Restaurant marketing

Are Your Dishes Instagrammable Enough?

If not, you might need to take them off the menu.

A few days ago, while researching for London based foodie accounts to follow on Instagram, I stumbled upon an article about the most instagrammable restaurants in London, which got me thinking. So, I kept looking for similar articles and realised that there are hundreds of posts about the most instagrammable dishes not only in London but in every country around the world.

So I asked myself, how important could Instagram be for restaurants? And the answer came right out of my everyday life. Every time I go out for brunch, lunch or dinner, I always aim to get good shots of my food – mainly because of the nature of my job. However it’s not just me, it’s pretty much every millennial I know!

sandwich

According to research by Zizzi, 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram. This suggests that we are not only using the social media network to post what we are eating but also browse where to eat – and that’s why it is important for your food to be instagrammable.

Customers tend to choose restaurants they identify on Instagram whose dishes look pretty, colourful or just delicious. Interior decoration also plays a big part when instagramming from a restaurant.

Feeling like you need to step up your Instagram game? Here are a couple of ideas that will definitely help you!

Aim for high quality pictures

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take a decent food shot. Try taking your pictures during the day so you can utilise the natural light. The more vibrant colours your dish contains, the better the picture looks. Also, try shooting the dish from different angles – close ups work really well with food.

ice cream

 

Use the filters

Don’t be afraid to use Instagram’s filters to make your pictures pop. There are also other alternatives like vsco or acolourstory that offer more options when it comes to filters and image editing.

Use props

If you are taking a picture of a simple dish or beverage why not spice it up with some props? A flower could work very well next to a coffee mug and some olives would definitely compliment a glass of wine.

coffee

Play with different surfaces

The surface on which the dish is placed when taking the image is also very important. Aim for clean and smooth surfaces like marble or for rustic dark wooden ones.

When it comes to your dishes, make sure they are properly styled, with coloured ingredients that will make them look delicious. As they say an image is worth a thousand words - there’s so much you can say through a picture if you just follow the above few simple steps! No need to think of the perfect copy to attract your customers!

How to Use Snapchat to Promote Your Restaurant

Epicure's Snapchat Marketing Cheatsheet for Restaurants

Most London restaurants still haven’t figured out Facebook marketing… let alone Twitter. So the thought of Snapchat becoming the next ‘must-do’ restaurant marketing platform is probably fairly daunting.

snapchat for restaurant marketing

If you’re below the age of 25 you’re probably on Snapchat – using its filters to give your selfies that extra bit of impetus. If you’re 30 or above, unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably have heard something about Snapchat (probably because of its recent IPO) and are in the process of incorporating daily use of it into your work, life – and possibly child – balance. Either way, Snapchat has come across your radar and you know that it is becoming a viable competitor to the Facebook-Instagram axis of power. But how can you ultilise this unique social media platform to market your restaurant?

Don’t worry Epicures, we have you covered!

Snapchat is the place to show who you really are

On all social networks you have the chance to show off wonderful, professional pictures and content you think will work best and will attract new customers. With Snapchat things are different since what your audience expects to see is what lies behind the scenes – content that would normally not be posted elsewhere. Be spontaneous, share unique moments and don’t try to impress. Is the chef dancing in the kitchen? It’s the perfect opportunity to snap and share the story with your followers.

Geofilters - Make sure your restaurant’s location is visible on Snapchat

Snapchat offers lots of features that will give your business exposure to over 150 million users daily. By adding a geofilter on Snapchat – an overlay to each snap mentioning the location where it was taken – you give your followers the opportunity to mention your business on their image. Assuming one of your customers posts an image of a waffle while having brunch at your restaurant, if the geofilter is available, the name and location of your business will automatically appear on the screen and all their followers will find out about your business – for free. What’s even more exciting about the geofilter is that you can have it designed anyway you like. It is customisable and you can add any kind of sketches or emojis. All you need to do to create the geofilter is use Snapchat’s map tool and pin the location of your restaurant! 

How to promote your restaurant using Snapchat

Use Snapchat to share exclusive news

Planning an exclusive discount, an event or you just have an announcement to make? Use Snapchat to reach out to your audience. Lure people to your Snapchat profile by informing them through your other social networks that it’s the go-to platform for your most exciting updates. Say, for instance, you are launching your new Spring menu – you can post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that on a specific date and time you will be announcing details of the dishes and a one-off special offer. Then, when the time comes, inundate Snapchat with pics of your dishes and/or your chefs cooking them along with – perhaps – a promotion like first table booked mentioning ‘snapchat’ gets a free welcome drink. While you’re at it, why not package your content in a branded Spring geofilter?

Use Snapchat Live Stories to reach out to your customers

Snapchat’s Live Stories lets users who are in the same event or location post their snaps on the same community narrative. Is your restaurant taking part in a foodie festival? Live stories is a great way to reach out to your customers, let them know which stall you are at and what great treats you have for them to taste!  Is a big London event happening near your restaurant or bar – like the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race? Use Live Stories to invite Snapchatters in for a drink!

So are you ready to tell the personal story of your business with exclusive content on the social media platform that might just knock Facebook of its pedestal? Then jump onto Snapchat, tell Live Stories, and – crucially – get a super cool geofilter… and watch the selfies in your restaurant’s branding - along with some new customers - come pouring in!

Starting 2017 with a Bang

Epicure Digital Marketing Says 'Hello' to A New Year

We’ve hit the ground running in 2017 and January has been a busy month indeed. We have new clients, new talent, and some exciting new projects afoot, so we thought we would use this week to let you know a little more about them.

New member of the team – Account Executive, Mohsan

Most exciting of all – we have a new Epicure on board! This month we welcomed our new account Executive, Mohsan. With a BA in Politics from Queen Mary and a Masters in Political Economy from King’s College London, Mohsan brings with him a questioning mind and a strong set of beliefs. Along with political philosophy, he is passionate about MMA, and spends his spare time learning Arabic and sharing his lessons on YouTube.

Epicure Digital Marketing's Newest Account Executive

Soul Makossa with InspiringChefs and EatOffTheMenu

At the end of last month, two of our clients collaborated on a spectacular celebration of Cameroonian food and culture. New addition EatOffTheMenu and old favourite InspiringChefs hosted an evening of laughter, learning, and – most importantly – food! InspiringChefs founder Carine was in charge of the kitchen, whipping up a secret eight-course tasting menu full of traditional Cameroonian dishes from her childhood, updated with a modern twist! Alex, the brain behind EatOfftheMenu, was front of house, mingling and making sure everyone enjoyed themselves. And it worked! We can’t speak for anyone else, but we Epicures did not leave till midnight!

The first event of a new monthly collaboration between these two exciting clients, keep your eyes peeled for news about what’s happening next!

Interviewed Cynthia Conran for Amvigo Elite

Towards the end of 2016, we began to diversify the work we do for digital concierge client Amvigo Elite, providing editorial content on the new sectors of Style and Entertainment. Last week this reached exciting new heights as Fran had the privilege of interviewing designer Cynthia Conran about her beautiful collection AnyEveryWear. We can’t tell you much – you will have to keep an eye out for the piece – but what we can tell you is that her clothes are designed for all women to wear, and feel wonderful in, that they are created with love in Tulum, Mexico, and that they are made of beautiful, natural materials…

New client website for Mount Sinai

New year, new clients – and one of our first for 2017 is the Mount Sinai Center for Rehabilitative Medicine. One of the most prestigious hospitals in New York City, their Rehabilitation Department has been up and running since 1910, and we will be capturing this story in the new website we are building them – stay tuned for updates!

Mount Sinai Hospital In New York City

New client – Zayane

And last, but by no means least, our second new client of 2017 is the wonderful Zayane! Serving delicious modern Moroccan food in Notting Hill, we are looking forward to sharing their story with you – starting next week! So head over to their website and keep an eye out for their blog.

Want to find out what else we’ve been up to? Why not like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing?

Have a Sweet Christmas - Festive Desserts from Around the World

Some of Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Christmas Sweets from Around the Globe!

Not everyone likes mince pies. Shocking, but true. I remember looking after a couple of kids in Germany during my brief stint as an Au Pair, and both of them being positively horrified at my beloved Christmas confection. This is what makes Christmas such an important holiday, and its food so emotive – it is tied up with how we grew up. Really clever restaurant marketing – like really clever food - taps into this well of emotion and uses it to connect with people. So, this week we are celebrating London’s multiculturalism by discovering mince pie equivalents around the world.

Christmas Sweets

Argentina, Spain, Peru, Puerto Rico = Turrón

This delicious nougat-esque dessert is a Christmas favourite throughout Spain and Latin America. Made of honey, sugar, egg white and almonds, it can be formed into almost any shape, comes in a number of different consistencies and be filled with any other ingredients – from dried fruit to puffed rice – as long as the core ingredients are always ther. The oldest surviving recipe can be found in a Manual de Mujeres (“Women’s Manual”) from the 16th century, this ancient festive treat takes its name from the Latin word torrere meaning “to toast”.

Turròn is a Christmas Sweet from Spain and Latin America

Denmark = Æbleskiver

 Hipster delight waiting to happen – these are essentially round spheres of pancake-y goodness, normally served with jam and covered in icing sugar. Made from a mix of buttermilk, wheat flour, eggs, sugar, and salt, they are formed in an oiled pan composed of little half-spheres where they are tweaked with a long skewer halfway through to form their distinctive shape. Sort of like a sweet, globe-shaped Yorkshire pudding. Originally served with the apple slices from which they get their name, nowadays they come with gløgg – Scandinavian mulled wine – which I’m sure we’ll all agree is way better.

France, Canada = Bûche de Noël

Based on the pagan tradition of the Yule log, these are delicious sponge cakes, rolled up and iced to look like a log, and you can read all about them Here

Germany = Stollen

This traditional German delicacy is essentially a sweet bread filled with dried fruit, nuts, and spices, slathered in melted butter and rolled in icing sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven, which sometimes has a marzipan rope in the middle. Beloved across the country, it is particularly popular in Dresden which has been holding a “Stollenfest” at their annual Christmas Striezelmarkt (“Striezel” was an old word for Stollen) since the 15th century.

Tasty Stollen for Christmas

India = Allahabadi Cake

It may not be a country-wide tradition, but Christmas is indeed celebrated in some parts of the India subcontinent. One of those is Hindustan in the northwest, where the Christian population prepare Allahbadi Cake for Christmastide. This traditional Indian rum and fruit cake is made with maida, eggs, clarified butter, sugar, petha, marmalade, nuts, ginger, and fennel and gets its name from the north Indian city of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago = Christmas Black Cake

Looking for Christmas cake with a kick? Then you should head to the Caribbean where rum cake is the traditional holiday dessert. Developed from traditional English favourites – like figgy pudding – in Jamaican black cake, dried fruit is soaked in rum for many months, before being added to a caramelised sugar and water mix. The result is a light but boozy black cake which – if not consumed responsibly – may well get you seasonally sozzled.

 

The Philippines = Puto Bumbong

Sticky purple rice anyone? It may sound a little odd, but this Filipino dessert is a Christmas favourite. Made with a special type of glutinous rice, called pirurutong, this pudding has a distinctive purple hue. The rice is soaked in saltwater, dried overnight, and then poured into a bamboo tube called a bumbong. This is then steamed until the steam rises from the tube before being served with a type of rice cake called bibinka, topped with butter, shredded coconut, and brown sugar. 

Portugal = Bolo Rei

Literally “King Cake” this Portuguese cake is enjoyed during the 12 Days of Christmas, between December 25th and Epiphany. Although the recipe was originally from France (where the Galette des Rois is also a popular dessert celebrating the Three Kings) it found its way to Portugal in the 19th century. With a large hole in the middle, it is designed to resemble a crown and is covered with ‘jewels’ of crystallised and dried fruit. The dough itself is soft, white and filled with raisins, nuts and fruit and has one hidden dried fava bean. Whoever ends up with the bean has to buy the bolo rei the following year.

Scandinavia = Gingerbread

Probably one of the oldest desserts around, gingerbread was first introduced to Sweden by German immigrants in the 13th century. It can now be found all over the world in many different forms – from soft like a cake to crunchy like a biscuit, but it is particularly prevalent in Scandinavia. In essence, gingerbread is any baked good flavoured with ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses. Believed to ease indigestion by Swedish nuns in the 1400s, it now has fewer medicinal uses, except for those of an emotional kind. Scandinavian gingerbread is most popular in its thin, brittle biscuit form, known as pepparkakor (Swedish), pepperkaker (Norwegian), piparkokur (Icelandic), piparkakut (Finnish) and…brunkager (Denmark being a little bit different there).

Tasty Gingerbread for Christmas

Wherever you are from, Christmas desserts seem to have a few things in common – they are sweet, warming, and comforting, just like Christmas should be. So, whatever you eat this Christmas, may it be delicious.

Merry Christmas!

Your Ultimate London Christmas Drinking Guide

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Yuletide Drinking Spots

Any pub can heat some wine and put up a bit of tinsel, but transforming your gin joint into a winter wonderland or coming up with fresh, festive takes on a cocktail? That takes real skill. This week we have rounded up the most creative Christmas offerings from some of London’s best bars and cosiest pubs for the ultimate Yuletide drinking experience.

If you are on the search for some Christmas magic with your eggnog, you will be spoilt for choice this year. Bars across the city have been taking festive decorating to a new, immersive level, becoming ideal examples of what we covered in our last blog. It was hard to choose but we have managed to narrow it down to our top three.

1)      Scottish Winter Terrace at the Rib Room

This Knightsbridge restaurant has transformed its terrace bar into a Caledonian haven, complete with a forest of pine branches, tartan blankets and (what else) whisky flights curated by William Grant & Son. There will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays, Scottish-inspired bar snacks, and Christmassy whiskey cocktails such as the delightful Cinnamon Sour (12-year Glenfiddich, sloe gin, pomegranate liqueur, sage syrup, Angostura bitters). Open until January 25th, you be hard-pressed to find a better place to sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the New Year.

Scotch Whisky

2)      Hot Gin Terrace, Rosewood London

Holborn Hotel Rosewood London have paired up with Sipsmith gin this winter in a celebration of the beverage which has been warming Londoners for centuries. Inspired by the frost fairs of the 1700s, when the frozen Thames would become a winter playground – Rosewood have launched a menu of historical hot toddies. Including the delectable Hot Winter Julep (with peppermint tea and crème de cacao) and the Hot Mulled Sloe (sloe gin and warm apple juice) this is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas like a true Londoner.

3)      Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Terrace, Sartoria

From London to the Italian Alps, this Savile Row favourite has created a festive experience inspired by Italy’s favourite ski resort in the Dolomites. Pairing up with Campari (who else), Sartoria’s Libare bar is offering a number of festive twists on Italian classics, including a range of seasonal Negronis.

Campari

Christmas Pubs

But a truly British Christmas would not be complete without a trip to a cosy pub and London is chock-full of them. For the ultimate festive experience, opt for one with an open fire and homey seating – need a little help knowing where to start? Give one of these a try.

1)      The Antelope – Tooting

A local favourite, The Antelope may attract a younger crowd, but it still has some of that old London feel. Featuring wood panelling, stained glass windows, mismatched comfy chairs and the requisite fireplace, this is the perfect pub in which to while away a wintery afternoon.

2)      The George Inn – London Bridge

This historic venue is the only pub to be owned by the National Trust. London’s oldest surviving coach house, it is tucked down an alley way by London Bridge, but is beautifully signposted with its name arching over the alley’s entrance in gold. This 17th-century watering hole still has its original beams and gallery and is worth a visit in its own right – after all, it is basically a historical location!

Can't beat a mulled cider... 

3)      Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street

Another one of London’s historical pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is also one of its oldest, dating back to the 16th century. A favourite with the likes of Dickens, Tennyson and Conan Doyle, it too boasts an open fire and is deceptively large.

And – just in case you are still thirsty – there’s more! We have barely mentioned mulled wine or hot chocolate, without which no Christmas is completely, so here is a final quick guide of where to head for the very best examples of each.

Mulled wine and Cider

Bavarian Brewhouse

  • Opt for proper German Glühwein or winter apple Schnapps, served by a ‘Santa Fräulein’…

Santa Baby!

  • With singalong Christmas songs and a 1950s American living room setting, you can get both red AND white mulled wine at this pop-up!

Southbank Christmas market

  • London’s answer to the Weinachtsmarkt, do your Christmas shopping and your Christmas drinking at the same time on London’s lovely South bank.
Mulled Wine

Christmas cocktails

Spaniards Inn – Festive Bliss

  • Chambord, spice syrup and Prosecco

The Lodge, Clapham – King’s Tipple

  • Hot apple juice, King’s Ginger Liqueur, dark rum and fresh mint

Dalloway Terrace – Bourbon Brittle

  • Old Spot-infused Makers Mark, praline vodka, and hot chocolate

 

Hot chocolate

Fortnum and Mason - Chocolossus

  • Go for dark or milk chocolate and add giant raspberry, vanilla, or salted caramel marshmallows
Hot Chocolate

Veneta

  • Head to St. James’s Market and ask for a shot of orange and grappa syrup in your Venezuelan bitter hot chocolate with cinnamon-infused milk

Rabot 1745

  • Borough Market’s “cacao-concept-restaurant” does hot chocolate to die for. Get yours infused with nutmeg, gingerbread, or even a shot of rum!

Cheers to Christmas drinking! Get in touch over Facebook or Twitter and let us know where and what you will be sipping this Yuletide, or tag us in your Christmas drinking pictures on Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing. 

Tips to Avoid a Cliché Christmas

The keys to avoiding clichés in your Christmas marketing are simple: creativity and content.

Aim to capture the imagination and generate content, and always be sure that your marketing links up with what you are doing in the restaurant itself. The cardinal rule? Do not compromise your restaurant’s identity just for the sake of accommodating Christmas. Quite apart from anything else, it looks lazy and lacklustre. Instead, take the basic ingredients of “Christmas-ness” and exercise your creativity to see how you can make them work for you.

Christmas with Epicure Digital Marketing

The Ingredients

Atmosphere

Basics = Joyful, Fun, Vibrant, Comfortable, Family-orientated.

Christmas, and the run-up to Christmas, is all about feeling. Once you have passed the age of Santa and toys, for most of your customers the festive season begins to be about a general sense of warmth and wellbeing. The key to achieving prime seasonal success? Tap into those feelings and try to replicate them in your restaurant. This can be achieved by something as simple as having Christmassy accessories for your staff – to keep the tone light, and silly – or by running special family offers and deals for groups, to emphasise the conviviality of the season. 

Food

Basics = Turkey, Cranberries, Roast vegetables, Spices, Wine

Here is where you can really have some fun. Does your restaurant cook a specific cuisine? Rather than opt for a standard Roast Turkey dinner, why not interpret Christmas through that cuisine? If your cuisine comes from a country which celebrates Christmas, then it can be as simple as highlighting and capitalising on the Christmas foods we do not normally eat in the UK. For example, our client Bel Canto is serving salmon, boeuf en croûte and the traditional French bûche de Noël. All delicious, all authentic French customs, but not what we Brits tend to do!

Last year, our client Chakra took it in the opposite direction, and interpreted Christmas food in their own unique, Indian way. There was Turkey curry with ginger, roasted masala potatoes, and roast butternut squash Galouti.

Take the ingredients of Christmas and make them work for you.

Christmas with Chakra

Extras

Basics = Snow, Christmas Trees, Red and Green, Gifts, Fairy Lights

The other festive trappings can also be used to your advantage. Use them in your visual marketing, in the décor of your restaurants, even in the way you present your food – if you want to get really creative! Just try to think laterally – how can you represent snow, gifts, Christmas trees in a way which is clever but clear?

Christmas with Epicure Digital Marketing

The Marketing

Email Marketing

Why not borrow from other Christmas traditions here and entice your customers by offering them Christmas “gifts”? Try a “12 Days of Christmas Approach” offering a different deal or extra over twelve of your quieter days in the run up to the 25th. This could be anything from a free glass of wine to a one-off chance to try a special Christmassy dish. Whatever approach you take, use Email Marketing to remind people to make the most of the Christmas season by trying out your unique offering.

Social Media

Stick to those Christmas basics and keep it FUN! Christmas is a chance to be jolly, so make the most of this, even if you are traditionally a more serious enterprise. Pose Nativity scenes with your staff for Instagram, Snapchat them singing their favourite Christmas songs, engage your followers on Facebook and Twitter by discussing favourite Christmas traditions, and make everyone’s mouth water by sharing high quality pictures of your food.

Blogs

Blogs are where people can come to find out more information about what it is you are doing, and it is a real opportunity for you to show off the full extent of your restaurant’s creativity. Talk about the inspiration behind your Christmas menu, why you are serving what you are serving, discuss Christmas stories and traditions, and share fun Christmas recipes with your readers.

Epicures love Christmas spaghetti

Christmas Packages

Perhaps a more banal element of Christmas marketing, parties and corporate events could be your bread and butter this season, so make sure they are all perfect and ready to go. The ideal Christmas package will be well thought-out, clear and easy to understand, good value for money, and come at a range of different price points.

Need help marketing your restaurant this Christmas? Get in touch HERE to see how we could help. 

Final Push for Sober October - London's Dry Scene

Anyone been brave enough to do Sober October?

To those who are giving it a go – we salute you. In a culture where drinking is so closely interlinked with socialising, going booze-free can be tricky, so we will be talking about our three favourite places to go for a dry night to give you a boost for the final week and a half.

Redemption Bar – The vegan joint

In 2016 the trend is health. With a proliferation of health-food bloggers, fitness YouTubers, kale and avocado prophets, juice, chia seeds, and yoga, veganism has become the next “It” diet. But it isn’t all about looking good. Whatever claims may be brought against Generation Y, young people today are more interested than ever in sustainable living and animal welfare. Redemption Bar is the perfect symbol of this.

Created by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, this vegan restaurant has been winning awards left, right, and centre since its inception and serves up vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free food…with an alcohol-free bar. Bearing the motto “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” – it’s all far less punishing that it sounds!

What to drink

  • Apple mock-jito – “Muddled apple pressé, fresh mint and lime, served over ice and topped with soda”
  • Lettuce Spray – “A Japanese-inspired refreshing cocktail of iceberg lettuce, lime, cucumber, wasabi and aloe vera”

  • Flu Fighters – “A fiery combination of ginger, chilli, aloe vera, coconut water, orange, lemon, and lime juice, with apple and elderflower cordial”

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught – The extravagant classic

And going alcohol-free doesn’t mean restricting yourself to gluten-free restaurants and trendy hole-in-the-wall bars, you can also enjoy a luxury booze-less tipple at one of London’s finest hotels. The Connaught in Mayfair is the sort of hotel which has its own fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz, so you can be sure to encounter luxury on every level. Its fabulous bar features an “Innocence” menu of intriguing mocktails, full of flavour and character.

What to drink

  • Queen’s Garden – “Cucumber and fennel seed water, organic apple juice, fresh lime juice, caster sugar”
  • The Silky Way – “Milk Oolong tea infusion, pear nectar, date syrup, fresh lime juice”

  • Citrus Vibe – “Fresh orange juice, spiced calamansi sherbet, almond syrup, ginger beer”
Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel in London

Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel – The botanical bar

This award-winning bar is presided over by an award-winning bartender. Bar impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana has created a cool and colourful space at the Mondrian hotel, with beautiful views of the Thames and a fascinating bar menu called “Hunter, Gatherer, Shaman and Explorer” which is inspired by human’s interaction with plants and the botanical wilds of the British countryside. In this vein, it makes sense that Dandelyan’s Boozeless menu features one of the coolest products around at the moment: Seedlip. This remarkable beverage is an alcohol-free drink distilled like gin (in a copper still), made with the botanicals used in gin… which tastes like gin – but isn’t! Dandelyan have been championing Seedlip since the beginning, so why not try substituting it for gin or order an exciting and exotic “Wild Thing”?

What to drink

  • Wild thing – “Seedlip, ylang ylang, Dandelyan herbal tonic”
  • Peaches and Split Cream – “Whey syrup, peach shrub, ginger and soda”
  • Apple Sourz-less – “Apple, Dandelyan capillaire, Rye and acid”
Sober October Luxury Cocktails

So head out and treat yourself to a little vegan goodness, sophisticated luxury, or botanical innovation and keep going! Only 12 days more.

What do you like to drink when you’re not drinking? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know!

Anyone for Tea? A Stroke of British Marketing Genius.

Invigorate Your Restaurant's Marketing with Tea

It is pre-Christmas season and post-Summer – the time when marketing inspiration could grind to a halt. Are you feeling stuck? Looking for fun new ideas to reinvigorate your restaurant and give your marketing some fuel? Then we think it might be time for tea.

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

These days you see Afternoon Tea everywhere - from cute cafés to the world’s finest hotels. Thanks to the global popularity of the Great British Bake Off, cake, tea, and all things British have never been more in vogue – except perhaps at Afternoon Tea’s inception in the 1840s. Legend has it that Anna Maria, 7th Duchess of Bedford, would get peckish in the late afternoon (she called it “that sinking feeling”) and call for tea and a snack to enjoy in her bedroom. She began inviting friends, high society got wind of it and voilà! A British tradition was born. 

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing
Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Over the years it has been somewhat democratised, but Afternoon Tea has still retained that air of luxury – it is an indulgence, a treat, and herein lies some of its power. Who does not enjoy the opportunity to eat and drink well (and often fairly inexpensively) while feeling just a little fancy?

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

The formula for afternoon tea is simple: finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and a pot of tea (it must be a pot). This is where the genius comes in – working within such limiting parameters can push your culinary creativity to its limits. Over the last year, I have enjoyed a delectable, magic-forest-inspired tea at The Glade at sketch, a Jungle Book-themed tea at Taj 51 and a tea-based cocktail, bunny-eared tea at the Playboy Club in Mayfair. Each featured the core components of Afternoon Tea, and each took the strict framework of pastries and finger sandwiches and played with it to astounding success.

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing
Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

So, why bother with Afternoon Tea at your restaurant? Well it is relatively cheap to produce, it is hugely popular with guests, and it is a breeding ground for creativity and quirkiness. Got an Italian restaurant? Replace the finger sandwiches with pizzette and bruschetta, feature some regional Italian pastries, perhaps a mini Tiramisu, add a glass of Prosecco and there you go! A quirky, delicious, Italian Afternoon Tea. Run a Japanese restaurant in the UK? The Japanese already have a tea-based culture so let those cultures mingle – where High Tea meets Tea Ceremony, great things will happen.

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Want to do a little research? Here are our top Afternoon Teas to Try.

Claridge’s

The ultimate, traditional Afternoon Tea. This classic offering even won “Best Traditional Afternoon Tea” at this year’s Afternoon Tea Awards.

Momo

An Afternoon Tea – with a Moroccan Twist! Featuring the intriguing Zaalouk & Mechouia on toast, pistachio macarons and served with traditional mint tea.

One Aldwych

One that the kids will love as much as the adults, this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea includes decadent golden eggs, blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss!

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

Based in The Halkin hotel, this Michelin-starred restaurant is offering a Basque-inspired Afternoon Tea for something truly unusual.

Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Are you an Afternoon Tea fan? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know your thoughts – what kind of Afternoon Tea would you like to see? Also, tag us in your Afternoon Tea Instagram pictures @epicuredigitalmarketing and we will share them!

Gimmick or Genius? The Rise of the Food Fad

Epicures Liv and Francesca Explore London's Food Trends

With the advent of social media platforms like Instagram, food has been given a whole new lease of life. Food bloggers have become prolific and thousands of people are 'gramming their meals every day. Because this platform is essentially entirely visual, food photos are edited and staged to within an inch of their lives in order to make them as aesthetically-pleasing as possible. This preoccupation with pretty edibles has given rise to a multitude of “food fads”. Enter visual delights like galaxy donuts, cronuts, and - possibly most exciting - the freakshake. But are these fads mere gimmicks or is there something more to them? This weekend, Client Manager Fran and I took to the streets of London to find out.

London Food Trends

Heading to Brick Lane, we began the day with a breakfast of rainbow bagels. Originally the brainchild of New Yorker Scot Rossillo, this fad takes bread to a whole new colourful level. A normal bagel in flavour and texture, the only real difference is its vibrant rainbow nature. A cheap novelty? We didn't think so - in fact, although the taste remained the same, the sheer child-like joy of eating something so colourful made the whole experience wonderful.

Rainbow Bagel

Rainbow Bagels

Due to the massive popularity of the original, the rainbow bagel has made its way across the pond to Brick Lane's Beigel shop, where you can buy one for a mere 50p. This multi-coloured gimmick has spread over to several other, otherwise-normal food areas, from fairy bread to rainbow coffee. Photos of kaleidoscopic grilled cheeses are currently running amok across Instagram, as people attempt to make their everyday meals more visually stimulating.

Rainbow Bagel

Matcha

The next stop on our foodie adventure was Soft Serve Society to jump on the matcha train - another food-stuff that has taken the internet by storm. Matcha is a Chinese green tea powder, traditionally used in Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies. These days it is also used for dyeing and flavouring foods. Given the plentiful health benefits of matcha- such as being high in antioxidants and helping to burn calories- many health enthusiasts have appropriated it for healthy treat foods.

Admittedly, we may not have had it in its most wholesome form... as an ice cream swirled together with vanilla, covered in strawberry crunch, and topped with the world's largest marshmallow, but it did give us a chance to see what the hype was about. It was certainly very visually impressive, with a cloud of mallow perched atop a beautifully-swirled green and white ice cream, but I must say we were somewhat underwhelmed with the taste of it. Perhaps matcha is the new marmite.

Matcha

Freakshakes

Two stops into our day of gluttony we thought it best to walk to our next, and undoubtedly most ambitious, stop. Cue Maxwell's Bar and Grill in Covent Garden for the aforementioned freakshake. This food marvel was originally a product of Australians Anna and Gina Petridis and has been rapidly spreading across the continent - and now to several areas of Britain - with Maxwell's being the first to jump on the bandwagon. Described by many as “Instagram-worthy”, the pair wanted to create a dessert that customers felt they just had to take a photo of before eating it. Mission accomplished. The one we had was salted caramel and was essentially a mountain of cream, caramel, and sugar, topped with a doughnut and yet more marshmallows - an apparent theme of the day.

Freakshake at Maxwell's Bar and Grill

The day finished with the onset of food comas, and a growing understanding of the appeal of food fads. The transmission, and thus popularity, of these fantastic culinary spectacles has been made possible by the rise of media platforms such as Instagram. Through it people can create identities for themselves and even, in the case of food bloggers and “’grammers”, forge a career. However, as these become more popular professions it is no longer enough to create really good-tasting, well-balanced dishes. People need to come up with ways to beat the crowds and catch the attention of their target audience. Thus flavour appears to be giving way to aesthetic as the most important factor when it comes to food marketing.

Softserve Society

Instagramable?

Does this then mean that there is no longer a need to focus on the taste of a dish? Is it such that, as long as it is striking to look at, all other elements of the experience are irrelevant? Well, no. For those who truly love food it is unlikely that they'll be fooled into liking something merely because it's pretty. Nonetheless there is evidence that our enjoyment of food is influenced by more than just taste. A multitude of studies have been carried out over the years, proving that altering the appearance of foods can completely change how people experience the flavour of them.

One such test was performed by taking white wine and adding a flavourless red food colouring to it. Subjects reported experiencing flavours associated with red wines, such as merlots and cabernets, despite the fact that the flavour of the original wine had been left unaltered. Eating is a whole body experience, combining all the senses, and so, while these aforementioned food fads are designed primarily to be visual spectacles this does not mean that taste has to go completely out of the window. 

Epicure Loves White and Red Wine

Food fads are, at the most basic level, a tool for driving popularity, in the form of gaining Instagram traffic. The more visually-striking a foodstuff is, the more likes and follows one can get. Through recreating, or even starting, these popular fads, restaurants can appeal to, and market themselves to, a wider demographic. However, on a subtler level, the extremity of the visual can enhance the whole eating experience, making foods not only look, but also taste, more new and exciting.

Get the Picture - An Epicure's Guide to Instagram

Instagram Like an Epicure

Whether you love it, hate it, are thoroughly confused by it, or have never even heard of it…trust us, you need to be on Instagram.

Restaurant Marketing on Instagram

With new social media platforms appearing every month, there can be a strong temptation to ignore the new arrivals and focus on the networks you already understand. Unfortunately, if Instagram is not currently in your roster, we are here to tell you it should be. Fortunately, we are also here to ease the transition. As Instagram newbies ourselves, Epicure has been swotting up on Instagram best practice – as well as figuring out what works for us – and this week we will be sharing our new-found wisdom.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, we remember 80% of what we see but only 20% of what we read. These two facts combined show very clearly why Instagram is a marketing tool brands cannot afford to ignore. That and the fact that Instagram has half a billion users every month, of course.

The secret to its popularity lies in its simplicity – all you need is a good eye and a set of opposable thumbs – and a good eye is not to be underestimated. Steve Jobs understood one key idea when it came to making computers something people wanted in their homes: people like things to look good. Instagram is where people come to work out – and judge – the visual identity of a business and decide whether they like the look of your business.

Restaurant Marketing on Instagram

Of course, it is a little more complicated than whether or not you post beautiful pictures. Anyone who has just got to grips with Instagram no doubt threw up their hands in despair at the recent introduction of Instagram Stories. A direct threat to rival app Snapchat, the new feature (which allows users to post videos and photos which disappear after 24 hours) marks a new step in digital marketing, one which is less stylised, if not less visual. What Snapchat did, which Instagram had previously been lacking, was allow people a peek behind the scenes, into the lives of the people they followed, in a more raw and authentic way. Whereas in Instagram you create a visual archive, Snapchat merely offers a brief glimpse - think snap-shots rather than photoshoots. Now with Instagram introducing Stories… you can do both!

The key to doing both bits well is to act like a real person. Young people have become better than ever at ignoring traditional ads…so stop trying to sell to them, and simply engage with them! Use Stories to allow your audience a glimpse of the funny, silly, unedited side of your business and, if you don’t have one… perhaps you’re doing it wrong!

Top Instagram Tips

1. Do your research 

Before you start posting, get to know the app a little. Find accounts similar to yours and see what they are doing. Take a look at some of your target audience and get a feel for what they like.

 2. Hashtags

Here is where all that research you did will come in handy! Find out which hashtags are popular for your industry (a good app which can help you is TagsForLikes) and use them. There are pros and cons to using very popular hashtags – on the one hand it gets you in front of thousands of people, on the other your content risks drowning amongst all the other posts out there using that tag. Best thing to do is use a combination of both – use some less popular, more specific tags, and some more popular and generic ones. And never use tags which have nothing to do with your post. Big no-no. Also consider coming up with a hashtag for your brand and making the most of trending hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday.

3. Collaborate

In the words of Vanilla Ice – Stop, Collaborate and Listen. Actually, that’s pretty sound advice for social media as a whole. Find out who people are listening to –  brand influencers like bloggers and popular accounts – and collaborate with them! Let them take over your account for a day or initiate some sort of shared project. Equally important – collaborate with your audience! Comment on their pictures to start a conversation and re-share great posts, turning your customers into brand ambassadors.

4. Think visually 

Instagram is all about the way things look, so have an aesthetic idea in mind before you start. High quality pictures are a MUST. Also, it is worthwhile having a distinctive visual style – picking a specific filter can help with this, as can including other aspects of your branding into images, through logos or colour schemes.

5. Have Fun 

The most important thing of all! Social media may not come naturally to you, but it is designed to be something people enjoy – if you are doing it out of duty, then you’re not really getting into the true spirit of it!

 

A few of our favourite accounts

1.       A Pair of Dirty Pigs @apairofdirtypigs – Great pictures of food – not super-stylised – a mix of restaurant pictures and food they cook at home. Restaurant food pics come with short review of dish plus price point and mark out of 10. Great concept, easy to get on board with.

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

2.       Sauce Communications @saucecomms – A lesson in how to do Instagram marketing…for a marketing agency! Account is all about letting their clients’ work shine. Beautiful pictures, posted regularly.

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

3.       Eat About @eatabout – Excellent use of their logo in the top corner of every picture. Great mix of pictures – finished dishes, dishes in progress, chefs, chefs’ homes, and raw ingredients. Every aspect of the business represented visually.

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

4.       Londoner on the Go @londoneronthego – Quite simply… just beautiful pictures of food! As well as sweeping pictures of London. High quality but all with the same personal style, as if taken on a phone – feels intimate and authentic.

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

And while we've got your attention - why not head over to our Instagram account and say hi!