Marketing should be doing more than just the hard sell, it should also be telling your story.

Instead of posting content that is purely about sales, promotions and the hard sell, take a softer and more intimate approach by connecting with your customer through telling them your story. Customers who know your story and feel connected to it become loyal to your business and feel invested in your success. No amount of promos and sales can do that.

When confronting their own stories, a lot of business owners find themselves wondering, “does anyone really care?” The answer is a resounding yes. If people are already coming to your restaurant and spending their valuable time with you, they’re interested in knowing more about who you are.

Where do you start? Here are some do’s and don’t’s to getting you started.

Do drop some history.

Start at places like, What was the motivation for you to open a restaurant? What was the inspiration behind the menu? What is your relationship with the chef? How did you assemble your team?

Do share your motivations.

People who dine with you frequently are paying attention to what is going on, so fill them in on the motivations behind some of these decision. Why did you expand your restaurant or open a second location? Why did you start working with a new farm? What inspired the renovations your made to the dining room? Who is this team member who has recently been promoted to manager?

Two Bartenders Experimenting With Creating Cocktails

Do start a conversation.

Your customers are there because they believe in your business, so include them in the conversation. Engage with them both in person and on social media. Let them know you’re open to their feedback, and work to develop long term relationships with them. According to the National Restaurant Association, 34% of consumers factor in information on social media when choosing a restaurant, so be sure the conversation that’s happening out there is one that you’re helping create.

Don’t be too complicated.

Your story and your brand should be intrinsically linked in any story you’re telling, but you don’t want the story to overpower your brand. When well balanced storytelling will enhance your brand, but if it becomes to complicated or about something unrelated, your customers can get lost.

Don’t shift focus from your brand.

Obviously, you’re a big part of that business and a big part of the story. Allow for overlap, and let your personality shine through, but don’t lose focus. The stories you’re telling about let it be just about you.

Don’t be fake.

Don’t ever forget, your customers are really smart. They can sniff out a story that is false or insincere in a heartbeat. Content that is designed purely to tug at their heart strings can backfire. Tap into their emotions through honest and genuine stories that you’re eager to share. If nothing else, remember to always be honest and real.

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.