Treat your blog like a restaurant

Look at all these people; that must be a really good place to eat.

Blogs, like restaurants, come in all shapes, sizes and venues and cater to a varied clientele with many different tastes.

If your blog was a restaurant, what kind of ambiance and food do you have that is bringing people in the door? Will the experience be good enough they will want to come back and recommend you to others?

If your blog was a restaurant, are you a chain, or mom and pop place?

If your blog was a restaurant, are you fast food or a sit down meal?

Does your menu offer everything, or do you specialize? If you specialize, would you be serving Mexican, Italian, or Oriental.

Do you make people feel comfortable, or do you just move them along so you can turn the tables quickly?

You look just like the McDonald’s in Peoria

At least you know what to expect when you show up. The menu and the consistency is pretty much a given; not much variation from one place to another.

Not great, but not bad either; it will do in a pinch if you are hungry.

It’s quick and easy, but don’t expect any engagement; in fact, we will make it easy for you to just drive thru.

Would you recommend this place to all your friends?

I’m glad I could find you

Well, you are off the beaten path a little bit, but all the locals just rave at how good your food is.

You certainly aren’t as well-known as the big boys, but you don’t do too bad. The food and service are always impeccable and the owners act like they really appreciate you stopping by.

You always feel comfortable, and the steady clientele seem to be mostly the same people with the occasional visitor, and you know most by name.

Your success was built on you being at the restaurant all the time and people expect to see you when they come in. Unlike some of the chains where they don’t even care to know your name and barely acknowledge your presence, you definitely know the owner here and he knows you as well.

You can expect to be treated like family.

But I had Italian last night

Instead of trying to cater to the masses, you have decided to specialize on the one thing you know and do really, really well.

The good news is, you know exactly what you will get when you stop by this place. It won’t vary much, but it will be good.

You just have to be prepared that some people will not want to eat Italian every single night.

I own a restaurant, why should I network?

People are going to come to me, right? I’m a business. All I have to do is light up my pretty Open sign and sit back and count my money.

Where is everybody? Don’t they know how awesome I am and how good my food is? Why aren’t they coming in?

Do you mean I’m actually going to have to go out in the community and meet and talk with people too? Can’t I just join the Chamber and let people find me that way?

I have a restaurant to run, I’m business; I don’t have time to be social.

Did you see that Joe’s place closed?

Wow, I can’t believe it. That place was so popular, how in the heck did he not make it?

I heard Joe had taken all the chairs out so nobody would stay.

Well that sounds crazy, I thought the customers made him successful. Did he lose sight of that?

He said working sunup to sundown every single day just wore him out; he couldn’t sustain it so he had to try something different.

Maybe if he would have worked smarter he would have found a way to survive and not let the business beat him down, don’t you think?

I heard banks don’t like restaurants because they are risky business

Statistically, restaurants do not have a good track record. There are so many variables from having a quality product, hiring the right people, and actually having people show up and enjoy the food and have a good experience.

Everybody certainly knows where you are, but what are you doing to get people in the door? If they are driving by but not coming in, what should you be doing differently?

Do you think it takes a little bit more than just a pretty sign?

Do you see the similarities?

Everybody has their own method and model in social media. Personally, I see way too many people who do a lot of pushing, but give very little of themselves to pull people in. If it’s all about you and are not willing to give more than you receive, good luck with that.

Oh yeah I forgot, it’s business and you don’t have time to be social. Good luck with that too.

What’s on your menu?

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65 thoughts on “Treat your blog like a restaurant

  1. Oh Bill! Superb Comparison! For me, this is one of your bestests. I am crazy about metaphors and this is one of the best yet!

    And you know what? I’d like to be the restaurant that also offers lodging, so friends can stay over. And maybe get together for a regular outing or just hang out on the lawn. Yes, I’d welcome friends of friends of friends of friends too!

    πŸ™‚ How would you describe my blog? You know I write three regularly!

    Hugs. Did I say I loved this post? I did!

  2. This is my all-time favourite post of yours Bill! What a wonderful way to get us to put things into perspective. I’d like to think that my menu changes based on customer feedback and reflective of customer suggestions, “trying things out” and a foundation that, “to everything there is a season”. I’m definitely a mom’n’pop independent, where, like the TV program Cheers “everyone knows your name”. I’d certainly like to attract “new clientele” to join the community, and as I always say: The welcome mat’s always out. I believe in pull marketing, not push selling, and I will continue to adjust my menu, provide what I hope is superb customer service and attention, and find a way to flag down any cars that are driving by:) Cheers! Snowshoes

  3. My Mom and her wonderful husband go every Monday night to the same Cat Fish restaurant in middle Georgia. They have been doing this for 15 years. When they walk in the door, the staff (the same folks that have been there for 25 years !) greets them like old friends. The hostess takes them to “their” table. The waiters have been expecting them and already have their iced tea and salads, and blue cheese and crackers coming from the kitchen.

    They don’t have to order or look at a menu. Everyone there shares a transactive memory. An effortless ballet. A well worn slipper. An habitual undertaking.

    The thing about great places to eat…. and those places we feel at home visiting over and over again…. is that we come back for the same experiences. In fact we HUNGER for the familiar experience.

    And the same happy faces. And the same cozy patrons (that are ALSO there every Monday night). And the same, wonderful conversations (UGA sucks/ No Tech sucks). And the same thing off the menu.

    When we’ve found a place that’s open to including us…we NEST.

    It occurs to me that restaurants are a lot like BillyD in that they work on commission. Every meal is a new sale. Your customers are always sampling and looking around and “keeping you honest”. They are free to never come back.

    So…what about these successful old restaurants that DON’T seem to jump onto the electronic networks…that don’t SEEM to advertise and market. These are places that have always been there and have built up a loyal following. Year in and year out people keep coming.

    These restaurants seem to keep the same waiters, and hostess and cooks. It’s not always about the coffee and corn beef. Most of the time it’s in the familiar, the community. It’s about going where everybody knows your name.

    Imagine all the small little things that have to go RIGHT for a Cat Fish house to stay open for 25 years. It think a lot of them were “social” before “social” was cool.

    • Holy mackeral, look at who in the heck showed up over here. Bro Dub, so great to see you.

      I guess I have been exposed as a blogger, huh?

      Taking care of the little things and showing people you care can make an average meal seem pretty special I do believe.

      That’s a great story about your mom and her hubby; there is a lot to be said about having some familiarity in your life; your comfortable pillow if you will…….

      I talked w/ Marty and his mother’s memorial service is the week before our reunion; the fact he’s coming off a month’s vacation in the Keys and I have some other stuff going on as well; we will not make the reunion. I was looking forward to it, but just won’t be able to pull it off. Just make sure you remind everybody how cool I really was back then……..:).

      Hope all is well in your world; thanks for dropping by.

  4. I have to agree with Kaarina, Bill. One of your best. I loved how you weaved the real world dynamics of the restaurant biz so perfectly with blogging. Many metaphors like this end up forcing details to make it fit — this one hit it right all the way down the page.

    One other aspect of restaurants — because everyone eats, almost everyone thinks they can run a restaurant. One of the reasons the failure rate in restaurants is so high is that it attracts a lot of first-time business owners (i.e. amateurs) into one of the most cutthroat and competitive industries there is.

    One big difference between restaurants and blogs — the bank doesn’t take your assets when your blog fails!

    • Yo Adam, just like thinking because I like music I can make it, huh?

      There are so many moving parts to make a restaurant successful; just because you have good food (blog) doesn’t mean you will get people in the door.

      Restaurants are very labor intensive by the owners or managers; you have to be there every.single.day. It will take over your life and most people doen’t realize that. Same with social if you let it……….

      The bank can have this if they want it……….good to see you. Hopefully we won’t get blown away next week.

  5. Yeppers, a very creative, solid post here Bill; and what a great comparison : )

    I was thinking steak, fries and salad through most of it, then started thinking about the deserts, yum!

    hmm, I wonder if I equate your blogs posts to desert???

    I got a bit side-tracked when posed with the possibility of closing the doors because folks didn’t show up – – I thought how much it would suck to not be eating the delicious food…

    What if this restaurant were to closed? That would suck..!

    Then I came right back to my senses; delicious steak, fries and dessert, yum… Very secure in the fact that one of my favorite restaurants is a family restaurant, one with great regular customers and important life topics to sift through that not only add good things to our businesses and personal lives, but to our stomachs too!

    I’ll eat here for as long as you serve up the food, Bill : )

    • Steak, fries and salad indeed; and I’m cooking the steaks on the grill out back.

      As I was writing this, I did notice the similarities; there were a couple ways I could have taken it, but this was what I ended up with.

      I’ve had some computer problems; so I just need to get the health inspector out of my restaurant and get back to serving my customers.

      Thanks for the visit my friend.

  6. Awesome analogy, Bill! I really like the comparisons, they really fit.

    If The Wonder of Tech were a restaurant, it would be serving food that people are reluctant to try but they feel they should try because they’re seeing it everywhere and their friends are all trying it. They want to try this food in a place where they will feel comfortable and not intimidated. They want to be able to ask questions about it without feeling ignorant. They want someone who cares to serve the very best each time they visit and who greets them by name.

    Hopefully they like the food and return often!

    Your blog, Bill, would be the local restaurant where everyone adores the owner. He cooks up his favorites but he does it well and they’re everyone else’s favorites too, so why not enjoy what Bill has to offer? The atmosphere is so fun and congenial that sometimes people remember the experience more than the food.

    And no day-old bread at your restaurant, Bill! πŸ™‚

    • No day-old bread indeed; and if they need to get up to refill their drink they are perfectly comfortable doing so.

      I certainly try to make people feel welcome around here and hopefully feel welcome enough to not only come back but tell your friends too.

      I do appreciate your kind words and support; the tip jar is on the counter……..:).

      I’m having Wonder of Technical difficulties w/ my computer; so I’m very hit or miss right now.

      I hope you have a great weekend.

  7. I think I am more like the Italian joint. Make really good food and improve it over time. I prefer the restos that do that. We go to this Italian place almost once a week because they are so good at what they do. They don’t try to do anything else and guess what, the place is packed. Always.

    Maybe I will get there one day with ze blog. I agree that you need the right formula of promo to offering. Tweak. Tweak. Tweak.

    Hilarious post man. πŸ™‚

    • If it’s not broken, then don’t try too much; but don’t ride that horse into the ground either, huh?

      And it’s good there are so many different places to eat too; that’s what is so cool about it.

      All we can do is keep plugging away and stirring the pot.

  8. You wanna know what kind of restaurant I’ve got? Well, I’m not going to tell you. I haven’t figured it out myself.

    I have two kinds of folks I like cater to. I’m afraid even though they’re closely related, they don’t like the same food. So my menu is a work in progress.

    That aside, and quite seriously, I agree with Vidya and Kaarina and Mark and Carolyn and Ralph. This is a fantastic post. One of your best, if not the absolute best. I’m going to pimp the hell out of it on Twitter. Then steal it and run it on my blog, for the big tippers.

    • I’m sure there have been similar posts, but I didn’t recall any of my community rolling this out.

      I had fun with it; it was a little longer than normal, but I was ok with the end result.

      Thanks for the kind words; it did get quite a few people at least looking in the window. Traffic has definitely been up for two day.

      And of course, my computer goes on the fritz….lovely….trying to catch up; good to see you.

  9. I’ve never thought about blogging like that. But it makes complete sense.

    I feel like I have a hotdog stand that’s dying to be Hooters. Like I want to sell hotdogs but also chicken, fries, etc. So I wanna sell whatever just so long as everyone knows I specialize in fried food.

    Im a videographer and hate to only talk about that. I wanna talk about other things not video related but feel like I’m veering.

    Anyway, you are a man on a mission. Everywhere I go I see your face. (Don’t worry it’s a handsome face;). But way to go. Can’t wait to see where you are by the end of the year.

    • I’m insurance and talk about everything but….who wants to read about insurance……..:).

      Maybe you could be the hotdog vendor in the Hooter’s outfit; that might bring traffic.

      Hopefully when you see my mug it’s in reputable places.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts; it was very much appreciated. Hope to see you around.

  10. Hey Bill

    What a great post my friend!

    I think maybe my menu is probably like your traditional fish and chip shop (do you have those over in the US?). Cheap and cheerful, quick and easy, great tasting and satisfying. Maybe I won’t go as far as the Edinburgh speciality of deep-fried Mars bar though!

    I know there’s a fine-dining restaurant in me just waiting to come out but that will come with experience.

    Thank you for sharing this great analogy Bill.

    Have a great weekend.

    Tim

    • Maybe you can open a haggis stand………..yum……:).

      Most of the fish and chip places around here are chains like Arthur Treacher’s. I do like fish and chips w/ a pint of beer…

      I don’t have a big menu, but pretty simple and everything is fresh and tasty. It hits the spot……or so he say…..:).

      Good to see you Timbo; I’m having computer problems, so working around that.

  11. Leave it to Bill to come up with this comparison! I suppose that I’m a vegetarian restaurant – enlightening my readers about the evils that lurk and how to make themselves stronger, healthier and more enlightened. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m still a vegetarian. Hope you’re well Bill!

    • Oh, we can take care of the vegetarians here as I have quite a few in my community.

      We will have plenty of cold drinks too.

      Most of my food will be healthy, but might have to drop some fried chicken in every once in awhile……..:).

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind words; very much appreciated. I hope you have been well.

  12. My restaurant would be a cross between a sleep away camp and a resort or so I would like to think. It is a good analogy and quite smart. I am with those who say this is one of your best posts because it is.

    • That means a lot coming from you sir; I do appreciate the kind words.

      Was this my walk-off home run? It might be if I can’t get my computer fixed……….:).

      Good to see you my friend; thanks.

  13. Love this post, Bill. I adore metaphors and analogies. In your different sub-sets here, I think I most fit in with the “glad I could find you.” And sometimes the big blogs can seem like chain restaurants because you hardly ever get the same server (all those pesky guest posters) and you never get to shake the owner’s hand.

    Also, carrying the analogy a little further, all it takes is one bad experience (food poisoning?) to make a customer vow to never return. Lots to chew on here. Oh no! A restaurant pun!

    • That was a good pun…..

      Depending on the transgression, food poisoning could quite possibly make you shut your doors.

      No roaches or rats here when the lights are turned off; you can practically eat off the floor here……:).

      Thanks for jumping in; it is always a pleasure to see you around. We are the ‘next big thing’ anyway, so we must be close to figuring it out, right?

      Happy Friday.

  14. One of the best posts I’ve ever read about networking and the importance of social marketing. I can’t believe how many people still don’t get it.

    • So true, I’ve seen people say they don’t have time to be social…..and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere with their online business…..

      People first; take care of that part and everything else is much easier. You don’t have time not to engage.

      Glad you liked the post and took the time to stop by; I do appreciate it.

  15. You probably already know what type of restaurant I would be opening, so I won’t go there. But, you make a great point. For me, restaurants and blogs (and most types of businesses) should be based on relationships. I need to feel welcome and if I do, and if the people working there recognizes me and talks to me like I’m their friend. I will come back again and again.

    That’s how I want to run my business. And I want it to be a family place, where kids of all ages comes and hangs out, and grand parents too. But I am not looking for the teenagers though, at least not without their parents πŸ™‚

    • Simple menu with good food every time with the occasional special dish, but always lively dialogue and good beverages. The better the beverages, the better the dialogue…….:).

      Opium den indeed and very eccentric but always the opportunity for very deep discussions.

      Yes, change the bio…….

      Good to see you my friend.

  16. That’s a great analogy Bill. My fear would be that my restaurant would be about as successful as my blog and I wouldn’t want the lifestyle that the reduced income would afford me LOL.
    Riley

    • Like most of us in here, our restaurant might end up being a hobby and hopefully we have deep enough pockets to keep it open, right?

      I don’t think many banks would be lending us money for our online business model I’m afraid.

  17. Best. Post. Ever

    Although I still don’t know which restaurant my blog is like… maybe like the Indian “dhabas” we have on the highways in India. You go thinking that they serve crappy food but then you give it a try and you will be surprised every time! See, I just bragged about my blog! πŸ™‚

    But yes, being social…. you do have to get that right. You just can’t expect to be the barbecue expert because you served one good grill!

    • Sounds like a good place to stop for me. And it’s ok to brag about your blog, because you rock ma’am.

      I’m having computer problems so trying to stay operational; so good to see you however, thanks.

      I hope you had a great weekend.

  18. Great comparison, Bill (last time I read about a restaurant being like a blog was over at Tristan Higbee’s blog, but his was more about the customer experience I think).

    And yes, I do see the similarities (it is interesting indeed!).

    I think my blog is a pretty specialized one (not on the audience served, but the dishes themselves). Most of the dishes I serve are based on my experience and my blog experiments (so direct to cut, guru advice, all tested in certain conditions and those will be given out :D).

    Oh, yes, what I would like to be.

    No.

    Not the world’s best restaurant.

    But, my street’s best one (which beats the world’s best, when you are in my street, right? πŸ˜€

    I blog for the business experience – marketing, blogging etc etc.

    And that’s fun too.

    Great, indeed.

    Learning, experimenting.

    Not only am I improving my knowledge of the business world, but I am also able to attain better perspective in my own life – with the understanding and realization of many different techniques and ways of living.

    Like following your passion or dream.

    Or like being simple – simplistic solutions.

    All those, learned,

    and of course, don’t forget the skills – especially communication and writing skills.

    • Best on the street should be pretty darn good, huh? Who needs global domination; sounds like more headaches than pleasure anyway.

      Serving up what you know (cook) best is a recipe for success.

      We learn as we go and as long as we keep an open mind, then the possibilities are endless.

      Thanks for stopping by; I do appreciate it much. I hope your day has gone well.

      • Best of the street is great, isn’t it? (I mean, we are better than the world’s best when a person is within the street :D)

        Of course πŸ˜‰

        I have done some cooking in real life too – I like cooking, involves a lot of experimentation, right?

        And a lot of learning.

        Finding the tastes. Riding the flavor roller coaster and find out what that works (in the case of food, it is very much subjective, right?)

        But, nowadays I don’t do much cooking (my mom gets mad, because I might mess up something – and after her long day of work, she isn’t in a mood to control all that).

  19. I’m going to agree also with the majority here Bill, fabulous post. Man did you ever hit the nail on the head with this one. What an awesome comparison and I was actually starting to think about the many restaurants we have in my immediate area.

    It’s really a shame that since I live in the big city that there aren’t more personal ones around. But, there is one chain here that has been around for over 50 years and their wait staff is exceptional, friendly and always makes me want to continue coming back for more. To me, they stand out.

    It really is the same way with blogs. There are some that really feel someone stuffy in their look and the way they write their content. I drop by theirs because they took the time to stop by mine and comment. But I don’t feel comfortable there, I don’t feel at home.

    I’m a big people person, always have been. I love connecting with others but when I find that hard to do then I’m not eager to continue coming back for more.

    This is definitely one of my all time favorite posts of yours. Watch out, you’re going to end up on a list yet!

    Thanks Bill and enjoy your week.

    ~Adrienne

    • There are some you definitely don’t feel comfortable eating with your fingers, and then there are some you can take a taste right off someone else’s place.

      Hopefully I project gratitude and appreciation as I know that is something you do quite well.

      I remember after I got out of the Army and came back to my home town to go to school, I would go to my dad’s house many a night for dinner. I would just show up, I was always welcome, and the food and dialogue would always be good. That’s what I want my ‘place’ to be like.

      Memorable in an understated way, fun, and enough reason to come back.

      It was a fun post to do; I thought I could have done a little more with it but I wanted to keep it ‘blog’ size and readable.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by; always appreciated.

    • Sounds like Louie’s could be me; especially if someone said the best hamburger they have ever had.

      Mine would be a comfortable place with really good food and company.

      I still have a lot to learn, but feel I have enough ‘life’ under my belt to have a pretty good opinion of what’s really important and what’s not. Therefore, it’s easy for me to poke fun or be irreverent about the things that aren’t really that important. Plus, I have enough holes in my game I’m perfectly ok at poking fun at myself as well. We don’t want Billy’s head to get too big now, do we?

      Thanks for coming by and appreciate the comments and tweets; they made me smile.

  20. I LOVE this post Bill…excellent analogies. I always tell my colleagues that, essentially, we all do the same thing…that our days are likely very similar in the types of situations we encounter and the treatments that we provide. So, if that’s true, then it is even MORE important to become memorable…to do something that makes people want to come back for more (I know…I know…who would WANT to come back for more at a dental office!!) Whether it is outstanding customer service, compassionate care, “Fun Friday” Chocolates or an amazing staff….something needs to make you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

    Thanks for being patient, BTW πŸ˜‰
    xoxo
    Claudia

    • For being A patient? Easy now……….is that shot going to hurt?

      I have had people tell me they would rather go to the dentist than have an insurance meeting so that puts you a little higher on the rung I suppose….:).

      Memorable and comfortable and it doesn’t have to be a big wow adventure; just take care of the little things very, very well.

      I suggest you do popcorn in your office and everybody will have to have their teeth cleaned.

      Good to see you; hope all has been well for you.

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