Restaurants are Eating Up Social Media

Restaurants are Eating Up Social Media

Many local eateries are capitalizing on social web presence to interact with customers.

If you’re going out for dinner, you might want to check your computer or mobile device before you leave to see what the specials are for your favorite restaurant.

Restaurants have been taking advantage of the various social media to showcase their menus. It is not enough just to have good food to survive in today’s economy and local restaurants are engaging with their customers to not only make sure they give them a try, but to guarantee they are repeat customers. By using the different tools that are available to them, they are able to make connections with the people who visit.

“The initial fear,” said Steve Haweeli, president of Word Hampton Public Relations, “was that customers would post about a bad experience. Owners quickly realized that you have a chance to make good in public. You see how things work. It is a great opportunity for customer service best practices.”

He also said that although some restaurants yell “Come on down, come on down” with no interaction with the public, most restaurants now use their accounts to create relationships with their customers. Besito in Huntington asked their Facebook fans, “What tequila do you like?” They received 57 responses. When you sign up for Besito’s fan page on Facebook, you receive a coupon for admission to their Facebook parties, where you also get complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a margarita.

Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook recently posed a question to customers via Twitter: “What kinds of stress makes you need Wine Down Wednesdays here at Mirabelle Tavern?”

When Toast Coffeehouse in Port Jefferson finally got approval on an expansion proposal from the zoning board, they celebrated by posting it on their fan page.

And Se-Port Deli often uses Twitter to post pictures, retweet reviews, and engage in conversation with customers who follow @Seport.

The fifth annual Long Island Restaurant Week, set for Nov. 7 through Nov. 14, uses Twitter and Facebook as well as its websites to advertise the restaurants that are taking part. For one week, Sunday to Sunday, all participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe for $24.95 per person all night, except Saturday, when it will only be available until 7 p.m. Each restaurant offers its own unique menu. Click here for a list of local restaurants.

The food industry knows how important social media is. According to Smart Blog on Restaurants:

  • Restaurants are ahead of the curve: 81 percent are currently using social media, compared with 60 percent in other industries.
  • 52 percent of restaurants have seen more positive mentions as a result of their social-media presence.

Location-based applications allow users to choose and rate restaurants on the go.

Yelp helps people find places to eat, shop and drink based on the opinions of others.

Can’t decide where to go? Leave it to fate, or a shake of the device and Urbanspoon will pick a local place for you. You can also search by location, type and price.

What’s next for restaurants and social media? Foursquare.com is another geo-based mobile media application that allows users to “check in” to the places they visit. Some places such as Starbucks reward frequent visitors with discounts via their foursquare check-in. Check in at Chili’s Grill & Bar in Stony Brook and you can unlock free Chips & Salsa on every visit. All you have to do is show your screen to your server to get the special.

Placepop is a geo-based application that gives customers a virtual loyalty card that lets any local business reward you as an individual for your loyalty, or as a group for your collective visits. The next step for geo-based apps in the restaurant business is for businesses to see that you have checked-in and purchased something, which will validate the transaction on a deeper level. The Placepop app also allows you to request reward programs to the venues you frequent.

So now you’ve Yelped your way to the nearest restaurant and have ordered a scrumptious meal. Don’t keep it to yourself. There’s a new kid on the block, and its name is FoodSpotting.Foodspotting lets you find dishes, not just restaurants, thanks to foodspotters who report sightings of foods they love. If you subscribe to Foodspotting, you take pictures of the meals you order and then ‘pin it’ to the restaurant you ordered it from. You also receive updates from the people you friend on the application and can be notified when they “spot” a food.

With social media marrying the epicurious world with technology, foodies and techies are a happy bunch. As for me? I’m hungry!

About Lousie DiCarlo

A certified online community producer, Louise has been speaking and writing about social media since the mid 90s. She started managing communities for ThriveOnline, a San Francisco based joint venture between AOL and Time Inc magazines. She also started writing for AOL’s EA Teen Asylum. In 2000 Thrive was bought out by Oxygen Media, owned by Nickelodeon’s Geraldine Laybourne and Oprah Winfrey. In 2002 Louise made the switch over to Oxygen Media and was a Community Producer until 2006. In 2006 she began doing marketing and communications for small businesses on Long Island and began introducing them to the virtual world. Today Louise owns Communications Journey Inc. and successfully manages marketing, communications and online communities for clients in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, London, Denmark, and California as well as many Long Island clients. She is also a partner at Socialisle, an innovative social media business company that transforms social media zeros to social media heroes. This company also is currently in the process of introducing SocialSchoolLI, a social media training company.

Comments

  1. @LovelyLu
    I just read about FoodSpotter and I think it is a great idea. I have so many favorite foods that it is hard to know sometimes where to go to eat them. Now this job has become much less detective work and much more food fun.

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