Create Restaurant Ambassadors to Win At Word of Mouth

Create Restaurant Ambassadors to Win at Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool.

What is a restaurant ambassador?

It’s someone who has been to your restaurant at least once, tried your food, and loved it. A restaurant, or brand ambassador appreciates everything about your restaurant including your service.

Why are they good for business?

Brand ambassadors are good for your restaurant because having tried your restaurant, they love it enough to tell everyone they know how good it is. (tweet this)

Restaurant ambassadors aren’t paid. They are strictly people who so appreciate your restaurant they’re willing to spread the word.

In this article, we look at how to create restaurant ambassadors to win at word of mouth.

Identify Your Restaurant Ambassadors

The first step in creating a program that helps you spread the news of your restaurant is identifying potential ambassadors from the pool of your regular customers.

Look for these people among those customers who already love your restaurant.

These are the ones that come back night after night. They are the ones who seek you out to tell you how much they enjoyed your new dish or how much they appreciate the great service.

You can also look for people among your online reviews – think Yelp, Google, Instagram and Facebook. You’re looking for the ones who shared very positive reviews about your restaurant online.

Another place to look is on your social media platforms. Note the customers who are enthusiastically sharing and talking about your restaurant already.

Take it one step further and look at the food bloggers in your area. Are any of them talking about your restaurant? If so, these could also be restaurant ambassadors for you.

How many people should you pick? As many as you want. Just make sure they really do love your restaurant enough to spend time promoting it for you.

Ask for Specifics

Once you have your restaurant ambassadors, you want to give them a list of tasks to accomplish. They can include some or all of the following:

  • Social media promotion on your restaurant’s pages as well as their own
  • Reviews on websites and blogs
  • Google reviews as well as social media reviews
  • Video testimonials
  • Community interaction such as help at events
  • Delivering samples to local businesses

Some of your ambassadors will be better suited for online activity, while others will be adept at mixing and mingling in the community.

Make a Plan for Measurement

Just as with any marketing strategy, you need a plan for measuring success.

Not only do you need to identify your restaurant ambassadors, but you need a plan to track how well your program is working.

Here’s some things to consider:

  • How will you measure the success? Is it new reviews, more social media posts, an increase in customers in the door, or a boost in sales?
  • What data and metrics will you keep, and how?
  • What analytics will you use?

It’s a good idea to assign a staff member to track your restaurant ambassador’s online activities.  Over time and with some diligence, you can measure at least the online reach of your ambassadors.

Provide Content

Help your ambassadors by putting together some information for them to use.

This might include a file of menu photos or restaurant photos, videos, links to blog posts and more.

In addition, ask them to take their own photos and videos while they’re in your restaurant. These ultimately look more authentic.

Do also give them a list of your brand hashtags so they can add hashtags to their posts for brand consistency. 

Restaurant Ambassadors

Encourage your brand ambassadors to share content from your restaurant.

Reward Diners to Get Them Talking

Now it’s time to put a plan in motion for giving your restaurant ambassadors incentive for spreading the word about your restaurant.

How can you reward them? With free food and gifts.

Why do you want to reward them? This incentivizes them to continue spreading rave reviews about your restaurant.

Check out these ideas for restaurant ambassador loot:

  • Coupons and free meals at your restaurant
  • Exclusive access to events
  • Aprons
  • T-Shirts
  • Oven mitts and digital timers
  • Cups and bags
  • Cooking classes with your chef
  • VIP tasting events
  • Celebrity guest chef events

The ideas are endless, so get creative and come up with the ideas that will really drive your ambassadors to spread the news about your restaurant by word of mouth.

Ask for Their Ideas

The great thing about restaurant brand ambassadors is they know just why they like your restaurant and what makes it stand out in the crowd.

They also know where and how to spread the word.

So, on occasion, solicit their feedback about your menu, service and ambiance. In addition, ask them what they think of your restaurant ambassador program. 

They are well poised to offer you suggestions for improvement and show you where you shine.

Now let’s look at what triggers brand ambassadors. What makes them willing to spread your restaurant by word of mouth?

Restaurant Ambassador Triggers

Nowadays, good service and good food is expected. If people aren’t finding this at your restaurant, you can bet they won’t be back.

What sets you apart from the competition and triggers your restaurant ambassadors is how far you go beyond “good” and “acceptable.”

Is your food top notch and your presentation impeccable? Have you thought of everything when it comes to the interior of your building, ease of access and cleanliness?

Have you overly-trained your staff in the finesse of customer service? 

To gain ambassadors and earn their positive reviews and their loyalty, you must go above and beyond. You must thoroughly exceed expectations.

  • Brand ambassadors are triggered when they experience something in your restaurant so far beyond what they could have expected, they’re willing to tell others about it.
  • Your staff must provide more than exceptional service. They must be generators of positive feedback by anticipating their customers’ needs and exceeding them.

Final Thoughts

Your restaurant benefits greatly when you have ambassadors speaking highly of you throughout your community. (tweet this)

Your restaurant ambassadors help you grow your restaurant by spreading the word online and in your city. 

By rewarding brand ambassadors, you can increase your reach right along with your sales.

You’ll find that restaurant ambassadors give you more sway than traditional advertising because of the power of social proof – “If Cathy likes it, I know it must be great.” 

Help your restaurant grow by establishing a restaurant ambassador program today. 

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that includes your brand ambassadors. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Benjamin Voros and Josh Rose on Unsplash

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