“ People want to see restaurants that live! So it’s up to us to offer living things », enthuse Valentin Allard and Joseph Gastinel. The two Parisian restaurant owners launched Club Cochon this year, a wine bar and bistro located in the heart of the capital, on the legendary Passage des Panoramas. Before opening in March 2023, the two young people took care to film all the stages of creating their restaurant and broadcast on Instagram in the form of mini episodes. “ How do you stand out from the crowd, interest people and get their attention? We told ourselves that the best thing was to tell the story of gastronomy », explain the entrepreneurs.
When we know that France has more than 175,000 restaurants, bars and cafes, a tenth of which are in Paris (Insee), standing out and making yourself known quickly becomes a huge challenge. Hence the legitimacy of imagining and implementing communication actions to try to find a seat at the table with those who talk about them. We still need to understand its contours: “ The real question is knowing why to communicate and what message to send to a target that we have previously defined. », comments Kevin Chambenoit. This catering expert founded his consulting and support company in 2018, Grimod Consulting. Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2015 (MOF) in the “Maître d’hôtel, art of serving and crockery” category, he has always worked in the sector.
What is the communication intention for restaurant owners?
“I often see the same thing with clients, they often reach out to talk about themselves. However, when we decide to do so, we must talk about the people we are addressing. », highlights Kevin Chambenoit from the beginning. This former catering manager who worked on the management committees of the largest palaces, now turned consultant, supports numerous restaurateurs interested in gaining peace of mind and increasing their profits, while freeing up their time.
A true Swiss army knife, it was quite natural for the young man to integrate communication strategies into the center of his thinking. “ The job of restorers, in my opinion, is to know what sets them apart, their uniqueness. And then, they will be able to know which communication practices to adopt according to their objectives,explains the consultant. If you are in a busy area for example, you don’t need to communicate to attract, it may be more interesting to focus again on the internal“.
An opinion shared by the founders of Club Cochon, Valentin Allard and Joseph Gastinel. Located in a historic neighborhood in the second arrondissement of Paris, inevitably leaving room for strong competition, your bistro concept imagined around the “wine and pork» was the result of multiple reflections before its inauguration last winter. Iterations captivating enough in his eyes to make a miniseries to air on the networks. “It’s an almost familiar story that we wanted to tell. We took the wine route and visited the producers to find out what to offer on the menu, and that’s what we wanted to show above all», recalls Valentin Allard, whose studies in communication visibly left behind some formative lessons.
Towards an evolution of practices
Once your objective is well defined and your targets identified, there are multiple tools to meet them! Kevin Chambenoit recalls the beginning of his career: “When I started in the restaurant business, the Internet wasn’t popular yet. There was a Michelin guide or a tourist guide that allowed us to be a kind of reference. But nothing to do with today’s immediacy“. In addition to websites, social networks are very popular among restaurant owners today. This is evidenced by the figure released by France Num a few weeks ago: half of professionals in the sector say they use Instagram and 83% use Facebook. “We chose Instagram to broadcast and sponsor our episodes because it is the food network par excellence», Club Cochon creators abound, who have also decided to mainly produce videos on the platform.
Regarding the different means of communication in the restaurant sector, Kévin Chambenoit mentions in the preamble a certain evolution between inbound marketing, the fact of becoming attractive through your website or your social media account; and outbound marketing, a technique that consists of bringing a range of products to customers. “It’s simpler and more complicated, because restaurant owners haven’t necessarily been trained in all of this“, he says. From creating a Google MyBusiness account to regularly publishing visuals on social mediathrough more traditional press releases, “There are no right or wrong ways to do things, just adapt your message according to your target audience and use the preferred channel», comments the MOF.
Internal or external, communication will temper all uses
In addition to creating a bond with your customers, communication is also a true Employer Branding lever for these restaurants. Hervé Becam, vice-president of the Union of Hotel Industries and Commerce (Umih), stated in 2022 that “more than 100,000 employees are missing in the hotel and restaurant sector“. Guilty, operating conditions considered difficult: schedules with breaks, busy periods at night and weekends, physical work, etc.
The employer brand, a recruitment vector explored by the founders of the Parisian bistro Club Cochon who, through the launch of their mini-series that portrays the genesis of their establishment, benefited from great visibility among potential candidates. “It’s clear that communication helps recruit today. Maybe it will make those who watch us want to work with people who personify your restaurant.», Witness Joseph Gastinel, who received several resumes via Instagram.
“But communicating your employer brand should never be the first step. The first step is to redefine what the employer brand», warns consultant Kévin Chambenoit. The restoration specialist insists on the sincerity of the professionals’ commitment before implementing any communicative approach. “As long as I am clear about why an employee would like to work and what I can offer beyond salary, then I would have the ability to implement a communication strategy » he concludes.
This article was originally published on Big Media About the importance of communication in the restaurant sector