Are you looking for new ways to bring customers into your restaurant?
Or maybe you’re thinking about adding a new dish to the menu and you want feedback?
You probably spend time on Facebook connecting with friends and family.
What if you could use Facebook; specifically, Facebook Groups for restaurants to help you make key decisions on which dishes to add to the menu, solicit feedback on changes you want to make to the restaurant, and connect on a deeper level with your customers?
In this article, we’re going to show you some ways to use Facebook Groups for restaurants.
This way you can learn more about your customers and build a deeper relationship with them on your social media channels.
Why use social media for your restaurant?
As a restaurant owner, you know how difficult it can be to keep your restaurant running. According to a study by The Ohio State University, 60% of restaurants do not make it past the first year.
If your restaurant is lucky to make it that far, Restaurants.com says 80% of restaurants go under in five years.
It is also becoming increasingly more difficult to reach your customers. They are constantly being distracted with notifications on their phone and new emails in their Inbox. Not to mention, new restaurants are opening everyday so they have more options to choose from.
As a result, you have to step-up how you market your restaurant to customers.
While print advertising used to be a great way to get your message in-front of your customers, because of the increase in distractions, you have to find a new way to reach them.
Fortunately, many business owners are finding that using social media can help drive new business.
This is because instead of running expensive ads in newspapers or printing flyers and hoping someone reads them, social media allows you to get your message onto the device they’re constantly checking at a much lower cost.
And while there are a lot of different social networks that you can have your restaurant join, we’re going to focus solely on Facebook Groups.
If your goal is to reach your customers, you'll want to go where they are at. Facebook makes the most sense for this. Not only is Facebook the largest social network with over 1 billion registered accounts, Facebook Groups let you connect on a much deeper level when compared to Facebook Pages.
With Facebook Pages, while you can build a very large audience, most of the time, you rarely know the names of your customers/fans.
With Facebook Groups, you're able to build a personal relationship with your customers to the point that you get to know one another by name.
Let’s take a look at some different ways you can use Facebook Groups for restaurants to build a stronger connection with customers and grow your restaurant using social media marketing.
10 Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Restaurants
1. Create a focus group for customers
In a focus group, you can invite your best customers to join your group and have regular discussions with them in a private setting.
For example, we have a private Facebook Group where you can connect with other influential social media marketers and ask questions.
By creating a focus group, this allows you to get honest feedback about your restaurant. At the same time, you make your customers feel like they’re an integral part of your restaurant's success!
2. Test out new ideas for your menu
Now that you have a focus group, another way to use Facebook Groups is to test out new concepts for your restaurant.
Because you’re using a Facebook Group, only members of the group get to see what you discuss (provided no one takes a screenshot).
If you’ve invited your regular customers to your Facebook Group, this can be a valuable way to gather feedback about any design changes you’re thinking about making before you spend the money.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask them for any other suggestions they might have and thank them for their feedback.
3. Bring your employees together
Depending on the size of your restaurant, it can be difficult to have regular staff meetings.
One way to make it easier is to hold meetings in a Facebook Group.
We recommend using a secret Facebook Group. This way only people who are invited to the group can find it and join it.
Using Facebook Group’s this way can also help surface any problems amongst the waitstaff.
4. Help out aspiring restaurant owners
When you use Facebook Groups for restaurants, you don’t have to use them solely for business.
Another way to use groups is to help out other aspiring restaurant owners.
For example, you could run a public Facebook Group and invite budding restauranteurs to post a question in your group.
This is a great way to share your knowledge and give back to others.
5. Share tips on running a restaurant
When you first started working in restaurants, what was one tip you wish you knew ahead of time?
You can create a Facebook Group for restaurants that focuses on sharing tips for running a restaurant.
This could be about bookkeeping, what is an appropriate amount to tip, how to buy pots and pans, and so on.
You can also see about inviting your servers to provide a weekly tip as well.
6. Test out new food concepts
Is your menu getting old? Rather than make drastic changes which can be expensive and unproven, you can use Facebook Groups instead!
If you have ideas for new items that you want to try in your restaurant, gather your best customers in a secret Facebook Group and run your ideas by them.
For visuals, you may want to make one dish, take a photo, and share it with the members of your group.
This way they can see what it would look like if they were to order it.
If you have ideas for a name, menu description, and price don’t forget to run those by them as well.
7. Handle customer complaints
Does your restaurant recieve a lot of complaints from customers?
This can take a lot of time away from running your restaurant.
One way Facebook Groups can help is to use your group to handle customer questions.
For example, you can create a private Facebook Group and anytime customers have an issue, direct them to share them in the group.
This allows them to be heard and you can learn more about areas your restaurant may need to improve.
If you decide to use a Facebook Group for this purpose, be sure you have someone on your staff regularly check the group and respond to any questions from your customers.
8. Develop your niche
Facebook Groups aren’t just a place for customers to complain about your restaurant. Instead, your group can become a destination for a specific type of cuisine.
For example, you might want to create a Facebook Group that shares tips that are specific to your type of cuisine.
An example of this might be a Facebook Group about cooking seafood.
Alternatively, you could also create a Facebook Group that is centered around Chinese food. You could then share tips on cooking with Chinese vegetables, cooking using a wok, how to cook specific types of dishes and so on.
9. Bring in a visiting chef
Another way to use Facebook Groups for restaurants is to work with other chefs.
If you’re good friends with an Executive Chef from another restaurant or a Pastry Chef, maybe you want to invite them on a short video segment where they answer questions from group members.
Better yet, you can have them demonstrate some of the techniques they use in their field.
10. Don’t limit your restaurant to one Facebook Group
There’s more than one type of Facebook Group.
Don’t limit your restaurant to using just one.
For example, at Social Chefs, we run a private Facebook Group. We also have a few secret Facebook Groups we use to brainstorm new ideas.
The only requirement to using more than one Facebook Group for restaurants is to make sure you have the staff to support each of them as well as regular content to share.
Remember, you can start small and grow your Facebook Group at any time. The key thing is to start the group and work to grow the number of group members.
Getting Help with Facebook Groups
If you’re new to Facebook Groups and need help executing these ideas, be sure to check out our Facebook Groups course. This is the fastest way to start learning how to use Facebook Groups for your restaurant.
Sign-up for Facebook Groups Training
If you run a restaurant and you’re looking for new ways to grow your customer base, it’s time to consider using Facebook Groups for restaurants.
Facebook Groups can be a powerful tool to help your restaurant better engage with your customers when they aren’t eating at your restaurant.
They’re easy to setup and can be a valuable resource to help you learn more about the people who visit your restaurant, the food they like (or don’t like) along with their interests.
Now that you know how to use Facebook Groups in your restaurant, can you think of any other ways you would use Facebook Groups to help your restaurant?