Restaurant Marketing: Word of Mouth Through Story-Telling

When deciding where to eat, today’s consumers have a lot of choices. At the International Pizza Expo, speaker Joel Cohen shared some ways to make sure your restaurant comes to mind first. He asserts that word of mouth is the number one way to do that.

The key is influencing your customers’ conversations by making their interaction with your brand truly positive and memorable. He explains that what they remember is crucial. Without word of mouth, you've disappeared from the mental list of three or four restaurants consumers keep in their minds.

In order to really WOW customers, Cohen explains how to set your restaurants apart by making connections with people. One of the most successful ways to connect and be memorable is through storytelling. By telling your customers an anecdote about the restaurant or the food (in person or online), you’re connecting with them, and giving them something to remember.

According to Joel, most restaurants aren't giving their customers anything to remember—which makes this a great opportunity.

What if your servers and order-taking staff became storytellers, like they are at Barry’s Pizza in Houston, telling diners about the exclusive cheese you use and what it adds to the flavor? Your customers will remember that cheese, and they’ll remember your pizza.

Your website and Facebook pages can tell a story in much the same way.

There’s always something to tell—a short story or fact about what you serve, or a tidbit about your restaurant’s history and clientele. A photo or short video can tell a story without any words at all.

Try the storytelling concept. You’ll be amazed at the connections it makes with customers. And when you use this trick online, you’ll be amazed at the way word of mouth spreads as people share your stories on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Start today: give your guests something to talk about, and they’ll do your marketing for you!


Ways to Develop Word of Mouth

(Excerpted from an interview with Cohen on Pizza Today, “From servers to storytellers: The single most important step to ‘wow’ your customers”)

  1.   Tell a story
  2.   State your claim to fame
  3.   Recognize your guests’ special occasions and groups
  4.   Do the opposite of what others do
  5.   Put examples of customer loyalty on the wall
  6.   Word of moms: harness their decision-making power
  7.   Use photos or video: a picture tells a thousand words
  8.   Timely, irreverent promotions hit home
  9.   Give back to the community
  10.  Creativity creates conversations

Joel Cohen, founder of, presented “Ignite Your Sales Through Word of Mouth” at the International Pizza Expo.

A SpeedLine point of sale system provides a range of tools to help you keep your restaurants top of mind with customers. Create personalized customer messages at the point of sale or on customer receipts to promote specials, welcome back lapsed customers, survey customer satisfaction, celebrate birthdays, and more.


Posted on Wed, Apr 08, 2015 @ 12:04 PM.
Updated on May 12, 2021 @ 8:17 PM PST.

Tags: Restaurant Marketing, Trade Shows

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