Content Marketing for Your Restaurant and Bar Website

Whether you're a small restaurant or popular bar, content marketing is an untapped opportunity to grow your customer base.

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With over a million of them in the United States alone, the restaurant and bar industry is cut-throat. Chances are, your website represents a local eatery that has plenty of competition, so how do you stand out? Whether it's a food truck, fresh-made food delivery service, or a brick-and-mortar shop, content marketing can help you grow your following, stay in touch with loyal customers, and outperform the competition.

Of course, content in itself is a majorly overlooked aspect for most restaurants and bars, so what good can content marketing do for your business? Let's take a closer look at how content marketing can give you a much-needed boost, whether you're a small-town favorite or a hidden gem in a big city.



Why is Content Marketing Important for Your Restaurant and Bar Website?


With $659 billion in restaurant sales last year alone, you need help standing out. Given that 90% of guests research a restaurant online before dining (more than in any other industry), it's astounding that so many restaurants still overlook content.

Content marketing as a concept has been around for longer than the internet. The idea behind content marketing is to produce informational content that answers a reader's questions and gives them advice, rather than trying to market or sell something to them. The purpose of this is to educate a person, potentially priming them to be better customers while also associating your brand with content that is engaging, insightful, and useful.

At first thought, you may wonder how any of that can apply to your business in the restaurant and bar industry, and that's where the creative thinking lends endless possibilities. Does your bar offer wine flights from the local region? Part of your content marketing plan could emphasize the region, the wineries, the specific flights you offer, teaching a future customer about your wine and making them want to stop in and try it.

Meanwhile, if you're a restaurant serving up farm-fresh produce, your content marketing can showcase the farmers you order from and brag about your commitment to quality, locally grown ingredients. All the while, you'll be able to talk about some of your iconic dishes and get the reader drooling, ready to make a reservation or stop in next time you're open.

Ultimately, you can take content marketing as far as you want for your business, but it's not something you should dismiss. If you're interested in using content marketing to entice new visitors and keep your loyal customers coming back, just consider the countless benefits.



Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Restaurant and Bar Website


A well-planned content strategy will boost your business at every turn. Out of the many benefits content marketing can offer you, consider these first.



Breed Loyalty

The best restaurants and bars take pride in their offerings, whether it's the food, the company, the service, or preferably: All of the above. In simpler times, if someone liked your food, they'd come back every so often and that would be that. These days, though, people crave a greater connection with the brands they love, and that includes restaurants, food trucks, and all other eateries.

Your favorite customers want to be able to find and interact with you on social media. They want to be able to share the menu from your website. They may not know it yet, but they want to learn more about your team, your story, and how much thought goes into the food you're serving up to them when they visit. Those things matter, especially when it comes to building your brand and breeding loyalty amongst the regulars.

Some content ideas that can help check these boxes include:

  • Content that introduces your team. Who is your wait staff, your founder, the people in the kitchen bringing the cuisine to life?
  • Content that gets people talking. What do customers love, what would they love to try, and how can you make things even better for them?
  • Content that makes people drool. Delicious photos of your food, the backstories behind the dishes, a behind-the-scenes look at the farms producing your fresh ingredients -- those are the things that build an image of quality, dedication, and tasty plates.



Build Awareness

The right content can breed loyalty amongst the people who already know you, but what about reaching those who don't? Much in the same way that content marketing can make people who know you love you, it can also help you reach those who have yet to discover your eatery.

An active social media profile, for instance, can get you noticed. But, what if you're posting content that empowers your current followers to tag a friend, share your photos, or comment? This makes all of their friends aware of your brand and can score you some new customers.

Take user-generated content (UGC) campaigns a step further and you can run contests, giveaways, and promotions that get more people coming through your door, all while making your restaurant better known throughout the community. Pair those things with a charitable cause, and suddenly you have a local partnership and all the popularity. All you need to do is get creative with your content.



Improve Your Ranking

If you have an existing web presence, you probably already know that SEO (search engine optimization) is an extremely important practice, but it can also be extremely confusing. SEO takes a great deal of time and research, and even then you may feel like it comes down to best guesses. Ranking algorithms are so complex that even the developers behind them don't understand all the factors, so you may wonder how your website even has a chance.

Fortunately, with a combination of on-page SEO strategies and content marketing, you can drive traffic to your website with relative ease. This is all thanks to the inherent purpose of ranking algorithms: To identify quality content. Google has said it time and time again: Don't focus on the supposed "ranking factors," just focus on giving your audience high-quality content and you'll naturally hit the marks the algorithm is looking for.

By basing your content around the long-tail keywords and search terms your audience is looking for, you're able to target the right topics, too. Therefore, with a content marketing strategy in place, you'll find yourself improving your rankings and spending a whole lot less time worrying about SEO



Boost Engagement

Why wouldn't your restaurant share its own "copycat" recipe of its famous fry sauce or seasonal entrée? Insider, behind-the-scenes, and sneak peek type content is yet another overlooked element of content and content marketing as a whole that can help spread awareness, build loyalty, and boost engagement for your brand.

Whether you offer it exclusively to those who join your email newsletter or share it online for everyone to see, content that's creative and unique will prove to outperform anything else you post, and it can give you an easy leg-up over your competitors.

So, don't think for a second that content doesn't fit your restaurant's brand. In reality, having quality and engaging content on the web is the number one thing your business can do to reach more patrons and keep them coming back.



How to Create an Effective Restaurant and Bar Content Strategy


Now that you know why a content marketing strategy is important and all of the benefits you can get expect from it, let's dive into the process of actually creating one for your brand.



Answer The Important Questions

Before you can start planning and creating your content, you have to know a little bit more about who your audience is and how they will want to interact with your content. To know this, you should ask yourself three questions:


  • Where does my audience currently get their info?
  • What info are they looking for?
  • Where can my brand fit in?

The key in creating your content strategy is to avoid guessing. You'll find yourself doing a great deal of research, but most of it you only need to do once, and it will inform every decision you make from here on out -- so don't skip it! If you don't know where to begin with your research, consider creating a customer persona.

A customer persona is a document, basically like a social media profile, that represents your ideal customer. If you're a buffet restaurant, maybe that's a family with a few kids. If you're a glamorous spot in the middle of the city, maybe that's a couple looking to have a romantic night out. The idea is to identify 2-3 types of diners who you consider to represent the core of your clientele and your ideal diner, and then profile each of them.

The customer persona should address things like the social media platforms they use, their budget when eating out, how often they eat out, and so on. This information can take some digging to find, but having it will inform your content strategy and overall approach to marketing for everything to come.



Identify What's Unique

Once you have your customers mapped out, the next step in assembling your content strategy is identifying what makes your restaurant or bar unique. Do you serve local ingredients? Do you make everything from scratch? Do you partner with a charity? Do you offer discounts to certain communities?

Whatever makes your restaurant or bar a little bit different or special compared to others, those are things you want to list. These are all attributes that you'll work into your content strategy to help connect with your various personas and build awareness for what makes your brand great.

As you identify various things, begin to draw connections between those things and what your audience cares about. This will take digging, but it will later inform all sorts of content and ideas, from social media posts to contests, partnerships, and blog posts.



Start With The Basics

Before you start thinking about what to publish, it's time to think about where to publish. Depending on your content marketing budget, you may start with a couple social media pages and your blog, or you may break out with weekly videos or an email newsletter. Whatever the case may be, you need to lay out a content schedule so you know when you're publishing where.

The best way to organize your planned content is to create a content calendar, which will feature empty slots for each piece of content you plan to publish on each platform, whether it's a daily Facebook post or a weekly blog post. It's important to schedule these things out because it allows you to plan topics ahead of time, produce the content on time, and make sure you have a realistic expectation for how much content you can produce while still maintaining the quality you expect.

Many brands get excited when they first begin creating a content marketing strategy, and they put a bunch of content into their schedule only to find out that they can't really keep up with it. You should start out slow and make sure you can stay on top of your website and 1-2 social media platforms before doing more. Over time, you can expand to new platforms if your audience wants to find you there and you have the resources to do so.



Fill in Ideas

Your content calendar should schedule content for up to a year at a time, allowing you to take into account the seasonal slumps and promotions. However, you may only put in topics for just a few weeks out at any given moment, and that's okay -- as long as you're planning in advance. After all, it's not much of a strategy if you're constantly searching for ideas last minute.

One of the most powerful aspects of content marketing is that you plan it all out and you're able to connect various themes and ideas, whether that's the idea of "limitless lemonade" the first week of summer or content that talks about your new menu items at the time of their release. The point is, plan your content far enough in advance that you can identify themes and make connections so that your content flows together.

Of course, one thing every brand seems to struggle with is where to find ideas. Luckily, it's not difficult if you've done your research. Keyword research will inform a lot of what you publish by showing you what your audience is searching for and what your competitors are ranking for.

From there, you can build upon what you know about your audience -- like their dining habits -- and your brand's own unique characteristics -- like your local ingredients -- to come up with additional content that your audience wants to read. You can also look to your competitors and see what's working for them, as that's always a good indicator of what your community is looking for.



Execute Your Strategy

The final step in content marketing is putting your strategy to work for your brand. Bringing your strategy to life is exciting and scary, and it's the last place where some brands get hung up. For instance, if you don't have anyone on your team with the time or skill to write content, you may wonder how implementing a content strategy is even possible to begin with.

The fact is, your team has enough on their plate and no one has the energy to worry about content all the time, especially if you hope to publish on multiple platforms. So, instead of looking for a volunteer or someone to hire, it's time to look into outsourcing. Most businesses outsource their content writing to a professional, and it comes with plenty of benefits for your business.

Aside from keeping the worry of content creation off the shoulders of your team, outsourcing your content strategy will also help you tap into the expertise, talent, and efficiency of a professional who writes every day. If you find the right person, you'll get your content in a timely manner, fully edited, and ready to be published. The last thing to do is find them.



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