52 – The Masterchef Effect Part II: What happens when your Restaurant is featured on Masterchef?

Secret Sauce Episode 50 - The Masterchef Effect Part 2 - What happens when your Restaurant is featured on Masterchef?

(This is the 2nd half of a 2-part episode. Click here to listen to Secret Sauce episode 51 – The Masterchef Effect – What is it, how do you get it and how can your Restaurant profit from it when it happens to you)

Before we dig further on the Masterchef effect, let’s discuss some of the retargeting methods for Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels.  One of the Restaurants featured in the Cheap Eats guide 2017 for Melbourne only had a Menulog website.  It had Google Analytics tag manager and the Facebook Pixel on the website they provided for the restaurant.  Menulog makes a lot of money out of these marketing techniques.  They aren’t too hard to set up, and every restaurant should have it set up for them.

Chef Shaun Quade’s night on Masterchef required a lot of preparation.  We built a website for Restaurant Lume that had the Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics installed.  It was designed to scale, with a lot of visitors at once and it was designed to show off the Restaurant in the best way.  Chef Quade has some amazing photos of the food and we needed to display them in the best possible way.

The FIRST MISTAKE people make is not having a website.

The Website had 10 people on the website at once before the show.  The traffic jumped to 50, then to 300 in minutes–that is 300 people at one time! It then climbed to 450, 700 and topped out at 1,148 people at once. The website was serving 25 pages per second.  90% of that traffic was from mobile phones.  This was because people were sitting on their couches watching Masterchef with their phones in hand.

We used Amazon AWS (Amazon Web Server) to be able to scale so that everyone hitting the server at once would be able to see the website. Chef Quade had four friends appear on Masterchef and all four of their websites crashed. It doesn’t need to be like that.

Check out the Show Notes to see the video of the traffic that they generated on the night.

Make sure you have Facebook Pixel installed.

Make sure you take bookings online.  Restaurant Lume uses Tock and was able to take $15,000 worth of bookings in the first 30 minutes of being on Masterchef.  If their website was down, many of those customers would not have come back , making them lose all those bookings.

The LAST MISTAKE is using the wrong booking or ordering system.  If you are using Menulog, Just Eat, Delivery Hero, OpenTable, Dimmi, or Quandoo, you are sharing or losing your customer contact details AND you are being charged per seat or per order.  This places you at a massive disadvantage compared to those using different systems, like the Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering System (FROLO) or the Free Online Restaurant Booking System (FORBS).

Hopefully you’ve got some ideas about how to generate your own Masterchef effect and you will be well prepared with an online marketing strategy for your Restaurant to make sure you capture all of the benefits that you can for your Restaurant.


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Transcript on Episode 52 – The Masterchef Effect and your Restaurant. What is it? How do you get it and How do you make the most of it when it happens to you

Last week we went through the Melbourne’s Top 20 Cheap Eats, the Masterchef effect. We defined it as when we get a really good PR win and we talked about why you’d want to get that. What’s important, how you can start sort of positioning yourself for that. But we went through some of the factors that you want to thinking about to try and really start capitalising on it. Because there’s no point in getting a whole heap of public relations. Goodness, coming your way if it doesn’t lead to more money in the bank, I think.

You want to be having that economic effect because it’s so hard to run a restaurant. Most people are working harder than they should. You need to capitalise on that. And we talked about a whole series of things, people not having websites, people not having Google Analytics, people not having their Facebook pixel installed, people using the incorrect website architecture, people having websites that aren’t setup right not claiming their Google Knowledge panel, all sorts of things.

I’ll just talk briefly on a couple of those things. One, the Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.  Now that I know that everyone runs a small, all of these guys run small restaurants so they don’t have a lot of resources but what I’m saying is that some of these things are absolutely fundamental because there was one website that absolutely nailed the Google Analytics component of it. They had Google Analytics on there, they had a tag manager in there which means they can have other bits and pieces in there. They had two retargeting tags so they absolutely nailed that. They’ve got a very, very sophisticated approach, more sophisticated than you need for a small business or for a small restaurant but a very sophisticated approach to the Google Analytics. It’s interesting they also had a very sophisticated approach to the Facebook Pixel Helper. Everyone who is on Facebook is logged in Facebook when you go to a website you can add them to a custom audience you can retarget to them. They had the most complicated the most comprehensive approach to the Facebook Pixel Helper.

I didn’t name too many of the restaurants because not all of them did a good job and I don’t like to sort of blame small independent restaurants because everyone knows how busy everyone is. I will name these guys though, I’ve named them before. I’m probably not on their Christmas card list. This was Menulog, so one of the restaurants had a Menulog website there so every order that they got, all of the public relations that actually went to Menulog all of that benefit every extra order that they got, they got 13% on the orders that were coming through. Their Menu Log rep will probably do the right thing and say, “See look at all of the marketing that we’re doing on your behalf.”  These guys have done really, really hard job in to build a restaurant to get listed in the Melbourne’s Top 20 Cheap Eats, and all of those orders they’re getting charged an extra 13% for so they’re getting taxed on the hard work they’re doing to get listed in the first place and they’re not getting any of those email addresses.

Menulog is tracking everyone. They know exactly who’s going to their website and they’re remarketing to those people really, really, really aggressively. You’ll see this when you go to some of these websites that you’ll then see ads that pop up and it will be like, “Oh, wow! Here are three restaurants that are local to me that are on Menulog.”  This is really the aggressive marketing that they’re doing. Part of it is Adwords, but first we’re going to talk a little bit about that in the future episode. Same, same with Facebook, the only people doing a really, really good job of this was Menulog. That’s because they can make a truckload of money out of it. I think that’s the lesson that you should be taking out of it.

So, we’ve talked about the effect that you can get when you get written up in a decent list which is exciting. What about when you’re on national television? So, how do you prepare for that? What does it look like and what is the economic impact that can happen? We spent quite a bit of time building a website for Restaurant Lume and Chef Shaun Quade. We spent a lot of time and effort in getting the imagery really perfect. Chef Quade is a bit of a perfectionist, well, a lot of a perfectionist really, wanted the images of–he’s put all of his blood, sweat and tears into the dishes that he prepares at the restaurant every night. He wanted them to look absolutely immaculate. So, there’s a couple of things that they’ve done to prepare themselves for this.

They’ve gone and got a professional photographer, who does this for other restaurants as well, he’s very well renowned and he took some amazing photos. That’s the first thing that they started off with then what we’ve done we have taken those images and we put them on the website in a way that … this was the delicate balance that we had to have images display better that’s just the way that it is but we needed them to be not too big because we knew that coming into Masterchef and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people watch Masterchef.

I actually downloaded some ratings and information just to see just how many people [tuned in to Masterchef]. And I think on a Monday night, there’s generally about 800,000 people across Australia who were watching Masterchef. To which I thought, “Holy Cow! That’s a lot of people who are going to potentially want to go on the website.” Now, why would they want to go on the website? I think this is the interesting because we actually saw this in real-time. I did a quick Facebook Live as we were doing it and I was showing the live Google Analytics.

We did a video of me sitting there talking about what was actually happening as it was actually happening and we had the Google Analytics live traffic data in the top left-hand corner. This is what the Masterchef effect is, at about 7:25 or probably at about 7:10 there was about 10 people on the website at once. That’s quite, for a restaurant website, that’s a lot.

Interesting thing was most of them were outside of Australia. At 7:20, there were up to 20–you could tell things were starting to tick along. The show started and they mentioned Restaurant Lume, Bang! it jumped to 50. Then you get to be at where they go through what happened previously, then they introduce Chef Shaun Quade from Restaurant Lume and–Wow!–It went from 100, 200 to 300 and I was like, “Holy Cow! This is really starting to get kinetic now.” We had a developer working over that period of time, just monitoring the website so that we could make sure that it stayed up and I called him and by the time I asked, “Hey, how’s it going?” And he said, “Yeah, it’s good we’re up to 450,” and I said, “So what’s the CPU at?” He goes, “Oh, were totaling along at about 45%”, so okay that’s good. “Do you think we are going to max out? Well at the rate were going I think it’s going to be about 750, maybe 800 people.”  You have to remember this is simultaneously on the website at once. I said, “That’s not going to cut it because that’s probably only two minutes away.” And in the time that it took me to say that sentence I turned around and we were at 900. The next refresh, we hit 1,000 and I was, like, “What’s the CPU at now?” And he goes, Ah, it’s gone up to, like, 52%. Oh, it’s actually scaling really, really well, so I suspect that we could have probably could have gone to 3,000 or 4,000 people simultaneously on the website at once and we peaked out at 1,184 people at once, which is absolutely massive we were serving up 25 page views a second.

That is the Masterchef effect. All of those people had gone, “Ah, what’s Restaurant Lume? Who’s Chef Shaun Quade?” They’ve gone on the website. The thing that was absolutely massive and fascinating was that Jason, the developer picked up on this. He goes, “Look at how many mobiles are on there!” And so, 90% of that traffic was mobile. 90% of the traffic was mobile–that’s huge.

I’ve never seen anything like that, but you’ve got to think about that it’s not all computers and servers and WordPress and all of that sort of stuff. Marketing is about the interaction with the customer and the product. All of those people were sitting on a couch watching Masterchef, they had their phones with them. That’s why we had 90% of people on their mobiles–absolutely, huge. I’ve got a great video of it as well. I’m going to publish that in the show notes or do a blog article around this as well. The traffic literally went from zero to a thousand in a couple of minutes. It was really quite frightening to see from the point of view of the guy who was responsible for having the website up.


Now, we’ve already talked in quite, in-depth the mistakes that people make when preparing for the Masterchef effect the first one is not having a website. All of those guys were looking for that, the story, who is Chef Shaun Quade and then throughout the rest of the night, so let me find out more about the Pearl on the Ocean Floor. Let me find out about this restaurant. Where is it? How much is it to eat there? There was a lot of people going for the Menu page–that was really interesting. A lot of people going to the Booking page. You’ve got to have that website because that’s where you can tell that story.

The other thing that was really amazing was the number of page views. So, being a fine dining restaurant, they will often do a lot more page views than a generic website. There were some people who were looking at 20 pages–they were going through the gallery. They were looking at each of the things and thinking, “Wow that’s absolutely amazing.” That’s what you want in a gallery. They’ve got 20 amazing photos of amazing meals that they’ve got there. They don’t have a photo of my favorite meal which is the cheese bit. Yeah, I don’t know why.

Now, the next mistake that people make is not building a website that’s going to scale. When we talked about the restaurants in “Top 20 Cheap Eats for 2017 in Melbourne,” one of them said bandwidth exceeded and this is the classic thing that happens to your restaurant website is that your hosting provider will give you an allocation of traffic and it will just go over that allocation and then they just shut your account down and I think that’s really quite tragic It’s not a big job to fix that. We monitor them, we check everyone daily and we also get reports on how much traffic people are using so that we can sort of be quite proactive in it. Not to say that it doesn’t happen. They were only getting the traffic from “Cheap Eats” and that traffic was divided by 20. There are 20 restaurants there. The Masterchef effect is only one restaurant that they’re talking about and all of that traffic was is going to your website so it’s absolutely huge.

There’s a couple of things that you need to think about. One, we talked about the size of the images. Now, because we use WordPress, our restaurant customers, they upload images. Some of them will upload 4meg images or 5meg images that have just been taken by a camera or smartphone that takes big photos and it goes up and that can cause bandwidth to blow out massively. So, that’s one thing that you want to think about now, as part of our support contract we just go through them we look for those big images we let the customer know we’ll resize them for them and make sure they’re not going to get their account turned off.  What happens with a lot of other providers they’ll just turn the account off, they don’t really care. I think that’s really sad particularly if you are on TV.

That is going to be very short-lived. That traffic is going to spike incredibly and then it’s going to back off really quite quickly. We definitely saw that with Masterchef, the traffic that they received probably 80% of that was in the time that the show was actually on, bear in mind that Perth is 2 hours behind the eastern states. So, you need to make sure if your website goes down then you’re going to miss out on most of the benefit of the Masterchef effect because your website went down and all of those people who were looking for your story have gone somewhere else. God forbid, they’ve gone somewhere and look at something like TripAdvisor they look at all those crappy reviews and they go, “The place doesn’t sound that good anyway.”

That’s the kind of thing you really need to be worry about, because Google wants to serve your page first if people are looking for your restaurant. If it’s not there then they’re going to go somewhere else. We were actually quite nervous, that’s why we spent quite a bit of time in making sure that the website was incredibly robust and big shout out to the guys at Amazon for helping us with an AW worthy solution that was going to be scalable and be able to handle that kind of traffic. At one point, we were serving up 25 page views a second and the thing that was so scary about it is that these weren’t all pages. I think the home page was big which was huge in website terms but we wanted to present those beautiful images in all their glory and to do that you have big pages.

Now, you have to have big images and those big images they take time to download we were effectively serving up more in excess of 25 meg per second which most web servers would probably die with. Even though, we had done all of that hard work we were quite concerned. Speaking to Veronica Fil the business manager there. they’d had 4 friends who’d been on Masterchef and all 4 of their websites crashed. We knew that we didn’t want that to happen because of then that story gets missed out on there’s a whole heap of flow and effects from people not being able to go into the website.

The third mistake that people make when they are sort of planning for the Masterchef effect is not having their Facebook pixel. So, everyone who went to the website and was logged into Facebook is now in an audience for Restaurant Lume to retarget and they may retarget all of them. 101 things that you can do that are really innovative around Facebook custom audiences that’s what you want to be thinking about when you’re doing that with your website making sure that you’ve got that Facebook in. If you put that Facebook pixel in then you are probably in the top 10% as far as restaurant marketing goes with Facebook because we think that only 10% of them have got the Facebook pixel in there. This is one of the things we keep on driving into restaurant owners is your Facebook campaigns are much, much, much less effective if you’re not putting people who go to your website into a custom audience. Absolutely critical.

Now, the fourth mistake, is not taking bookings online or online orders. So, you’ve got the Masterchef effect online orders is less important, the bookings I think is absolutely fundamental. People come along and they think, “Wow! it looks really good there.” Now, rather than drive them to make a telephone call, rather than hope that they think you know, “I’d like to eat there on Saturday night, ” and then rely on my faulty brain to remember on the Saturday night it’s actually that I need to get in the car on this cold, cold night and go out to a restaurant and eat there. you want to lock that booking in, because then you can send out the reminder email then you’ve got their email then they’re in your database all of that goodness that can happen. The thing that’s really exciting about what Restaurant Lume is doing is that they use a booking system called Tock, it does prepaid bookings.

We did an interview with Veronica a while ago, have a listen to that with the impact of Tock. Long story short they cut their no shows to virtually zero and they’ve got money in the bank. the interesting thing is these guys take bookings out for the next few months. Now, every booking that they took is cash in the bank because they’re prepaid bookings. I think it’s interesting it hasn’t really caught on in Australia just yet. Particularly when you’re doing things like fine dining where no show can be so costly for you, the ability to take bookings out one month, two months out; that’s cash in the bank you’re actually getting paid before people are eating.

This is exactly what the airlines do so it’s not something that consumers are completely unfamiliar with but these guys have got money in the bank they are competing with people who are getting paid on a nightly basis for food that they’re pre-buying. They are buying in all of those ingredients then they’re cooking them up and then they’re getting paid for it. These guys are getting in before they’ve even gone out and purchasing the produce that’s a massive competitive advantage, something you need to definitely think about.

Now, not preparing for the Masterchef effect, what is the impact of that? For these guys they took tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of bookings on the night. If their website had been down how many of those people would’ve come back on the next day to make that booking? I’m pretty confident that would have been tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.This is why it’s really critical to make sure that you have all of your ducks lined up in a row when you are expecting the Masterchef effect for your restaurant. So, you’ve done everything right, you’ve got a great website that helps tell your story. You’ve got some great imagery there that’s going to help tons to sell the fact that you want to take a booking online whatever. Or for whatever you do that’s driven a whole truckload of potential customers to your website you Facebook Pixeled them you’re taking bookings or online orders depending on what it is you’re doing in your restaurant.

The last mistake that a lot of people make is using the wrong booking system or online ordering system. You don’t want to be sharing those contact details with anyone because:1.) You don’t want to be paying for it. You’ve got people out there like OpenTable, Dimmi, Quandoo as well in the online booking space then you’ve got people like Menulog, Just Eat, Delivery Hero in the online ordering space. These guys, they’re either plus or minus going to share the email address but they view it as being “their” email address, so they’re then able to send out emails to other customers knowing the kind of food that that customer likes to eat.

In the online ordering space, they’re charging a commission up to 13%, Dimmi is charging $3 if it comes through their network, $1 through your website. You’ve gone and done all of the hard work to create something that is, public relations-worthy, whether it’s being written up in a blog or being featured on TV. You’ve gone and put in all of that effort you want to make sure that you’re collecting the email addresses. That they’re not going anywhere else and you don’t want to be taxed for the hard work that you’ve put in to get to that point. I think that’s the thing you really, really want to be thinking about.

For things like this particularly for a Masterchef, then there are a few alternatives out there. Lume uses Tock which is out of the US, there’s Obi which is Australian-based and those guys do a pretty good job. Of course, there’s our Free Online Restaurant Booking System (FORBS). We’ve got customers taking huge number of bookings with that and some of them have saved over thousands of dollars just by taking booking on their own website completely free. Of course, we’ve now got customers who’ve got 5,000 or 10,000 email addresses in their database. How easy is it to drive demand on a cold winter’s night when you can email out to 5,000 people who have been to your restaurant and had an amazing experience there.

That’s pretty much the Masterchef effect. Firstly a big congratulations to Chef Quade and the team at Restaurant Lume. Really, this is the thing you need to be thinking about. It wasn’t their goal to be featured on Masterchef. This is one of the awesome things that can happen when you put in all of that hard work around creativity, innovation, ingredients, technique, customer experience. When you put all of those things together and you pour all your heart and soul into it, then good things happen.

And being featured on Masterchef is one of the good, if not great, amazing things that can happen to your restaurant. I think that everyone in your head you should be thinking what is our “Masterchef”? What is it? If we do the best that we can possibly can do, what are the good things that can happen from the public relations point of view? Then you want to really start thinking about how you’re going to position yourself to capitalise on that.

Make sure that you’ve got a website and a website that’s going to scale. We were pretty excited. The fact that our server infrastructure that we put together with Amazon was able to stay for all of that time. We were super stoked that the guys at Lume were able to take so much in the way of prepaid bookings. I think that was absolutely amazing and that’s a very tangible way that you can measure the success of being on something like Masterchef. Just think about that if you don’t have a website then the tangible effect is. Well, there isn’t a tangible effect, you might be busier but you’re going to miss out on all those email addresses all of those things that we’ve been talking about. We talked about a lot of the things you that you need to think about. What kind of technology should you be using on your website, making sure that you integrate it with Google. Make sure you’ve got Facebook Pixel. All of that stuff is pretty complicated, but they’re the things that we do day in and day out. I think it’s important to really have a think about that whether you want to be doing that yourself or you want to be getting someone else to do that and it’s interesting.

It’s 7:30. I’m still at work at 7:30 on a Saturday night, how sad is that? but I was passionate about getting this podcast out ‘cause just to see the effect and to see the number of restaurants who have missed out on the economic benefit that they could have from the Cheap Eats write up. I thought it was important to have a good chat about it and so I’ve been doing a lot of research today I’ve created a spreadsheet which will go into the blog that will just show just what people are doing and all of that sort of stuff. the websites that we produce they have a lot of these stuff just straight out of the box.

We make sure that the Facebook Pixel is in there, the analytics are set up. We don’t use Google we use Piwik, which I’ve said before because it gives us more granularity. It will actually say, if you run a campaign, it will say 20 people made a booking from that campaign that’s a fundamental thing. All of this feeds into our free restaurant CRM system which is starting to get some real bite as far as tangible results for our customers. So, have a think about that.

So, yes, I said it’s 7:30 here, I just received an email from someone who’s using our free online restaurant booking system looking for some help on their website and she’s trying to put Google Analytics on a page which she’s not sure where their website host and there’s a few other issues and I said to her we can do all that for you. It’s 7:30 on a Saturday, I would have thought she should be in the kitchen she should be working or front of house she should be out there making sure her customers are getting awesome food not worrying this kind of stuff.

You want to focus on the things you’re really, really good at. If you are expecting to have something go completely berserk then you need to start thinking about …you can’t just have a normal website hosting package with your Weebly or your Wix or somewhat like that. You need to make sure that it’s going to scale and it’s going to be able to handle a truckload of traffic. You need to make sure that you’re having a good hard think about how you’re going to actually monetize that because you don’t want to be on TV and then not get any economic benefit out of it. I think that this is the fundamental thing and we’ve seen this so we’ve had quite a few seasons of Masterchef and the thing is that when you go back to some of those early seasons some of the restaurants that were there and they don’t get crappy restaurants on the show.

The restaurants that they’ve got there are top-notch they’re doing all of the things right and yet some of them still closed and that’s because of the fact this Masterchef effect it’s quite fleeting.  What you must do what is absolutely critical is that you need to milk that every single ounce of economic benefit you can because running a restaurant is a full contact sport. You’re getting this great PR if you don’t have a website. If you’re not Facebook retargeting, if you’re not taking bookings online, if you’re not doing any of those sort of things then people are, they’re going to look at you, they’re going to watch the show, they’re going to maybe Google, maybe find your website , maybe not, maybe it’s going to be down.

Some of them will make a booking, some of them will pick up the phone and say yes, can I come in? some will want to buy and think about it or they’ll see some of your other marketing and go “Ah yeah been meaning to get to that place”. It’s interesting because one of one’s that was on Masterchef a few years ago, I heard that they’ve closed and my immediate reaction was, “Damn it, I meant to go there.” It was too late so I had money in my pocket ready to go but I just forgotten about them it was like they were on my list in my head but I just needed that trigger to go, “Hey, James. Remember when you saw this dish on Masterchef?” The brand recognition was there it was just nothing, they’ve never reached out to me in a place where I was paying attention to say, “Don’t forget about us James because we’ve got some pretty awesome food and were sure that you’re going to love it.” That’s what you need to be doing. Everyone’s super busy, everyone’s working or making sure their story’s great these guys missed out on, I think that’s really sad.

So, it was exciting for us seeing 1,148 people on a website at once, serving up 25 page views a second–a second! That’s huge! And it was super exciting seeing a real intangible economic benefit for the guys at Restaurant Lume which is a real intangible benefit for all of the hard work that they’ve been putting in. It’s not easy running a restaurant, it’s certainly not easy running a fine dining restaurant it’s actually quite an emotional thing, you get reviews, you get people who don’t understand the food and saying all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s really nice to get that recognition by being on something like Masterchef and it’s even nicer to get the economic benefit out of it.

So that’s it, we’ve covered a lot today. The two things that you really need to think about is run your business everyday like there’s going to be a Michelin judge in tomorrow. Build the team, build the menu, build your techniques, build your innovation and creativity processes. To be able to make sure that you would be proud and excited to have a Michelin judge come in and oh my God can you come back maybe in a week or in a month. When you turn the lock tomorrow have a think about that would you be excited or scared? Then plan have a think about it, read through the show notes go through some of the things that you need to be thinking about with your website and your online marketing in general because getting all of that right, getting that great PR that means that you’re well and truly on the road to running the kind of restaurant that you always wanted to have.

So, hopefully I will be reading about your restaurant in some great epic write up or see something that’s gone viral or you even might be even on TV and we’d love to see that as well that would be completely epic.

So that’s it hopefully you’ll have a busy day. Bye!

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