There are dozens of restaurants serving traditional international cuisine in Bedford Place in Southampton: Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Bangladeshi, Lithuanian, traditional English pubs…but none of them is quite like Lakaz Maman – a tiny Mauritian Street Food restaurant, with brightly coloured walls and cheerful, turquoise, yellow, green and orange interior. What sets Lakaz Maman apart from all the other restaurants in the area, is its massive Facebook page – with 6083 followers and 5709 likes.
To put it into perspective: Lakaz Maman’s Facebook Page following makes up almost 5% of Southampton’s entire population, where the restaurant is based. And yet when you first look at the tiny Mauritian Street Food place, you wouldn’t have thought why it’s such an online sensation. Shelina Permaloo, also known as ‘The Mango Queen’, a winner of British Masterchef, did something different than most restaurant owners – and totally poured her heart into social media promotion. Results? You can almost *never* get a table in Lakaz Maman without a reservation, even though there are dozens of restaurants around, and the dining scene in Southampton is not exactly as vibrant as in London. And if you’re a restaurant owner, you should definitely take a leaf out of her book! In this post, we’ve dissected Lakaz Maman’s Facebook Marketing strategy and analysed what tactics contributed to their success – so you can apply them to promoting your restaurant too! And at the end, we’re gonna give you a ready-to-use Facebook post calendar for your restaurant!
Contents: [Click to jump straight to each section!]
How to promote a restaurant on Facebook – 10 Facebook promotion tactics for restaurants
When you go to most restaurant Facebook pages, they are quite dead. This is not the case for Lakaz Maman though – with Shelina’s personality and passion for traditional Mauritian cuisine shining through the restaurant’s social media posts, Lakaz Maman’s Facebook page has dozens of likes and comments under each post, and an obviously engaged online community. What are the secrets to their success? Here are some takeaways 😉
#1 Build a strong personal brand first – of yourself and your employees
As a restaurant owner, you should be the face and CEO of the business. Building a strong and authentic personal brand showing your passion for the food you’re serving in your restaurant is really the only way to build an authentic connection with your audience – and loyalty, so they keep coming again and again.
The same applies to your employees – after all, you wouldn’t be able to run your business without them. Put a human face to all that makes your place special – introduce each of your fabulous employees, from your chef, through cooks and other kitchen staff, general manager, waiters, drivers, suppliers and even cleaners. ❤
#2 Amazing photos first – make sure your photos are mouth-watering
People eat (and buy!) with their eyes – so if you’re promoting your restaurant on Facebook, make sure that the photos you’re using in your Facebook posts are *really* esthetic and appetizing. There’s nothing worse than bad photos of food.
The good news is: you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have a professional camera to take good photos of food. All you need is to follow a few simple rules so your Facebook food posts (#foodporn) will be really mouth-watering and will make your audience come right to your restaurant 😉
- Make sure you ‘stage’ your Facebook food photos – surround the dish by ingredients, create a ‘scene’ that tells a story
- Use a smart phone with a good camera (iPhone 7+) for good resolution pictures
- Make sure you’re taking the photos in good light – daylight is a must!
- Adjust brightness of your photos in your phone’s editing app – brighter photos make a better impression
- Adjust saturation and hue of the photos to make them look warmer – brighter, warmer and more intense photos look more ‘lively‘, and the food will look more fresh, healthy and appetizing
#3 Post regularly, show a diversity of posts and post *a lot*
Lakaz Maman posts very regularly and very often – at least once a day. They also alternate between post formats (photos, stories, videos…).
How to maintain such consistency and regularity with posting though when running a busy restaurant?
Get yourself a social media scheduler (an app that allows you to plan your posts into the future) and do your posting once a week – for instance, on a quiet Monday morning.
Make sure you take plenty photos and videos throughout the week:
- of food your kitchen is preparing
- of the cooking process
- of your staff and guests (with their clear and explicit permission!)
- of events
- of ingredients
- of your restaurant interior and the outside
Then sit down on your most quiet day and prepare all the posts in the social media scheduling tool for the whole week – Postfity allows you to schedule up to 10 pending posts for FREE – so the free account should be more than enough if you’re planning to post 1 post per day on Facebook only (if you want to add Instagram too, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Mini version – but it’s still just $9 per month.)
Select the best photos you took the previous week and think carefully of the captions you will use to describe them, what you want to achieve with them and what hashtags you will use. Short of ideas what to write in your captions? Keep reading 😉 I am going to elaborate on the restaurant facebook promotion strategy below – and even give you a ready-made post calendar with prompts 👇
#4 Tell stories
What you will easily notice about Lakaz Maman – is that they often tell compelling stories about the food they are making, origins of the dishes, the recipes or even the ingredients (see: the bananas!) in their Facebook post captions. Why? Storytelling is the no #1 success factor in building an authentic online presence – nobody wants to read dry descriptions of what they can already see. So – each time you write a Facebook post, think how you can tell a story around the things you captured in the photos or videos.
#5 Be personable and authentic
Remember you’re talking to real people – so be as personable, conversational and authentic in your posts as if you were talking to a good friend. Don’t be afraid of showing your personal writing style, or being quirky – that will only make you more memorable!
#6 Use emojis
Do you know that using emojis can significantly boost engagement with your Facebook posts? According to Zazzle media, using emojis in Facebook posts can boost the number of likes by 57% and the number of comments / shares by 33% 😱.
So – go ahead, sprinkle your Facebook posts with emojis – if you’re a PC user, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows + “.” (full stop) to bring up the emoji menu wherewher you’re writing:
#7 Build engagement
Engagement is the holy grail of social media marketing – and there are a few simple techniques to boost the engagement of your audience with your restaurant’s Facebook posts: generally speaking, anything that encourages interactions, conversations, reactions and comments. Lakaz Maman does above uses i.a. the following tactics:
- Ask questions
- Encourage tagging of friends
- Have a clear CTA – ask for comments with a clear answer below the post
- Encourage sharing user-generated content
#8 Answer all comments
Most importantly – when someone interacts with your post, answer all comments! Better still – ask follow-up questions to encourage even more conversations!
#9 Use all the different formats – photos, videos, stories
As you can see above, Lakaz Maman keeps its audience engaged by mixing photos up with collages, videos and stories. It’s easier to keep a balanced mix if you decide your posting schedule in advance – i.e. post a photo of a main dish on every Monday, a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesdays, a photo of yourself/ other staff members on Wednesday, a collage of ingredients on Thursday, a recipe with a photo of the dish on Friday, a fancy drink / dessert photo on Saturday, and a guest review photo on a Sunday.
#10 Use the Right Hashtags
Hashtags help your restaurant reach a wider audience of people following the specific keywords – so make sure you use them in your posts. Each hashtag you use should be relevant the content of your photo and video. Don’t use more than 1-2 hashtags per post though. To learn more about hashtag strategy for for different social media, see my earlier post here.
33 Restaurant Facebook Post Ideas
#1 Share a recipe
It’s so simple it seems almost unlikely that so many restaurant owners are missing that from their Facebook marketing. No, sharing recipes is not going to cannibalize your restaurant business – people don’t come to your restaurant just because they can’t cook the dishes themselves (hopefully 😉) – they come for experience, company, and to indulge in having someone cook for them. But they may still want to try to recreate some of the dishes at home later – or at least know how it’s made!
#2 Share videos of making food
Video is the most engaging post format on Facebook as of 2019 – so you should use it as often as possible in your restaurant marketing on Facebook. You can take videos of food being prepared in your kitchen (make sure it’s clean first! 😁), of your restaurant buzzing with activity (make sure you get your guests permission!), or of yourself talking about some specific ingredients you’re using in your dishes, or telling stories about your restaurant.
#3 Share videos of your events (e.g. catering events)
Events your restaurant cooked food for provide both a great story (showing your food in context) to tell, and at the same time – can serve as a source of inspiration for new potential clients (e.g. why don’t we get Mauritian food for our wedding as well?!)
#4 Ask questions
#5 Remind of home delivery options
If you’re offering home delivery or your restaurant is on delivery portals like Deliveroo or Just Eat – make sure you remind your audience about it at least once a week. Friday nights are a perfect time to do it – when a lot of people who decided not to go out may still want to treat themselves to a takeaway after a long week’s work.
# 6 Post riddles – about food in the making!
The example above shows Lakaz Maman posting a bowl of ground chillies, and asking their audience what they think they will be used for. This is a simple yet effective trick to boost engagement and invite comments under your post!
#7 Social proof – share your most popular dishes
Does your restaurant have any particular ‘guests’ favourites’ on the menu? Make sure you remind your audience about them every now and again – chances are they will come back for more 😉
#8 Tell a story (about your cuisine, a particular dish – where it comes from, how your mother/ grandmother taught you to make it, how you started your restaurant)
As we mentioned before – storytelling is probably the no #2 (after great photos) factor affecting your restaurant’s marketing success on Facebook. So make sure every beautiful photo of food you post comes together with a short story:
- what inspired this particular dish
- where the ingredients used come from
- what the name of the dish means in a local language
- any particular memories associated with this dish…
- when this dish is usually served in your country…
#9 Create a sense of urgency – launch new Christmas menu on Facebook stories
Creating a sense of urgency is a great psychological trick that works in all industries – so why not use it in marketing your restaurant on Facebook? 😀
To do it, you can for instance:
- Create time-limited menus
- Limit the number of particular dishes you’re gonna make (e.g. We made 10 hamburgers only – and when they’re gone, they’re gone! 😁)
- Limit the time you serve certain dishes to particular days
#10 Share screenshots of your Christmas menu
The holiday period is the perfect time to show off your seasonal menu on social media. Adding a time-limited, seasonal items to your menu provides your regular and former customers with an additional incentive to visit your restaurant.
#11 Promote each item from your Christmas menu in a new post
Apart from showcasing the whole menu, you should also post pictures of each Christmas dish in a separate post – that way you get a lot of content with fairly little effort! 😃
#12 Share festival food
Is your restaurant taking part in any local food festivals? No? It should 😉 Food festivals are an excellent way to reach a wider audience, and at the same time – generate more content and incentives for your old customers to return to you!
#13 Show upsells to take home
Running a restaurant business does not need to mean that the only way you make money is by serving food to your guests in the restaurant. You can still sell condiments, spices and other traditional ingredients used in the dishes you serve – and showcase them in your social media posts!
#14 Host competitions
Don’t forget about using your Facebook business page to host competitions – they are an excellent way to promote your restaurant and keep people coming back for more. The prizes should of course be dinners in your restaurant 😉
#15 Holiday recipes posts
Share recipes of special foods for holidays in your local region – especially if you’re running an ‘exotic’ or ‘oriental’ restaurant – make sure you share some stories about the special occassion too!
#16 Promote your reviews
If you get a positive review or words of praise from a customer? Flaunt it in your Facebook post too!
#17 Show your restaurant – inside and out!
Another thing that a lot of restaurants seem to be missing is to actually showcase their interior and exterior. Lakaz Maman nailed it too – often reminding its followers about the cosy place, or showing new additions and decorations.
#18 Show your customers
Of course, with their permissions 😉 a lot of people will be happy with their 5 minutes of fame though – especially if they can talk about their business in the post too.
#19 Show your ‘behind the scenes’ – your kitchen and food in the making!
To make things even more intimate and engaging, show how your kitchen staff and yourself are making the food – you audience will be delighted to see you in action! This is a perfect opportunity for you to use video on your Facebook page too.
#20 Premiere new dishes on the menu
Whenever you’re adding a new dish to your menu, or a seasonal twist – make sure to premiere it on your Facebook! Also – don’t forget to tell a story about it 😉
#21 Promote dishes for different meal times
Breakfast, lunch, dinner…they all deserve separate posts on your Facebook page!
#22 Promote Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options
More and more people these days have a special dietary requirement – either out of conviction, choice or for health reasons. Why not show your consideration and regularly remind your followers you have vegan, kosher, halal, gluten-free or dairy-free options? And by *frequently* – we mean at least once per week… people tend to forget and then, when going out with a person who has special requirements – they will remember your restaurant only if you send these notices regularly.
#23 Show your ingredients
If you’re running an exotic restaurant, the ingredients you use for preparing your dishes will be of great interest to your audience. Kafir leave, buko, panadan – don’t know what I’m talking about? Exactly! 😉
#24 Promote guest generated content – give discounts for sharing photos on social media with your # and @
This is *huge*. Not only will promoting user-generated content massively boost engagement on your restaurant’s Facebook page, but also save you tons of time creating content 😉
#25 Encourage friend tagging
Another way you can boost engagement is by asking your followers to tag their friends in the comments – this will both give you potentially new followers, and customers 😉
#26 Different posts for different days of the week
As we already mentioned at the beginning of this post – consistency is key. So grab your calendar and decide what kind of content you’re gonna publish each day of the week, or grab our content calendar below 😉
#27 Different posts for starters, mains and desserts
“Life is short, eat dessert first” – I mean…who doesn’t love desserts?! 🤔 Create different posts showing the selection of starters, mains and of course…the desserts.
#28 Use emojis
As we mentioned above: emojis can boost engagement on your posts by up to 57% – why not start using them to add more humour, personality and make your posts stand out more? 😉 Remember you can easily add them on Windows computers by using “Windows” + “.” 💪💪
#30 Use CTAs
Want to boost engagement under your Facebook posts? Don’t forget to include calls to action! How would your audience know you want them to leave comments otherwise? 😉 Comments are *gold* for your Facebook page’s visibility and you should try to encourage them through smart CTAs in as many posts as possible.
#31 Throwback Thursday Posts
The #ThrowbackThursday hashtag is trending across all social media – why not use it in your restaurant Facebook posts then?!
You can talk about for example:
- how you started your restaurant
- any particularly pivotal events in your restaurant business
- any events you hosted last week/months/year
- positive reviews last week/months/year
- …dishes you cooked last week/months/year – sky is the only limit 😉
#32 Easy dishes
Similar to sharing recipes – sharing simple dishes that can be whipped up in a few minutes is another interesting idea for a restaurant Facebook post that your audience is likely to share – everybody is always so busy, that sharing quick (and yet tasty and impressive!) recipes is guaranteed to bring results.
#33 Show press coverage
There’s hardly anything as interesting as seeing a familiar face featured on national media. As you can see, Shelina uses her media appearances as one of her Facebook post formats for her restaurant. If you’re not exactly a media personality yourself, you can get a PR service like PressFarm to write press releases for you and reach out to media outlets for you.
Restaurant Facebook Post Calendar
Feeling inspired? We made putting this into action even easier for you – simply download our post calendar (with clear ideas of posts for each day of the month) below and start scheduling your Facebook posts for your restaurant today!
Here are some more resources on restaurant marketing:
- Restaurant email marketing and newsletter templates
- Restaurant voucher marketing