Midlands restaurants warned to embrace digital marketing as the new ‘word of mouth’ or embrace failure

CharlieTerry, Founder and Managing Director of CEEK Marketing

A leading agency behind the success of award-winning* eateries such as Peter Street Kitchen is warning restauranteurs if they don’t embrace digital marketing as the new ‘word of mouth’ they will join the ranks of restaurants which fail every year.

Charlie Terry is the Founder and Managing Director of CEEK Marketing, a digital agency with expertise in the hospitality industry, which was responsible for the successful launch of Peter Street Kitchen in Manchester owned by Radisson Edwardian Hotels. CEEK launched the venue with an influencer marketing campaign which resulted in a 6,624.27% increase in traffic to the restaurant website.

But the digital marketing campaign was about far more than just driving website traffic, because the agency recognises for the restaurant industry, ‘digital’ is the new word of mouth and consumers want to read reviews from people they rate and follow.

Charlie, a confirmed foodie said: “We used our Influencer Relationship Management system, building relationships with influencers in the city on an ongoing basis and ensuring they were taken care of whenever they dined with Peter Street Kitchen. For example we always made sure they sat at tables with enough light and were recommended dishes which were the most photogenic. “

Prior to the launch CEEK selected 10 specific influencers to become “ambassadors” for the restaurant where they received credit to use in the restaurant in exchange for content being released on their feeds and an ongoing 25% discount. Ambassadors ranged from local food bloggers to premiership footballers.

CEEK also managed several activation events almost exclusively for influencers in Manchester including a Day of the Dead Halloween party which resulted in a spike in bookings for the subsequent months.

Charlie added: “When working with such a superior product there is a snowball effect where the ambassadors and influencers used in the early stages of the campaign typically end up being some of our most loyal paying customers also enticing other influencers to book organically.

“After running a series of events with huge influencer coverage, when tickets were released for New Year’s Eve and Valentines events, they sold out with zero advertising spend.”

Charlie believes whilst Brexit and other factors have made the public reluctant to spend money, one of the key reasons new restaurants fail is because they have not understood digital marketing is the new word of mouth for restaurants and is a ‘must’, not an optional extra.

Now in a bid to help new businesses and to mark Peter Street Kitchen being named as ‘Best Luxury Restaurant in the UK’** CEEK will be picking one new restaurant venture launching in the second half of 2019 who they will donate £5000 worth of consulting on the marketing strategy to. This will include a comprehensive competitor analysis, multi-channel plan covering major platforms such as Google, Instagram and Facebook.

Charlie said: “You could have a great location, a top chef and amazing food and atmosphere but if no one knows you exist you are already failing.

“If you can’t get people through the door to try your offering then you will never build up a good reputation, review base and online traction. The customer journey now starts online.”

Key digital marketing/social media stats for restaurants include:

  1. Over 1 billion restaurant visits by consumers are influenced by online marketing (Monetate).
  2. Out of all industries, consumers read restaurant reviews more than any other industry (Bright Local).
  3. Since 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations for dining decisions, it’s key you have a bunch of positive reviews (Bright Local).
  4. A half-star difference on a Yelp review rating can swing restaurant business by a whopping 27% (Foodbeast).
  5. Restaurants who respond to customers on social media will win customers, as 71% say they’re more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly to them on social media (Forbes).

If you are opening a new restaurant or have an existing restaurant which is relaunching or has changed hands and would like to be considered for some pro -bono digital marketing support to help with the launch then please visit:

Charlie said: “At CEEK we love working with big established brands and companies, but we are just as passionate about start-ups and we know we can make a real difference there.

“People tend to think they can do everything themselves these days but digital marketing is a very specific skill and a vital one to get right at a launch so it is important businesses get the support they need if they want their new venture to have the best chance of succeeding.