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

Secret Sauce episode 51 - The Masterchef Effect part 1

We talk about the Masterchef Effect.  The Masterchef Effect occurs when your Restaurant gets a huge amount of publicity.  It could be from getting a great review on a popular website, winning an award, have a meal or event go viral or being featured on national TV, like Masterchef.  Too many restaurants aren’t prepared for the Masterchef Effect and as such they miss out on the ongoing benefits of their huge Public Relations win.  In this two part podcast, we examine the preparations 20 restaurants have taken after being featured in The Age‘s Top 20 Cheap Eats for 2017 list and what happened to Restaurant Lume when Chef Shaun Quade was featured on Masterchef.

The Age has released the Melbourne’s Top 20 Cheap Eats for 2017 list in Melbourne.  Here are 20 restaurants that have done a great job of bringing together a team, the ingredients, the menu, the FOH (front of house) experience and the marketing.  (No point in having the best restaurant that no one has ever heard of!) The Cheap Eats guide has just three lines of text about each Restaurant, so people are looking for more information about your Restaurant to make a buying decision.  Without a website, you aren’t able to tell the story of your Restaurant that you have put so much work into in any way that does it justice. You goal doesn’t need to be on Masterchef, but you need to have an attitude that sets you apart. Chan Hon Meng from Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle won a Michelin star and he said that everyone should cook like a Michelin judge is eating in their restaurant everyday.  If you thought like that, how much better would you run your Restaurant? How can you capitalise on the public relations when you get the Masterchef Effect? In the Good Food Cheap Eats guide:

  • 8 out of 20 restaurants did not have a website.
  • 1 restaurant had their website taken down because of too much traffic (!)
  • 1 only had a Menulog website (no phone number, no bookings, no emails 🙁
  • 6 had Google Analytics on their website.
  • 2 had the Facebook Pixel installed (THIS IS A MASSIVE ISSUE!)
  • 1 website was Weebly.  It is cute that Weebly is still around.
  • 1 website had Wix.  Friends don’t let friends use Wix.
  • Most common was WordPress (which is good.) Only 2 had Yoast installed.
  • Some were using OpenTable (no email addresses).
  • No one was using Dimmi – Is Dimmi losing traction in Australia?
  • 1 Restaurant was using Menulog.  No emails, just bills.
  • 2 websites weren’t mobile-optimized.
  • 8 Restaurants had not claimed their Google Knowledge panel.  (Your competitors could claim it and tell Google the restaurant is permanently closed)
  • The Zomato reviews were 23% lower than Facebook reviews.  Are Zomato reviews a lot less reliable than Facebook and Google Reviews?

These are some of the critical things that you need to prepare for your next great Public Relations success.   For more information about some of the free restaurant marketing tools you can use to make the most of your Public Relations win, have a look at:

The next episode will cover off the technical procedures to prepare for the Restaurant Lume being featured on Masterchef, including how much traffic was served up over the length of the episode (a lot!!!)
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Click here to continue with Secret Sauce episode 52 – The Masterchef Effect Part II. What happens when your Restaurant is featured on Masterchef?


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


James Eling: Hey, it’s James from Marketing4Restaurants here and welcome to episode 51 of Secret Sauce, the restaurant marketing podcast. Your restaurant and the MasterChef effect. What is it, how do you get it, and when you do, how do you make the most out of it?

Voiceover: Some restaurants are quiet, lose money, and the owner works 70 hours a week. Other restaurants are busy, profitable, and the owners work a few hours a day. What’s the difference? They have a secret sauce. Join James from Marketing4Restaurants as he helps you come up with your recipe for restaurant success, your secret sauce.

James: Welcome back, everyone. So, today we’re going to be continuing on on a bit of a theme that we were talking about last week. So, we talked about some intellectual properties issues that a lot of people have when they go to all of the hard work around, you know, creating an awesome story and building up their brand, and then having it brand jacked. And it’s interesting, and I got hit up this morning by a restaurant in Queensland who has that exact same issue looking for some advice. And the podcast has only been out for a day, yeah, I think it went live yesterday. So, it hasn’t taken long for people to start looking at it and checking. And I really do think that you need to do that. Google yourself and find out what it is that other people are trying to get Google to think about your business, because there’s a lot of tricks out there and it can cost you a fortune. We’ve seen businesses go bankrupt because of this. Today we’re going to talk about something that is super exciting.

So, this week on Monday night restaurant Lume, so one of the best restaurants in Australia, the very talented chef there – Chef Shaun Quade – was presented in the pressure test for the contestants. And he had them doing the Pearl On The Ocean Floor, an epic dish–150 steps in it to create it, absolutely torture for the contestants.

What we’re going to talk about today is the MasterChef effect. So, that is a huge public relations win for the team at Restaurant Lume, and quite rightly deserved. We did a podcast a little while ago and we talked about them as being, you know, the best restaurant in Australia’s that no one’s ever heard of. And that’s because their positioning’s very unique, you know, they actually have a bigger following overseas than they do in Australia. And, in fact, I was talking to, we’ve got another podcast that’s coming out in a few weeks, and I was talking to someone there and he said, “Restaurant Lume–we love those guys.” Lots of people know about them outside of Australia, bit of a secret, bit of a dark horse within Australia, within Melbourne even which is really quite amazing. But super exciting, they were on MasterChef on Monday night.

Now, the impact that that had for them was huge. So, this will be a two parter this podcast. We’re going to talk about the MasterChef, what is it, how do you get it and then, once you’ve got it, how do you position yourself so that you can capitalize on all of the great public relations, all of the good will, how do you build those relationships with all of the people who’ve just suddenly discovered your restaurant. I wasn’t going to do this but, because we’ve helped restaurant Lume out, so I’d like to think, you know, it was a pretty well-planned approach to handling the restaurant being on television. But I was driven to that because in the last episode we talked about The Age and their list of the 20 best cafes, and there was a whole heap of restaurants that hadn’t done a lot of things that are absolutely fundamental as a part of marketing. And this week the exact same things happened.

So, Jane Ormond has released the Melbourne’s top 20 cheap eats for 2017. Now, in Melbourne this is a pretty big list. This is probably the number one list for the restaurants that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. You know, getting listed in cheap eats, that’s a big deal. And it can drive a lot of traffic to your website. It can drive a lot of people, over the next year people are going to be looking at this and they’re going to try it because they’re cheap eats, you know. Times are tough, this is a really, really good list to get on. And I’ve been to some of the places that are listed on it, and they’re really, really good. You know, Kalimera Souvlaki Art I think we’ve spoken about them. Written up in the United States as having amazing food, these guys, again, on this list. But just so many mistakes have been made.

So, what we want to talk about is, you know, what is the MasterChef affect and why is it so important, why you should want it, and if not, then, you know, why not, and then how to prepare for it. So, the MasterChef Effect. It doesn’t have to necessarily be from MasterChef. So, it could be something like being written up in cheap eats, which is a very influential article that comes out every year. It could be a blog article that gets written, it could be something that goes viral, it could be you being featured in a news website. There’s a whole range of things, it could be winning an award, as well. You know, if the award is very prestigious, that can happen as well. And so, we’re coining this the MasterChef Effect, but there’s a few ways out there than you can generate and I’ve heard people talk about it, you know, you need to be lucky, or you need to know someone about that. First off, I want to actually start talking to a few of the reviewers, the kind of people who write these things.

What is it that they’re looking for? How’s the process to get listed in that? I think that that would be a really interesting topic, because this is where, you know, your sort of public relations strategy really starts. But, at the heart of it, I think there’s a fundamental thing that everyone needs to understand and that is that do get into something like cheap eats, you need to be running a really good restaurant. This is the culmination of great food, great value, great experiences for you customers. The food is the representation of a number of things, you know, the sourcing of the ingredients, your technique. And when I say your technique, the kitchen’s technique.

So, Pearl On The Ocean Floor, Chef Quade’s not producing 75 of those every night. There is a team of people who are producing those. So, you need to build a team that can actually replicate the kind of meals that you want your customers to be enjoying. It’s about the innovation and creativity. I think it’s very, very hard to set yourself apart if you are doing the world’s best Chicken Vindaloo. That is so subjective and it’s very difficult to get traction with that. So, innovation and creativity, they’re the kind of things that people are going to be looking for when they’re looking for these top 20 cheap eats.

Now, and lastly, there has to be a little bit of marketing involved. You don’t want to be the best restaurant that no one has ever heard of. Restaurant Lume, they’ve been able to survive and to prosper even though within Australia they don’t have a very good brand recognition because of the fact that their style of eating, which is quite avant-garde, quite cutting edge, is actually really well appreciated overseas. And that’s why the tend to have a lot more tourists in the restaurant than they do have locals. But what is it that you’re doing to get that message out? Because time and time and time again, we’ve had meals in restaurants and I’ve though, “Wow, this food is absolutely amazing.” And the sad thing is that when you look around and you see that there’s only 5 or 10 people.

I’ve had meals where I’ve been the only person in the restaurant and I’m thinking, “This is absolutely amazing.” And then you think that that great meal is always tinged with a little bit of sadness, because you know that they’re probably not going to make it. They’re certainly not getting the economic reward that they should for the amazing food that they’re putting up. And you know that, because you look at the price and you think, “You know what, I’d gladly pay twice as much as that. Because that was an epic meal.” They’re not getting twice that, they’re not getting anywhere near probably to even be successful. And this is why so many awesome restaurants close because they are the restaurant that literally no one has ever heard of. You need that marketing. The reviewers, the talent scouts, the bloggers, the Instagrammers. If they don’t know about your restaurant, they’re not going to come in. you’ve got to have a way of getting that message out.

So, the MasterChef Effect is when you have a huge PR win and it drives a lot of people to go looking for more information. And this is because, when you look at what happened on MasterChef, there was a, you know, Chef Quade comes marching in and they say, “Here he is, here’s Chef Shaun Quade from Restaurant Lume.” And I know exactly what happened at that point, because we were looking at that and there was a truck load of people who jumped on their phones and it said, “Who is this guy?” They wanted to know more about the story of restaurant Lume. They wanted to know about Chef Quade. So, there are people who go looking for your story and this is the thing, when you look through the cheap eats list – and so I’ll include a list in the show notes for the article so you can see it – there is not a lot of writing about each one.

You know, there’s three lines. Just, you know, I’ll read one, “Brings a slice of New York to the scrabbly end of the corporate CBD.” This is for 5 & Dime Bagel Company. “Watch the bakery in action while you breakfast on coffee and a cream cheese bagel, or grab a teetering deli sandwich for lunch.” Okay, that’s it. Now, there’s not enough really to know there that, there’s the address, they provide a phone number and they’ll provide the website if you’ve got a website.

But people are looking for that story. Now, once you’ve shown them that story, because why do you have a story? To get customers in, isn’t it? It’s to sell, your story has to sell. You know, there’s no point in cooking authentic Vietnamese food like your mother cooked, you’ve got your own little Vietnamese herb garden on the roof of the restaurant and, you know, it’s authentic recipes, it’s actually like nothing, no other Vietnamese food in your town because this is super authentic. And, you know, and the interesting thing is that you’ve got a French slant on it, well probably a lot of Vietnamese food has got that, but they’ll be something interesting that you’ve done. If that story doesn’t sell, if that story doesn’t resonate with your customers, then there’s no point in having it.

Your restaurant is probably going to fail because your stories not going to be able to entice people to come in. You want your story to go, “Wow, that sounds awesome. I could see myself as a part of that story. I want to go, I want to make a booking. I want to order from them no.” These are the economic transactions that allow you to continue to run your restaurant to be able to build the restaurant that you always wanted, where you’re not working 70 hours a week. You want to be able to, and you’re running it completely above board, you don’t have any of the stresses that someone who’s running a marginal or unprofitable restaurant has. So, it’s really important that you’re thinking about that story.

Now, the next thing I want to think about is that I know what a lot of people say, “I don’t ever want to be on MasterChef, I don’t have that kind of capability,” or, “It all sounds too hard.” And I think a lot of people are just going to say, “You know what, it all sounds too hard.” The one thing that I would say that is probably quite important for you to think about is the example of Chan Hon Meng.

So, he has been running a little street hawker business in Singapore, which I’d just like to add in I’m hoping to visit later in the year which is super exciting, called Hong Kong’s Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle. So, this is just a Singapore street food vendor. And been cooking the same meal for 20 years, there’s not a lot that sort of sets him apart from all of the other street food hawkers in Singapore. Well, there’s not a lot that sets him apart from just one little thing, he has one Michelin star. And there’s a couple of things there. So, when you look at the street food thing, you know, he’s focused on one thing. He has crafted that recipe and that technique to be the absolute best that it can. The other thing that I think is really important, Michelin went and did a little bit of a documentary video on him because it was big deal, you know, they had their first street hawker getting a Michelin star. And he said, “I think you should cook like there’s a Michelin judge in your restaurant every day.” Now, that’s the kind of thing that you want to be thinking about.

If you think before you open up, as you’re standing at the door of the restaurant, as you put the key in the lock, would you be excited if a Michelin judge came into your restaurant? Would you be like, “Yeah, we’re going to give this a really good crack.” You know, “I’m going to serve up this and he’s going to like it and, you know, this is going to be epic.” Or, would you be embarrassed? And I think if you’re embarrassed, this is one of the things from a psychological point of view, if you’re embarrassed if you’re like, “No, no, no, don’t come today. I didn’t expect you. Don’t come today.” This is a problem. Because you should be ready, every day is game day. You should be doing the things, you should be going through the process of making sure that the meals are as tasty and, basically, as epic as possible. And that the experience is going to be up to what it is.

Now, this is the important thing, this is street food, okay. So, we’re not talking silver service here, we’re not talking white linen, we’re talking street food. Now, if he can get a Michelin star, what is it that you should be thinking about to try and get that? And far too many people accept mediocrity in their restaurant, okay. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should aim to be on television, I’m definitely not saying that. But everyone should be aiming to avoid mediocrity like the plague because running a restaurant is a full contact sport. Like, make no doubt about it. And if you haven’t had friends who have closed their restaurants down, or all sorts of horrible things happen to people who have failing restaurants.

People lose their houses, there’s a whole heap of negative impacts of running a failing restaurant. It is a full contact sport, there are people out there who ever day go in there and they are responsible for their own wages, they’re responsible for the wages of others. They need the money to come in to pay the mortgage on their house, they need it to pay the lease on the restaurant, to pay the wages for the people to come in. You know, there’s 101, there’s a huge amount of responsibility on you when you run that restaurant and everyone sort of says, everyone gets very insulin, “You know, James, you don’t understand the pressure that I’m under.” I do, I talk to restaurant owners all the time and I’m really, you know, empathetic about that. It’s a bloody hard game to be in. But the thing that you’ve got to remember is that you are out against everyone else who’s in the same damn position.

So, you need to be innovating better and faster than everyone else. You need to be creating an experience that is above that of all of the people that you’re competing again. And this is the thing that you need to be driving towards. If you’re not thinking about that, you’re never going to have the MasterChef Effect happen to you. You’re never going to have the good food guide cheap eats affect happen for you. It’ll be the restaurant down the road who’s been putting in more, harder, thinking harder, educating themselves. Doing all of the things that you kind of need. So, I think everyone should be aiming for their own little MasterChef Effect. You don’t even have to have, you know, “We want this to happen.”

But if you’re aiming to provide food and an experience today, or tomorrow, like a Michelin judge is coming in. You know, that’s probably where I think you need to be thinking. So, let’s crack on with what we found. So, the good food guide top 20 cheap eats, there’s 20 restaurants in there. Now, what we’re talking about now is trying to capitalize on what it is that the public relations benefit that you’re going to get for your restaurant, okay. And it can be fairly significant and we’re going to talk about that in the second podcast, about what it actually means for a restaurant.

So, the first thing is do you have a website? And this a beggar’s belief. So, in the next café ones, I talked about it in the last podcast, I was kind of like, “You know what, they’re cafes. So, yeah, I kind of get it that, you know, some of these guys don’t have websites. I kind of get that.” But this one we’re moving more up into the restaurant space and, low and behold, 8 of the 20 don’t have a website. Now, this is just amazing. How can you not have a website? In this day and age, the website is the main place where you can tell your story. It’s the main place where people can go and they can find more information and you can control everything.

It’s not going to be a crappy photo that some Instagrammer put up. It is going to be the photo that you organize to be on your website. There’s not going to be a review on there that says, “I went there and I vomited everywhere, because I’m pretty sure that the guy didn’t wash his hands when he came back from the toilet, and I got really sick.” Your website is the one part of the digital world that you get to control, everything that you want up on there is going to be on there. Nothing that you don’t want on there is going to make it on your website. That’s a really important thing to think about. Now, the other component of that is this is where you get to tell your story. So, you can’t tell your story on Facebook. You can’t tell your story on Instagram and you can’t tell your story on Snapchat. Snapchat’s not very permanent. Instagram is really just about photos.

And Facebook is not really searchable. People don’t go scrolling back to look at a post from six months ago. So, you can put that story up about, you know, “We’ve got some special spices that have just come in from India, and it’s going to make an awesome Vindaloo.” But after a couple of weeks, or depends on how frequently you post, it’s gone. You know, and people are going to miss that. This is the one thing where, you know, “I’ve heard that there’s a really good Indian restaurant, let’s have a look. Wow, look at this.

Look at this process that they take. Look at that process. Look at all of the things, this is making me really interested now. I think I should make a booking.” So, let’s just have a quick look. So, eight of them didn’t have a website which is just absolutely madness. One of them, one of the 12 that did have a website had bandwidth exceeded on their website. And this is the typical thing that happens when you get the MasterChef Effect. And these guys didn’t even get that, they just got the good food cheap eats affect. So, I had a look at this probably three days ago when it first game out, and already their website was down. Bandwidth exceeded. So, I don’t know how many people went there. They probably had a very cheap hosting plan, and they’re not monitoring their website, which I think is really sad. You should be with a host who’s actually going to, like, should be looking at it, monitoring it. It does happen from time to time.

But it’s very easy to fix, it is literally a 60-second fix to fix that. But their host isn’t looking at their website and isn’t monitoring them, and has just let them sort of fall apart and miss all of the value that’s come out. Because The Age and Good Food, these guys are doing a lot of PR around, this is one of their signature blog articles that they want to drive people to. It’s very popular.

They’re driving people to it, everyone who’s looking at that website, they’re missing out, missing out on the website of that restaurant, they’re missing out on getting to find out what that story is. So, it’s got to be costing them money. There was one which is actually quite confusing, there’s the name of a restaurant and there’s another restaurant at the same exact address, evidently, they cohabitate or something like that. So, this restaurant doesn’t have a website, there’s someone else there. I don’t know if it’s the same owners, I don’t know whether they’re sharing across the day. That’s all a bit weird and kind of confuses me, because the other place is a donut shop and it’s like, “Well, I don’t know. Well, what’s going on here?”

One of them, you know, I think if you spoke to them they’d say, “Yeah, we’ve got a website.” It’s actually a Menulog website which I thought was really sad. So, their whole brand online is just basically a Menulog website, and one of the big issues with a Menu Log is A) They don’t publish the phone number; B) it doesn’t appear that you do dine-ins. So, there’s very little information about these guys. They obviously do do dine-in, because they’re in the 20 cheap eats for 2017. But when people go to that website, it’d be like, “I think these guys only do takeout.” So, that’s going to drive people away from going to their restaurant. That’s very sad.

And, of course, Menulog will have been, you know, “We’ll give you a free website,” that free website is costing them 13% for everyone who makes an online order. If they got a whole heap of orders out of the good food guide, then not only has everyone of those contact details gone to Menu Log, the restaurant doesn’t get a copy of it. It’s cost them 13, so if they’d had their own Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system (FROLO)– there’s a hint there that we actually do one for them – they’ve just paid 13% that they didn’t need to pay, and they missed out on every email contact. That’s a fundamental mistake. Now, let’s go onto the next thing. Of the 12 that had a website, only 6 had Google Analytics on it.

Now, digital marketing. So, you know, I guess you realized I’m pretty passionate about digital marketing. The one reason I love digital marketing is because it’s accountable, and I love watching the numbers and playing around with someone’s website and then seeing the bump in traffic. It’s like, you know what, wow, people are now using this search term to find that website. That’s exciting. Look, someone made a booking. Wow, you can actually see an economic impact for a change that you’ve made on someone’s website. But if you don’t have Google Analytics installed and so, we use a different system for our customers because it’s a lot more granular, it can actually see on an individual user by user basis. But for most people, Google Analytics is fine. That’s like getting in a car and not looking at the Dashboard, not looking at finding to see how fast you’re going, see how much petrol you’ve got in the take, see if any indicator lights are on. If you don’t have Google Analytics then you’re missing out on all of that sort of stuff, and I think that this is a massive problem that half of these people who do have a website aren’t paying any attention to if it’s working or not.

How do you know that it’s working? How do you know? These people don’t. This is very sad, so this is a big problem. Now, next step on from that is the Facebook Pixel and, sadly, only 2 of the 20 restaurants had a Facebook Pixel installed on the website. So, that was 17% of the people who had a website, 10% of those out of the 20. Facebook Pixel. Get it on your website, people. It is a fundamental part of targeting and retargeting. The big issue is that I’ve just gone through all of the websites today for the 20 cheap eats for Melbourne 2017.

Now, I have no intention of making a booking at 19 of them. One of them is close by to us and I may go there. Only two of them are going to be able to try and change my mind. You should be fighting for my dollars. “No, no, no, James, we get that you had a quick look at the website and you didn’t see anything good there. That’s fine. What about this? Here’s a picture of some, you know, a bagel that we’ve cooked up, or a Turkish pita. You know, come along and have a look at this, this is really good. Check out our tacos, we got epic tacos here. We’ve got some amazing Japanese food here. Come and have a look at our falafel. Next time you’re in the area, check out our falafel.” These are 101 messages you could be disseminating. You could be fighting to get me back in. All of these people have missed the opportunity that I’ve had a look at their website, they can’t retarget me. And from a Marketing4Restaurants’ point of view, we don’t really expect to talk to anyone until they’ve seen our brand, you know, somewhere between 8 and 12 times. You know, so they’ve started to see it, they might have read a blog article or something, then they start looking, they might sign up for one of our free products the five minute a day restaurant marketing NBA. Ideally, they’d listen to a couple of podcasts, then they’d look at the Free Online Restaurant Booking System (FORBS) and Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system (FROLO), and then eventually they get to the point where it’s like, “Wow, we need a website from you.”

That’s our sales process and we do a lot of marketing because we’ve got a very small sales team to drive those conversions. You need to be thinking the same thing. So many people think, “I put something up on Facebook and it didn’t sell.” Well, not many posts sell straight out of the box, you need to show that post, “That looks cool. Wow, there’s a group of people having fun. Wow, there’s three or four of my friends going there, I can’t believe I haven’t been to this restaurant yet. Let’s go there this weekend.” That’s how that story goes. Without the retargeting pixel you’re missing that. Now, let’s have a look at what people were using. So, there was a couple of Squarespaces, which I thought was interesting. Squarespace is probably one of the most common, not WordPress, website solutions out there. A couple had sort of bizarre websites going on which were a little bit hard to work out what was going on, and I’m talking about the technical stuff on the backend there. There was one Wix and, you know, seriously, friends don’t let friends use Wix. There was a Weebly, I think that’s cute that Weebly’s still around.

Most had WordPress websites. WordPress, now, interesting, if you’ve got a WordPress website then you must have Yoast, Yoast is what people use to get all of the SEO benefits out of WordPress. So, two-thirds of the people who had a WordPress website had Yost installed on it. We use WordPress because it’s very easy for restaurants to be able to make their own changes, and I think this is a fundamentally important thing. You want to be able to change all of the components of your website as often as you want to. And the more often, the better, because Google sees it as being a happening business if you’re making lots of changes. So, you want to be able to edit it yourself. The big concern that I’ve got with things like Wix and Squarespace and Weebly is they’re, in some respects, quite easy to use, in some respects they’re very easy to create a visually appealing website. But, this is the fundamental thing. They’re very difficult from an SEO point of view. Google loves WordPress, okay.

Now, if Google loves WordPress then I think that you should, too. That’s why we love WordPress. The Marketing for Restaurants website is built in WordPress because we know that SEO is absolutely fundamental to what we do, and that’s the easiest and quickest way that we can do it. I do the SEO for our website and I’m not like a technological kind of guy at all. I do it because I know what I want to SEO around and the Yoast plugin gives me the ability to SEO around what it is. So, I’ll think about a kind of customer that I want to target, I write the content, and I then use Yoast tools to make sure that I’m hitting what it is that I want.

The classic example for this is you are looking for people, you know, you’ve got a gluten free menu and you want to attract gluten-free customers. Now, we’ve spoken about, I won’t bore everyone to death with why gluten free is so important people for people, so important for restaurants as a part of their economics, as a part of the profitability of the restaurant. But you can create that page and Yoast will tell you what you need to do to rank higher with it. And I think that that’s a really, really powerful tool. Now, you’re doing the sales and marketing on your website. You’ve got to remember this; your website should be doing sales and marketing. The sales component is the booking or the online order. That’s the economic transaction, that’s where the rubber hits the road.

You want your website to look really appealing. Because, you know, the images of food, the images of people in their, that’s the sales component of it. If you don’t have the good SEO then you end up with what we say, you know, that you don’t want to have the best website that no one’s ever seen. And we see that quite a lot, and you see it quite a lot with Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, where you go, “Wow, that’s an amazing website.” But look at that, there’s no content, there’s no SEO. What are the numbers that these people are getting? And they tell you and it’s like, “Wow, there’s not a lot of people going to that website.” And this is a fundamental part of why, you know, your business is probably struggling. So, once you’ve got the SEO wrote, you’re getting a lot of people in, the next thing that you want to be doing is making sure that you’re converting. Beautiful images of food, food that’s innovative and creative, your menu, you know, whether the description’s in the menu, all of those sort of things. But the sale is so much better when it’s done online.

So, take that booking online, take that booking online, take the online order online. They’re the kind of things that you want to be, because that’s when money goes into your account, you know. Definitely with the online order, possibly with the online booking system. And the thing that I found interesting, so only six of the restaurants were taking bookings online, which I thought was amazing. Three of them were using Open Table, which I found really quite surprising that Open Table had the most of those customers. One of them used a form, like an email form, and the massive issue with that is that yes, you can get the booking, it doesn’t integrate with anything. So, you don’t know how many bookings you’ve got for that night, and those emails are just going to sit in your inbox and you can’t easily go out and email those people. So, part of the point of doing an online transaction is that you can grab people’s emails, so you want to be grabbing those emails.

The big issue with Open Table, it’s surprising not to see any Dimmi, I think Dimmi is slowly on the wane here. We’re starting to see that. Open Table, of course, I don’t think that they actually share email details with the restaurants. So, you’re not getting the email addresses or the contacts. That’s a big drama. Don’t use a form, you want that to be going into an email system. There was one that was using Obee and I think that that’s a good thing, Obee is quite good if you need a booking system that does table management. Australian built and the team there are pretty switched on. Of course, if you’re not doing any of that then, you know, there’s the free online restaurant booking system and, for online orders, the free restaurant online ordering system. One of them was using Deliveroo, which, of course, does the deliveries.

And, of course, the only other guys there was one restaurant using Menulog and, of course, that was a Menulog website so they were getting nothing except for a bill and orders. Which is, you know, a bill for the commission which is really quite sad. Now, interesting, out of the 12 websites we went through and analysed them. Two of them weren’t mobile optimized. Get with the program, people. This is absolutely critical. On average, 60 to 65% of people going to your website are going to be doing it on a mobile. Google have got a lot more aggressive and if you don’t have a mobile optimized page, then it will send less people to your website if they’re on a mobile. So, 65% of those people you’re actually going to be further down the rankings because of the fact that you don’t have an optimized website.

Now, one of the other factors in there is, of course, speed. Particularly on a mobile, Google knows that, if it’s going to take three or four seconds for a website to load a lot of people are actually going to move away from that. They’re going to go, “It’s all too difficult. I’ll find another website that’s going to give me the information that I want.” One of the websites there scored 3 out of 100. That’s the worst I’ve ever seen. A lot of them were quite ordinary, you want to think about the things for your website, how quickly it loads. I know there’s a lot of things you need to be thinking about but it is quite difficult putting together a good online strategy.

Now, the Google Knowledge Panel. So, if I type in the name of your restaurant and Google knows which restaurant I’m after, so there was one of them that was a hotel, fairly generic, and three came up in the area. So, you didn’t get the Google Knowledge Panel. But if you type in the name of a restaurant and Google knows who you’re talking about, it will present a Knowledge Panel. And it’s going to have things like the phone number, the address, reviews. Yes, it’s going to have reviews, that’s always interesting for you, isn’t it? And one of the interesting things out of this was that eight of the restaurants had not claimed their Google Knowledge Panel.

So, it has a little thing, “Do you own this business?” Now, this is so important people, we talked about it before and, you know what, I’ll probably talk about it again because it’s absolutely fundamental. I could have gone in there and said, “Well, that’s my business and actually it’s permanently closed.” Now, of course, you wouldn’t do that, but all of your competitors are you sure that none of them would do that? We have had people who have called us and said, you know, “We were really quite busy, over the last six months it’s gone off a cliff. We’re seeing half the traffic numbers, we’re losing money hand over fist. What can we do?” And it’s like, “Well, is the restaurant shut? Have you permanently closed?” “No, but, you know, I think we’re probably three or four months away from it, if we continue at this rate.”

And it’s like, “Well, the first thing you need to do is claim your Google Knowledge Panel through Google My Business, and you need to get that thing opened up again. Because every time people search for your business, it says, ‘Permanently closed.’” Now, that one little mistake could cost you $100,000 easily. Like, just think about it, the number of people who see that, the number of people who, no one’s going to call you to see if it’s open. Unless they’ve driven past and know that you’re open, or ate there last week, so many people are going to go, “That’s a shame, I really wanted to go there. Sad.” So, you need to claim your Google Knowledge Panel. One of the other things that comes up in the Google Knowledge Panel is reviews.

Now, here is something that I found absolutely fascinating. We took the reviews across Zomato, Facebook, and Google. Google is, you know, they really want to get into the reviews game because they think that it can help them provide – when someone’s looking for best Indian restaurant in this suburb, what they want to do is they want to use their own reviews to say, “Yup, here’s a whole heap of reviews. This place is pretty good. You should go there.” And so, they’ll populate a map with, you know, 10, 15, 20 restaurants there that are actually pretty good. And you’ve got to remember that Google wants really good data, okay. So, they do a fair bit of work to make sure that the reviews are accurate. Facebook reviews are written by real people. So, everyone’s got an account, Facebook knows who you are, so they tend to be more honest. Zomato is really interested in, the old Urban Spoon, they’re just really interested in getting a truckload of reviews, that’s one of their metrics. “Look eleventy gillion reviews.”

Here’s my little theory. Jane Ormond has gone through, she’s eaten at a whole lot of places and she’s come up with the list of Melbourne’s top 20 cheap eats for 2017, okay. So, that’s the thing. Now, if I got to one of these places and it’s garbage, I’m going to think that the cheap eats list is pretty garbage. And I’ve eaten at a few and they’re usually really good, if not, excellent. So, this would be something that I trust. If she sends me to a dodgy place then I’m going to be like, “Eh. I’m not going to read this, I’m not going to go to any of the restaurants there, because I don’t trust the cheap eats list.” Trip Advisor is in that category. I’ve been on Trip Advisor’s, you know, “Here’s an awesome place that is seven must eat places in San Francisco,” and two of them were garbage. Absolutely garbage. One of them was so bad, I didn’t even go in. So, not trustworthy reviews.

Now, here’s the thing that I find absolutely fascinating. So, let’s run with the theory, I’ll try and get to a few of these and see how they are. Kalimera Souvlaki Art, I’ve been there, love it. That’s great food and, you know, everyone else thinks it’s great food, as well. Everyone thinks that Kalimera Souvlaki Art is awesome food, including the chief food writer for the New York Times. So, probably on a good thing there. Now, the very, very interesting thing is, when you look at the three reviews you’ve got 4.46 as an average for Google, 4.75 for Facebook. So, my theory is that this is a list of really good restaurants that are offering really good value. Google is saying, “Yup, they’re all pretty damn good,” and there were none in the 3s. So, they ranged between 4.1 and 4.8 was the highest. Facebook averaging 4.75, so a little bit higher ranging between 4 and 5. And Zomato 3.7, and they had a 3.2 in there. This is an indication that those ratings are dodgy. And I haven’t used Zomato for years, now, but they’ve pushed in a whole heap of people to try and get these reviews going. And, at the end of the day, probably significantly devalued the reviews that they’ve got. That was just a little bit of an interesting thing that I saw when I was going through it. So, this is the MasterChef Effect for a restaurant that is listed in the 20 cheap eats. And so, some of them are doing a good job, some of them aren’t. What we’re going to do now is we’ll finish up here and then, in the next episode, we’ll talk about what it looks like in a real MasterChef environment when you’re actually on TV and you’ve actually got lots and lots and lots of people who are wanting to go to your website, find out about your story and, more importantly, make a booking.

So, that’s it. Now, we’ve used the good food eats cheap eats list as an indication of the kind of things that you need to be thinking about. No one in this list did everything right, all of them had problems. These are the things you need to think about, there’s a lot of them that we’ve gone through and this isn’t an exhaustive list. But from being able to capture the information and being able to start really making money out of a great public relations event like this, these are the kind of things that you want to be thinking about. So, that’s it. I hope you have a really busy week. I hope you get written up in a top 20 list for you suburb soon. But yeah, that’s it. Have a busy day. Bye.

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