Restaurant storytelling is one of the most powerful tools to drive customer engagement. People are now able to share their stories with a wider audience due to innovations in technology and trends in social media.

Customers want to know you and the real story behind why you do what you do. If you’re wondering how to increase your restaurant sales and build brand loyalty, storytelling is key.

If you want to stand out among the noise, curate an authentic story that presents your business in the best, most accurate light. Here are a few key tips to drive customer engagement through storytelling.

Talk About People, Not Products

Restaurant storytelling is always about people: business owners, chefs, and key employees. If you want to create a great story about your business, identify the major contributors and focus on them.

For example, if you own a family restaurant, place family values first. You could address the following topics:

  • Is it a new restaurant or a famed third-generation family business?
  • Who currently owns the business: two sisters, a married couple, kids, grandkids, etc.?
  • What family traditions and values do they promote?
  • What is the cultural background of the owners? Did they immigrate from overseas? How does their cultural heritage play into the theme of the restaurant?

If you don’t write about the business owners, you could write about the Chef. He or she can become the main character of your story, especially if he/she is charismatic and talented. Some things you should discuss include:

  • How many years of experience does Chef have? Did she study or work abroad? For example, if you write about an Italian restaurant, mention that your Chef had a culinary journey through the heart of Italy.
  • Did Chef win any local or international awards?
  • Did he have a dream to become a Chef since he was a child? You can put it this way: “When 10-years-old Jackson was helping his grandmother to prepare a lemon pie, he fell in love with the baking process. He promised himself he’d become s famous pastry chef and keep his favorite recipe of lemon pie.”

Evoke Emotions

If you want to engage customers, you need to tell a story that evokes strong emotions. Those who read your restaurant’s story should have a feeling of wonder, amazement, fascination, curiosity, affection, nostalgia, patriotism, or a mix of different feelings. Don’t leave your audience feeling indifferent.

Tips to ensure your melt your customers’ hearts include:

  • Add adjectives. They’ll help convey your story more vividly.  
  • Include quotes. This is an effective way to build credibility.
  • Use humor. Readers engage with positive stories that make them laugh.
  • Add surprising facts. If you write that your Indian restaurant serves five tons of rice a year, that’ll definitely catch their attention.

Tell the Truth

Be honest with your readers and don’t embellish reality. State only true facts because a small lie can spoil your reputation.

“Keep in mind that restaurant storytelling is not about writing fiction, it’s about describing a real life,”– says John Miller, content creator at RewardedEssays.  

For example, don’t lie and say your pastry chef studied abroad if he spent all his life living in one city. You should say he is “a professional who dedicated his life to the development of confectionary art in his native city.”

Focus on Customers

If you want to engage your customers with the help of storytelling, learn what they expect to hear from you. Why do people visit your restaurant? Do you offer the most delicious meals, the lowest prices, the most beautiful interior design, the greatest atmosphere, live music?

For instance, if most of your guests are jazz lovers who come to your restaurant to listen to music, write about the role of music in the development of your restaurant. In other words, build your story around the interests of your target audience.

Even more, if you see that guests’ preferences are changing, update your restaurant’s story and make it more relevant. For example, if you added vegan meals to your menu to retain customers, it’s time to rewrite your story. You can put it this way: “Our restaurant keeps up with the times. Today, we proudly serve vegan and vegetarian meals in order to meet the dietary needs of our dearest customers.”

Hire Targeted Professionals

You should never try to copy or rewrite another restaurant’s story, even if it’s great and that restaurant is located at the other end of the world. Your restaurant is one-of-a-kind and you should find the right words to describe it. If you need help, hire someone that does content marketing for restaurants to assist.

If you want to write a story, which will drive customer engagement, be creative. Try to design a distinct image of your hospitality business that will stand out from the crowd. To get the highest ROI, watch market trends and adjust your restaurant’s story to the changing environment.


Author Bio: Bridgette Hernandes is a Master in Anthropology and a marketer at RatedbyStudents. She worked at her parents’ restaurant as a teenage. She is currently writing a book on restaurant marketing.

Guest Contributor
SocialHospitality.com publishes guest posts from entrepreneurs, small business owners, and business writers. To learn more about how to become a guest writer, visit our guest post guidelines.