It seems like everyone has a blog these days. From collections of cute puppies to “passionate” restaurant reviews, to feeds of selfies, the blogging world can feel a little ridiculous and self-serving. But we’re here to tell you that a live journal of your restaurant activities is actually a good idea.
Why Start a Blog?
Your blog is your restaurant’s voice. Think of it as a newsfeed that you can use to communicate on a more personal level with your current and potential customers. Though you might already use Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to reach your customers, a blog offers more room to tell your brand story, because you aren’t restricted by characters or number of images.
There’s also the possibility that you’re interested in blogging as a way to promote your restaurant and set yourself up as a thought leader in the restaurant space or your community. If you have a lot to say and you love sharing ideas and information about your industry – a blog is a great platform to do it on.
Setting Up a Blog
If your website has a blogging option, you can simply add a blog page and link in the navigation bar and start posting. If your website doesn’t have blogging built in, or if you prefer to use a premium tool that is designed specifically for sharing, you can use a blogging site like Wordpress, Tumblr, or Medium.
Setting up a blog is pretty simple. We recommend using a paid site like Squarespace or any of the upgrade packages from the sites listed above, as sometimes free sites will put ads on your blog or become expensive if you want to do any upgrades or change the design.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, create a login and follow the initial steps that the site will walk you through. This usually includes answering questions about the topic of your site, adding your location, and checking off your interests to follow other blogs.
Then comes the design. A blog is best when it’s basic and streamlined. You want your content to stand out on its own and be straightforward to read. You can accomplish this by sticking to tried and true blog design tips:
You’ll be able to choose a template for your blog from a selection of pre-designed ones. Choose one of the more simple styles to keep the focus on your content.
Your body font should be no smaller than 16px, and a serif font – Times New Roman is easier to read.
A pure white background with pure black type can be hard on the eyes. Use a white that is softer and a type that is more charcoal. It’s a subtle difference, but much more comfortable for the reader.
Your images should be anywhere from 600px wide up to about 1200px wide for best viewing on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Most templates these days are already mobile responsive so will look good across all devices.
What to Post
It’s your blog, so let the creativity fly! You can post about anything that you want, but here are a few suggestions in case you’re stuck:
How did you get from where you were to where you are now? Everyone loves a story of success, so share the tale of how you started as a busboy, worked your way into management and then opened your own place. If the story has a lot of moving parts or details, share it as a series of posts over the course of a week or month.
Promotions and events
Running a summer drink special? Doing something fun for St. Patrick’s day? Write about it in a post and give everyone all the details.
New menu items
Have a new winter menu? Let everyone know on your blog! Post pictures, list the details, and explain how and why you decided to put something on the menu. Perhaps the produce you’re using is local or in season – put it on the blog!
You can do a post that shows the journey a menu item takes from conception to testing, take pictures as it comes together and then write about it.
Behind the scenes
We’re all a little bit curious, and love to learn about how things work. Take the reader with you to the morning market, to the fishmonger, or for the beer delivery and keg organizing. It might seem mundane to you, but to a potential customer it could be fascinating.
How Often to Post
Once you launch your blog, get into the habit of posting consistently. It might only be once a week, or once a month, but keep it consistent so your followers know when they can expect to hear from you next. People love to check out blogs, and you want to provide the best reading experience, so make sure that if you’re going to take a hiatus, write a post about it so people know what’s up.
A couple of pointers to keep in mind when you start blogging:
Read other blogs, not just in the restaurant space, but sites like Medium or Quora where you can keep up with what’s happening. Check out our Top 9 Blogs for Restaurant Owners to Read for extra inspiration.
Before you launch, write a handful of posts, so that when people get to your blog, there’s more than one thing to read. You could start with a series about how you opened, or have a couple of posts about recipes and then an interesting or funny story, so that readers can stay engaged and will check back.
When you post, be sure to share it across your social media channels and encourage your followers to check it out.
Keep it positive and remember the Internet is written in ink not pencil. It might be tempting to get up on your soapbox and whine about that rude table last night or hiring the worst sous chef ever, but don’t. Negativity is a bummer, and what you write online is there forever.
Don’t judge your blog’s success by number or comments, visits, or page views, instead cherish the comments you get from real life customers, and the joy you get from sharing your restaurant's story with the world.
Creating and maintaining a blog for your restaurant is a great way to connect with your customers and potential patrons. People love getting insight into things they are interested in, and a blog is a perfect way to give them access and get them excited about your restaurant.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory