7 Ways to Create Brand Ambassadors for your Restaurant

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

The restaurant space is growing rapidly and brands are looking for the best way to attract new guests while engaging their best ones. Marketing campaigns will only generate buzz for a short time, so how do the best brands succeed? They create brand ambassadors.

A Nielsen study cites that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while about 47% of consumers worldwide say they trust traditional ads in televisions and newspapers. It’s easy to see why brand ambassadors — your guests’ peers — should be a part of your growth strategy.

Read on for 7 different ways to create brand ambassadors.

Designate a Leader and Encourage Staff to Contribute

The first thing to do is to find the right person for the job, such as a team member whose values best align with your brand. Then, make an announcement to your team, and encourage everyone to contribute ideas on what content to create and share. You should also decide where the content will live — most brands utilize Facebook or Instagram.

Establish Clear Ground Rules

A brand is only as well-loved as its image, so you must set ground rules on what can and cannot be posted. Highlight your brand’s work culture, food, company outings, or birthdays. Your guests are looking for a company that they can align with, so show it in your content. Just make sure your brand’s voice comes through.

If you’re unsure of where to start, have a look at 20 Restaurants Using Social Media Successfully and additional info on Creating a Restaurant Social Media Plan.

Incentivize Your Team with Swag

Everyone loves free stuff… just ask your staff. This is the easiest way to excite everyone in sharing more about your brand.

Kung Fu Tea Brand Ambassador, Jeremy, The Host

Jeremy, The Host – Kung Fu Tea Brand Ambassador

Swag isn’t exclusive to just your staff. If you have the budget, share swag with guests during celebrations or by hosting giveaways. This is a great way to create external brand ambassadors, too!

Analyze and Celebrate Wins

Don’t forget to set goals and monitor your team’s work. When you reach a goal, celebrate with the team. Acknowledge your staff on social to show that you’re invested in their efforts. After all, 79% of people leave a job if they feel they’re not being appreciated.

When analyzing your brand’s social page, pay attention to the number of followers (guests who align with your brand, typically customers and their friends) and likes (the number of people enjoying your content). These key performance indicators (KPIs) are great ways to measure how engaged your audience is. If you don’t know where to begin, your competitors’ pages are a great place to start; take note of how you’re performing in relation to them.

For more likes and follows, analyze the content type and messages that perform best with your audience. Videos will perform differently from photos, and questions may get more responses than “Happy Friday” posts. If one is performing better, then you’ve found your golden goose. Create more, but don’t forget about variety. Posting the same type of content over and over will become stale.

Help Your Staff Grow Professionally

Taking on the role of a brand ambassador can open new doors in professional skill development. Richard Branson famously said, “Train people well enough to leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Ask your staff about their professional goals. Some may want to advance in the company and others may not — that’s ok! The best thing to do is offer support and guidance by providing relevant resources.

Encourage employees to learn more about a role by finding a mentor to shadow. Don’t forget to set SMART goals and milestones so that your staff can make progress.

Lunch-and-learns are another way to motivate and educate your staff on potential opportunities. These sessions typically involve a presentation or a Q&A session with senior members of the team.

When you invest in your staff, they will continue to do their best on the job. They’ll also tell their friends and family.

For more information, check out “Steps to Create a Career Development Plan.”

Volunteer in Your Community

You can further extend your brand’s reach by creating volunteer opportunities for your staff. Find one that best aligns with your values, and ask your staff for their participation. The opportunities to give back and make a difference are endless, and special holidays like World Volunteering Day on December 5 are perfect times to rally for causes that you’re passionate about.

Find Relevant Influencers

Influencers are individuals with social media accounts that have immense social clout, typically 5,000 followers or greater. Finding an influencer can expose your brand to a wider audience. Their promotions will encourage more people to engage with you over time. Influencers can also boost the authority of your brand and establish you as a leader in your space.  Just make sure that whomever you reach out has similar values, otherwise you could target the wrong audience or harm your brand’s image.

For a step-by-step guide to establishing influencer partnerships, check out our blog post, “The Influence of Instagram on the Restaurant Industry, Part 3: Establishing an Influencer Partnership

For more information on creating brand ambassadors, check out these additional posts:

For other restaurant marketing and engagement strategies, check out The Kung Fu Tea Case Study below.

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Ray Bugayong

Ray Bugayong

Ray is the Demand Gen Manager at LevelUp. As a former small business owner, his involvement with local food groups fuels his culinary creativity. When he's not dreaming of food, you can find him at the gym or a local cocktail bar dreaming up his next entrepreneurial pursuit.

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