Food Bloggers have to regularly review restaurants and eating destinations. Reviewed content fuels their blog and each word is lapped up by their readers. The review is also splashed on social media which reaches a wider audience. All this while there is an important dilemma faced by Food Bloggers when visiting a restaurant. Do you announce your status as a food blogger or not. Let us understand this issue in detail.
Two types of promotion events by restaurants
Restaurants need the social media for greater coverage. An SEO powered blog with sizeable number of followers is like a gold mine. It is easy publicity and direct access to potential customers. Two basic techniques used by restaurants for publicity with food bloggers.
Bloggers Event or Bloggers Table
This type is basically an event organized by a restaurant where many bloggers are invited. This event is mostly managed by another firm who specializes in organizing such events. There is a lot of emailing and calling up to be done to get the bloggers together. And many of the restaurants might not have the expertise or the resources to do so. Such events are costly in nature. Hence restaurants have to check the benefits accrued. Also when such events are held, the restaurant needs extra space so as not to disturb the other customers. A few other restaurants organize such events during off hours. This way the kitchen and staff can only focus on the bloggers.
Direct Invitation to reviewers
Restaurant owners or agency working on their behalf will directly contact bloggers or reviewers and invite the blogger for a meal. Bloggers or reviewers who are interested in accepting invitations prominently display their contact options on their blog. In rare cases the terms and conditions of the reviewers are also penned down on the Contact Us page. Here are a couple of examples.
How do bloggers or reviewers approach restaurants
A full time blogger invests lot of time in writing an article. The event has to be attended. Covered in minute detail. Nothing can be missed. It is a kind of responsibility towards the readers. Covering the social media or social network is a task in itself. Finishing an article can sometimes take days. So what does a blogger get in return for all that time invested. Primary method is blog monetization. The other way of compensation is by the goodies or freebies offered by the hosts. Gift hampers, take aways, coupons or vouchers and so on. Also if a reviewer informs the restaurant in advance, there is an opportunity for the restaurant to present more info about the restaurant which the blogger can cover in the article.
But looking at the other end of the spectrum, many bloggers or reviewers simply do not accept these options. Here is one such example.
As I began my blogging journey, I was impressed by what was written on the About page of this website. Similar site policy has been followed by The Time Lock. We actually go one step ahead and have no contact details on the website. 100 plus reviews and two years later, we can proudly say that not a single review is sponsored. We still visit a restaurant without intimating them in advanced. And even after paying the bill, we do not tell anyone that this visit is going to be followed up with a review.
Another reason for this approach is that maybe the restaurant owner does not want to sponsor out meal wholeheartedly, but just because of the review, he or she might do it reluctantly. And all this while the owner will be extremely friendly, but in actuality we are meeting for the first time. (and probably the last!)
A blogger getting all the attention will eventually be the center of attraction. Not a good proposition when the nearby tables are occupied by other customers.
The Time Lock has reached to top of leaderboard in Delhi NCR.
Restaurant review invitations are pouring in. But The Time Lock has maintained a strict site policy all this while. And I find no reason for it to change now.