About This Project

The Begging Bowl’s plan to grow

Helping a restaurant make sense of social



The Begging Bowl is one of the original modern Thai restaurants in London run by Jane Alty (‘London’s coolest female chefs’ Time Out). However due to it’s location in Peckham and a new crop of similar modern Thai restaurants appearing in London, it was time to re-examine The Begging Bowl’s place in the market and put together a marketing strategy to make sure they maintained their position as one of the leading places for modern Thai food in the UK.

As a small restaurant Begging Bowl was in a similar position to many restaurants where they didn’t have the budget to hire an agency but didn’t have the time to figure out how to do social in a way that made the most of their precious time, so I was hired to put a plan together for them to make it easier for them to do the social themselves and make sure they could tell their unique story.

In addition we reviewed their website to improve the user experience and see how they could perform better for SEO (Google search results).


  • Do a deep research project on Begging Bowl and its place in the market
  • Break it down into actionable steps that would be easy for the team to carry out
  • Do a website audit with suggestions for a better user experience
  • Create list of SEO recommendations to improve rankings
  • Do training sessions with the team allowing them to do the social themselves

Market research

The first things we look at when doing a strategy
Market review

  • What is the current place in the market
    • Customer interviews
    • Reviews
    • PR
    • Social media
  • Competitors
    • Current marketing strategies
    • Place in the market


We then use all the above information to relook at the Begging Bowl Brand and it’s place in the market to set out a position

  • Create a brand/position document that all content flows from ensuring the key messages are always reinforced
  • Create a personality to give the content impact and avoid it becoming faceless and bland
  • Analyse the key aspects of the story and break this down. The idea is to move away from just doing standard food shots with plain captions and to go deep into the restaurant story. This includes:
    • The founder’s journey
    • The restaurants vision and Inspirations
    • Education pieces on Thailand – food and culture
    • Break down of dishes
    • Fun things to entertain customers
    • Sharing other relevant people’s content
    • Introduce the team
  • Create a branding style guide of colours, fonts and other graphical elements that can be turned into templates and easily updated by the team


We then break this down into a strategy or action plan for the team. They key thing here is to make sure that the steps are actionable and easy to carry out. Within this plan we give guidance on how the responsibilities can be shared between the team.

Set objectives

What constitutes success? We need to set benchmarks so you know that things are moving in the right direction and that you can track if your marketing is having an effect and when your efforts are being wasted.

Customer segments

We decide who the target customers are and make sure that we speak to them and their needs- are they families, mothers who are lunching mid week, weekend brunchers, foodies? They all need to be spoken to differently and we need to make sure no significant groups are being left out.


Different restaurants have different promotional needs – for some deals are a good way of attracting customers, for others it can devalue the brand. However there should always be some level of promotional activity even if just for fun – it can be competitions, giving something free to a limited number of people- these are great ways to a) get engagement on your social posts b) drive interest in the restaurant and c) if handled well they can seem like fun extensions of the restaurant’s personality rather than just boring or giving things away.

Content strategy

This is a key part – we break down a monthly posting schedule. Taking the elements of the story and message from above we break them down into the content itself (videos, pictures, stories etc) and the message and spread these out over the month. The aim is to make sure all the bases are covered:

  • Story being told
  • Events/promotions etc
  • Cohesive look to your feed
  • A good balance of images
  • Good mix of media (photos, video, graphic design etc)
  • How the various channels should support each other (eg Facebook, Instagram stories etc)

In this case we recommended a mix of using a photographer, videographer and how the team can create content in between shoots and for Instagram stories etc


Like it or loathe it, influencer marketing is here to stay and it’s still a cost effective way to increase the reach of your audience. However, we like to try and go further into building long term relationships with the influencers most relevant to a restaurant rather than inviting a bunch of random people over for freebies every week (though this can have a value if done in a targeted way).

What this means is that we spend the time to look for really relevant influencers that are most likely to connect with the brand and champion it. We then give suggestions on ways to develop longer term relationships like doing menu development, special dishes and events.

Paid advertising

Paid social ads on Facebook and Instagram can be very effective as a low cost way to reach a wider audience with their very detailed targeting abilities. We’re big fans of re-targetting with ads – this is normally a 2 step process

  • Show an ad, normally a video, to a relatively wide audience to introduce the restaurant
  • We then show an ad only to people that have seen the first ad (or interacted with the restaurant before) with a call to action such as joining the mailing list in return for an offer

We find this to be the most effective way of driving action and getting the best results for the ad spend. We advised Begging Bowl on how they could go about doing this (their budget did not allow for us to manage this for them)


We set up reporting using tools such as Google Analytics and Sprout Social. This way it’s easy to see not only how the social accounts and content is doing every week (and thus keep refining the content to what really hits with customers) but also to see how much traffic it drives to the website. We know that most people can get overwhelmed with this and just want to see a simple and easy to understand dashboard so this is what we created

Training Sessions

We then did a series of training sessions with the team. We showed them

  • How to plan content with a monthly content calendar and using tools to schedule content in advance.
  • Apps and tools to use to edit content
  • How to use reporting tools and run reports
  • How to take effective photos and videos

Website & SEO

With our experience of designing websites and helping companies improve their ranking on Google we were also able to do a site audit of the Begging Bowl website and give suggestions to their designers on how to improve the user experience. The aim was to:

  • Tell the story better on the homepage
  • Make navigation less confusing
  • Improve the calls to action so visitors are more likely to take action after visiting the site

In addition we did an SEO analysis, looking at the keywords that competitors were ranking for in the search results and if there were opportunities for the Begging Bowl to compete on any of these search terms. We then created a list of keywords to use and the best ways to use them to try and improve the rankings for Google. In addition as part of our website audit we also made suggestions to the site structure that would improve how Google ranked the website.

What The Begging Bowl had to say:

We were totally clueless about social media at Begging Bowl and Dan did a great job in empowering us to create a much better experience on our social channels. He’s a pro who knows his stuff and lovely to work with.

Jane Alty – Founder/chef (Time Out ‘Coolest female chefs in London), The Begging Bowl