Recipes are by far the best of the simple free marketing moves that restaurants ignore. Many customers use recipes and love trying to reproduce their favorite dishes. By making recipes available, a restaurant gains authority, good will and exposure. If you have a charismatic chef and a decent marketing budget, a cooking video may be an even better marketing technique. But that takes work and money. Let’s focus on recipes and start off with discussing restaurant owners’ fears.


The primary objection that a customer will have no reason to return to the restaurant is silly. For retail products like Coca-Cola, the actual ingredients and preparation are very valuable, especially a large company. This is why these companies pay millions for special companies that create new artificial (and natural) flavors that are anything but natural or artifical. They weren’t made in a kitchen (even a factory kitchen) but in a lab.

But this doesn’t carry over to restaurants. Restaurant owners are dead wrong if they assume that the “secret recipe” is what keeps customers coming back to their restaurant. In fact, not knowing the preparation and ingredients that go into a dish distances a customer from the food in your restaurant. Plus. unlike a factory setting where skill has nothing to do with it, chefs continuously can make small adjustments (based on the taste) that someone who is unfamiliar with the food would likely miss. Knowing that the taste is just not right and knowing what to do to make it perfect are two different things, and that’s what makes the difference between mere cooks and chefs. Without a professional kitchen and someone familiar with the dish, it is unlikely that an average customer’s dish challenges the original.

Reason #1: Becoming the Expert

The benefits are threefold.

First, it improves the customer’s assessment of the culinary prowess of your restaurant.

A good recipe or even the offering of a recipe tells customers that you know what you are doing and you are proud of your food. Of course, noone is saying that you surrender your kitchen. It’s simple: the recipe you release can be a close approximation, something that will satisfy the customer. Not giving the exact ingredients or methods can produce a respectable meal without rivaling your restaurant. Besides, how many people actually know that a little salt goes a long way in chocolate chip cookies?

Reason #2: Winning Gratitude

Customers appreciate recipes, some even collect them. Look at it like a gift that shows them that you appreciate them even when they are not in your restaurant. Since the “secret recipe” myth has gone well beyond the food-service business, customers will value that your kitchen is their kitchen.  In the end, recipes encourage customers to do something, and, unlike most marketing moves that try to activate customers, it costs nothing.

Reason #3: In their Kitchen

The exposure from releasing a restaurant is phenomenal and organic. When they come across the recipe or make the dish, it reminds them of your restaurant and encourages customers to talk about your restaurant to friends, family and coworkers. When the finished product doesn’t match the quality that comes out of your kitchen, your customers return to enjoy their favorite dish.

These are the reasons. Just as important is how you should do this. The next article breaks down the ways you can get recipes into customers’ hands and the different effects they produce.