| | Print

1971 was a good year for Alka-Seltzer, but a bad one for Italian restaurants everywhere when they shamed the every day Italian restaurateur by exclaiming, “Mama Mia! Now that’s a spicy meatball!” Thankfully, social media sites get to give silly anecdotes like this the boot, because you now have a platform to come up with your own silly anecdotes.

Restaurants across the country have embraced Facebook and have been effectively using their pages to generate more traffic to their restaurants. In this post we examine effective habits that Italian Restaurants are using on their Facebook pages.

Let Your Fans Know About the Other Food Services You Provide

A perfect example of this is catering. The family owned Red Devil Italian Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ posted on their Facebook page that they offer full catering services to the public. They didn’t just write about it though, they also posted pictures that show off the catering work they performed.

Red Devil Italian Restaurants Catering Services

Invite Fans to “Check-in” at Your Restaurant to Receive Discount Off Their Meal

Mediterraneo in Providence, Rhode Island has created incentives for people that check into their restaurant. If you check into Mediterraneo with four friends between 5pm-7pm you receive 20% off your bill. Now that Facebook lets you check into places it’s even easier for more people to check in from their phones and mobile devices. (Note: if this sort of strategy intrigues you, check this out).

So how do you implement this? Very easily.

  • First decide on what the requirements of the deal are. Example: “Check-in between 12pm-2pm to receive 15% your lunch order”
  • Post status updates announcing the check-in deal
  • If a diner informs the waitstaff that they would like to receive the check-in deal, have the patron show the waitstaff their device to confirm they have checked in. Thats it!

Mediterraneo Caffe Check-in Deal

Be Personal By Posting Photos to Your Wall

It’s easy to upload photos to albums on Facebook, but you may be forgetting to post photos in the most important place: your wall. The wall on your page is one of the most visible areas. It is the one place where people can see your latest updates and news about your restaurant. Photos are a great way to get people to engage with your Facebook page.

But why do we want them to engage? It’s simple. The more the viewer visits, views, and clicks (engages) around your page, the more familiar they become with your restaurants, food, staff, and experience. All of these interactions & experiences goes into a persons decision to visit your restaurant.

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City does an excellent job of posting photos on their wall. They take it a step further and add a description to each photo. They don’t post photo’s everyday, but when they do share a photo there is always a story behind it.

Patsys Italian Restaurant

Enable Users to Make Reservations on Your Facebook Page

At this point you should have some type of online reservation system implemented on your website. The most popular restaurant booking system available right now is OpenTable. You can now add OpenTable to your Facebook page. This makes it super easy for your fans that spend all day on Facebook to quickly book a table.

La Gondola in Chicago uses the OpenTable Facebook App to add an easy to use reservation system on their Facebook page.

OpenTable Integration a on Facebook Page

Use Your Facebook Page to Grow An Email List

Email newsletters are one of the most effective ways to market your restaurant. Not convinced? Many email newsletter providers have a Facebook application that lets you easily create an email signup form on your Facebook page. A great example of this is Isabelle’s Italian Restaurant in Frisco Texas, who offers email subscribers a $10 Gift Certificate just for signing up.

Isabellas Italian Restaurant Facebook Email Signup Form

But why do I need a email newsletter when I have already have Facebook fans? Great question! Think of it this way: Imagine a pyramid. Facebook fans would be the base of the pyramid. Facebook Fans may or may not see your updates. Email subscribers are the center portion of the pyramid. They receive and view messages directly from you. At the top of they pyramid are people that dine in your restaurant, these folks make you money!

Email subscribers need to be treated differently. Just like your in-person diners, they come into direct contact with you—except it’s through their inbox—so treat them with white gloves. Here a few tips to build your email list on your Facebook page:

  • Make the offer enticing. Isabelle’s does a great job by offering a $10 gift certificate for subscribing. You could even take it one step further and offer a $10 gift certificate every month!
  • Create emails with more useful content than promotions. Include recipes, information about upcoming charity events, news from the staff. Then tastefully include information about new dishes, promotions and specials.

Do you know another great Italian Restaurant that has a spicy Facebook page? Let me know by posting a comment.

Process payments + gain customer insights with Upserve

Written by   |  
As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.