Every cloud kitchen owner dreams of success.
But when it comes to marketing, how do you know what channels to focus on? What should your strategy be?
In this blog post, we’re going to talk about the 7 cloud kitchen marketing channels every owner needs in their toolbox and why they matter for your food business.
1. Master Instagram
The first platform you must dominate is Instagram because it is still the biggest social media platform that everyone is on. On a monthly basis, there are more than 1 billion active users on Instagram.
What does that mean? That means just because you’re not on Instagram, or you don’t use it actively, your customers most likely are. That’s the reason why you must have a presence on Instagram.
The second reason why is because that’s just part of the culture of how Instagram works. People take pictures of their food, the phone eats first.
And the third is that you can actually bookmark and people actually do bookmark the places that they want to try or the food that they want to try.
Every time my wife and I are trying to figure out what to eat on the weekend, and we don’t know what to eat, we would always pull up our Instagram to check different food spots that we want to try and have saved throughout the weeks. We would simply choose a place from there. And asking a lot of my friends, this is exactly how a lot of people are doing as well.
So if you are on Instagram and do it well…when the opportunity comes, you will be in their bookmarks and they would order from you. That’s the reason why you must be on Instagram.
How To Market Your Cloud Kitchen On Instagram
When it comes to marketing your cloud kitchen on Instagram. These are some of the things that you must master:
1. Post Drool-Worthy Photos
First of all, post drooling pictures of your food item on there. We are visual creatures. So if your food photo doesn’t look appetizing, don’t post it. Post the ones that would make people WANT it. Because when you do, they will share the photo with their friend and add it to their bookmark.
2. Share The Behind The Scenes
Believe it or not, the food industry is still cloud in a lot of mystery. Even with more restaurants having open kitchen and TV shows showing the inside of restaurants, there still isn’t that much being shown on the regular. This means a lot of opportunities for you to educate your audience on who is on your team, how you operate and what happens in a cloud kitchen via. posts and stories.
One fun thing I’ve seen are restaurants and tourism boards using the Instagram Story stickers to create more engaging stories. Such as using the question feature to gather what questions people have about cloud kitchens, your brand, or using the multiple choice sticker to test your audience on how much they know about your origin story or ingredient.
All this helps to connect your brand with your audience, which in turn makes them become fans of your cloud kitchen.
3. Use Reels
Instagram reels are basically the carbon copy of Tiktok. The reason why Reels was created was because Instagram saw how so many people love watching and creating Tiktoks. And as Instagram tries to compete with Tiktok for people’s attention, they are doing what they can to encourage people to use their app instead. One way they are doing that is by promoting those who use Instagram Reels.
That means when you create Instagram Reels over a regular photo or video post, you’ll see much more visibility. So I recommend you focus on creating Reels for the best results.
Pro-tip: Because both Tiktok and Instagram Reels are the same dimensions and have similar styles, you can post the same content on both platforms to take advantage of the high visibility.
If you do this, make sure you do not post a video with Tiktok watermark onto Instagram Reels as that may shadowban you. Download your finished Tiktok via. Snaptik to have the watermark removed.
Confused on how to create a solid target avatar?
Understanding your target customer is a critical business fundamental. Messing this up will mean you’ll run the risk of creating a brand and menu that won’t appeal to the people you want it to. And that could be a costly mistake.
Because it’s like talking to your customers in a whole different language! They don’t understand you and you don’t understand them.
That’s why I created the Foodiepreneur’s Finest Mentorship Program to teach you how to properly do your target market research and other business fundamentals. That way you’ll be able to create your own target avatar that works and be confident that you’re speaking and selling your customers what they WANT and NEED.
So if you want to start a food business and start it on the right foot, so you know exactly what your customers want and appeal to them, then join me and other food entrepreneurs in the Foodiepreneur’s Finest Mentorship Program!
4. Collaborate With Influencers
And next, make sure you have regular collaborations with influencers.
Lifestyle and foodie influencers are those who have a following on Instagram – whether that be below 10K or over 10K. People follow them for recommendations and generally trust them. They are like the cool kids in high school. This means that if they post about your food in a positive manner, you not only get a bunch of brand awareness but possibly sales.
If you build a genuine relationship with them (ie. following them, commenting on their posts, chatting with them in DMs), then you are able to increase the chances of a successful collaboration. If you DON’T make the effort of building a genuine relationship, it becomes very transactional and the results may not be the best for both parties.
Because understand that they have motivations in operating their accounts as well. If their post doesn’t do well or you food quality falls off a cliff after they vouch for you…both parties are hurt.
So always think about how you’re helping each other when collaborating with influencers.
2. Master Your Website
Second platform you must master is your website.
Now, why is that the case? That’s because your website is actually way more valuable and impactful than you think. So many people underestimate its power.
In a study, they found that more than 77% of diners go and visit a restaurant’s website before they decide whether to dine in or not. It is safe to say that this also pertains to cloud kitchens too.
So if your website sucks, that means people will be choosing a competitor instead.
What Is A Bad Cloud Kitchen Website?
Now that you know why having a crappy website can hurt your cloud kitchen business, what exactly is a “bad website”?
Think about the last time where you go frustrated or annoyed at a business’ website. What was about that website that made you frustrated?
These are the general characteristics of a bad website you MUST not have:
- slow load time (no one wants to wait 8 seconds for the site to load)
- hard to use and find what you want (if the navigation is a mess or you can’t find what you need then that is annoying)
- not mobile responsive (everything is stretched out or doesn’t look appealing on a phone)
- terrible photos
- out of date information (ie. wrong address, wrong menu)
- not SEO optimized (you can’t be found on Google)
That means when people Google you, they cannot find you it is below your competitors, then you are losing potentially 1000s of views every single month, what does the views have to do with it? It is because when your views you have potential customers. And if you’re losing that spot to your competitor, what does that mean? That means you losing sales to your competitors. And this is a really important part because these are free traffic, you’re not paying for these traffic, it is through Google that is ranking you.
So that’s the reason why you must pay attention to your website if you want to build a good cloud kitchen operation and to market for you. And if you want to learn more about how and the components that you need in a proper website, then definitely check out this video right here.
3. Master PR
The third platform you must master is PR. What does PR mean? Public Relations.
That means getting your cloud kitchen business and your brand featured in the local news and local publication. Now a lot of people just sit back, wait and relax. They just think that hey, as long as I make good food, people will come find me and feature me. That may happen occasionally, but that’s a big myth.
Why is that the case? PR is strategic work and requires actual effort from you to get the snowball rolling. Editors are always looking for a good story to write about but there are TONS of businesses out there. So it is your job as a food brand to not only get on their radar, but also to hand that story to them.
But you don’t just go over there and knock their doors. You need to do actually research before you reach out to them.
You must do your research on what the writer covers and how they like to write their stories. Every writer is a bit different. One may be all about the top 10 listicle write-ups and another may be on getting in the nitty-gritty with interviews. The story and approach to each write would be slightly different.
Your reach out should include:
- what makes you different
- why should the writer’s audience care
- what problem you solve in the marketplace
So what does it mean to get your cloud kitchen published?
It allows you to get much more exposure and get much more potential sales for your cloud kitchen business. And at the same time, it is great social proof to showcase to your existing customers and for you to post on your Instagram.
It becomes something for you to boast about how great your cloud kitchen brand really is.
4. Master Google My Business
The fourth platform to master is Google My Business.
Google My Business is definitely super underrated. On a monthly basis, there are more than 5.6 billion searches on Google. And out of all those searches, local intent searches have skyrocketed to more than 46%.
Now, what does that mean? It means that a lot of people are searching within their local area. They’re searching for what to do what to eat in their local area.
So if your cloud kitchen operation can show up above everyone else on the search page, that means you potentially have more conversion, and more sales and more revenue for your operations.
How to Optimize Your Cloud Kitchen Google My Business Listing
So what are some of the ways you can utilize Google My Business to optimize?
Make sure that you keep it up to date. That means all the information you put in there are correct at the present time. A lot of businesses don’t have that aligned with their website, don’t have that information up to date.
Make sure you answer all the questions and utilize the q&a feature within Google My Business. If one person has a question about your food product, you bet that other people have that same question as well. Other people ARE able to answer the questions as well, but you don’t want to leave it up to them to do that. That’s because they could be incorrect when their answer and you know your business best.
And next is to make sure you start posting high-quality pictures and post regularly. So then that way, when people come to your listing, they see that you’re still an operation and there are things to look at. The worst thing is having people wonder if you’re still in operation or not.
And best of all, aside from all the reviews, aside from you being on Google, you can actually allow and link up your website and third-party apps. This way, it allows people to order from you on your GMB listing. It’s a really, really big plus. Because when people come to your listing, they look at the reviews, they look at your pictures, and they look at all your information. And now they’re ready to order, you can actually direct that traffic to your website or third party apps like Uber Eats or Doordash, or any of those delivery services.
NOTE: Not all Cloud Kitchens are eligible for a Google My Business listing. Cloud Kitchens that only sell through third-party apps are not eligible.
What does that mean? That means you must offer takeout and delivery as an option in order for you to actually list on Google My Business.
For you to learn more about this, definitely check out this video where I dive deep about how to fully optimize Google My Business for your food operation.
5. Master Review Sites
The fifth platform that you must pay attention to for your cloud kitchen marketing initiatives and to master are review sites.
Most people want to avoid having a bad experience with their food. It’s only natural. And that’s reason why they rely heavily on review sites to see whether this spot has good food or not.
So people are hopping on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Sagat, Google My Business, and other review platforms for their research. You must be on actively monitoring these platforms because they’re getting hundreds of 1000s of traffic every single month.
According to a study done by UC Berkeley, just a half a star rating difference can increase your bookings by 30 to 40% on a 7PM night booking.
Now, what does that mean?
That means that you can potentially get 1000s of dollars of sales MORE just because you increase your rating by half a star. This is definitely something for you to pay attention to.
You might be thinking…how do I keep up to date with these review sites?
I recommend carving out some time on a weekly basis to check the rating and response to review for your cloud kitchen operation. When you’re getting reviews, you want to be efficient and quickly categorize them as whether it’s a good review or a bad review.
For a good review, usually a simple reply with your appreciation and thanking them for their visit is enough. It is then your job to collect these glowing reviews and scatter them throughout your marketing activities as social proof. Such as using them for social media posts, having it on your website, newsletter, or product pages.
After all…what others say about you has WAY MORE weight than what you say about yourself. That’s because it is easy for any brand to say they offer the best XYZ. But when other people say it, it means a lot more and is more trusted.
On the other hand, if it is a negative review, understand that there are two types. The first type are negative reviews that are warranted. Usually this is a customer who didn’t have a good experience because the food wasn’t cooked properly or something was missing in their order. Or it was outright the wrong order.
You basically messed up – which happens.
These negative reviews are opportunities and areas for your cloud kitchen to improve. Something went wrong in the process. It is your job as the business owner to figure out what went wrong and reconcile it internally and externally. Don’t just shrug off the reviewer. Acknowledge the mistake and show that you’re willing to learn from it. This allows you to build a better food business.
The other type are troll negative reviews. These are nasty people just trolling you – saying outlandish things or overexaggerating to tarnish your reputation. They may not even be a customer. When you hang around the intner long enough, you sort of can spot these trolls easily.
So how do you respond to these vile people? Well…it’s up to you.
For me, I choose to let my character shine through and confront them. I tell them that they’re a troll and to get off my platforms. I also report them.
How To Improve Your Cloud Kitchen’s Review Rankings
Now, when it comes to improving your star rating, you must be strategical and take active steps. One mistake so many business owners make is thinking that people will voluntarily leave a review for your business. Yes some will – especially those who had the best time of their life or the worst time. But others need to get a little nudge.
That little nudge can be simple and most of the time it is making them aware that leaving a review is possible and easy to do. Some of the strategies include having an insert card that you put into every order to encourage your customers to leave a genuine review for their experience. Another two ways would be SMS marketing. So you can text them or write them a newsletter. These are simple ways for you to proactively improve your star rating.
6. Master Third-Party Delivery Apps
The sixth platform you must master for your cloud kitchen operation are third-party delivery apps.
Now, I know a lot of people have a love-hate relationship when it comes to third-party apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and whatnot because of their high commission fees.
I want to put that foot in the door and tell you that we MUST see them as an ally. That’s the way we are going to be seeing it moving forward, especially if you’re running a cloud kitchen operation. Because not only are they a logistic company to help you fulfill and deliver your products, they’re also a marketing channel just like Google My Business, Instagram, and Yelp.
Just think about it for a minute…they are a platform with their own ecosystem that has their own review ratings, they have sponsored listings, have different campaigns and promotions you can utilize, and they have their own internal dashboards for you to see how your cloud kitchen business is doing. These are all POWERFUL features that you can use increase your sales and make key business decisions.
In reality, they’re not that different from the other channels we already talked about.
Yes they have their fees and history of poor customer service. But when you fully understand the benefits they bring for your cloud kitchen and treat them like a marketing platform (which also does your delivery), then you’ll be able to capitalize on building your operation steadily.
7. Master Tiktok
The seventh platform that you can’t sleep on and you must master for your cloud kitchen operation is Tiktok.
2020 definitely showed us that TikTok is not just for 13-year-old kids. If you hop on there, you’ll see people sharing a wide variety of things like financial tips, how to videos, skits, business journeys and more. And the truth is, everyone is on TikTok and on the road of overtaking many of the giant social platforms.
The reason why TikTok is doing SO WELL is because of its algorithm. It is just so wild – in a good way. Unlike Instagram, where your follower count has a lot of weight in how many people see your content, Tiktok doesn’t care about how many followers you have. It is all about whether what you post is GOOD.
So even if you have 50 followers on Tiktok, you can still have the chance of being shown infront of 100,000 people. That’s not the case with Instagram (aside from reels).
This means if you’re putting out good content, good consistent content, you don’t need a lot of followers in order for you to blow up. I’m seeing this time and time again, of some food businesses with below 200 followers getting 200,000 views or even 3 million views! This makes it so easy for you to get that traction and exposure.
And if you do go viral, your life may change for the better and forever.
So definitely it is a platform that you don’t want to sleep on go on Tick Tock and actually put out great relatable content. Do it consistently so then that way you can get lots of sales for your cloud kitchen operations.
So there you guys go the 7 cloud kitchen marketing channels that you must dominate and master if you want to run a successful cloud kitchen operation.
Want to start a cloud kitchen business but don’t know how?
You might be like a lot of others who have a food idea for their cloud kitchen, but feel overwhelmed and confused by what to do next. Cause there’s a ton of moving parts when it comes to starting a food business.
And any slight mistake could mean $10,000s down the drain…
Join me in my free masterclass where I help give you the confidence to build your cloud kitchen.
And for more marketing tips, head over to our marketing section to continue to build your cloud kitchen business.