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BEST CASE - O'Tacos Vavin or how to go from 300 to 4000 real Instagram followers within a week

Many restaurants dream of having large numbers of followers, especially quality ones on Instagram. However, the idea of winning real potential clients in a short amount of time sounds complicated… but not impossible! As a matter of fact, as long as you know your target, their behavior towards social media and their main motivation in choosing one restaurant over another, you should be able to reach your goal. Let’s take the case of one of our clients, O’Tacos Vavin. We helped them gain notoriety, acquire new consumers and build long-term relationships with them. Here is how we did it.

There is no need to explain again why Instagram is the key to gain brand notoriety and prospects. The real question is how to do it? How to gain followers that are more susceptible to be future consumers? How to generate interactions on your restaurant page? How to convert data into real clients? And last, but not least, how to develop long-term relationships with them to assure your restaurant's returns keep growing?

These many questions and the need for higher returns are the reasons why Eric Leboucher came to us to find a solution for his business, O’Tacos Vavin. Thanks to our help and a simple Instagram game, the restaurant saw its followers jump from 300 to 4000 within a week. With the majority of them being students from high schools located less than 2km away from the fast food chain, the gained followers are real potential clients of O’Tacos. And here is what we did…

The success story of O’Tacos is apparent but other franchises should not jump into it eyes closed.

It is in March 2019 that the 229th O’Tacos saw the light at Neuilly-sur-Seine. O’Tacos was originally created 10 years ago in Grenoble and the French tacos were an immediate success with impressive growing numbers. The fast food even received a “Palme de la Croissance” from the Leaders Club France to reward these stunning numbers.

Loved by the younger ones, the brand is more than doing fine on social media. O’Tacos’ parent company is even generating thousands of interactions from Instagram communities thanks to this “foodporn” picture of melty and cheesy tacos:

As you have seen, O’Tacos’ brand already has strong notoriety in France. Its strong position allows them to have significant returns. While new O’Tacos franchises keep opening, they are being placed in direct competition with each other. Within a radius of less than 2km between the 5th and the 6th district of Paris, we can already count three of them (Jussieu, Saint-Michel, and Vavin).

Their online visibility on social media varies a lot between its franchises. At the beginning of April 2019, O’Tacos Bastille had less than 200 followers on Instagram, the one from Colombes had 800 and the one from République 2000.

It was because of this growing rivalry among O’Tacos franchises that Eric, the manager of O’Tacos Vavin located in the 6th district of Paris, asked for Malou’s help.

First : O’Tacos is facing difficulties to grow on Instagram and struggling to meet its revenue goals.

At the end of 2018, the online visibility of the fast food franchise was low with only 11 posts and a few hundred followers.

However, similar restaurants boast hundreds or even thousands of followers on their own social media accounts.

O’Tacos Vavin is located in a student area (numerous high-schools and universities surround the place), some students are already customers as they see the tacos fast food on their way to school. But many of them did not know about it or even if they did, they had never actually been there before.

So we decided to come up with a way to attract with them with social media.

Our solution: create an online contest to reach customers in the nearby geographical area

1. Choosing relevant targets with high commitment to the online contest

First, we identified potential customers for our partner (social, professional categories and location). Given the type of offering, the price range and the positioning of O’Tavos, we chose to target students in the neighborhood.

We also checked the map for all high schools within 5 minutes walking distance from O’Tacos – assuming that students would not walk more than this on their lunch break.

We identified two factors that would potentially motivate students to join the contest: free tacos and the competition between institutions.

2. Shaping the contest’s rules

Next, we defined the contest’s rules to reach our goals – increase the quality of O’Tacos’ followers and create a buzz among high schools. The « Battle of High schools » is launched.

The rules are simple, students from 6 different high schools have to:

  • Follow O’Tacos Instagram account
  • Like the post dedicated to their school

The reward: a special Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion of tacos would be offered to all the students from the winning high school.

We explained the process in a special post:

3. Launching the contest

The next day at the same time, 6 posts – one for each school (Notre-Dame de Sion High-school, Saint Sulpice High-school, Carcado Saisseval private High-school, Sainte Geneviève Institute, Montaigne High-school and Stanislas High-school) – were published on the Instagram account of our client.

During this week, students mobilized themselves and started following O’Tacos Vavin and liking the post of their respective institution. They shared the post among their classmates in the hope of winning the contest.

In one week, the reputation of the brand among these students exploded.

4. Spreading the word among chosen targets

To be sure that all students are aware of the game, we did a few important things:

  • We sponsored the “launching contest” post for only 10 euros. In order for the post to perform well, as in have a good reach, we only targeted people under 20 years old within an area of less than 2 km from O’Tacos Vavin.
  • We looked for the “Instagram Places” of high schools that we were targeting and we spotted the posts and the people that published content from these places. Here is an example with the Montaigne High school:

  • From O’Tacos’ Instagram account, we liked the latest posts published from their high schools’ location. As a result, students were surprised to see O’Tacos’ interest for their posts and visited its page to only discover the contest.

The result: from 300 to 4000 followers gained in one week and a strong link was created with thousands of potential customers.

O’Tacos Vavin gained 4000 followers after only one week of the contest. Students mobilized themselves and interactions on the fast food page boomed as statistics showed:

Students shared the contest and O’Tacos account more than 500 times in their Instagram stories in order to mobilized their classmates and get a maximum of points for their institutions. Fifty students from high schools close to O’Tacos but that were not part of the game also contacted us so that we would include them in future similar events.

What to remember from this strategic game?

  • To win a large audience of quality, it is necessary to understand who really is the target:
    • Social-professional category and demographic - for O'Tacos, students are willing to pay 5 euros for a taco to replace the school cafeteria.
    • Location - here, a very close geographical perimeter was necessary since students’ lunch break is limited in time. Furthermore, most students live near their high schools, thus near O’Tacos, meaning they can easily be regular clients during the weekends and nights.
    • Motivation to consume - the low price and the large variety of the menu
    • Motive to interact on social-media - the rivalry between high schools
  • Then, it is important to find the best way to reach them: a game, a contest, a collaboration with influencers, a special event, the launch of a new menu or even just a new meal…
  • Even the best ideas will fail if you do not know how to reach your targets. It is necessary to put in place a system that will make people aware of the game and push them to engage with it. .
  • Once the system is identified, it is important to defined key performance indicators to measure its efficiency (number of followers, views, interactions, revenue growth…)

It is easier to build a large and quality audience on your restaurant’s Instagram if you follow these steps. By repeating the process and always improving its weaknesses, you can go even further and create a real and involved community that will not only be customers but loyal ones… if the quality of the service matches of course!

10 Tips to Increase Your Restaurant’s Visibility on Facebook

2.32 billion: the number of Facebook users in the world, or the equivalent of almost one in three humans. No need to prove how essential a marketing tool the social media platform is. If well-mastered, it can turn into a powerful engine to drive new customers to a restaurant and keep them coming back.

Here are a few answers to the most frequent questions we hear from restaurant owners. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us or leave us a comment with your question.

1. What should you post on your restaurant page?

Pictures of your dishes, of course, but not only, because no matter how appetizing they are, they could quickly bore your followers.

Sharing the behind the scenes of your restaurant, pictures of your team, funny anecdotes, info on the restaurant’s history, the location, inspirational quotes... can be a way to connect with your followers and engage with them. Sharing content from other pages not necessarily linked to the restaurant can also reinforce engagement on your page, and to gain time by using existing content.

The restaurant La Maison Plisson alternates between pictures of their food, quotes, and light or informative videos:

2. What tone should you strike?

To reach your goals, we don’t advise you to take on an aggressive, commercial tone on your Facebook page: it would turn into an advertising display which would turn off your followers. We recommend you share 80 percent of entertaining content (photos of food, the preparation in the kitchen, short team videos…), 15 percent of informative content (a new menu, new opening hours, punctual closures…), and 5 percent of commercial content.

For example, the Big Mamma and Bella Napoli restaurants recently took advantage of the approval of the Neapolitan pizza into UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage to share original content on the subject:

3. At what rate should you post?

Posts shouldn’t be too frequent: it’s not a question of flooding your followers’ news feed; you don’t want to run the risk of their unfollowing you. Be careful not to post too infrequently either: they could wonder whether the restaurant’s closed! Posting between 2 and 7 times a week is a nice medium.

4. At what time should you post?

Anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., your posts have the best chance of being seen and generating engagement. It may be a good idea to suggest a lunch offer!

5. What format should you prefer?


Facebook posts with images generate 2.3 times more engagement than text. If a text is accompanied by an image, people are 65 percent more likely to retain the information three days later. Pictures play an essential role: their quality is paramount. You have to make sure nothing inappropriate is lying around in the background; every detail counts!


Sharing videos is a great way to arouse people’s interest, since this type of content is very appreciated. When a Facebook page publishes a video, the audience’s engagement rate is on average 10 times more important.

For example, the short 16-second video posted by Big Mamma on their Facebook page was seen over 16,000 times, racked up 406 responses, and was shared 14 times. The engagement rate of this video is much higher than the average rate generated by the page’s other posts.


Feel free to set up polls, they’re very easy and quick to make. Users appreciate this type of fun, interactive content. Polls show that the restaurant is interested in its customers. They reinforce the bond between them and generate engagement on the page. It’s smart, for example, to mobilize your followers to pick a new dish for the menu among a few options, and to invite them to come and try them at the restaurant to give their opinion. You can also rely on your followers to improve your service and make your customers come back again and again. Asking their opinion on a new opening or a new item on the menu is a way to ensure the success of these new things. It’s what O’Sign Café Restaurant did before launching its Sunday brunch:

6. How do you turn followers into customers?

You can add a call-to-action button that leads people to a booking page (on your website or a third-party platform like TheFork or Resy. Your followers will be able to book a table online without leaving the Facebook app.

It’s possible to set up special deals via the online booking system (let’s say, four meals for the price of three). To benefit from the offer, you can pick criteria like having registered a reservation between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The idea is to communicate about the offer many times before it’s activated in order to create anticipation. Temporary deals can help generate a sense of loyalty in your followers by playing on the feeling of privilege they confer.

7. How do you generate engagement on your restaurant page?

Liking users’ responses is essential. The more clicks, likes, comments, shares, and views there are, the more visible the restaurant will be.

We recommend you not revealing all the information in one post. To generate maximum traffic, you have to compel the user to click on the link to your website. If the information is fully shared, then there is no incentive to click and see it.

In addition to polls, contests and giveaways are also a great way to favor user engagement. The restaurant Get Out is a proponent:

We also advise you to regularly interact with your audience, like customers’ comments, reply to them, and react very quickly to their private messages. Always respond, even if it’s just to say thank you.

8. How do you use hashtags to increase your visibility?

Hashtags are very useful, and not only on Twitter. They can redirect to your restaurant page users searching for the same keywords you’re using.

9. Why should you collaborate with influencers?

Influencers are people who’ve gathered audiences of thousands of people on one or more social media platforms. They share their day-to-day, their interests, their latest finds with their followers. Collaborating with influencers whose audience matches your target customer base is a way first to make a bigger name for yourself, but also to make people want to come and try your restaurant and thus to bring in new customers.

Anaïs from Parisianvores regularly shares appetizing videos of her favorite restaurants, and as a result offers them a platform to be seen by all her followers.

To pick the right influencers to work with, there are 3 main criteria to consider:

  • the pertinence of the content compared to your restaurant (eg. don’t seek out an influencer who shares only vegan recipes if you want them to highlight your cheese or meat dishes).
  • the reach, meaning the number of people you will potentially be able to reach thanks to the influencer’s community.
  • the resonance, or the engagement rate of the influencer (number of likes, shares, comments, views…).

10. Why and how should you use Facebook Ads?

Mastering ads on Facebook can allow you to considerably increase your revenue: by reaching new customers and making those who already like your restaurant come back. We’ll soon share with you an article on building successful Facebook ad campaigns step by step.

Bonus: beware of spelling and grammatical mistakes!

They give the restaurant a bad rap and can make you lose credibility, especially with users who aren’t in the habit of making them...

Social Media: A Must-Have for Restaurants

One week ago, Malou participated in a conference organized by CESACOM, a French communication school. The topic of the discussion was focusing on being or not being Instagramable. Some important figures were present such as Coline Desilans, journalist at Le Bonbon, Anne-Sophie Martorana, interior architect, and Patrick Colpron, manager of Instagram’s TopParis accounts. Together, we debated about the role of Instagram in restaurants’ communication strategy. Is it essential to the survival of a restaurant? Can it be the main driver for growth?

1 Parisian out of 2 goes to the restaurant at least once a week. 80% of them go online to research a restaurant. They face different choices: Google search engine, online comparison platforms (TheFork, Yelp, TripAdvisor…)… But also, social media. Facebook and Instagram are the main ones. They are the first choice of restaurants looking to gain new clients.

However, it is difficult to appear on internet users’ feed. It is already saturated due to the important amount of contents created by other individuals or businesses. Numerous examples prove that it is difficult, but not impossible. With time and effort, results can be envious. We can take the example of Big Mamma. The restaurant frequently posts aesthetic pictures of its warmth interior decoration or even of its delicious Italian food. Big Mamma is now considered as THE Italian of Paris. People do not mind waiting in queues outside of the restaurant to experience this Instagramable place. PNY is also a good example of another restaurant who built a successful communication strategy thanks to social media.

But how can you successfully impose your brand on social media when it is such a competitive market? How to target efficiently? Are social media enough to fill a restaurant during each service? What is the role of social media in a restaurant’s daily life? All these questions are answered in this article.

Community management strategies are essential to the success of restaurants

Restaurants’ owners often say it, it is necessary today to be present on Facebook and Instagram. And the reason for this is that food is one of the most favored and followed topics on social media. In 2017, 208 million #food were used on Instagram. It is believed that 1 person out of 5 shares at least one picture of their meal each month. To show what we eat became part of our identity as much as music and fashion are.

The restaurants’ owners take full advantage of this #food trend. They never saw their social media accounts as much visited as today. It is estimated that 300 000 French people check restaurants online at least once a day.

But how to optimize your online visibility on social media? What are the strategies and trends to develop?

Stay on your guards

It is known, in order for an account to gain followers, it needs to be dynamic and frequently publish contents on its feed (meaning several times a week). So, it is normal to lack of inspiration at some point. One advice: check what your competitors do. To make attractive content on Facebook and Instagram, it is necessary to follow the best trends around you and apply them to your strategy.

It is also important to keep track of social media’s new tools. Social media constantly creates new tools to keep its online community interested. The Facebook Group (Facebook and Instagram) always add new features that are rapidly and easily adopted by its online users. These new tools stimulate imaginations and help to generate new types of content.

We can take the example of stories: this format was originally introduced by Snapchat and a few years after, Instagram started developing it, followed by Facebook. The result? Stories develop themselves 15 times faster than posts. It became an habit for online users to watch or create some. Today, stories are more used than posts.

It is thus necessary to stay on your guards and keep an eye on what is around you. Even stories’ format already changed since its apparition. You can add some music, create some surveys… What was trendy yesterday might not be tomorrow.

Another example showing the importance of staying up-to-date on social media trends: videos. Recently, videos are the main focus of internet users. Their views have increased by 80% between 2017 and 2018. Once again, this format (different from Instagram’s initial idea of an only picture platform) allows users to develop their creativity to produce all kinds of videos.

Not only checking competitors and internet users is important to develop your own strategy, you also need to adapt your strategy to present trends in order to gain the most of out them.

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses

Obviously, we do not mean to copy competitors’ strategies but to inspire yourself! It is necessary to adapt strategies to your own goals and brand image. For a community management strategy to be efficient, your first step should be to know exactly your restaurant’s identity. What are its weaknesses? What are its strengths? What does this restaurant have to offer? What differentiates it from its competitors? Why would people choose to go there instead of another place? These are only a few examples of questions you should ask yourself before creating an account. It will help you define the right strategy to develop.

This is the reason why copying someone else strategy will not work for your own restaurant. Not only results will be average but also you will still be drowning facing your competitors’ strategies. Finding inspiration is necessary but your strategy should always be your own. The MOB HOTEL is an example to follow.

Most hotels and restaurants on Instagram choose to put their offer in the center of their strategy. The MOB Hotel decided to do things differently. It considers itself more as a movement than a touristic place. This living space advertises its values before its interior decoration or its restaurant. The hotel only publishes original pictures reflecting the atmosphere felt when being there. And it worked! Thanks to its inspiration and differentiation, it now has more than 14 500 followers on Instagram.

Analyze statistics

Such strategies are meaningless without a close analysis of their outcomes. Social media is the perfect place to try, test and take risks. The expression “To learn from your mistakes” perfectly represent the idea of strategies on social media. But it is still important to know what is working and what is not.

Thankfully, Instagram and Facebook allow you to have access to all this information. You can adapt your strategies thanks to these numbers. You can repeat successful strategies and avoid the ones that did not pay off.

Community management, yes, but not without a broad communication strategy

Yes, it is necessary to put in place a community management strategy in order for the restaurant to be successful. However, this strategy would be useless without a broad communication strategy. Just having an account is not enough to face competition, to target the right people or to fill your restaurant at each service.

80% of French people look online to find a restaurant. They can find relevant information on different platforms such as Google, traditional media, online comparison platforms, social media, websites… Most people do not randomly go in a restaurant anymore. They prefer to gain detailed knowledge about the different choices they are facing. So, it is important to multiple contacts and to link online sources to each other.

1. The first reflex: working on your organic SEO on Google!

Before even thinking about creating an account on Instagram or Facebook, it is important to develop an SEO strategy. Social media is considered as a verification step for users. After proceeding to an online search on Google, they will check out the Instagram and Facebook pages of the restaurant just to verify the quality of the business. 

So before creating an account, you need to think about your restaurant’s keywords in order to appear before your competitors on Google thus, having more chance to be chosen. Some online comparison platforms such as TripAdvisor, The Fork or Yelp are also very used by people looking for a restaurant. To have a complete and detailed account on these platforms also needs to be a priority.

2. Community management and influence marketing as a whole

The next step is to develop a community management strategy. To be efficient, it needs to be paired with an influence marketing strategy. In other words, it means that restaurant owners have to work closely with relevant influencers on Instagram.

A collaboration with food or lifestyle influencers that appear to have the same values as your restaurant enables reaching a broader target. Furthermore, Instagram becomes a tool to win clients instead of just displaying your offer. If an influencer ends up having a great time in your restaurant, he will share his experience with its community. He will create posts or stories about it. Influencers main characteristic is to have a close and trustworthy relationship with their followers. This is the reason why they become ambassadors of the brands they partner with. To have contents on different influencers’ account allow the restaurant to expand its online visibility to millions of potential clients. It is the case of Pizzou, a 100% French pizzeria with which we worked with at its opening. One month after the launch of the place, we organized a party with only influencers invited. Results were immediate. The next day, the restaurant accounted for its best revenue since its opening.

3. Be visible on traditional media

Finally, traditional media should not be put aside. They still are relevant means of communication. A public relation strategy will grow the notoriety and credibility of your business.

Conclusion : which evolutions for tomorrow?

Numerous restaurant owners think it is important to be present on social media and they are right. However, they tend to think that having an account is enough. It is necessary to also develop a community management strategy linked to a broader communication strategy. Organic SEO, public relations, influence marketing… All are important steps to work on.

In order to do so, it is important to keep track of these platforms. Facebook and Instagram always change: trends come and go, and competition is harsh. To follow and use new features help you stay up-to-date with your community and differentiate yourself from competitors.

To conclude, even though today Facebook and Instagram are considered the two major social media, let’s not forget that Snapchat, the creator of stories, used to be compared to them. Today, people over 25 years old do not even have it downloaded in their phones anymore. Also, Facebook used to be bigger than Instagram. Today, it left its place to Instagram to focus on being a more professional platform. And did you hear about TikTok yet? It is a new social media growing at a fast path among the youngest. So, what will it be in 3, 5, 10 years? Hard to know. What will be the new tools available for restaurants? You will only have these answers if you carefully benchmark competitors and keep an eye on new trends!

5 New Instagram and Facebook Features for Restaurants

Social media is constantly changing. New features, more or less important, are coming up each day. Facebook, Instagram and other social media always invent new ways to surprise us. They propose easy and new experiences to discover every day. It is thus necessary to keep track of these new features if you want to stay up your game.

Of course, all users have a different behavior. Some features are tried right away whereas others do not see any interest in them. We can take the example of stories. It is proven that they were adopted 15 times faster than simple posts. Now, Stories are even more used, watched and liked than posts. On the contrary, some new features are not meeting expectations. It is the case of IGTV, a video creation feature on Instagram that was upgraded many times until user would actually use it daily.

In order to be on top of trends, it is necessary to keep track of newest features but also consumer behavior towards them. Global benchmarking allows you to follow trends and even anticipate them before coming up. It is the best way to stay ahead of the competition.

So what are 2019 trendiest features? And what are upcoming ones worth taking a look at? Answers down there.

1. Social Influence Marketing on Instagram

Social Influence Marketing is a must have for restaurants looking to gain in reputation and become the place to go. Influencers who are welcomed to good restaurants, with tasty food, a nice atmosphere, and an attractive decoration will definitely talk about their experience online and promote the place on their social media. They become ambassadors of the brand. It is important for restaurants to understand that their role is important as they represent the quality of the place to their online community.

Instagram is aware of this phenomenon on its platform. This is the reason why the social media never stops developing new ways for brands and influencers to work closer. Recently, the feature “Branded content ads” has been added to the list. Now, brands and influencers are connected in a more formal partnership. This allows brands to reach not only their ambassadors audience but also to promote their posts on their own feed.

Until now, brands could only create partnerships with influencers. This option was limited for the company as the only audience reach by the influencers’ posts and stories was his own. Now, with “Branded content ads”, brands can share these sponsored contents on their own feed which allow them to reach a broader market.

The advantage of this options does not stop here. Now that companies can sponsor influencers’ contents, they are able to know exactly the performance of their partnerships. Indeed, only the owner of the account had access to these statistics. Brands can now see the number of fake followers and bought likes on the influencer’s posts and determine if this partnership is worth it.

This type of partnership is usually rare between restaurants and influencers. They rather offer a free meal than investing a higher budget for better results. “Branded content ads” are very interesting strategies for all agrobusiness.

2. Will local businesses soon be advantaged on Instagram?

Today, Instagram is a must-have for business no matter their field of expertise. However, it never gave special attention to local businesses. Until now, they could only work with attractive contents and stories. But what if we told you that Instagram is finally starting to focus on how to put them forward. Tomorrow, you might already be able to create a special page to input important information such as your address, your phone number, your opening time, your websites… All kind of information that will be helpful for close consumers looking to find you.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

The profile shown resembles the one on Google My Business. You will be able to link it to your Facebook account. This new feature is not available yet to the public as Instagram is still testing it.

3. A new partnership between Instagram and The Fork to facilitate restaurants’ reservations

Instagram also put in place other new options focused on local businesses. It is a way to attract them to use its platform but also highlight their services. A few weeks ago, the social media announced a new partnership with one of the most famous online reservation platform: The Fork. The goal? Making reservations fast and simple.

You can now see a new button “Reserve” on most of the local restaurants Instagram page. You just need to click on it and you will be directly sent on The Fork to proceed to the reservation. It is the second biggest partnership of this kind that The Fork put in place. A few weeks before Instagram, Google also declared to have created the same kind of button on restaurants’ Google My Business pages. It is a way for social media users to directly become restaurants’ clients. However, it is important to know that The Fork is keeping a margin on each reservation made on its platforms. This is the main reason why many restaurants prefer using Zenchef, Google’s partner, which has no fee. Even though it is possible to choose between The Fork and Zenchef on Google, it is not the case for Instagram (yet?).

4. Facebook facilitates events’ communication thanks to stories

Individuals, groups and other pages can now share events in their stories on Facebook. This feature, new of only a few weeks, gives greater visibility to an event that will take place in the future. It allows it to reach larger targets. In addition to reaching a broader audience from its own community, the event can also be shared in its followers’ stories.

You only need to go on the event page, click on the button “share” followed by “share your story”. Once the content is integrated into your story, all your friends can have access to it. They can also directly precise if they are interested in the event and if they will join. The creator of the story has access to all those answers.

This new feature shows how much Facebook tries to implement the success of stories into its platform, something that has been relatively put aside since its appearance on the social media. It is also a way for Facebook to become THE social media for professionals.

5. A single post for 2 accounts to facilitate community managers and brands’ work

It is now possible to publish the same picture or video on different Instagram accounts at the same time! It is a huge gain of time for businesses having at least two accounts on the platform. Once again, the method is very easy. A tab “Publish on other accounts » is now available under the description space.


Being present and active on social media is not enough today. To distinguish itself from the competition, businesses need to constantly adopt new online strategies. Daily work on benchmarking is necessary to stay up to date on trends and anticipate new ones.

You also need to benchmark your competitors to understand which are their strategies and if they are working better than yours. It is important to understand why they work better in order to adapt yours and be even more performant.

16 Online Marketing Strategies to Drive More Customers to Your Restaurant

These days, it is essential for a restaurant to be visible online on every platform likely to bring in customers.

Restaurant Marketing

Here you’ll find 16 practical tips for restaurant owners to help them drive more business.

1. Create a responsive website adapted to every screen

Having a website is the best way to showcase your restaurant, make online users want to come, and compel them to book a table or order online. Since the end of 2016, mobile search rates have surpassed desktop rates, and 70% of people with a smartphone will look at a menu on their phone. The design of your website thus has to adjust to the screen upon which it is viewed.

2. Optimize your Google My Business profile to improve your ranking in search results

Too many restaurant owners neglect it, for lack of time or interest. Yet an optimized Google My Business profile is extremely useful. It has to be completed, updated with normal and exceptional business hours, closures, and special events, and kept up with photos and regular publications. As an example, we optimized the business page of Bask, a tapas restaurant in San Francisco, and it now ranks first in the search results for “tapas San Francisco”, which is the combination of search words that’s more likely to bring them customers.

3. Reply to every customer review

Whether they express their opinion on Google My Business, TripAdvisor, TheFork, Yelp, or any other platform, whether they are positive or negative, our advice is to reply to every single customer review you get. Not only will this allow you to win the loyalty of the authors and gather feedback to improve your service, it will also allow you to improve your SEO. Indeed, most restaurant ranking algorithms reduce the impact of negative reviews when restaurant owners make the effort of replying to them.


4. Publish high-quality pictures

The French have a saying that goes, “you eat first with your eyes,” and it has never proved more true than nowadays. Sharing beautiful pictures of your food, restaurant, and team on your website and on social media allows you to develop a relationship with your customer base and to attract new people to your business. The people behind Big Mamma are particularly adept at this practice—you can read our analysis of their marketing strategy here.

5. Index your restaurant in all the pertinent outlets

Registering your business in a maximum number of outlets, directories, platforms, blogs or guides is useful in two respects. First, it allows you to multiply the number of booking platforms you have available and to attract more customers. You then create inbound links to your website. The more a website accumulates referral links from other websites which Google trusts (such as TripAdvisor or restaurant guides like the Guide Michelin), the more its natural search engine ranking improves and the higher it features in search results. Here you’ll find the 12 best websites to register your website.

6. Create and keep up an active Facebook page by sharing the news of your restaurant

Facebook is a great tool to maintain your relationship with your customers on a daily basis, by sharing the news of the week, the specials of the day, a new menu… It is also wise to share photos or videos of the behind the scenes of your restaurant, to show how it is “backstage,” from purchasing fresh produce to cooking it on the stove—this type of authentic content can reinforce your brand preference rate in the hearts and minds of your customers. We shared more tips to maximize your visibility on Facebook in this article.

7. Create an Instagram account and publish the most mouthwatering pictures

Instagram is one of the most effective social network when it comes to food content. The American fast-food chain Shake Shack understood that well, and it now counts more than 425,000 followers on its Instagram account, where they share as many pictures of their employees and the interiors of their establishment as they do burgers.

To optimize your online presence on every platform, you can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite!

8. Collaborate with influencers and food bloggers

Working with social media influencers and food bloggers is a sure-fire way to raise your profile efficiently. On the one hand, influencers have gathered audiences of thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of followers they can share their experience at your restaurant with, in picture or video format. On the other hand, you can use that content for your own Instagram page, by sharing, or “regramming” their posts on the restaurant account. Shake Shack also does that well:

The re-sharing of California-based blogger Kirbie’s original post got Shake Shack more than 9,000 likes on their account. We devoted an article to our favorite food influencers in Paris, you can read all about it here.

9. Invite customers to share content from your restaurant

A restaurant’s customers are its first ambassadors, they’re the mouthpiece through which buzz originate, but you have to give them the tools to generate buzz. At Paris New York, thousands of selfies taken in the bathroom of the restaurant have already been shared on social media. Why? According to founder Rudy Guénaire, “one day a customer published a selfie he took in our bathroom, there was a nice effect with the pink and green neon lights. I reposted it on Instagram and one thing after another, more and more customers came and took selfies in the bathroom. We even had people come in just to take a selfie! Since then we put up a wall of pictures with the best selfies.” If the operation wasn’t premeditated, it succeeded in spreading brand content on account of Paris New York and confirms that the originality and quality of the decoration, or even a simple detail, can compel customers to take pictures and publish them on social media.

You can read more about PNY’s social media strategy here.

10. Create a Google + page and keep it updated

If Google’s social media platform “only” has 500 million accounts compared to Facebook’s 2 billion, having a G+ account for your restaurant is a good way to improve its natural search engine ranking. It’s a good idea to share all the posts you publish on your Google My Business page on your G+ account.

11. Use Google Analytics to improve your website

Google Analytics is a tool to track the ebb and flow of traffic on your website and understand users’ journey on the different pages, see which links get the more clicks, which pages the most views, etc. With all of these observations, you can then improve your website to maximize how long people spend on it and compel people to click on the most pertinent links (booking buttons, online orders…).

12. Regularly update your website

Having a responsive website with pretty pictures isn’t enough. You have to keep it up to date, publish new content about events or special menus at your restaurant. A website that still has a New Year’s Eve menu up after January isn’t coherent. Our advice is also to delegate the maintenance of the website so that a technical failure doesn’t stay without a solution.

13. Set up an online booking system on your website

Once you learn the rudiments of SEO, it is of interest to set up a booking module on your website to generate reservations without a middleman like TheFork which takes commissions on every booking.

If you want to increase your revenue on to-go orders, we advise you to offer an online order service on your website, or even a Click & Collect system to allow your customers to choose their order in advance and gain time.

14. Add an itinerary suggestion tool on your website

Adding a “how to get here” or “directions” button on your website is a nice way for users—who for the most part will browse your website on their phone—to get to your restaurant easily. The Citymapper plugin is particularly adapted to restaurants in Paris.

15. Launch paid ad campaigns on Facebook

Facebook Ads allows you to target potential customers in a precise way—with age, interest, and location criteria in particular. It is essential to launch campaigns with high-quality photos and to highlight a pertinent call to action such as “order now” or “get your meal delivered” or a promotional deal.

16. Launch paid ad campaigns on Google

Google Ads are a good investment to make once you’ve learned the basics of SEO. Still, we advise you to choose your keywords carefully and budget your ad spending with caution to make sure you maximize your rate of return.

Most restaurant owners already have a lot on their plate, what with managing suppliers, a kitchen, stocks, a team, customers… if you simply don’t have the time to apply our tips to your business, leave us a little note, we can help!

Big Mamma Restaurants: The Recipe for Marketing Success on Social Media

“Buongiorno!,” “Buena sera!”

A chorus of enthusiastic voices speaking their native Italian sounds the opening of every trattoria before letting in the first wave of impatient diners into the hallowed walls of the restaurant, and letting down those behind the cutoff who will have to wait for their turn—or, for the latecomers, come back another day. Big Mamma has achieved, then repeated, every restaurant owner’s dream: never having a single empty table.

East Mamma, Ober Mamma, Mamma Primi, Biglove Caffè, Pizzeria Popolare, Pink Mamma, La Felicità, La Bellezza in Lille… each restaurant of Big Mamma’s turns down customers on a daily basis: every seat is already filled. So what’s the secret sauce of their success? Great products, scrumptious food, a warm and welcoming staff, a homey decor that’s not lacking in charm. But that’s not all: the group has also adopted a powerful social media strategy that allows them to generate buzz before every restaurant opening, and not to drop after that.

Ingredient n°1: Strong storytelling with visuals showing the behind the scenes of an Italian decor

Behind every meal at a Big Mamma restaurant is the promise to its customers that they will be transported to Italy. As soon as you walk in the door, the waiters’ lilting accent, the smells wafting through the kitchen, and the menu foreshadow the experience. But before all that, to persuade customers to (wait, then) step into the restaurant, the founders have already ignited the Italian experience—on social media.

One of Big Mamma’s strengths lies in the fact that they exclusively serve products imported by small Italian producers, and that everything is homemade by Italian chefs. And we’re aware of all that before we’ve ever tasted anything off the menu: on the website, users are greeted by a video showing the arrival of a mozzarella shipped directly from the small Italian producer.

On social media, a video of the making of fresh pasta highlighting the authentic nature of the Big Mamma experience was viewed over 64,000 times on Instagram, and 7,000 times on Facebook.

The journey to Italy continues with the friendly squadra.

Ingredient n°2: An offbeat communication strategy built around the “squadra,” an irreverent and affable team

Large smiles and Italian hospitality greet every customer in the form of Big Mamma’s staff. Out of 300 employees, 280 are Italian. Members of the squadra (average age: 25) are strong assets conveying charm and personality to reinforce the Big Mamma experience, but also to communicate in an effective way. They’re showcased in a number of endearing portraits and humorous videos shared on the group’s social media accounts. To celebrate the opening of La Belleza in Lille, the Italian team was tasked to repeat chti (typical of the North of France) expressions with their accent, and to taste some Maroilles, the region’s famous cheese… The result: the video was viewed over 30,000 times on Instagram, got people smiling, and reinforces the squadra’s likableness and people’s goodwill towards it.

The Italianness of the staff is regularly emphasized on social media. On Facebook, a French “class” was filmed and shared, again in the interest of amusing people and presenting members of the squadra as likable buddies we’d like to be friends with.

On social media they are funny, easy-going, and express themselves at the right moments: for Mother’s Day, team members celebrated their mamma with humor on the group’s social media accounts:

When a restaurant wants to advertise that a restaurant is exceptionally closed or that there are new job openings, the squadra, like a merry band of friends, is used again as a communication tool.


Ingredient n°3: Adopting a light and playful “con molto amore” tone on social media

Diners are bound to smile as they read Ober Mamma’s menu and discover pizzas named the “Connect Four” (four-cheese pizza), the “Instagram Regina,” or the “Norma makes videos” (named after the French Youtuber, Norman Makes Videos). The group’s communication is handled with a lot of finesse and humor, in their restaurants as well as online. Norman was prompted to react on Twitter:

On the menu at La Bellezza, other silly names like “Broco Sifredi” or “Tell me the truffle” raise a smile.

Ingredient n°4: Forge a bond with the audience, share personal news, and interact with followers on every post

The tone adopted on social media is warm and playful, as if every customer or follower was part of the Big Mamma team. To that end, the squadra talks to its “beach boys,” “friends,” or “Bee Gees” to announce a new menu, a new opening, or a contest:

With that approach, Big Mamma has managed to gather an audience of almost 20,000 on Facebook, 56,000 on Instagram, and it increases by 9 percent every month, strong evidence that people’s infatuation with the group hasn’t died down.

A classic but useful device: followers are often invited to tag “a good buddy” with whom they would share a Big Mamma feast. Keep in mind: they’re not contests, only regular posts encouraging people to leave comments.

The group’s owners also take the time to reply to most negative reviews on TripAdvisor, TheFork, and Yelp. Incidentally, the majority of negative comments come from people who were let down by the long waiting line and weren’t able to try the Big Mamma experience, proof, if any were required, that the concept works.

Ingredient n°5: Quality content created by customers and shared on social media

The restaurant’s decor, the tables, the tableware, the famous copper pans filled with pasta—all things stamped with the Big Mamma identity. A photo taken in one of the trattorias is immediately recognizable.


The difficulty of getting a table, which is partly due to the restaurants not taking reservations, increases the bandwagon effect and incites people to take pictures of themselves and their food once they get inside one of the trattorias and share them on social media. Instagram counts over 50,000 mentions of any of the Big Mamma restaurants—double the amount of #BigFernand mentions.

Ingredient n°6: Highly publicized openings and a public interest sustained thanks to influencers

Food and lifestyle influencers keep flocking to Big Mamma’s restaurants and sharing their pictures tailor-made for Instagram (thank you visual identity, pretty tableware, and appetizing food). The most high-profile influencers get invited to share their experience on social media. The lesser-known ones can get a table reservation (which the restaurants usually don’t accept), but have to pay the bill. The power of the Big Mamma brand is such that it’s capable of attracting influencers almost naturally.

But Big Mamma still needs influencers: indeed, the group’s most recent creation, La Felicità, officially opened to the public on May 26, but the 24th and 25th were entirely dedicated to welcoming journalists and influencers so they could talk about the opening in all its details on social media.


Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, founders of Big Mamma, have succeeded in replicating an effective model by giving each restaurant its specificity and talking about it with the right tone, an appetizing image, a funny video, at the right time, and on the right channel. As a result, each restaurant generates close to 4 million euros in revenue, and continues to arouse interest outside its doors and on social media. Brava la squadra! After seven trattorias, the biggest food court in Europe, and a hidden bar, what’s next for the two entrepreneurs?

8 Practical Tips to Spot Fake Influencers

In just a matter of a few years, influencers have become choice partners for advertisers. Conveying an image of authenticity and proximity, they’re considered by some as 92 percent more credible than brands on social media. But things don’t always look so good in the world of influencer-advertiser collaborations and fake accounts have especially plagued the field.

Today, you can buy anything on social media platforms: followers, likes, even comments. Some influencers have no qualms about resorting to companies selling these figures to artificially grow their stats and get more profitable partnerships. Problem is, these fake influencers in reality have a community that’s very little engaged and can only guarantee weak results for collaborations. These practices have been criticized many times by advertisers, and by influencers themselves. Last January, the New York Times published a study highlighting the sale of followers by a company called Devumi by means of a database of 3.4 million fake accounts. The scandal made headlines.

These fake influencers have become a pet peeve for marketers and brand managers alike. How do you distinguish between real and fake accounts? How can you spot influencers with inflated audiences? Here are 8 tips from our team to make sure your collaborations with social media influencers start off on solid ground.

1. Get the right tools

On your own, it’ll be hard to get the adequate answers to know which of the accounts you’re gravitating toward are real and which are not. When you embark upon verifying influencer accounts, it is essential to get the right quality tools that’ll give you specific insights into the accounts at hand.

We recommend you use HypeAuditor and Social Blade, both of which give you an analysis of the current state of the most sought-after profiles. You’ll be able to access data on their engagement rates, the quality rates of the accounts’ communities, and their engagement. Available graphics will give you a clear and immediate overview of the accounts’ evolution.

We tried the two platforms by taking as an example Parisianavores, an influencer who we’ve recommended as one of the best food influencers you could work with in 2018.

2. Check if you’re dealing with a verified account

Several social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter have a feature allowing accounts of influential individuals to be verified. The feature is a response to a recurring issue encountered on these platforms: myriad fake celebrity accounts created by impersonators sprout up everyday. Your first reflex should thus be to check if there is a blue checkmark, as in the example below on Margot’s account youmakefahion, next to the influencer’s handle. If it is the case, you can go ahead, the account was indeed verified by the platform and the owner isn’t a fake influencer.

Still, relying on the “blue checkmark” certification isn’t enough, as it is only reserved for prominent influencers with large communities. Micro-influencers, as well as many ‘classic’ influencers, cannot set their sights on the verified badge at their level. To spot the cheaters, looking at other criteria is necessary.

3. Look into the evolution of the influencer’s follower base

One of the important criteria to look into is how linear the evolution of the influencer’s follower count is. If you notice they’ve won an important number of followers in a single day, it is likely that they’ve resorted to buying a follower base. An uneven evolution of the number of followers, with periods of high acquisition rates followed by high loss rates, isn’t a good sign.

Yet beware, strong acquisition rates aren’t necessarily the sign of fraud! Before making hasty judgments, it’s important to check whether these peaks cannot simply be explained by the influencer’s activity. If the account owner carried out a high-profile operation (a partnership, a performance, a media apparition...), the peak has an explanation, and the influencer can be trusted.

On the above example, Social Blade indicates that Anaïs from Parisianavores gained over 1,000 followers in a matter of days. While the peak could be regarded as suspicious, a quick look at her Instagram account shows that it matches her posting on August 18 a photo of her husband and newborn—a post which had a lot of success with her audience, with over 2,300 likes and 80 comments.

4. Check the influencer’s engagement rate

An influencer with a large audience but generating little engagement on their posts has likely inflated their follower count. It’s important to understand that the power of an influencer’s community isn’t calculated in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality. Indeed, micro-influencers are more and more valued by advertisers: they may have smaller communities, but tend to have the most engaged. The relationship that an influencer builds and maintains with their audience and the interactions that their content generates are more meaningful vectors of reliability. The most important thing is to calculate engagement rates by comparing the average number of likes on the last set of posts to the number of followers. If the rate is lower than 2 percent, better to remain wary.

Social Blade and HypeAuditor both calculate influencers’ engagement rate. On the above example from HypeAuditor, our influencer case study’s engagement rate is indicated as 4.97 percent. The rate being higher than 2 percent, there should be no doubt about the authenticity of the account Parisianavores.

5. Understand the community supporting the influencer

Following someone on social media in the hopes that they’ll follow you back is a common practice with influencers. It’s way to inflate their communities without resorting to buying followers. That’s why it’s important to check the influencer’s follower/following ratio. If the account has a number of accounts followed almost as important as their number of followers, it’s likely they’ve used that practice. Their audience will be of little interest to marketers since it generally comes with a low engagement rate.

To go further, it’s important to check whether followers are truly interested by the content published on the account. To that end, followers are separated in three categories:

  • “real people,” the most interesting followers from a marketing point of view since they represent those who followed the account out of real interest
  • “mass follows,”
  • and suspicious accounts

Those last two categories are problematic. “Mass follows” refer to accounts following a great many people. They don’t represent a quality audience since their feeds are likely to be drowning in posts from all the accounts they follow: they won’t probably see most of yours. Suspicious accounts represent ghost accounts or accounts generated by bots. They obviously serve no interest for you since there is no real person behind the account.

If the rate of mass follows and suspicious accounts is higher than 30 percent, do not trust the influencer and look somewhere else: their community won’t give you the engagement rates you’re looking for.

6. Check the type of comments left on their posts

It’s important to take the time to inspect what kind of comments are left on the influencer’s posts. A high number of comments isn’t always the sign of an engaged community! These days, a majority of what constitutes social media KPIs can be bought, even comments. So, if most comments are extremely generic or consist of onomatopoeia and emojis, chances are they were bought by the influencer or were left there by bots. Authentic comments will be those directly relating to the post, or tagging other accounts.

Above, we can see that Anaïs posted a photo of her husband and baby on Instagram. The comments specifically refer to the post, the first to the caption added by the influencer, the second to the photo. All clear on the bot front.

7. Measure the influencer’s authority

Measuring an influencer’s authority can also be a token of audience’s quality. If they’re followed by several other important influencers and they’re often tagged by them, you can rest assured: it means the influencer community recognizes them as serious. Let’s not forget that influencers are the first to denounce fake accounts that damage their image in the eyes of audiences and marketers. Last June, Instagram and YouTube star Guillaume Ruchon, also known as Guiruch, looked into analysis of 10 influencer accounts to speak out the abusive practices.

In the aftermath of his video, which was viewed a number of times, Guillaume was the target of several of the scammers’ ire, which he was able to take with humor as shown in the post above.

8. Look more closely into whether the most active followers are influencers

On the other hand, you should also be wary of influencer communities. Some of them are resorting to another practice still unknown by the public: pods. Pods are groups of people gathering in private chats and encouraging each other to like and leave comments on other influencers’ posts. This method allows them get a better position on the app. The results are obviously faked since the engagement rate doesn’t represent the interest shown by people having liked or left a comment on the post. We recommend you monitor the identity of the few most active followers: if most of them are influencers, it’s usually not a good sign.


For a collaboration between brand and influencer to be successful, trust is key. The controversies generated these last few months by the media and by influencer communities have forced the latter to prove their credentials, and to demonstrate their authenticity not only to advertisers, but to their followers as well. It is now evident that the main criteria to pick an influencer shouldn’t be the size of their audience, but its quality . It’s useful to know that it’s sometimes more interesting to work with micro-influencers who benefit from extremely engaged audiences (60 percent more that very popular accounts), than with celebrities with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers who aren’t, in reality, very loyal to them.

Restaurants: The Top 9 Food Influencers in Paris to Market your Restaurant

For restaurants, having a strong social media presence is essential to establish their online visibility and attract customers. So how do you build an effective and thriving social media presence? By collaborating with the right food influencers.

Are you looking for the best restaurants in Paris? Are you wondering which Instagram accounts you should follow to keep track of all the latest food trends?

Or are you a restaurant owner, looking to find a new audience of customers by getting the top influencers in Paris to talk about your establishments?

Here’s a list of our favorite influencers, those whom we trust the most, whose posts we save, and whose recommendations we read with trepidation before choosing what tonight’s restaurant will be.

Raphaële Marchal — The passionate gourmet

She’s a food journalist on C8 Channel, she writes for Fou de Pâtisserie, Fou de Cuisine, My Little Paris, and Mint Magazine. Raphaële has good taste, and knows how to share it with other people. She regularly writes about her favorite culinary discoveries on her blog and Instagram account Enrangd’oignons, always with astuteness and humor.

Is your restaurant keen on generous, gourmet-but-not-too-healthy cooking? Raphaële has to stop by and try it.

Mina Soundiram — The most likable street-foodista in Paris

Always on the lookout for the best Parisian joints and the latest street food gems, Mina shares her greatest finds on the winning show Très Très Bon on Paris Première and on Instagram. She also writes for the food section of a number of media outlets. When you ask Amandine Péchiodat, the editor-in-chief of My Little Paris, to talk about her favorite food writer, Mina is the one she mentions. No limit on our street-foodista’s love of good food: vegetarian, carnivorous, exotic or local, healthy or decadent…

If your pastrami sandwich can challenge those of Katz’s, if you’ve mastered fig desserts like no one else, or that you simply serve real, good street food—Mina is your guy.

Anaïs from the Parisianavores blog — The sunny mom foodie

A mom full of energy, humor, and love for good food, Anaïs makes us look at the quiet 15th arrondissement of Paris with a fresh perspective, but also the 11th, Montreuil, and many other Parisian neighborhoods. Between two photos of plates full of food or of French pastries, she shares with her audience bonding moments with her two children. On Instagram, the account Parisianavores has already gathered an audience of over 37,000 foodies.

If your restaurant is kid-friendly—Anaïs should be talking about it.

Tal Spieger — The pastry chef with the best footwear in Paris

Do you serve beautiful desserts or unique and exceptional pastries? Then it’s Tal Spiegel, the chef behind the account Desserted_in_Paris who should be presenting your concept to his 136,000 followers. Where does the originality of the account lie? The chef always shoots pastries from the same angle, simultaneously revealing a pair of quite unusual shoes… that always match the pastry!

Are you particularly proud of your lemon pie? We’re pretty sure Tal will have the matching shoes to showcase it.

Stéphanie Guillemette — The octopus superfan and healthy eatery addict

The lovely French-Brazilian Stéphanie Guillemette loves trying new restaurants. In addition to her colorful homemade breakfasts, she shares her experiences with precision and honesty in her Instagram stories and gives recommendations on where to eat well in Paris—lots of fine spots serving healthy, vegetarian, or pesco-vegetarian food. She’s even taken a leap and occasionally lends her cooking talents to restaurants she likes such as 5 Pailles or the Café Foufou.

If you have octopus, avocado toasts, sweet potatoes, or acaï bowls on your menu, chances are Stéphanie should come to your restaurant.

NO DIET CLUB — The craziest foodie couple in Paris (and London)

It’s in the “Experiences” section of Airbnb that Claudia and Anthony have made a name for themselves. Real food porn enthusiasts, they take people biking through the capital in small groups to go exploring their favorite spots. The four-hour “Food Tour” is punctuated by delicious stops for pizzas, croque-monsieurs, burgers, chocolate, pastries…

For those who thought they would trim down with four hours of biking, it’s kind of a bust. But to fill your stomach and laugh plenty, it’s more than a win. To make your restaurant a stop on the trip, you can contact Claudia and Anthony on Instagram.

Fulguropain — The authentic sweet tooth

The rare treasure among influencers: he refuses to be invited, picks the spots he’ll try, and shares his opinion with precision and honesty. Arnaud can eat anything but mostly talks about pastries. His obsession? Flans. Rumor has it he’s going to open a new account dedicated to the best flans in the country, and even if it doesn’t happen, you still have quite enough content in his posts to tour the best flans in Paris.

If your dessert menu is well looked after, if you take particular care of where your products come from, and if working with local producers is important to you, chances are Arnaud would like to take a look at your restaurant.

Laura — The breakfast and brunch specialist

Laura shares her bright energy and foodie pleasures on her Instagram account Les Paris de Laura. Every month, she organizes a brunch with several followers and describes her experience on a dedicated Instagram account.

Do you offer a generous brunch in Paris or in the vicinity which you’d like people to know about? Contact Laura to set up an insta brunch!

Erwin Kuhn — The foodie photographer

Photographer and owner of the account Infatuation_Paris, Erwin tries every good restaurant in Paris, and makes it known which are worth the trip and what item to order on the menu. Thanks to his beautiful photographs, the quality of his recommendations, and his sense of humor, Erwin has seen his audience grow by around 6 percent every month.

Do you serve a tasty, sophisticated brand of cuisine? Erwin is your man.

The 6 Best Food Podcasts to Listen To Right Now

The rise of food radio shows and foodcasts, podcasts about food, is yet another proof that food is one of people’s favorite cultural subjects.

Photo podcasts food

More than a cliché, it is a fact: the average Joe/Jane talks about food all the time, even when they’re already seated at the dinner table. So, for this month of summer where we know most of you are bathing in the sun with family or friends, we wanted to share our most appetizing audio experiences… Something to feed your conversations and make your mouth water.

An overview of the best French food podcasts (en français, of course, so you can order in the language of Molière next time you’re in Paris) you should listen to right now:

1. J’ai faim, the food podcast from My Little Paris and François Simon that’ll have you drooling

Amandine Péchiodat, the editor-in-chief at My Little Paris, admits it: food is embedded in the culture of her company. If you’re lucky to one day meander through their pretty offices, you’ll soon notice that a kitchen stands in every room. Even clearer: a chef regularly cooks for the teams and customers, and “pasta days” (cooking contests between co-workers) are often organized. In other words, there’s no kidding when it comes to food at My Little Paris!

The idea of a food podcast series had been running through Amandine’s mind for a while. A meeting with François Simon, the renowned food critic (whose face no one knows), was able to crystallize that idea. His history with My Little Paris began with several collaborations, like this video beating the drum for pickles, or this column in which the critic recommended Parisian joints where people could eat for less than 10 euros. The whole thing takes off, the editor and the critic click; they decide to continue.

Illustration du critique François Simon

Portrait (incognito, of course) of François Simon by Kanako, illustrator at My Little Paris

The “coup de foudre for his writing and sharp knife and fork” compels them to go further, Amandine tells us. For her, there’s no doubt that “his characteristic voice,” his writing, and his astute reviews would be the magical ingredients of an excellent recipe for a food podcast. All bets are off, and it’s a success. The result is unequivocal: this series of 5 foodcasts should be savored without restraint.

les podcasts food "J'ai Faim" de My Little Paris

Photo: J’ai Faim, MyLittleParis

In 3 minutes 30, to the sound of the critic’s captivating voice, you’re invited to discover those moments which have all made us hungry at one point or another: the long wait after ordering at a restaurant, the long-awaited arrival of the pizza at the table, the unadulterated pleasure of eating with one’s fingers… The joy of listening to J’ai faim stems from something between sensuality, as sustained by the critic’s voice, and laughter, cultivated by his words.

P.S. For more flavor, we recommend you enjoy these episodes right when hunger rears its head. And not to worry: if there are only five episodes available now, plans for other episodes are in place.

2. A poêle, the podcast food laying chefs bare

In this podcast, Julie Gerbet, a food critic (Le Fooding, Elle à Table, Pariscope…), gets busy laying bare her chef guests. Those who spend more days in the kitchen and less in the spotlight talk in these one-hour episodes about their passions, where they find inspiration, but also the hardships they’ve faced, their doubts and fears. In conversation with the journalist host, some of the most noteworthy chefs of our generation, female and male, reveal themselves in all their intricacies, allowing us to have a glimpse of who stands behind the figure of the chef.

Les podcast food "A Poêle"

Photo: À Poêle, Julie Gerbet

You can listen to the two-star chef Michel Sarran talk about his experience on Top Chef, where he’s been a jury member for a number of years, or about the pain that’s behind every one of his creations. You can also listen to Julia Sedefdjian who, at 21 years old, is the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France, or to Victor Lugger and Ciro Cristiano, two of the founders of Big Mamma, who, on a different note, talk about their entrepreneurial story, waiting lines, margins, and Margherita pizzas.

You get it: À Poêle takes us out on a trip from one culinary world to another, from one intimacy to the next, to discover colorful personalities made richer from their differences.

13 episodes are available today. The second season, in production, will air next September.

3. Casseroles, the food podcast highlighting the suggestive power of food

Food is more than a matter of acquired taste; it also reflects our culture, our family traditions… Ultimately, it’s because food is so intimate that it has this ability to rekindle memories. It’s what Zazie Tavitian wanted to highlight with every 20-minute episode of her podcast Casseroles, during which she sneaks into the house of someone she knows and asks them to cook for her while telling her stories.

Les podcasts food "Casseroles"

Photo: Casseroles by Binge Media

From her sister who cooks their grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe while reminiscing about shared childhood memories, to her friend Allison who makes spring rolls which takes her back to the Vietnamese roots she’s never talked about with her journalist friend… Casseroles gives us access to a story whose protagonist is Zazie herself, and walks us around peacefully in her world of food populated by her loved ones.

4. Plan culinaire, the food podcast answering all the food questions you’re asking yourself

Why do we stand in line for two hours just to eat a pizza? Why are we addicted to breakfast cereals? We know you’ve already asked yourself these questions. Well, Plan Culinaire, the new podcast from Louie Media is here to answer them all! This monthly podcast hosted by Nora Bouazzouni and Mélissa Bounoua dissects our eating habits and behaviors to explain our society, but also to analyze the current landscape of the food sector.

Les podcasts food "Plan Culinaire"

Photo: Plan Culinaire from Louie Media

From one question to the next, we wonder, we think, we ponder, we’re entertained, and we come out of each 20 minutes less bewildered.

The first season is airing right now.

5. L’Epicurieuse, a topical food podcast covering the latest news in the culinary world

Waste-less cooking, offal, or the best chocolates in Paris have no more secrets for you? It probably means you’re always on the lookout for the latest trends in the food sector, and we have the right podcast for you: L’Épicurieuse, a monthly food podcast covering, analyzing, and turning inside out the latest food oddities of the day.

Les podcasts food "l'Epicurieuse"

Photo: L’Épicurieuse by Delphine Le Feuvre

In every ten-minute episode, Delphine Le Feuvre goes off exploring these idea labs which are, in their own way, revolutionizing the culinary world. She also highlights the brains behind the trends, leaving space for the human aspect which, as she tells us, is at the heart of cooking itself.

6. On va déguster, François-Régis Gaudry’s cult radio show

Last but not least, the ultimate food podcast that’ll never go out of style: On va déguster, the food show with a cult following on France Inter. From season to season, François-Régis Gaudry and his sidekicks Elvia Masson and Dominique Hutin thrill our senses. Every Sunday, during pre-lunch drinks, you’ll know where to find us: in front of the radio, listening religiously to our weekly rendez-vous.

Les podcasts food "On va déguster" de France Inter

Photo: France Inter, On va déguster

Every week, the team of foodies manages to share their enthusiasm for food like no one else. Little, everyday noises like a simmering pan, champagne bubbles, the rattling of a spoon, are at the heart of the experience which the hosts invite us to listen to, and not just hear. With On va déguster, we get the full cooking experience which is not only enjoyed by taste, but by desire, sight, and smells which are described to us in detail and which we can savor live from the radio.

Happy listening to you all!

Influencers: the New Kings of Restaurant Marketing

8 young people out of 10 claim they’ve already discovered a product via an influencer. These days, influencers increasingly shape young people’s consumption habits. If the first few made their name in the realm of beauty and fashion, a number of them share their daily food intake, whether it was cooked at home or enjoyed at a restaurant they liked and now recommend.

Influenceur food restaurant

The power of persuasion that influencers wield, as well as the value they bring to a restaurant’s communications strategy seem evident. More accessible than food critics, more authentic than ads broadcast by the media—have influencers become the new kings of culinary press relations? Or are they the fruit of a fleeting and fragile trend? How can restaurant owners separate real from fake influencers? How do they collaborate with them? What are the limits of these collaborations? Read our analysis to find answers to all these questions.

1. Who are influencers?

Someone with an audience that trusts them

An influencer is first and foremost an individual who’s gathered an audience of a few thousand people on one or more social media platforms and shares with their followers their a slice of their everyday life.

Some influencers focus on a specific theme (beauty, fashion, travel, food, sport…), while others branch out to become “lifestyle” influencers. Margot from the Youmakefashion blog began by talking about her first love, fashion (with almost 250,000 followers on Instagram). She then launched a second account, this time documenting her nutritional rebalancing, in which she shares her recipes, dishes, fitness routines, but also talks about her travels and the latest restaurants she’s visited.

restaurant test influenceur malou

Images, videos, articles, and even podcasts: influencers have many different platforms of expression. Food influencers favor photos and videos to highlight “foodporn” content,” and tend to prefer Instagram to publish their content.

The difference between an “influencer” and someone who’s simply active on social media is that the influencer has build a real audience that follows them and listens to them for content or advice, with whom they’ve cultivated a sense of trust and use their power of persuasion.

Three categories of influencers

Celebrities: they’re influencers who’ve already gathered several hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of followers. Exhibiting their lives on social media is their full-time job; they make a living out of it, and are in general managed by agencies. Contacting them is difficult, and they typically only accept offers if they’re paid for their posts.

Mid-tier influencers: they have between dozens or hundreds of thousands of followers. In general, their engagement rate per post amounts to 3 to 10 percent. They’re more accessible than the first category of influencers, and can eventually ask for financial compensation for a collaboration.

Micro-influencers: with an audience of between thousands and dozens of thousands of followers, they can generate strong engagement rates, but mostly enjoy a strong audience growth rate. They tend not to ask for pay but for other advantages in kind. Spotting the most promising micro-influencers can often guarantee the best return on investment.

2. What point is there for a restaurant to collaborate with influencers?

Gaining visibility

Having influencers come to your restaurant is a way to gain traction on social media and to make it known to more people. Today, some users see an influencer as 92 percent more credible than a brand. Their posts are 24 times more likely to generate engagement on social media. By sharing their experience in a restaurant in “stories”—short and short-lived videos or photos where they give their followers a glimpse of a restaurant’s decoration, products, menu, and even backstage in the kitchen—influencers can offer restaurants a consequential platform to be seen, but most importantly allow them to win over their audience’s trust more easily.

Below is an example of what these stories can look like from the account of Paris street-food specialist Foodease showcasing the restaurant BMK:

influencer food restaurant story

Recently, Instagram added a feature called “Highlights” which made it possible to add permanent links to stories to your profile. Content that was previously short-lived can now be preserved, filtered, and pinned to an Instagram profile. Some influencers allot a “highlight” to a single restaurant, while others sort their highlights by category or location.

Widening a restaurant’s audience

Stories and posts published by influencers can increase a restaurant’s reach on social media. In the wake of an influencer event we organized for the one-month anniversary of Pizzou, Paris’s new 100 percent Made in France pizzeria, the restaurant tripled its weekly audience:

Increasing revenue

Influencers wield a real power of recommendation. If they liked a restaurant, they will promote it to their audience. Pizzou organized an event for influencers to discover the restaurant, learn about its history, and taste its products and one-of-a-kind pizzas. The event took place on a Tuesday, one month after the official opening. The day after, Pizzou registered its biggest revenue since it opened (Fridays and weekends included), whereas “Wednesday evening is usually a calm shift,” as Vivien, one of the co-founders, tells us.

Creating content for a low price

Influencers are usually good at photography and taking videos. They’re capable of producing high-quality content that they share on social media and that the restaurant can then re-share on their own accounts.

3. When is a good time to collaborate with influencers?

The opening of a restaurant

To announce the opening of a restaurant, press relations are essential (article to come), but today, they’re worthwhile only if when combined with “influencer relations.”. La Felicità, the latest giant from the people behind Big Mamma, opened its doors to the public on May 26, but dedicated the preceding two days to welcoming journalists and influencers.

A change or new offer

Influencers can communicate about the launch of a new offer. The Westminster Hotel spread the news about its new pastries and tea-time service with the help of Instagram influencers. The burger chain PNY, which is quite communication-savvy, regularly collaborates with influencers to talk about the new things happening at their restaurants (often with an offbeat sense of humor, much as their stunt for the 50-year anniversary of McDonald’s Big Mac).

(Translation: “The Big Mac is celebrating its 50th birthday. For the occasion, @pnyburger has a new Tribute burger, definitely better than the original.”)

The creation of an exclusive offer in collaboration with the influencer

Influencers can go beyond simply trying a restaurant and talking about it on social media; they can collaborate with the restaurant to create a dish, a recipe, or a limited offer with their name attached. In January 2018, Roomies, a new gourmet burger place, collaborated with Charlotte from The Food Spy to create “the burger of the month.” She designed the recipe for the burger, but also communicated about the new menu item on social media, which allowed Roomies to widen its audience and have customers come in to try out the “PariswithCharlotte Burger.”

Continual collaborations to keep up a restaurant’s visibility

Paris New York Hamburgers  or the Big Mamma restaurants regularly invite influencers throughout the year to share videos or photos of the food and as a result ensure their restaurant’s continued online visibility.

4. How to pick the best influencers

Quantitative indicators

The number of followers is the first (and easiest) criteria to spot. We talk about an influencer starting at a few thousand followers.

The second number to look at is the average engagement rate generated on posts, which takes into account every form of interaction a user can have on published content: likes, comments, shares, clicks, as well as instances of the restaurant being tagged on social media. Not all interactions have the same value: a post being shared is the sign of stronger engagement than a simple “like.”

Qualitative indicators

It’s important to understand with precision which themes the influencer gravitates toward, their editorial policy, and the way in which they communicate with their followers. Inviting a vegan influencer to a restaurant serving meat and cheese, or a gluten-free one to a restaurant with no corresponding item on the menu, are examples of obvious mistakes to avoid.

The location of the influencer’s audience should also be taken into account: an influencer with 200,000 followers living mostly abroad or in the country wouldn’t be of much help for a Parisian restaurant.

Finally, the quality of an influencer’s followers is vital: is an influencer reaching the right audience targeted by the restaurant (age group, socio-economic profile, location, interests…)? One of the criteria to look for is what kind of interactions each post triggers: are they numerous, of good quality? If the majority of comments consists of emojis or short messages (of the “cool pics” or “great feed” variety), it’s likely they were left by robots and the influencer doesn’t have a real audience but resorted to hacks to acquire new followers (article to come).

Another important criteria: are there pictures of food in an influencer’s feed? An influencer may have a real audience that follows and trusts them, but if they’re not used to posting about food, they may only do a story in the best case scenario, and the added value for restaurant owners will be lower. Nina, from the Callmevoyou account, regularly posts food content with recipes she tries or restaurants she tries out.

5. How do restaurants collaborate with them?

Restaurants have to offer real added value to influencers for them to want to collaborate: trying out an original, generous, gourmet type of cooking, discovering a nice place, talking about themes that their audience can relate to, or going even further by suggesting they invite one or more of their followers.

Taking a lot of care when initializing contact

Before thinking of how to collaborate with an influencer, it’s important to have figured out their taste, the last restaurants they tried and liked, as well as what their community seems to appreciate. “Lower-tier” influencers can be contacted via private messages on Instagram, but it is more professional to send an invitation, a press release, or press kit by email.

Having influencers over one-on-one or inviting them to an event

Invitation can be personalized. Usually, they’re (graciously) invited to try a restaurant with a +1. Still, organizing an entire event can have a much more important local and media impact. It’s essential, then, to invite groups of influencers who know each other already and like each other, but also to pick the best format for the event (seating charts can quickly become conundrums and put at risk the entire atmosphere).

To compensate financially or in kind?

When it’s about simply trying a restaurant, most influencers do not ask to be paid. However, if the restaurant owner clearly expects more work from the influencer, like a video montage or an article with edited pictures, an influencer can ask to be compensated financially (after all, all work deserves payment).

Offering added value with contests

An efficient way to collaborate with an influencer is to organize a contest. The influencer invites their audience to come forward in one of their posts, usually by tagging one of their friends to enter a draw (and eventually following the account of the restaurant on social media). The benefit is twofold:: the influencer offers real value to their followers by allowing them to win an invitation to a restaurant, while restaurant owners increase their visibility with the contest.

Using an agency?

The staff, if it’s social media-inclined, can of course take care of inviting influencers from time to time. However, identifying the best influencers, building a relationship with them, organizing entire events, reusing content, analyzing the media impact… all of this demands time which cannot be allocated at the cost of restaurant work and the care taken to serve customers. To carry out a real influencer marketing strategy, expand a restaurant’s visibility, and increase revenue, we recommend restaurants work with agency.

6. What are the limits of influencer marketing?

Authentic or sponsored content?

Passionate influencers will continue to discover new restaurants on their own. Others lose their credibility and only frequent places which invite them or pay them to come. It’s important to identify those who continue to share authentic content and thus preserve the bond of trust they’ve build with their followers.

Beware of “fake” influencers

There are influencers who boast of very high follower counts which turn out to be bogus. Indeed, it’s possible to use different types of softwares or robots (which people often have to pay for) to grow one’s audience with “fake followers.” You can read another article on the subject on Malou’s blog.

Hotel Restaurants : How to Promote your Hotel Restaurant and Increase Your Sales

How many people would think about booking a table for lunch or dinner at a hotel restaurant when they’re not staying at the hotel? Not very many. This is precisely what’s at stake for hotel restaurants looking to fill their tables.

Hotel restaurants are first and foremost restaurants. They offer the same service as their autonomous counterparts: a kitchen, food, a seating room, and a staff. We talked to experts, hotel managers, and restaurant supervisors for hotel groups to better understand the issues of the trade and the measures taken to respond to them.

Everyone in the business is of one mind : hotel restaurants operate at a far lower rate than their seating capacity

Hotel restaurants struggle to attract customers who aren’t hotel guests

At first glance, it’s easy to think that hotel restaurants have a head start over other restaurants—they come in with a ready clientele staying right above. Research has shown that hotels with 63% of their rooms booked will be able to fill ⅓ of the restaurant’s tables with those very same customers. An occupancy rate of 30% guaranteed by hotel guests doesn’t sound so bad. Save for the fact that ⅔ of the restaurant remains to be filled. To get there, hotel restaurants will have to target non-guest customers.

This is where things get tricky: having lunch or dinner inside a hotel isn’t yet part of the customs for the general population. Most people don’t think about it because they don’t see the restaurant independently from the hotel.

It proves even more complicated for hotel restaurants to bring in outside customers as they’re usually not visible as restaurants, but as “a part” of a hotel.

A lack of identity separate from the hotel puts hotel restaurants at a disadvantage

A restaurant with the same name as the hotel that houses it exists only as a “feature” of that hotel. This explains why potential customers aren’t even aware of hotel restaurants in themselves, and don’t think about them when looking for places to eat. But this initial observation isn’t a death sentence, and many hotel restaurants across the Atlantic manage to reach very satisfying occupancy rates while keeping the name of the hotel and adding unique epithets for the restaurant.

This is the case for Standard Grill, the Standard Hotel’s restaurant, which managed to take advantage of the hotel’s reputation to open its doors to customers from other horizons.

Others go even further and turn the hotel’s restaurant into a brand in itself.

Creating and tapping into a strong brand identity can mean a bright growth potential for hotel restaurants

Some hotels have pushed the strategy to the point where they turned their restaurant into real profit centers. The Barrière Group, responsible for the Fouquet’s brand, now welcomes on a daily basis diners eager to eat at Fouquet’s, not at "the Barrière Hotel’s restaurant." “The Fouquet’s brand was created with the goal of reinforcing our restaurants’ image to attract more customers outside of hotel guests,” Pierre-Louis Renou, manager of the Cannes establishments, tells us. The group succeeded in building such a strong restaurant brand that people have stopped associating it with the parent hotels.

Other hotels manage to negotiate exclusive deals to house atypical or in-demand restaurants still rare on the market. In New York, the Parker is now home to the sole location of the Burger Joint brand. The “burger joint” is located behind a curtain in the main hall of the hotel, and boasts a unique decor (with customers’ testimonials on the wall), its own website, and its own social media accounts. The concept is showcased both in situ and online, and it works: expect an average waiting time of one hour every day to taste a burger!

Hotel restaurants have their own unique features

According to the hotel they’re in, their location, their product line, some restaurants have a more urgent need to bring in outside customers than others. Olivier Clerc, Restaurant Operations Director for the Grape Hospitality group, tells us that hotels close to business centers (where companies lack an office cafeteria) host many business lunches, but struggle more with weekend shifts.

Hotels located near offices with cafeterias don’t often succeed in attracting individuals for the lunch shift, but manage to get more satisfying turnover rates in the evening with hotel guests.

For others, we can also highlight how season patterns impact hotel restaurants. Anthony Torkington, former general manager at the Saint James Hotel in Bouliac, tells us that the Saint James’s restaurant in Bouliac attracts enough customers in the winter to generate a satisfying revenue on lunches. In the summer however, evenings work better thanks to the summer specials they developed, the longer days, and an outdoor terrace with a panoramic view of Bordeaux.

We spoke to specialists in order to identify the best initiatives for hotel restaurants to attract customers in the right areas.

Promoting a hotel restaurant: taking physical and digital steps helps improve turnover rates

Giving the restaurant a proper identity is the first step in making sure it is viable

To attract customers who aren’t hotel guests, a hotel restaurant is already ahead if it has a proper identity—a name, distinct from the hotel, a logo, a chef, a website. The restaurant has to be visible physically and online as a separate entity in and of itself.

That was Grape Hospitality’s wager with Happy Dock, the restaurant housed by the Mercure Hotel in Le Havre. The place was refurbished, the menu redesigned by Sophie Menut, the chef at the helm of the kitchen. Today, the restaurant has its own website, and appears as a restaurant in its own right:

The Hoxton Grill in London’s Hoxton Hotel preserved the already famous Hoxton brand, and followed the model of the Standard in New York:

Once its proper identity established, the restaurant has to be promoted and to that end use the right cost-effective online marketing tools.

Communicating not as a hotel feature but as a restaurant strengthens the establishment’s online presence

80% of people look up restaurants online. They have to be able to see, right next to independent restaurants, suggestions of hotel restaurants welcoming customers who aren’t guests at the hotel.

To that end, restaurants have to be listed online independently from their hotel. Good organic SEO, a smart online communications strategy, a website, and independent Facebook and Instagram accounts are necessary to boost the restaurant’s visibility.

This is what the Hoxton Grill in London’s Hoxton Hotel did on Instagram:

A good social media strategy is a way to reach more potential customers, but we also recommend focusing on having strong local roots to widen turnover rates.

Developing strong local roots is a way to promote the restaurant to those most likely to become loyal customers

Consumers trust products as long as they know where they come from. Working with local growers and producers means getting closer to customers. The Saint James in Bouliac picked that method for the dishes on its menu, but it also went further.

The Saint James in Bouliac created the "Saint James Market." Four times a year, on a Sunday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., the hotel invites local growers (who supply the restaurant’s kitchen) to sell their products to the public. About 1100 people come every time. The goal of the seasonal market is, as Anthony Torkington relates, is to attract and entice Bordeaux residents to come have lunch or dinner in hotel restaurants: “We highlighted this type of events to promote the establishments and get people talking about them in a different light.

Developing strong local roots can also take the form of astute diversification to highlight specific services and improve the restaurant’s renown.

Diversifying the smart way: by capitalizing on their strengths and proximity to hotels, hotel restaurants have the potential to become drop-in “third places”

Introducing new activities associated with the hotel’s restaurant is a way to attract a new customer base

Diversification is a way for hotel restaurants to take advantage of their strengths, namely how close they are to a hotel and all of its amenities. Indeed, as Olivier Clerc points out, “We have to inject life into hotel restaurants, these days we live in a world where everything is modernized, and we have an obligation to go out and get customers from outside of the hotel.” By capitalizing on these assets, hotel restaurants can organize special events and bring in new people inside their walls. Grape Hospitality’s restaurants took some interesting initiatives in that regard.

Once a month, the Mercure Hotel in Roissy sets up an exhibition by volunteer artists, with a gallery opening to boot, which attracts new people to the hotel, and is also a chance to sell beverages and various meats and cheeses, either at the bar or in the hotel.

By taking advantage of the existing hotel structures, the restaurant can develop a range of products aimed at customers outside of the hotel

Hotels usually serve breakfasts which more or less resemble what a brunch would look like (eggs, cheese, charcuterie etc.). Starting with the advantages they already had, the Amour Hotel and the Marriott Champs Élysées developed a brunch offer to attract customers outside the hotel. One way to promote their new diversified offer was to collaborate with influencers.

Two of them, pia_mbd and callmevoyou were invited to try the brunch and share their experience on their social media accounts. Their audience, for the most part young, urban, and for whom brunch is a fact of life, was able to discover the hotel restaurant’s new offer.

One of the oldest English traditions is the afternoon tea, and it is more than renowned in London: in some of the most beautiful hotels such as the Ritz London, one has to wait several months for a seat a one of its tables set for tea. The tradition has since crossed the pond and hotels in Paris seized the opportunity to fill their salons and generate new avenues for revenue. Indeed, hotels like the Shangri La or the Westminster Hotel have developed a “Tea Time” service catering to a younger audience, and resorted to influencers to promote it.

Another example of smart diversification: Olivier Thomas, director of the Blagnac Pullman near Toulouse, saw that the restaurant’s lunch revenue was seriously impeded by the proximity of a number of office cafeterias. The simple lunch menu wasn’t enough to attract the surrounding business crowd. Seeing this, Olivier Thomas developed a special menu with real added value and a competitive edge: “packages,” or lunch formulas to which he added a pass granting access to the pool, a massage, or a sports class within the hotel.

Going beyond with a strong concept grants hotel restaurants a new appeal

Still at Grape Hospitality, the Mercure in Sophia Antipolis took in a restaurant with quite a strong concept: “In the Dark. Dinner is served in pitch-black darkness by nonseeing people. The experience goes beyond the simple meal; senses are thrown. Deprived from their sight, customers are invited to re-evaluate their perception of taste. This buzzworthy initiative was a way to promote both the hotel and the restaurant, and to bring in a new audience. The success was such that the collaboration was renewed.

We would like to kindly thank the hotel restaurant professionals who took the time to answer our questions:

Pierre-Louis Renou, Area General Manager for the Barrière Group in Cannes. He manages three hotels: the Majestic Cannes, the Gray d’Albion Cannes, and the Carl Gustaf St Barth.

Anthony Torkington, former General Manager at the Saint James in Bouliac. He was just named new General Director of Relais & Châteaux.

Olivier Clerc, Director of Restaurant Operations at Grape Hospitality. Launched in 2017, Grape Hospitality is the owner, operator, and manager of 85 hotels in 8 European countries, which represents over 9000 rooms operated under a franchise contract.

Burger King: the Communication Secrets Behind the Restaurant’s Triumphant Return in France

Monday, December 16, 2013. That date marked the return of Burger King in Paris. Four years later, the chain counts over 208 restaurants in the country. To what can we attribute this success?

A well-honed sense of humor, playful nods at the competition, a cultivated sense of proximity with their customers... With all these tools, Burger King has managed to find its place in the French fast-food landscape, and then some: the chain has been experiencing a double-digit growth rate since its return, and is aiming for 2 billion euros in revenue in France for 2020.

The fast-food chain’s success can be explained in large part by the communication strategy designed by the king of burgers which relies on humor, a balance between digital and street marketing, and a real “focus on social media,” as Marine Dupas, the group’s marketing director, confides. Let’s roll the tape on this success story.

A long-awaited and carefully planned comeback in France

July 1997: Burger King leaves France. The roll-out of the chain in France hasn’t been a success. The economy of scale isn’t enough and the restaurants aren’t profitable.

November 2012: A press release announces the return of Burger King in France. The company is kicking things off slowly: a restaurant at the airport in Marseille, then a second one in partnership with the Autogrill group on a highway rest stop near Reims.

Monday, December 16, 2013: The opening of Burger King Saint-Lazare kicks off a series of new restaurant openings. Twitter ignites and Burger King manages to keep the fire alive.

An ingenious balance between street and digital marketing exploits the perception of rarity

As Marine Dupas tells us, “the brand has often used this perception of how few Burger Kings there are in the country” to create buzz. The method is similar for every new opening.

The announcement of a new restaurant opening is made both online and in situ. Three months before the opening, the chain sets up big heavy-duty signs to let everyone know about the upcoming opening—always with a little joke.

(Translation: “Soon here: BURGER KING. You’ll soon have a good reason to turn left.”)

Burger King has turned its construction sites into powerful communication tools. The company also prints out tweets by its customers with a surprising or funny response on construction tarps. People passing by can have a laugh, it’s shared online, and the brand continues to get people talking.

(Translation: “Whenever there’s a burger king (sic) in Lille ill buy you all a menu,remember that” / “Dear @vanoukia, luckily no one thought of printing your tweet on a tarp.”)

(Translation: “Yo it’s not even 12 burger king’s packed open other restaurants” / “Hey @mroymusic, to make you happy we’re opening one here, C?”)

A communication strategy with strong local roots to attract more customers to the restaurants

At Burger King, a team within the marketing and communications department is dedicated exclusively to speeding up local activity: the team manages the openings and works to increase each restaurant’s visibility in their respective area.

Before every opening, the team shares a “local post,” something related to the news of the region on Facebook and Twitter. They’re “dark posts,” meaning they’re not visible on Burger King France’s national pages, but will be to users who are located in the area of a new restaurant (within a 40km radius).

Users who see the post can then sign up on a side page and receive an invitation with a free menu offered. “This process isn’t systematic, but works very well,” Marine explains.

A cultivated and well-displayed bond with its customers to generate buzz

Burger King entertains such an intense proximity with its customers that for Christmas—wait for it—he company offered its best fan on Facebook one of its restaurants!

(“To our biggest fan, Merry Christmas, Sullyvan.”)

As a reward for his loyalty, Burger King offered its most active fan on social media his own restaurant, with a reserved parking spot, a table named after him, one year of free burgers in every Burger King in the world…

The stunt was presented in a video that surpassed 60,000 views on YouTube and served the company’s name well.

At the heart of a media strategy to maximize brand awareness: social media

Burger King uses every social media platform differently to make the most of each. But one principle is constant throughout: “a strong brand personality; always a bit of arrogance and irony to not take ourselves too seriously.”

Twitter is used to mark the tone of the brand, both online by interacting with followers and on the street by printing out tweets and funny responses on construction site panels.

“On Instagram, users are the ones driving the Burger King account.” Indeed, the company mostly counts on User Generated Content as it regrams (or shares) content created by Instagram users. Not only does this considerably lowers the cost of content creation, it’s also a way to generate even more user engagement on the platform.

On Facebook, Burger King uses a very different strategy from McDonald’s, whose Facebook page is used to share information and managed by a very active community manager who answers comments and has a functional purpose they fill with humor.

At Burger King, the thing that matters most if user engagement. Most posts give incentives like free burgers or the title of “King or Queen of Burger King” to make people like the post and leave comments.

“Social media allows us to create a real and engaged community, to turn our followers into brand ambassadors,” Marine Dupas tells us. Community managers don’t answer every comment, “only pertinent comments where they feel they can make an impression with the tone of the brand.”

Burger King thus continues its expansion in France with a powerful communication strategy, strong local roots, and a clever use of social media. From now until 2020, every Quick restaurant will have become Burger Kings.