Kevin Lo – Founder, Corner Bistro
There are two things we love – restaurants (to the point of obsession, in another life SixEight was a restaurant) and supporting our local community. So when a brand new restaurant asks us to help them figure out what this marketing business is all about for their launch, we jumped on it.
Corner Bistro was a New York style local bistro in Chiang Mai. The owner was a renowned DJ as well so music would be a big feature of the restaurant.
As a new restaurant their budget was limited but this never means you need to compromise on quality.
The owner was a Thai-American DJ along with his head chef who had never left Thailand but they managed to create amazingly authentic and interesting American dishes so we had a great story to tell.
The first thing was drawing out this story and making it front and centre of all the marketing. For those that know the restaurant business, food is just one part of the jigsaw that determines whether someone has a good experience. You are not going for a meal, you are going for comfort, an exclusive experience, reassurance, depending on what mood you’re in and the restaurant needs to embody this.
It is also important for people to share the story of their experience and like most things, a restaurant is made or broken by word of mouth. The better the story the more social currency someone has when they share their story
We then arranged a professional photography shoot as creating highly desirable imagery is absolutely essential to create desire from customers and spread word of mouth in this Instagram world
Next we created a style guide and helped plan the menu both from a design perspective and the food itself (and yes, that part was a dream job)
Then we built a simple website to capture their story and convey the essential information of the restaurant
In order to keep word of mouth strong, the restaurant needed to be active on social media, so we did some very targeted Facebook advertising to bring in users. However, you need content if you’re going to be on social media.
To keep things interesting Corner Bistro would need to keep a rolling menu of specials and make sure this was shared on social media. So effort needed to be put into quality photography – a well shot picture of drool worthy food can do amazing things on Instagram. Research was done on the right forums to follow both in Chiang Mai and outside to see the kind of foods that were getting expats in Asia excited and help to influence the specials list.
It’s also important for a restaurant to become part of the community and putting on regular events are a good way to do this.
What was becoming clear from customer reviews was the the fries were some of the best in town. As part of the word of mouth, it’s very helpful for a restaurant to do one thing exceptionally well. One of the biggest questions in any food related forums is ‘Where can I get the best XXXX in XXXX’. You want your restaurant to be on that list.
Fries & Hip Hop
So we decided a great way to combine these awesome fries and the owners love of music would be to do a weekly ‘Fries & hip hop’ night. A lot of boxes ticked and most importantly it has been a long running and very popular night. When you think of Corner Bistro now, you think ‘awesome fries’ and ‘great atmosphere’. Not bad things to attach to a restaurant.
Time to use some best practice SEO techniques to rank. Bear in mind there are countless articles from high DA food and travel sites about restaurants in Chiang Mai (food capital of Thailand) so it is a competitive space. However many do not practice strong SEO principles so the opportunity was there.
The final part was to get them on the map for Google, both for local search and organic search
We started with keyword research to find the high and medium tail keywords using Moz and SEM rush and made sure the website was optimised for these
For the inbound SEO (signals from other sites) we utilized the following techniques:
For the onpage SEO we used the following techniques:
Internal linking strategy (siloing). This is a strategy ignored by many but a key signal for Google where all the pages on the site are intelligently linked to which helps Google crawl the site better and
We go into more depth about our general SEO techniques here about the essentials you need to rank
We had great results for this and they came within 4 weeks, validating the knowledge that some SEO fundamentals would go a long way. We hit Page 1 for many keywords, which resulted in increased foot traffic (I made them do a survey for all customers):
Corner Bistro continues to grow with a steady stream of new and loyal customers and keep innovating with new events and dishes which they make sure they share. And we get free fries for life for doing a great job, wins all round!
Kevin Lo – Founder, Corner Bistro