One of the most difficult things for local hospitality businesses to do is to spread their message in their communities. Traditional PR has become more challenging in the mobile age, and patrons base buying decisions off of what strangers write on public directories and social platforms.
But, there is a happy medium: the social influencer. This person has earned a trustworthy reputation and following in the community, and is seen as an expert on a given topic.
For this post, we’ll focus on food, and the best way to host the perfect food event. You will learn how to impress food influencers so they have an amazing experience which manifests itself in the posts and images they share to their communities. In order to impress them you will need to worry, not only about the food, but their experience. Don’t overlook that. Below you will find tips after you have selected the influencers for the event.
1. Before the lunch or dinner, choose a couple of appetizers, entrees and desserts that you want your guests to try. The idea is that the restaurant gets to showcase various appetizers, entrees and desserts to share family style. Letting your guests try a number of dishes and take pictures of them can maximize the chance for someone to find something they love.
2. Keeping attendance small maintains an intimate feel. By small, I mean between 4-6 guests. Larger groups can take away from the experience. You may think that more influencers means more images and posts to share, but often the experience lacks the intimacy most expect in a dining setting which is as important, or slightly less, than the food itself. Influencers may feel lost in the crowd, not be able to taste a dish or may not get to the food until the whole group took pictures (and by then it’s cold.) A poor experience will completely cloud the influencer’s take on the food.
3. Arrive early the day of the event: It’s nice for someone to welcome them as they arrive to make them feel at ease.
4. Have something to nosh on and /or drinks when the influencers arrive. This will help you buy time before the food arrives, and is good to have during intros and small talk.
5. Reserve the table with the best lighting, this way influencers will be able to take better pictures of the food. It is ALL about the pictures. If you are hosting a lunch, it’s better to be placed near the windows where the light comes in, or if instead you are hosting a dinner party, to be situated in a illuminated area, most likely below a light.
6. This is your time to shine! Make sure the floor staff is briefed that this is a VIP table that will be sharing their experience with their followers. They should do everything in their power to be attentive and to provide impeccable service from start to finish.
7. End your dinner with a WOW factor! An idea can be with a special dessert. The influencers love it, and will give your dinner or lunch the perfect ending.
After the event is over, make sure to get a menu with all the featured dishes and send it to each of the attendees in the next 24-48 hours. The influencers are so focused on pictures and will have their own plans for which will be distributed when and to which platforms, but if they also include blog posts they will need menu information.
Provide them with any hashtags and company handles so all posts mention your restaurant on the respective social platforms. It seems simple enough, but often times restaurants have more than one handle, and you don’t want the incorrect one being used!