With seven years of experience in the restaurant business as both a bartender and server, I returned to my old stamping ground to find examples of how the restaurant industry can better leverage social media platforms.
Here are five fine examples of restaurants getting the most out of social.
Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse: Squeeze In
Squeeze In, a breakfast and lunch diner with a handful of locations in California and Nevada, has a terrific social media strategy that includes exclusive offers for those using platforms like Foursquare.
From this New York Times article detailing the diner’s social strategy: “Our Foursquare newbie offer for first time check-ins has been unlocked 1,151 times,” said [Company President Misty] Young. “The mayor special has been unlocked 140 times. People are actively using this stuff.”
Squeeze In also uses social media for internal communications as the article notes, setting up a private Facebook group for its employees. Anecdote time; at the last restaurant I worked for, I set up a private Facebook group for the serving staff where we could work out shift giveaways and exchanges.
Keep Your Customers In the Loop: Babbo Ristorante
Babbo, Mario Batali’s upscale Italian restaurant, uses Twitter to advise their followers of last minute cancellations. For a restaurant with a long list of reservations, it’s important to keep your clientele up to date. Keep that dining room full by making sure the public is updated whenever a spare table happens to open up.
Last minute tonight at Babbo-3-4 ppl at 6:15,8:15 or 9:30. Tables available after 10pm. Call 2123538064 to reserve. Walk ins from 5pm.#BBHG
— Babbo Ristorante (@BabboRistorante) October 10, 2012
Tickle the Eyeballs as Well as the Taste Buds: Mooo Restaurant
Appealing to a customer’s eyeballs is where platforms like Instagram and Pinterest come in. Article after article references Pinterest’s host of images featuring delectable dishes. Images of food certainly abound across Pinterest, so go the extra step and share photos from around your restaurant. Show your fans what else your establishment brings to the table (pun intended). Take a look at this example from one of Boston’s top steakhouses, Mooo Restaurant.
Mooo doesn’t stop at showing off their food. They also share images from around the dining room and pastry kitchen. They’ve created boards dedicated to special events, cocktails, and wine tastings. This shows that a restaurant has more to offer than what’s on the plate.
Educate Your Clientele: The Mermaid Inn
My research for this post pointed me towards the YouTube channel of The Mermaid Inn in New York. While not frequently updated, they’ve used their video channel to educate the public by offering cooking and preparation tips. Here, Laurence Edelman offers us a look at how to cook up some delicious fried oysters. Who doesn’t like helpful, free content?
Location, Location, Location: Seabirds Food Truck
If any industry is custom built for social media use, it may be the Food Truck industry. Owner/founder of Southern California based Seabirds Food Truck, Stephanie Morgan, uses their Facebook page to post their constantly shifting daily locations and changing menu offerings. Your website is essential obviously, but making the simplest of edits to a website isn’t as quick and easy as sending out a new Facebook status update, which only takes a few seconds. If you’re a nomadic eatery, social media can be a great tool in helping you keep your clientele updated on your next stop and your special for the day; just as Babbo does with table openings.
Major restaurant chains are already taking advantage of social media to help generate more traffic to both their websites and brick-and-mortar locations. For more info, be sure to check out these two case studies featuring Outback Steak House and Pizza Hut.
(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog.)