Running a restaurant isn’t just about serving a great meal — it’s also about earning a solid reputation and building lasting relationships. And in today's digital age, social media channels like LinkedIn can help you achieve those goals.
Here’s how you can use the platform to your advantage for marketing, staffing, and more.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a unique social media platform connecting professionals and business opportunities. With millions of members worldwide, it has become an essential tool for companies looking to expand their networks and reach new customers.
However, most restaurant owners and food service operators tend to look the other way when it comes to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not only an ideal platform for job seekers and employers, but it is also a networking platform that can help your business grow.
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn focuses on building relationships that can result in business opportunities.
With 900 million active users globally — thousands of them being restaurant owners like you, it can be an amazing place to connect with and learn from others.
Why is LinkedIn Important For Your Business?
LinkedIn is a powerful tool to help you build a strong brand image, because it’s typically viewed as a more professional social network. While Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for connecting with potential customers, on LinkedIn you can connect with others in the industry.
It can also be a great place to find potential employees for your restaurant. Posting open job listings online allows you to reach a wider audience of job seekers, and you can search and filter for potential candidates based on their skill set, experience, and location.
How Restaurants Can Use LinkedIn for Marketing…and More
With LinkedIn, you can connect with other professionals in the restaurant industry, build your brand, and even attract potential customers. It's not just for Fortune 500 CEOs and job seekers — it's also a great tool for restaurants.
Here’s how you can make it work for you.
Create a Detailed Company Page
The first step to creating a strong LinkedIn presence is to have a complete and professional profile. Make sure that your profile picture is high-quality, and that your headline reflects your brand and not just your current job title. Your summary should provide an overview of your business. Take the time to make sure you've ironed out all the details — your experience, your achievements, etc., should all be highlighted. Of course, you can also include your website links and contact information for potential customers and partners to reach you quickly.
A detailed LinkedIn company page can also be used to showcase your company culture and values to potential employees, partners, and customers. You can highlight your company's mission, vision, and values, share employee testimonials, and show how your business is making a positive impact in your community.
Connect With Those Who Matter Most
LinkedIn is the perfect place to look for influential people in your industry. It gives you a direct line to restaurant critics, food bloggers, suppliers, or entertainers.
LinkedIn is also a great way to research your competition. You can connect with other restaurant owners or operators, join groups to learn more about industry trends and insights, and gain inspiration on how to stay competitive.
Link, Link, and Link Some More
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth repeating. Your restaurant's LinkedIn page should include a link to your restaurant’s website. Not only does this provide potential customers with easy access to your menu and other important information, but it can also help with search engine optimization. Google and other search engines take into account the number and quality of links pointing to a website, so having a link from a reputable site like LinkedIn can give your website a boost in search rankings.
Your LinkedIn page should also include links to your other social media accounts, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This will make it easy for customers to find you on other platforms and can help to increase your social media following.
You can even link to your team members. Does your restaurant have an award-winning chef or or a well-known sommelier? Be sure to include links to their LinkedIn profiles on your restaurant page to highlight your team’s talent and expertise and build trust and credibility with customers.
Highlight Your Products and Menu
LinkedIn also offers a prime opportunity to highlight your products and menu offerings. You can share gorgeous snaps of your culinary creations and the ambiance of your space Keeping your LinkedIn followers engaged with visual content (like highlights of your chefs in action) will ensure they stay engaged and interested.
You can also share news about menu changes, like the latest seasonal offerings, updates on the sourcing of ingredients, and even teasers of new upcoming dishes to create more buzz and potentially drive more traffic.
Recruit Top Talent
One of the most common ways restaurant operators use LinkedIn is to recruit new talent. But before you do that, make sure you have a complete company profile that reflects your brand and culture. It should have details about your company, mission, values, and the type of work environment and culture you’re trying to create. Include pictures of your restaurant and your team. The more complete and engaging your profile, the more it will attract potential candidates.
Ask your existing employees, business partners, and vendors to share your job postings with their network. You can also use LinkedIn to search for potential referrals based on your employees' connections. Referrals are more likely to result in successful hires as they come from trusted sources.
Industry groups can be another great place to post job openings and attract potential candidates. And if you'd rather search for candidates rather than have them come to you directly, LinkedIn has an option for that, too — advanced search lets you filter by skills, education, experience, location, industry, and much more.
Answer Questions via LinkedIn Q&A
LinkedIn Q&A is an excellent feature for establishing your restaurant’s expertise and thought leadership. Answer questions related to food, ingredients, recipes, back of house operations, and restaurant management to demonstrate your expertise and build your reputation within the LinkedIn community.
With LinkedIn Q&A, you can gain valuable insights about your customers’ needs, preferences, and challenges to tailor your menu, service, and marketing strategies accordingly.
Join and Discuss in Groups
With LinkedIn, you can even join groups to build your clout and connect with others in the industry. This will help you keep up with trends and get an idea of what the competition is doing.
There are countless groups you can join or connect with, including the National Restaurant Association, Catering Professionals, and Foodservice Professionals Network. Joining these groups can be beneficial in more ways than one.
Apart from being exposed to valuable industry insights, you can also connect with other chefs, owners, operators, and suppliers who may have valuable knowledge or advice about restaurant ownership and management.
Ask for Customer Reviews
Reviews are crucial to the success of any restaurant, and LinkedIn offers a great platform to encourage people to leave them. Encourage your clients to give feedback on LinkedIn as you would do on other review sites.
A genuine conversation with both happy and unsatisfied clients alike can help you discover key ways your restaurant can improve its offerings — this way, you get more insights on how to deliver the best service to customers.
Consider Using LinkedIn Ads
You know now that LinkedIn offers a massive pool of potential customers, employees, suppliers, and more for your restaurant. With LinkedIn Ads, you can reach the people you need when you need them. It allows you to target people by industry, job title, location, and more. LinkedIn Ads run on a pay-per-click system, so you can tailor your ad campaign to fit your budget and meet your goals.
By tracking your LinkedIn analytics, you can learn more about the people visiting your profile. This includes their job titles, industries, and locations. Understanding your audience can help you tailor your content and messaging to better resonate with them.
To access LinkedIn Analytics, click the “Me” dropdown on your LinkedIn account home page and select “View Stats.” The page will display your LinkedIn Analytics dashboard, which is divided into three categories: Visitors, Updates, and Followers. You can switch between these categories to get detailed data on how your content is performing and how your audience engages with your page.
LinkedIn can be an effective tool for promoting your restaurant, building your brand, networking, connecting with potential customers, and recruiting talented staff. By leveraging the features of this platform, you can take your restaurant to the next level.
So, if you haven't already, now’s the time to create a LinkedIn company page and explore how this powerful platform can help you achieve your business goals!