I’ve had several discussions over the last couple of months with other restaurateurs about marketing and social media in the hospitality field. The discussion centered on whether it is important for restaurants to interact with guests via social media beyond their experience in the dining room. For us it has been its fun to interact and stay connected with our guests and friends through Facebook, posting recipes on my blog and by tweeting about exciting updates so that our followers know what’s going on in the kitchen and beyond. We’re “Facebooking” restaurant status updates and perhaps at the same time bother our old elementary school mates we haven’t seen in ages. I frequently connect on LinkedIn with peers and other industry professionals to get a handle on what’s happening in their lives. Indeed all that is fun although it extends my already long restaurant day even more and spending quality time with my loved ones gets more and more challenging.
(pretty pictures help to get "Likes" on Facebook - Buckwheat greens with Spring carrots and fresh ricotta)
Marketing versus connecting
Not too long ago in the restaurant business if we wanted our guests’ attention we contacted a pr agency and tried to get the word out using their relations to the press – with not much measurable result. Today marketing is a click away with a computer mouse or a hand held communication device in the restaurant which can increase business or at the least generate energy with comments or a simple “Like” or thumps-up (Facebook) – which is certainly more instantaneous and personal than traditional marketing in my opinion.
(schnitzel pounding and using a phone should be two different tasks)
What Schnitzel and an I-phone have in common
Of course there are hazards when you try to go virtual in a commercial kitchen. The other day by pounding schnitzel and tweeting I accidentally pounded my handsome looking I-phone with the schnitzel hammer which was lying next to the cutting board. I concluded that schnitzel pounding and tweeting should be two different tasks.
(good for tweeting the right now dish - Tumbleweed cheddar dusted with fresh-dried morel mushrooms with the first local radish and the first tender mustard greens of the season)
Opa knows how to get people to look at his site
My father (a/k/a Opa which is German for Grandpa) has been making me feel grandfatherly when it comes to YouTube since I’m not currently set up on it. He’s had lots of fun and about 6 million impressions already with his art related YouTube account! Hey Opa how do you post a video again? All that traffic that he gets on his site makes me jealous.
If you’re curious check it out – http://www.youtube.com/user/Art4you1943.
In a Nutshell
I feel like I’m living in a daily cocktail party with this social media thing looming above my head constantly. It certainly creates terrific opportunities to make new friends and tie future relationships. Maybe the best of all is that it can be done from just about anywhere - even when you’re in pajamas on your couch. For my part I use social media most often when I come across exciting things food related. Reaching out in this way makes me feel socially connected to others.
(A typical seasonal daily Facebook post - carrot-pea green salad with sugar snap dressing)