From click to lick

The social media and technology dining trends fueling Aussies appetite

When it comes to the modern-day dining experience, the role of mobile phone has certainly evolved. So too, has the etiquette surrounding its purpose during meals – once reserved for in case of emergencies, then adding purpose as a 2-in-1 device (phone+camera), now leading up to a marketing tool in the palm of your hand.

Hours before their table is ready, diners phones have earned their keep: it has mapped your restaurant’s location, displayed your menu, checked your Insta feed for visual inspiration, served up dish-gotiation scenarios (it’s a “sharing” menu, correct?) and identified a pre-dinner bar to get the night warmed up.

All this shows that diners are interacting with your brand via their phones on so many levels.  That trend is going to continue, turning the mobile phone into your restaurant’s most powerful marketing asset.

While I’m still baffled by couples sitting across the table staring not into each other’s eyes but rather at their screens, I’m no longer scratching my head when others snap a pic of their dish, fiddle on their phone a few seconds more – and then dig in… it has become the new normal. Our recent survey on social dining revealed that one in five Aussies admitted to dining at a restaurant specifically to post about it.

Facebook is still the preferred channel for Aussies to connect with restaurants and chefs (59%), closely followed by Instagram at 45% – and Twitter coming in at 16%.

I too, am becoming an enthusiastic foodie-Instagramer. #Tagging a venue with a gorgeous food photo is now seen as compliment, a “good deed” and an opportunity to further leverage a marketing channel that is not only impactful on your potential audience, it is also free.

More than one third of diners will tag you in their post. Diners love checking in upon arriving at the venue (49%) and one out of every two diners will research your menu ahead of time.

Attribution may then explain why 31% of respondents say they’ve chosen to dine at a restaurant specifically to order a particular dish that they’ve seen on social media (perhaps it was my photo that brought them in!).

Here are some tips to help you capitalise and amplify your marketing efforts:

  • Visuals! Social media is all about that drool worthy snap. It’s a vehicle to get the word out on limited time dishes and specials
  • Hashtags are important – create your own or use a proven relevant hashtag for searches
  • Ensure your venue is easy to find and tag on Instagram
  • Respond to diners who post to acknowledge their efforts. Everyone likes a pat on the back for sharing their experience and it can encourage further engagement and repeat visits.

My advice, which I’ve relented to on the other side of the table, is to embrace it, work it, make it beautiful and let your dining audience contribute.


Want to know more about social media?

Check out 8 Tips for promoting your restaurant on social media during the holiday season

Or Social media pros reveal Facebook and Instagram Secrets