Last night I had dinner in the newly opened “Cleaver East” in Dublin’s Clarence Hotel. (Ex-party people from “a very long time ago” will be interested to know that The Kitchen is open again!  Well the space that was Dublin’s sweatiest club is now 4 rather cool bars…)  We really enjoyed the food at Cleaver East, we came away full, having tasted 6 delicious dishes.  The service was excellent, wines were great, and my aged mother was like a child with her fruit Mocktail!

Anyway, Cleaver East is a brand new Dublin restaurant and one that has already sparked controversy – an old school food reviewer didn’t get the treatment she feels she deserves… so many of the top results on Google are about this incident, or are from others who are almost apologetic for liking it, such is the power of this woman.

So first thing I’d be doing if I was looking after Cleaver East’s marketing is to push these posts down.  A blogger event where you invite the top food bloggers who have better Page Rank than the ones currently ranking, give them food and drink, provide photos, and boom – yer woman and her face will not be the first thing that people see about your place.

Bonus points if you did a little guerilla marketing around the start of October, and invited some of the world’s best travel bloggers who will all be in town for TBEX Europe event.  

I’d be recommending that Cleaver East turn their attention to Facebook first and get that humming, then bring on Twitter (to talk to a different audience), and always keep an eye on those ratings sites because ratings are gold for social media restaurant marketing.


This is where your consumers hang, target Ireland primarily, get the locals.

First up, fix up your assets – the main cover pic is yet another example of a restaurant not showing food.  How many times do we have to see tables set for dinner and no food, and no people eating it?  I’d be suggesting some beautiful food shots… or if they don’t want to give the magic of the menu away, how about some shots of the famous chefs?  Or a shot of typical clientele enjoying a meal?

facebook marketing restaurants


Update: here is another new Dublin restaurant with a similar number of fans who have got their FB cover pic right!

Facebook Marketing Right

Start posting pics every day

Do you have a staff member who’s handy with the Smartphone?  Get them onto it.  That’s what Romany Stone Delgany does.  They post a mix of food pics, staff pics, restaurant shots – all taken by one staff member, who’s handy with Instagram!


romany stone delgany

Give a little thought to your content…

What kind of tone of voice do you want to have?  Do you want to show that you’re rooted in with the Clarence Hotel or Temple Bar?  If so, work in some content that is relevant. Do you want to put a focus on who comes into your restaurant?  Is it about the celebs who come in, or pics of real life punters?  Either will work, but you just need to think about what kind of vibe you want to put out there.  I really like the Dublin voice and sense of humour that is Damon Diner’s Facebook.  Right now the Cleaver East Facebook page a little bit mixed up – advertising events in Malahide, celebrity visits, and a heavy focus on desserts.  The celebrity bit is a bit off-putting in my opinion, but maybe that’s just a personal thing.  I would actually avoid a restaurant that was going for the Lillies crowd!

Ballsy Tip 1

You want to drive numbers at this stage as your fan base is quite low (1,070).  You could suggest that people check-in on Facebook and if they do, they get rewarded with a glass of something… the benefit of getting your customers marketing for you far exceeds the cost of the drink!

Ballsy Tip 2

Think about reviews, and the importance of Yelp, Tripadvisor, MenuPages, and other places where people write up their comments about food.  Are you confident about your food offering?  Yes? Then work it into your marketing that you actively seek out and ask for reviews.  It could be something as simple as a line of text on the receipt, or a card on tables – if possible reward those who review you.  Reviews are the gold of restaurant marketing.  I like the way Musashi Restaurant puts their reviews right in your face on its website:

restaurant marketing ireland


When you’ve got your Facebook numbers humming, then you can consider running some promotions.

The recent relaxing of the rules around Facebook promotions is good news for Cleaver East as they don’t have to use an app to run a promotion. The lines are blurred as to whether “like and share” is permitted… (read more about that here), but you could do some interesting giveaways, fill up a few empty tables on a Tuesday lunchtime, and in return make the winner ‘pay’ through some action on Facebook that will get your name and brand in the heads of their 220 friends (average number of friends Irish person has).

There is so much opportunity for the team at Cleaver East to do Facebook restaurant marketing really well.

Social media in general offers a great opportunity to really engage with your customers. Use it well to get the message across about small bites, but multiple dishes, Michelin starred chefs at non-Michelin prices…But know that once you start, you’ve got to continue.  If all of this seems a little overwhelming, then it’s time to bring in people who do this for a living, (polite cough: I’m available!) will make you look good, and let you get on with creating amazing food and building a solid business.


Image nabbed off Cleaver East’s website – hope they don’t mind!