Tangoo Talks is run by the restaurant community for the community and revolves around successful restaurateurs serving up expert advice on how to make your restaurant more popular. Episode Three focused on restaurant marketing ideas centred around growing businesses expanding their offerings and physical locations with the use of social media branding, digital advertising, and influencer marketing.
Our esteemed panelists for this episode included: Stuart Karol, National Social Media Specialist at Big Rock Urban Brewery; Fadi Eid, owner at Jamjar; and Carissa Campeotto, Co-founder at Commodity Juicery.
Learnings & Takeaways:
- How to both contribute to and ask for help from your local community
- How to scale your unique customer experience as you grow locations and deliver your product through partners
- What marketing channels give the best ROI and which ones work best when run together
- The current state of Influencer Marketing and examples on how to use it successfully
How do you both contribute to and ask for help from your local community?
Carissa: In the early days we focused on tailoring our customer experience and linking it to their health and life goals; rather than only convincing them that a $10 bottle of juice was the best they could get in Vancouver. You need to connect deeply with your early customers and show you care about them!
When starting out, we did things that didn’t scale – it was all one on one. We went as far as texting our customers before a mailing list, and got involved with the community through sponsorships and community events early in order to create meaningful relationships and grow our brand. As a contribution to keep more people working in our industry and to battle a high turnover rate or lack of skilled prep staff, we have staff co-op’s with other restaurants. This meant allowing them to work at similar niche brands for several days a week so that way they can actually have full-time hours.
We also received help from our community by working with universities and giving their students practicum opportunities to help us manage our social media presence. If you put in the work to train and mentor them, you achieve amazing results.
Fadi: The name JamJar is derived from the act of being generous to the people in your community. We’re always involved as possible with any community initiatives, whether it be events or community marketing like the East Van Foodie Cookbook.
Stuart: We always make a name for ourselves in every small community by showing that we aren’t a big beer monster and that we can be the go-to neighbourhood pub. We do this by capturing the essence of each community by taking part in its local events through sponsorship or hosting our own events.
Exhibiting at beer festivals is always a no-brainer for us. We invest a lot in our staff to make sure they’re truly engaged and excited about being the neighbourhood pub. We buy local supplies as much as we can although we’re also very aware that some ingredients can’t be sourced locally.
How do you scale your unique customer experience as you grow locations and deliver your product through partners?
Carissa: We worried about scaling our customer experience that once we really nailed it, we would do it in very unscalable yet well-crafted ways. With us, it’s all about empowering our clients to reach their health goals and feel like they have support from us the whole time. That starts to become a natural process once you explore technology tools and have more money to invest.
Our challenge has been making sure that our partners are well educated on its benefits and are trained on how to sample and sell for us. Education is the name of the game and it needs to start with your staff before you take a leap with a partner.
Fadi: I always make sure to get to know my customers on a first name basis and challenge my staff to do the same. However, this can only go so far as I have realized that no one will ever be more passionate about the business than you! I was at a stage where I had to look far and wide for an Operations Manager who had the same intuition, mindset, and passion as myself. There are no short-cuts and it’s a lengthy process, but you need to start this search early, give yourself lots of time, and never settle.
Stuart: We always look to make an experience contagious and I like to call this the “Fajita Effect.” Next time you order a sizzling fajita at somewhere like Jack Astors, you’ll see people gaze at it and start ordering the same thing. In similar context, we like to make sure every piece of the customer experience is contagious whether it be consistent smiles across all of our staff, or consistently serving the great food and beer people love us for. It all comes down to rock solid operations and creating a “Wow” experience.
We work with a lot of partners who resell our beer so we try to create a buying experience for them as well as educate them in ways to make sure the end consumer has the best possible experience with both of our brands. For example, dirty tap lines can change the taste of beer and sometimes be the reason why it tastes off. Because of this, we as the beer brand get blamed, so we train our own sales staff to clean these taplines as a value-added service.
What marketing channels give the best ROI and which ones work best when run together?
Carissa: We invest 95% into digital and 5% into print. Initially, we worked on building a consistent and quality brand, and that all starts with social media and professional photography. We invested in hiring a third party and spending time early on training them and being part of the process – you can’t alienate yourself from the process because you always need to be in a dialogue with customers whether it’s offline or online. We realized social media had ROI when we started getting questions from people if we were closing down when we got too busy to post on Instagram for a couple weeks, it’s crazy but it’s true – people are always watching!
After you start to build a good system and your followers start to shoot up, you need to ensure you invest in a professional agency or dedicated in-house staff. Once you build a following and can invest into social advertising, that’s when you can test out hard ROI numbers through redemptions, people asking you questions about how to purchase, and leads going to your website.
Our most recent endeavour has been influencer marketing and we earned $6000 worth of orders in a 48-hour period, it was insane!
Fadi: Marketing is a different animal. You need to work on all the channels not just focus on one. You need to do trial and error. The time we had the most results is doing it all: Facebook ads, social media posting, investing in a Georgia Straight advertisement – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We know this anecdotally because we have tried intentionally turning off one channel to measure the results and then, turned it on again in conjunction with others. We saw the best results for all channels when they work together rather than in isolation.
You need to take risks and budget monthly for each of those channels. There is a cost if you hold back on advertising because more brands are starting to compete for customers’ attention. As you scale, you need to consider that your messaging must change as you speak to a bigger and more mainstream demographic – bus advertisements are a channel we are seriously considering more now.
Stuart: We went from 90% print to now, 30% print, and 70% digital. Like Carissa, we also started with very basic yet consistent posting on social media to get people familiar with the personality and quality of our brand – just a few hundred dollars can be enough to start this process. In a very short period of time, we have gone from $200 a month to $2000 a month in social media marketing which we now can use for advertising on social media instead of just organic posting. Dollar-for-dollar Facebook Advertising is the most efficient form of marketing for a small business.
Online banner advertising is on its way out in my opinion and I speak from experience as we spent $30,000 on a sports app and saw a very low click-through-rate (below the 0.08% industry average). This just goes to show that people choose to spend time and interact on platforms where they can engage with the brand in dialogue. Out of the people who did download the coupon we offered, we had below a 5% redemption rate which was disappointing as we aim for 5%-20% redemption rates.
Like Fadi mentioned, we like to combine different channels especially when a digital channel can help better pinpoint the ROI of a print one. We shifted our focus from one print ad to a combo of one print ad and digital. If it is a radio ad, combine it with a landing page. It is about finding where your budgets are best allocated to a place that has your audience network. You can’t just spray and pray and hope for the best – focus on the best you can do with your time and budget.
The state of Influencer Marketing and examples on how to use it successfully:
Carissa: We earned $6000 worth of orders in a 48-hour period but it didn’t happen out of nowhere, we planned meticulously. You need to identify that whatever blogger you decide to collaborate with is covering the same food chain you are in. Be very clear about brand matching between both of you so you have the best possible chance of resonating with their audience.
What we wanted to avoid was what usually happens with influencer partnerships that end up being giving a product to the influencer and letting them run with it. There is usually no phone call or in person coffee before the post happens which simply means that the influencer doesn’t know your goals or understand your voice. If you tell them what you are looking for, your goals and the results you are looking for, then the influencer knows what to gauge.
Fadi: It’s important to know the influencer’s target market and who the message is for. You could get an influencer with 20,000 followers, but if the messaging and demographic isn’t right – you will get crickets.
Stuart: Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be limited to just one Instagram post, it could be a blog post or a video as well on other channels. Usually one post isn’t enough and needs to be connected to the whole marketing campaign, so being patient and investing in influencer marketing regularly is important if you want to see results.
Tangoo Talks Episode 3 covered some fantastic ways to make your restaurant more popular by experimenting with different channels that reflect the unique customer experience and relationships you want to form with your patrons. As you grow, you cannot outgrow the same key ingredients that got you this far.