Families are much less “traditional” than they used to be, right? Think back to your favorite episode of Leave it to Beaver.
Inevitably Wally and the Beav walk home from school (such cheerful, polite children, aren’t they?) and open the door to find Mrs. Cleaver happily vacuuming the curtains in her favorite dress and high heels. The kids dutifully finish their homework and run outside to play catch with the baseball while June gets to work in the kitchen. Eventually, Walt comes home in his three-piece suit and is greeted at the door with a tasteful smooch from the Mrs. and the family sits down to a quiet home-cooked supper complete with meat, potatoes, and a tall glass of milk, ready to listen to father’s words of wisdom for the day.
My, have times changed!
Nowadays, families run the gamut. Two-parent homes, single parent homes. Single people, married people, roommates, partners. No children, only children, 5+ children. Two working parents, a stay-at-home-mom, a stay-at-home-dad, or a single parent who works two jobs just to make ends meet. Older parents, younger parents. And the kids are busier than the parents: multiple sports, music lessons, SAT prep classes – you name it. Families are lucky to get a couple of sit-down meals together a week.
Life is a whirlwind these days. People are active, busy, and trying to stay ahead of the game. Community is much more difficult to achieve than in years past. (How many times have you borrowed a cup of sugar from your neighbor?)
As a restaurateur, you have to be willing to adapt to an ever-changing culture and meet your customers where they are in order to stay relevant and succeed. The “olden days” of yellow page ads are gone. Your restaurant is likely facing more competition today than it ever has, so an online presence and interaction on social media venues such as Yelp, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, will help get your restaurant in front of your customers and hopefully be top of mind when the hunger pangs set in.
If you see more Velcro-strapped shoes in your restaurant dining room than anything else, your social media strategy may be an uphill battle. For everyone else, take a good hard look at the demographics of your restaurant. Are they college kids, or families gathering for Sunday brunch? Do you offer a “kids eat free” night? Perhaps your place is a “happy hour” type of place where young professionals come to wind down after work. Once you get an idea of who actually patronizes your restaurant, meet them on their most widely-used social media platforms.
We’re going to stop here and give you some time to mull this over. Determine who your customers are and perform a little research to determine the best social media venues on which to target and engage them.