Whenever any of your guests ask your team to take special occasion pictures don’t let them just take the picture and walk away anonymously! Train your staff to get the most mileage out of every engagement opportunity. Your server should say, “Absolutely! But… lets do one picture your way and one mine OK?” 100% of your guests will laugh and be intrigued by the prospect and wonder what the waiter has in mind. (He is already creating a more memorable experience for them!) Have him take the first picture in the traditional boring pose (He can yawn dramatically if appropriate. They will really laugh which makes a great picture too!) Then have him say, “OK, now it’s my turn… ” He can use his imagination for a fun second photo. Have your servers/bartenders use their judgment but here are some ideas:
Friends – “thumbs up” or “all clinking glasses.” Couples– kissing or make heart-shapes with their hands or sipping from each others glasses like at their wedding. My favorite is the “rock-star” cover album where everyone points at the camera. It’s fast, it’s easy, everyone knows what to do and older people look absolutely hysterical. It also brings out the best in everyone and it makes a great picture… which is the ultimate goal.
Have your team brainstorm and practice on each other the different “Styles” for a fun photo and train them to use the words that excite guests to participate and you’ve just trained your staff to “social up-sell.” (These “directed” photos are also the foundation for a conversation which will lead the customer to a life-long relationship with your business. If you want to know more on “styled” photos call me.)
Now, what would even better than one or two photos a night? Yes! Ten or twenty photos every hour! You can train your servers to create picture taking moments all the time to have your restaurant on everyone’s Facebook page constantly. Tell your staff to say: “You look all dressed up. Are you celebrating something tonight?” (Yes, the end of the work week! Yes, that it’s Tuesday. Yes, we haven’t seen each other in five years. Etc.) “Oh, congratulations! Let me take a picture for you so you have it on your phone!” Most guests will jump at this chance plus the server just reminded them to chronicle, brand and post their visit to your restaurant.
From now make sure even your hostess is on board when taking reservations, “Oh it’s your birthday? Oh the staff here does something really special when you ask them to take a picture for you!” (“Really, what?”) “They suggest poses so you will have one-of-a-kind photos to share with friends. They are really amazing at it you can even say you asked the server to do it to make a really special gift for your friend… oh but they can only really do it when they aren’t busy and all the 8:00 reservations are already taken… what time were you thinking?” Whether they are aware or not, the person on the other end of the phone just received some remarkable information that will probably be shared with their friends. If the person on the phone is excited, the hostess basically just told the customer to start thinking about branding and sharing their experiences before even setting foot in your restaurant plus she will now be able to push the reservation 15-30 minutes earlier or later for a potential new, full seating. (“Social media up-sell!”) Teach your staff to use every single resource around them to bring in the most customers, make the most money, and take stress off the kitchen. Get mileage even from reservations and special occasions themselves and for FREE!
Your servers are the masters of ceremonies in this fantastic production every night and you are the director! Direct your staff create extraordinary and unique moments that your customers will post, tweet and share on what ever platform is “hot” at the moment. You can train them to create “viral photos” by training them to get the names of guests through incomplete parties (See chapter #7 in the book below.) through special occasions, by referrals (Chapter #8 / #), by opening doors and checking guests in with the hostess (Chapters #4 & #13)… or by any means possible so that they can have the kitchen write those customer’s names on their plates… which they will post and share!
Being able to surprise someone with their name in chocolate or ketchup on a plate is something completely different and is hitting the “social media sweet spot.”
Delivering the special plate is also perfect opportunity to style a photo! Customers will grab their phone to take a picture of their unique plate but your server should say, “Oh let me take a picture with all of you in it.” They will quickly hand the phone over and with both the unique plate and recipient in the photo the customer is 9 times more likely to post and share the picture plus tag your restaurant in the post making the picture show up on your Facebook feed too! (Double bonus and home-run… FREE!)
Now what would be better than writing the customer’s name on the plate? Yes, also writing “From (The server’s name and the name of the Restaurant!) Why not brand the photo… for FREE?
- You know the customer’s name.
- You know the customer is going to post it if it has his name on it.
- You know your customer’s friends are going to see it.
- And you KNOW those friends are going to want their name on your plate too!
Finally, why not have your servers walk up to tables and say, “You guys are looking great! We just started our Facebook page and we want you on it! Can I take your picture?” That photo is going right on your page and most customers will now go looking for it and sharing it with their entire network of friends! (Any restaurants that offer free dessert can take a photo saying, “This goes on our Birthday Wall! You can check it out tomorrow!” And you know they will plus they will share it and drive more people right into your restaurant!)
Tell your staff you want at least 3 photos a night posted to your page or sent to your “social media department” and soon you won’t even need a social media department! Make it an employee contest, do what ever you need to do to but please start using all of the amazing an FREE resources around you or someone else will and take all of your customers with them!