This is applicable to restaurants and lodging as well.
Recipes are one of the most shared things on the internet besides funny videos on Youtube, whether its by email, blog posts, Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues.
This is where the back end of marketing comes in. You post your recipe on your blog (with a picture to boot.) Then say I’m your everyday home cook, there is a restaurant or B&B I love, not only will I email it, blog about it, tweet it, facebook it, etc. (your link) to all of my friends how awesome the recipe it is (instant brand exposure) but when I do decide to make it at home (a la a special occasion, a dinner party etc.) when my guests ohh and ahh over the recipe, where do you think I’ll tell them its from? More brand exposure.
For those doom and gloomers who say “Well what if they make my recipe at home and it doesn’t turn out right?” Two answers, proof your recipes well and look on the bright side, even if the dish is a wash be assured the host or hostess will either apologize and admit they screwed up and admit it doesn’t taste like this at your establishment or just order take out. Exposure to potentially several thousand future customers’ vs. one slightly overdone salmon, tough choice.
Many establishments may be reluctant to share their recipes, especially online for fear of the “competition” getting a hold of the recipe.
Lets address this concern.
A well trained chef with a good palate can eat at your place and eventually duplicate the dish. Who needs a recipe if you can taste the ingredients? I stopped using cookbooks long long ago as an example, and there are few things I have tasted that I can’t duplicate or come close to duplicating in flavor.
If you are worried about the establishment around the corner using your recipe, they might, but odds are they won’t, egg on the face doesn’t look very good, as everything is public nowadays (including the fact that people are not afraid to say something about it online) and karma will come around and bite them as well eventually.
If you have a signature dish with a secret ingredient, yes I would recommend holding back on it. But if your place serves Ginger and tea house smoked salmon with lime hazelnut aigrelette sauce, I can make that at home, but odds are I won’t, because sourcing ingredients, preparing it and the time I have to put into it, even as a former chef, I probably won’t unless it’s for a special occasion. Most home cooks would try it, but they would try it for occasions when your brand exposure is going to be more, i.e. a dinner party.
Recipes are pure gold for internet marketing, take advantage of it, it doesn’t have to be your whole repertoire but use it for good sellers and specials.
You can further leverage it by sending the recipe to guests and customers who rave about it at your establishment. Emailing it to them after they came and stayed at your B&B or ate at your restaurant continues the customer service experience and it will repay you in free branding and marketing many many times over.
If someone comments on your fan page about how wonderful the dinner (or breakfast was) and makes mention of a particular thing, direct message them offering the recipe = loyal customer for life.
Lodging Marketing: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/marketing-for-lodging-resources/
Restaurant Operations: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/restauranting/