Restaurant Social Media Marketing Results In The Flesh

“I love it when a plan comes together!” – Hannibal Smith, A-Team

I’ve worked on my fair share of social media campaigns, and every once in awhile, a project comes my way that I have an extra ounce of vested interest in making a success.  A few months ago I had the honor of taking on doing some social media consulting for one of my favorite local restaurants Emory’s, a fine dining establishment north of Seattle and in my neck of the woods.  I’ve been a regular there for some time, and had a good friend that opened up the door for me to work with them.

Emory’s has an interesting history as the original building actually burned to the ground a few years ago and was completely rebuilt and re-launched.  It’s a fantastic restaurant right off a small lake, and their are very few options like it in the area.  Good food, great environment, and fantastic service.  They were doing good business, but wanted to ensure they didn’t suffer from the same early year drops in business.

They turned to social media as an area to focus on and I had the opportunity to craft and implement a plan for them.  The plan consisted of:

  1. Give their FB page creative a facelift
  2. Create and launch a promotion
  3. Use a FB ad campaign ($500 budget for Feb) to target users within a 10 mile radius of the restaurant to promote a gift card giveaway to increase FB likes.
  4. Increase their Twitter reach by identifying users within close proximity of the restaurant.
  5. Re-vamp their engagement/content strategy to incorporate more interaction, photos of food/daily specials, and highlighting nightlife events.
  6. Re-design their website to include a blog and better social integration.

We launched all this work at the beginning of February and within 1 month achieved the following results:

  1. Grew FB likes from 1,200 to over 6,000
  2. Over a 1500% increase in engagement (combination of likes, shares and comments on wall postings)
  3. Grew Twitter following from 30 to over 1,200 targeted users

And the absolute most important stat:

  1. Grew restaurant guest count rate in March 1.7% over previous year after an 8% decrease in January, and 6% decrease in February.

Emory’s overall was projecting a 5% decrease in guest count for 2012, mainly as they had a good 2011 being the first year post fire.  However by putting a small investment in time and money into social media, they were able to turn around negative guest count rates, into a positive one by the 2nd month of the campaign.  I also predict that if they continue with the momentum and utilize these strategies, they can expect staying in the positive with guest counts, or at the very least, leverage social media to counter the doldrums they are accustomed to experiencing during certain times of the year.

The moral to this case study is that social media can work, especially for restaurants within a budget that can be profitable.  And it is extremely measurable.

Own a restaurant or know someone that does that could use the same help?  Send them my way and I promise similar if not better results!

Comments

  1. This has a lot of information stated here.. I just hope a lot of people would get benefit from this post..

  2. I can vouch for this post! Social media is a big help in some restaurants, especially when they have free wi-fi service offered. Thanks for all the info!

    1. Thanks Mary! Glad you found it useful. I know restaurants typically don’t have large marketing budgets, but it’s still possible to make it work.

  3. Wow these are some really awesome results. I just started getting into this stuff and i can see how powerful it really is. I launched my website about 2 months ago and my seo has already gotten me to page 1. So now i am looking into this social stuff and you have really opened up my eyes here.

  4. I think your over all social media marketing strategy looks like a winner. I think this is the way to go. There is still a myth that just increasing likes and followers will increase the popularity. I am sure a lot of the so called marketers will take a lesson from this post.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Darin. I always work with clients to measure real business results and not just likes and follows. Those are just a means to an end.

  5. Great job Jason. I was wondering why business had picked up at Emory’s over the past few months and now I know why. I’ve been a fairly steady user of social media platforms myself over the past couple years on FB & Twitter for my business, but I’ve found that it’s really difficult to monetize the return on the time invested or is that looking at the glass half full ? Keep these great case studies coming, appreciate all of your work, thx ~ Max

  6. Oh yes. Social media is real important to let the buyers know how good qualities do we have. To give our people the introduction of our product and to be more known.

  7. As someone who loves food and eating out, I was very interested to read your post. I think you’ve achieved some excellent social media results; but I’m curious to know if you were able to tie the increase in business directly to social media efforts. You mentioned launching a promotion. It would be great to hear about the details of that promotion and whether there was a code or other type of reference that enabled you to track customers back to it.

    Also, did Foursquare, Yelp or other food-related communities (like Urbanspoon) play a part in your plan?

  8. These days most of restaurant are now go online for the purpose of using social media so if you want to reach them you are going to have to be there as well.

  9. I really like this. I am just about to write a social media strategy for a food festival and am glad of the Facebook tips.