business use came second to this initial goal of making life easier or more interesting for a customer.  To capture the hearts, minds and dollars of our customers, we must therefore appeal to them. Not advertise to them, not spam them, not shout at them, not call them namesnot confuse them by linking different social media accounts together. No. We must appeal. That means we share with them politely, sparingly, and appropriately, the best things about the bar or restaurant. A picture of a certain dish that is a customer favorite, a video of the band that rocked there over the weekend, a picture of the beautiful enclosed patio, a video of your specialty cocktail being mixed. Need I go on? Educate, don’t alienate. Your customers are smart and if you provide the dots, they’ll join them themselves.

Now I’m not saying you can never tell people what price things are or how they can buy from you, but I am saying that the difference in engagement between the two styles of posts can be staggering. Check out these two images as an example:

The first, a sales related post (note the engagement numbers)

and the second, from the same Facebook Page, shared 48 hrs apart with no sales pitch:


Which would you rather have? Remember, every time someone clicks “Like” or they comment or share a post, more than 150 more people (their friends) see it too. So think of social media posts as viral messages that serve to educate your fans and their friends.



What is a bar or restaurant only an entertainment hub. Places you go to eat, drink, enjoy the company of others, listen to music, play pool, the list goes on. So why would social media be any different. Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages are extensions of your brands and should be treated that way. Keep your business “top of mind” with your customers by entertaining them during the day with clever posts, funny pictures, add-your-caption posts and entertaining content consistent with your brand. That extra minute a day that your fans spend being entertained by you could make the difference when it comes to making a dining decision so don’t take this suggestion lightly.



Engagement breeds engagement breeds business. Make your Facebook and Twitter posts open ended occasionally to solicit a response. Think about it, if you post a statement, you’re not giving anyone a reason to reply or click “like” or comment. You know what happens when you occasionally ask your fans to “Click Like if…..”? They click Like! It’s not rocket science, just don’t wear it out. Social media interactions are like a bank account, you can;t keep taking out, you have to put something on every now and again, so engage with your customers. Run promotions thatattract entries and viral shares. Keep to Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines when doing so and you’ll help increase customer loyalty and “top-of-mind” buy in from your fans when you do run a monthly or weekly contest.

So there you have my three E’s of what you should be doing on your social media channels. Anything different, I’d consider carefully if its in the best interest of your customer. Keep them happy and they’ll keep you happy.



Views: 311


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Ice cream makes a comeback with unusual new flavors

Ice cream shops saw their sales dip 4% from 2008 through 2013, as health-conscious consumers switched to frozen yogurt, but n -More

Grand Cru® Pistachio Crisps with Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
Pistachios pair perfectly with Grand Cru® in this unique, on-trend application. Grand Cru is an award-winning Alpine-style cheese that's crafted to achieve memorable menu items, and this one is no exception. Plus, it is now available in a convenient, slice-on-slice format. Find this and other inventive recipe ideas that will help you create a masterful menu.

Panda Express aims to stay trendy with new store concept

Panda Express opened a new eatery in a Pasadena, Calif., strip mall last month, which doubles as a test kitchen for new menu  -More

3 reasons why "charitable giving" law is good for business

Many restaurateurs already participate in food-donation programs because it's the right thing to do, but may not realize the  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Commends House Passage of Charitable Giving, Anti-Hunger Measures

The National Restaurant Association today applauded members of the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 4719, 'America Gives More Act of 2014.'

NRA Releases Sustainability Report Offering Expert Advice and Money-Saving Tips

The National Restaurant Association has issued a new report focused on sustainability best practices for the foodservice industry.

Meritage Reports Second Quarter 2014 Results

Sales increased 15.4% to $40.5 million from $35.1 million for the same period last year.

Kaiser’s Pizza Increases Their Dough With Future POS

Kaiser’s Pizza in Gurnee, IL and Kenosha, WI upgrades to POS Partners, Inc. for higher profits and better service

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Signs Agreement to Purchase 21 Burger King® Restaurants in Upstate New York

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:TAST) today announced that on July 11, 2014 it signed a definitive agreement to purchase 21 BURGER KING® restaurants from Kessler Group, Inc.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service