Social Media: Gary Usher, founder of Elite Bistros

Social Media: Gary Usher, founder of Elite Bistros

If you don’t already, you should be following Gary Usher, founder and owner of Elite Bistros, on social media. The restaurateur is refreshingly honest and never afraid to call out a malicious TripAdvisor review. Here, he gives insight into the world of marketing and social media, and how it’s working for Elite Bistros.

On the importance of social media and marketing in 2019:
“Marketing in restaurants can be absolutely brilliant, but unless you have a decent product to back it up, your hype is pointless.”

On the key to Elite Bistros’ success:
“Elite Bistros has nailed marketing by being brutally and often embarrassingly honest.”

On influencer marketing:
“Although I understand the positives of having someone talking about you with a big following, it’s completely distasteful in my opinion.”

On showing brand personality:
“Absolutely crucial. It’s the most important part of all the marketing we do across social media.”

On ‘outside the box’ ideas:
“Before we launched the crowdfunder for Wreckfish in Liverpool, we held a pop-up for a week in the building. It gave myself and the team the perfect opportunity to try out the building and get everyone on board.

Everything we did, from actually carrying out the event in the derelict building with no running water to how we sold tickets – releasing them on a first come, first served basis at 9am on the Sunday morning – got everyone really excited with places selling out within minutes.

We gave the guests the opportunity to ‘pay what you feel’ on the night instead of charging a fee, with all the proceeds going into the crowdfunding pot. With no fresh water or electricity, we had to get seriously creative, including having to use camping stoves… But, all the hard work paid of and the response was great.”

On the most successful campaign:
“Despite being a little-known Merseyside town, last year we raised £50k in an hour to open Pinion in Prescot. It was amazing to know that people bought into the idea of us opening even though many didn’t even know where it was.”

On advice for restaurants wanting to do more social media:
“Just be yourself and be proud. Try not to fly off the handle and just think before you post. If there’s anything you’re not sure of, ask the people who work with you for their advice. You’ll end up putting something up that’s much more sensible!”

On the concept of ‘quick wins’:
“If you truly want to be authentic, I don’t think that you should look at it that way.”

On getting employees involved in social media:
“The whole team is completely involved and run all the individual restaurant’s accounts. It’s actually in all of the manager’s contracts to manage social media, posting at least four times a day.”

On what’s going to happen next:
“I honestly don’t know. I’m not an expert, I just got lucky. I think I joined Instagram six years after everyone else!”