A restaurant brand’s most passionate customers are its best advocates. They recommend the chain to friends—or bring them to the restaurant themselves. With the growing influence of social media, it’s even easier for them to spread the word about their favorites by posting pictures and comments about the brand with their online networks.
One way that companies can take advantage of this powerful word-of-mouth marketing is to develop promotions that entertain and actively engage their fans, essentially letting customers take control. Not only do customers spread the word about the brand, they also feel like they are “behind the scenes” and have ownership of the dish or promotion they help create.
A few recent examples from Canadian restaurant chains follow:
- Topper’s Pizza launched a pizza recipe contest, offering a chance to win free pizza for a year. Guests can visit the chain’s website and submit the recipe by March 10 to be eligible. The winner will also have their recipe featured on the Topper’s Pizza menu. (Facebook 1/9/13)
- Panago Pizza launched a Halloween pumpkin carving contest on Facebook, offering a chance to win one of two $25 gift cards. The chain invited fans to post photos of their carved pumpkins on the chain’s Facebook wall, with each participant limited to one photo. To be entered for a second chance of winning, participants could share the chain’s post announcing the contest on their own Facebook wall. The contest ran through midnight on Halloween, and the winners were announced on November 1. (Facebook 10/29/12)
- Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar launched a contest on its website inviting guests to help name its new salad. The winner, selected on October 25, received a $50 gift card, and the winning name for the salad will be featured on the menu. The new salad features chopped romaine hearts, lettuce spring mix, spinach, pea shoots, avocado, cucumber, chick peas, dried cranberries, candied almonds, goat cheese and honey-Dijon vinaigrette. (Leader-Post 10/24/12)