Restaurants’ New Frontier
By Rayna Katz
At this time of stretched budgets and profitability struggles, thoughts about spending money on marketing efforts can make restaurant owners queasy.
But social media outlets provide creative owners with a free and wide open field of opportunity to engage customers and generate significant buzz about their eateries, according to panelists at the “Everybody’s on LinkedIn and Facebook, Now What?” at the International Hotel/Motel + Restaurant Show on Nov. 14 (www.ihmrs.com).
“It’s a great opportunity to show your culture, and your attitude,” said panelist Arlene Spiegel, founder and president, Arlene Spiegel & Associates, a restaurant consulting firm (www.arlenespiegel.com). She cited two current clients as examples of this: New York City’s Hill Country, a barbeque spot, and Heartland Brewery, known for its beers. Hill Country (www.hillcountryny.com) uses lingo on its Facebook page that’s in keeping with the in-person experience and menus, while Heartland (www.heartlandbrewery.com) invites customers using social media to name the newest beers; winners get announced on Twitter.
Spiegel also is a fan of group-based social buying sites, such as Groupon.com. Companies post specials on the site and if enough people sign up for an offer, everyone gets the deal. If there aren’t enough people, no one gets it. Groupon collects payment and passes it on, minus their fee, to the business.
Stephanie Crane Faison, president and CEO, Restaurant PR (www.restaurantpr.com), believes Twitter is the site with the greatest potential. “Twitter is next, because it’s all about now,” she said. The site also offers the chance to post photos with a Twit Pic account. “This is very powerful in terms of solidifying expertise and establishing credibility, and Continue Reading…