I have noticed something recently when dining out in Conway where I live. Most of the restaurants here have signage on their tables, but most do not include information for connecting with them on social media, particularly Twitter.
I did notice, on July 4th, when I visited Golden Corral with my family that the signage included a Facebook and Twitter icon, albeit very, very small. The icons did not give the Twitter handle.
Must be completely self service :-/ (@ Golden Corral) 4sq.com/O5ygB6
— Todd E. Jones (@tejones) July 4, 2012
When I am at a restaurant, my social media medium of choice is Foursquare, although, I also use Twitter. With Twitter, you can “mention” the restaurant or simply use their Twitter handle to do a shout out. When I can’t find the Twitter handle anywhere, it is hard to do a shout out.
Golden Corral was one of the good ones because they acknowledged the need to put social media icons on their signage. Most restaurants do not.
Conway is a high tech community and people here are very in to social media, whether it is checking in on Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter or any other social media platforms. People here are more than willing to do shout outs.
Why not make it easy for them?
Put your social media icons, and better yet, the URL or username/Twitter handle on your table signage. We, the customers, mare making a split decision of whether to do a shout out or how to do a shout out for our good service and/or good food, but it makes it harder when we don’t have a way to direct our friends to the company we are mentioning.
Make no mistake, restaurants are making use of social media, and the ones in Conway and Central Arkansas should be no different! According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Buffalo Wild Wings has seen tremendous success using Facebook. Every time I go to Chili’s, and check in with Foursquare, I usually have a free order of chips and salsa waiting.
Every restaurant visit is an experience for the customer. Many turn them into a mini-review through our social media channels. Others just want to give kudos to great service or food, and still, other want to warn their friends about a bad experience.
One final word.
If you choose to engage customers in social media, do your best to respond when they give you kudos or, if they’ve had a bad experience. There is a reason they use your Twitter handle. They are letting you know, one way or the other, how their experience was. If you are large restaurant that has many chains, you will not be able to respond to all the mentions, but you can try.
One local restaurant that does this pretty well is Pitza42. They rely heavily on social media to get many of their customers. They have a large fan base on Facebook and are using Twitter as well. The result is they have a large number of college students and young professionals coming on a regular basis. They have even responded to some of my tweets.
@tejones Sunday- it’ll get ya every time. ..makes Monday that much better
— Pitza 42 (@pitza42) July 15, 2012
Another local restaurant, Wimpy’s, uses social media too. In fact, they usually offer a discount for those that check in on a social media platform. Another strategy Wimpy’s employed was using social media to hype the opening of the restaurant. The anticipation was high when they finally opened their doors. They used social media to invite folks to a pre-opening. Further, they make use of online review websites such as Urban Spoon.