Facebook Offers Significant Value to a Restaurant's Marketing Strategy publication date: Apr 29,
author/source: Andrew Smith
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Social media's ability to influence consumers should not be underestimated in a restaurant's marketing
strategy. Websites like Facebook provide a unique avenue to not only retain current customers, but to attract
new customers to their restaurants, according to a recent Morpace Omnibus Study.
Take wine tasting events, a complex and often expensive process for restaurants to manage. Using social
media websites like Facebook can be an efficient way to manage and promote such an event. Wineries have
to be called, vintages need to be reviewed and selected, and schedules have to be synchronized.
Getting Fans in Detroit...
Restaurants like Andiamo, an Italian restaurant based in the Metropolitan Detroit area, are making these
events much more accessible through the use of a Facebook Fan Page.
Andiamo is one of many restaurants that efficiently utilize Facebook to reach their target market and attract
new customers to their locations. Under their "Wine" tab, Andiamo has posted an aesthetically pleasing
display advertising their Andiamo Wine Events. In addition to the date and location, each event is crafted
around a specific region of the world.
Through such wine tasting events as "Demystifying Italy" or "The Wines of South America", Andiamo has
made it quite convenient for wine connoisseurs to select a date to attend, successfully attracting new
customers into their restaurants. This new business represents a variety of new customers, many of which
could have been a patron to a local restaurant if they had not found the Andiamo Facebook Page.
Effective marketing using Facebook presents restaurants with a prime opportunity to interact with consumers
by sharing promotions, coupons, and events with minimal costs. Furthermore, Facebook affords consumers
the opportunity to voice support and virally market a favorite restaurant to their Facebook "Friends."
Notable Facebook Statistics...
Morpace's March Omnibus Study brings to light some other notable statistics about Facebook as it relates to
restaurants. Of the 1,000 panel respondents who have an active Facebook account, roughly 88 percent
reported being a member of a Fan Page (effective April, Facebook began phasing out the Fan Page
terminology, instead referring to fans as members who "like" a page). Facebook pages can serve as virtual
forums created by restaurants, music bands, or retailers where consumers are allowed to express
themselves and the Fan Page originator can disseminate information.
Nearly one-half of consumers on Facebook currently "like" at least one restaurant page, the report revealed.
In addition, 40 percent of the website's users would be most likely to join a restaurant's Facebook page as
opposed to a retailer or product page.
It is also interesting to note the reasons consumers say they "like" a page. Thirty-seven percent of Facebook
members join for coupons and discounts.
Although coupons and discounts cannot be overlooked, it is important to note that over one-in-three
Facebook users join Fan Pages to stay current on new products available. Forty percent of consumers on
Facebook who "like" one or more restaurants follow such restaurants just for that reason. These findings
provide strong recommendations for restaurant marketers.
Most importantly, Facebook needs to be utilized effectively. As a social media site with over 400 million
users, the opportunity to reach a target market exists for companies with the ability to effectively leverage its
Where Opportunities Exists...
A Facebook page should be considered a huge opportunity to reach consumers. An "Events" section on the
page will inform consumers of specific dates for which the entertainment might attract new customers to a
restaurant location. In today's society, the ability to obtain instantly available information has resulted in a
large reduction in consumer attention.
An up-to-date Facebook Page allows consumers to obtain daily specials or Friday Night events without
leaving a Facebook site or having to Google a restaurant. This satisfies the need for information with a
minimum amount of effort.
Current Facebook pages also provide a unique opportunity to distribute coupons and promotions to a
customer base, which can significantly impact a restaurant's ability to retain customers at little cost.
Customers who may only visit twice a year could be enticed to a restaurant location by Facebook's exclusive
coupons. The added benefit of this strategy is that it allows for tracking of the coupons and will provide one
metric to determine the success of the Facebook page.
Another important impact on a marketing program is that the coupons distributed using Facebook saves
hundreds if not thousands of dollars annually on printed coupons and flyers. With a simple post to the
Facebook "wall," fans of a restaurant can be notified of new coupons, promotions, and events
instantaneously. No spam filters will block any correspondence, and no flyers will be thrown in the garbage.
Attracting New Customers...
Although Facebook as a marketing tool can be strongly geared toward customer retention, another important
function in relation to restaurants is the website's ability to attract new customers. Indeed, Facebook presents
a strong opportunity to draw customers into your purchase funnel through the positive referrals by your
business's current fans to their Facebook friends.
Expanding on this point, one of Facebook's many social functions is to facilitate virtual conversations between
friends by use of instant messaging, email messaging, and blogging. Among Facebook users, 38 percent
report discussing restaurants with friends while on the site. When looking at Facebook Page members, the
percentage nearly doubles to 67 percent.
In addition, 46 percent of restaurant Facebook Page "like" a page to let their friends know what products they
support. Although interesting data in itself, more significant is that 68 percent of Facebook users and 78
percent of restaurant page enthusiasts would let a positive referral from a Facebook friend influence their
This presents a huge opportunity for the Facebook savvy restaurant marketer. Positive viral buzz generated
by fans can nudge consumers into a purchase funnel. For example, a positive recommendation by a friend
may not attract that friend to a restaurant location, but it encourages that friend to check out your Facebook
Page while maintaining conversation with the restaurant fan.
While visiting a Facebook Page, the consumer may see an event that really attracts them to a brick and
mortar location. The cost to the restaurant for this new customer is relatively small, simply the time to update
Facebook as an entity affords the opportunity to effectively reach millions of consumers with a carefully
crafted message. The growth of the website will only increase in coming years. As the site grows, the
competitive advantage of restaurants with strong Facebook presence will only grow with it. An up-to-date and
highly interactive Facebook Page can effectively retain and grow a restaurant's customer base with miniscule
A common theme throughout the Andiamo website is the large hyperlink in the right hand corner which
states, "Follow us on Facebook." Restaurants that follow Andiamo's lead on how to utilize Facebook as a
prominent piece of their marketing strategy may experience measurable revenue benefits.
Andrew Smith is a Research Analyst with Morpace Research and Consulting in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
He has several years of research experience within the Retail and Restaurant Industries. In addition, Andrew
has done extensive training on social media and its relation to firm profitability.
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