The old Bakehouse
The Old Bakehouse Restaurant in West Linton is 20 minutes south-east of Edinburgh. Sue and Ian Grey bought this restaurant at the beginning of 2016 and re-opened in April of the same year. Both Sue and Ian have had extensive careers within the hospitality industry. Sue has a strong background in restaurants and catering, whilst Ian has worked as a General Manager for exclusive establishments including The Titanic Hotel in Liverpool, the Lyrath Estate in Ireland, as well as MacDonald Hotels and Marriott Hotels. The restaurant itself has been in the hands of various owners prior to the Greys; the most recent of whom was Tony Singh, a television celebrity chef who also worked at Oloroso in Edinburgh. The Old Bakehouse has established its brand identity around being a Scottish country restaurant that puts a modern twist on traditional Scottish dishes. By using quality ingredients from local suppliers and sourcing the finest wines, spirits and single-malt whiskies, The Old Bakehouse provides locals and tourists with a “‘A Taste of Scotland” and the best of West Lothian hospitality.
Since reopening April, Sue and Ian have pursued a two-pronged approach to their business strategy: focussing on delivering great customer service to encourage loyalty among long-standing local customers in Penicuik, Biggar and Peebles; whilst also attracting customers from locations further afield – such as Edinburgh and Glasgow – and making the restaurant a destination in its own right.
The restaurant industry can be extremely unforgiving if new restaurant owners don’t get their menus and customer service right. In such cases, customers might not return or may leave negative feedback on platforms such as Tripadvisor and Facebook. It can be extremely detrimental to the success of a restaurant if it does not have a strategy for engaging with online feedback – both negative and positive. Also crisis management of malicious feedback and fighting so-called ‘flame-wars’ online can be significant drains on a restaurant owner’s time.
As seasoned hospitality industry professionals, Sue and Ian recognised the importance of social media; however, they also knew that the time involved in managing and growing their online presences would take valuable time away from their primary focus of delivering great food and hospitality to their customers.
They had some ambitious marketing plans to help with their business goals; however, these could only be achieved if they called upon the support of an experienced social media team. This is why they placed their trust in Shoo Social Media. We tailored a unique package that would assist in their overall marketing and PR efforts, whilst also ensuring that the relaunch of their restaurant got off to a flying start.
- Relaunch the restaurant under new ownership – Sue and Ian
- Target former-customers who were put off the restaurant by previous owners, to encourage them to give it another chance and try the new dining experience
- To be known as a ‘whisky bar’ that serves Scotland’s finest malt whiskies
- Ensure customers are aware that all wines served in the restaurant are supplied by local merchants
- Promote any events taking place at the restaurant
- Promote new menus as and when they’re launched
- Encourage locals to come to drink and socialise, creating a hub for the community
- Encourage bookings for Christmas and Hogmanay
- Promoting the sale of gift vouchers
How can I get results? Specifications – what were the customer’s needs?
The Old Bakehouse required a launch on social media and we selected the most popular platforms best suited to creating brand awareness. Of the packages we proposed, the clearest contender for Sue and Ian included social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram, as well as a monthly blog. We also worked in partnership with their in-house photographer to ensure the project could call upon a library of great food images and engaging behind-the-scenes images.
The process began with a strategy meeting. We sat down with the customers to identify the objectives that would be key to the success of their campaign. These included developing and improving brand awareness; building connections locally and creating a community online. We harnessed this information to create a bespoke social media strategy that combined key visuals with a managed content plan. Once we had created the strategy, we agreed on the key performance indicators with the customer. Monthly analytics and regular review meetings would then be used help us to review campaigns and adapt/evolve them to maximise the return on the customer’s investment.
Milestones – How did you satisfy those needs and help the customer meet their goals?
The Old Bakehouse strategy was built around an eleven-month restaurant launch project. This focussed on raising the customer’s visibility (brand awareness), as well as social monitoring and listening to keywords and trends within the customer’s industry. The main emphasis of the campaign were the four main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram. We then curated and created content for each platform that was specific to the customer’s brand persona.
This is a hugely important element of the process, as engagement is critical to social media. Without it, your online community can quickly become disassociated with your brand. For the Old Bakehouse, we delivered a service that ensured prompt replies to feedback and comments about various articles and content that we published for them on social media.
As part of our role of informing customers about events at the restaurant, we had a big focus on St. Andrew’s day, Christmas and Hogmanay to further Improve the return on the customer’s investment (ROI). We also created a brand persona for the business by making Sue and Ian the focus for content, and by creating a community focused page that supported the village of West Linton, West Lothian.
Social media platforms were used to help to foster relationships with suppliers, including food and wine merchants. We also engaged with restaurant bloggers using platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook, in particular, was used for targeting customers of The Old Bakehouse, as well as for supporting various local events including the West Linton Market and the local Scottish event known as Whipman Common Ride. It was also the platform of choice for sharing news of what was happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and for keeping people engaged and attract audiences from other geographical locations.
During the last quarter of 2016, the main focus for The Old Bakehouse became a campaign promoting the restaurant at Christmas and Hogmanay. This is the biggest season for the hospitality industry and represents two major events that are essential to business growth before the season ends. Key elements for the success of The Old Bakehouse included gift vouchers, Christmas menu and Hogmanay bookings. The posts we delivered included calls to action, but also a strong emphasis on family. The brand persona aimed to encourage a ‘come and chill’ feeling – a cosy living room in which to relax together, enjoy a ‘real fire’ and drink whisky, red wine and hot toddies.
Following the launch of the restaurant, the Old Bakehouse switched its emphasis to planning ahead for 2017 and developing a social media plan that would help to identify key events. Shoo helped Sue and Ian to develop great content ideas for the website that helped them to decrease the website bounce rate from an unacceptable 56%.
Where to next?
Shoo Social Media LTD
137 Bolling Road