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AP 0996: Is Reviewing Restaurants Monetizable?

AP 0996: Is Reviewing Restaurants Monetizable?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 996 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 996 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Guys, we are very, very close to Episode 1000. We have another winner today from the contest that’s been going on since Episode 900. We are announcing every day this week a brand-new winner at the end of every episode. Unfortunately, you cannot enter anymore, but for those of you who did enter, make sure you stick around to the end. We’re giving away a $1,000 gift card every day this week as a thank you and a lead-in to Episode 1000 where we have a very, very important announcement to make related to the future of this podcast. But for now, we’re going to head on over and listen to Razwan’s question, but before we get to his question I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is DesignCrowd.

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Now, here’s today’s question from Razwan.

Razwan: Hey there, Pat. Hope you’re doing well. I have a question for you about monetization. I go around visiting different restaurants about one to two times a week. When I visit, I log everything from how the food tastes to the atmosphere of the restaurant. I also take pictures of the food and then I post my thoughts and pictures onto Instagram and provide honest reviews. All the restaurants I visit are Halal-certified, so it’s within a niche. I’ve been doing this for a little while. I’ve also built up an audience of about 500 people at the moment. My question: Is reviewing restaurants something monetizable? I’ve had the idea of adding recipes, but to be honest, I’m not the greatest at cooking, so personally for me that’s not the best of ideas. I’d like to know, what do you think?

Pat Flynn: Hey Razwan, thank you so much for the question today. I appreciate it.

It’s cool when I hear people doing things like this, where they are making sort of a business or building an audience out of things that they do already. Food reviews is something that I’ve had a number of people ask me about. Personally, you cannot make money necessarily from the food reviews themselves. It’s much like a blog: You can’t make money from just the blogging that you do unless somebody either A, pays you to do it or B, pays to get access to it. You can . . . Let’s talk about that last one, pay to get access to it.

You could, for example, have exclusive reviews that are of certain restaurants that people would want to know about and would pay to see it. In most cases, especially for things like this, like reviews for things, then you would be holding yourself back from building an audience because that’s why people are coming to you. They’re coming for these reviews and that might upset the people who are getting them for free. They’re going to be like, “Do I need to pay for this?” You can do that if there’s some differentiation, for example, when people offer some online course that goes beyond the original blog content that they have. You had thought of creating something like a guide for recipes or books or things like that, that’s not going to go very well because people who are looking to eat out at these restaurants, who are looking at these reviews, they’re going to eat out. They’re not going to want to cook. Maybe they would if it’s for a certain kind of food like you said, which there’s an opportunity there, but you can utilize the audience that you’ve built to validate whether that’s true or not, but I would guess that that’s not going to be a good sell. Let’s talk about A.

You can get people to pay to be reviewed. Bloggers get paid by companies or get offered numbers of things from companies to do these paid reviews or sponsored posts. You can do something similar. You’ll need to be honest with your audience about the fact that a restaurant has either invited you to come in to do a review or had paid you to write a review or whatever, but that’s one way, another way to generate some sort of review, is not from your readers of these reviews, but from the restaurants themselves. You can create something like a directory for example. Maybe you review some of these restaurants for free, but if they wanted a premium review from you, which includes videos and other things that would likely convince a person who is part of your audience and you have this email list now, which is growing. This could help it grow even further. You can have video reviews that again, that restaurant would pay you to do, that your audience would say “Wow”, even more that, “This is something I should get involved with.” You can have a certain content that’s related to a restaurant that’s for the purposes of better showing off and better reviewing these restaurants that would pay you for that. You could also utilize this platform for the promotion of other things. There’s advertising. That’s a form of advertising, these sponsored things. A directory is another way to do it. You could also do product advertising for things outside of the restaurant space, like what else is in and around those areas that likely maybe people who find your review—you also show them how to have a nice night at the theater next to that restaurant or something like that.

You kind of have to think out of the box a little bit, but the reviews themselves directly, just like with writing blog posts, it’s not going to work. You have to use this as a platform to then either connect a business to a customer or a business to a business or to . . . It’s going to be a little bit difficult at first. It’s going to take time, but it’s also going to take you going out there and reaching out and just seeing what can happen. You’ll never know unless you ask. Why don’t, for the next restaurant that you reach out to that you’re going to review say, “Hey, I have this site. I have this audience and this is what I do. For this number of dollars, I’ll do a video review and also publish some more images than I do usually and send an email out so we can hopefully get more people to your restaurant.” That’s something they would pay for because they would want to get traffic and people who have trust with you to go to their restaurant.

Another thing you can do is more event-type stuff. Maybe you do these reviews and then you say, “Once a month, we’re going to go out. All you have to do is pay $100 and we’ll all get together. We’ll all have a good time.” Maybe $100 is too much, but maybe you work a deal with these restaurants and have people pay a certain amount of money to come and be a part of the community and you just rent out the restaurant for a day and everybody creates a review about it, which would be beneficial to the restaurant owner, but beneficial to you too, because you’re making a little bit of profit from the people who are coming to these events.

I’m just thinking out of the box, but Razwan, hopefully that’s helpful and gives you some inspiration there and gets your gears going. Thank you so much for the question. I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you once again for listening to Ask Pat. I will have . . . I’m looking at the dates here that this episode will go live. I will have just come back from—because I record these ahead of time—I will have just come back from London and will likely be maybe a little bit jet lagged, but if you connect with me on Twitter, you can let me know that you heard this. Also, of course, I’m going to announce the winner for the contest for today right after this quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

All right, today’s winner. We had Cris yesterday, Cris Jean yesterday. Like I said, I will be emailing the people who won the Amazon $1,000 gift card. Again, we’re doing one every day this week. Tuesday, November 14th, is somebody named Tim. The email address starts with A-I-W. I’m not going to give the rest of it away. Like I said, I will have emailed you already, so congratulations to Tim; there were a lot of Tims actually. But it’s a Tim whose email address starts with A-I-W, because I don’t have a last name. But, I will have emailed you already. So, if you didn’t win yet, don’t worry. We still have three more chances this week, and then the big episode, Episode 1000, this coming Monday. Make sure you subscribe it you haven’t already. Thank you so much. Congratulations to Tim. And we’ll take another winner tomorrow.

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