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ABJ: Eateries Watching Online Reputations

11 September 2011 1,201 views 12 Comments

It’s always fun seeing your name in print, and I was happy to share some thoughts with the Austin Business Journal on recommendations for restaurants engaging on social media.

Eateries Watching Reputation

I responded to a request on Twitter from writer Vicky Garza, and she conducted the interview via email. Her query:

“I am working on an article about the role of social media for restaurants. You seem pretty active on Twitter. Do you know of any examples where social media (or the lack of) has really hurt/helped an Austin-area restaurant? Why is it important that restaurants keep track of what people say about them on Facebook and Twitter?”

My answers:

“Restaurants that have really used Facebook and Twitter to their advantage include Uchi and Uchiko, Congress Austin, and Foreign & Domestic. All four of these restaurants are active on Twitter and Facebook, and in the local social media community. Their investment in interacting online with their fans, local influencers, and potential customers has paid off in keeping them top-of-mind when tummies across Austin start trying to answer that age-old question: ‘What should I have for dinner?’

Uchi and Uchiko have done a great job bringing the magic they are creating in the kitchen to their followers. They often share pictures and descriptions of specials, a special fish flown in that day, and of the staff at work. I’ve noticed that the timing of these posts tends to be later in the afternoon, when people are at work and starting to think about where they will go for dinner.

Congress Austin is extremely active on social media — and began building buzz on Facebook and Twitter weeks before they opened. This strategy was successful in generating excitement among the Austin food loving community and ensured a packed house. They also reply to almost everyone who mentions them on Twitter, and give positive shout-outs to other local restaurants, even some with whom they are in direct competition. This makes them seem like true members of the community who are invested in more than just promoting what they are doing.

Foreign & Domestic’s Twitter feed is very authentic, and feels as though each tweet is written by owner/chef Ned Elliott — not a public relations or social media professional. He interacts with his fans and the restaurant community and keeps it real. His passion is evident in his commitment to overseeing every detail at his restaurant and ensuring that he puts his soul into every dish, and every tweet.

People often use Twitter to talk about their very best — and worst experiences. I’d recommend that any restaurant create a few Twitter searches to capture the full name of their restaurant, as well as the restaurant name with no spaces — and strongly consider creating a Twitter account to ensure they own their brand real estate — even if they don’t plan to use it right away. They should check their searches –you can create these on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite — at least once every day or so — and address any issues off-line as soon as possible.”

What restaurants or food-related businesses do you think use social media in a smart way?

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  • Torchy

    Torchy's Tacos, of course!

  • http://twitter.com/katiecook katie cook

    These are all great examples, Jodi. Z Tejas, County Line and Gueros also do a great job!

  • jodibart

    Good to know, Katie!

  • Torchy

    Torchy's Tacos, of course!

  • http://twitter.com/katiecook katie cook

    These are all great examples, Jodi. Z Tejas, County Line and Gueros also do a great job!

  • jodibart

    Good to know, Katie!

  • Ben C.

    A few months ago, I went to Tacodeli for breakfast, had kind of a negative experience with the cashier and tweeted about his attitude. They immediately responded and wanted to know my location, the name of the cashier, and what happened. I was too hungover to write back and didn't want to get anyone in trouble over a bad attitude so I didn't reply but it was good to know that someone was listening.

  • Jodi Bart

    Glad to hear that the response improved your perception of the company even though you had a bad experience with one person. Since they are that responsive, I'm sure Tacodeli has a google alert set up to catch this type of stuff and I bet the person who responded to you will appreciate your comment, Ben.

  • Ben C.

    A few months ago, I went to Tacodeli for breakfast, had kind of a negative experience with the cashier and tweeted about his attitude. They immediately responded and wanted to know my location, the name of the cashier, and what happened. I was too hungover to write back and didn't want to get anyone in trouble over a bad attitude so I didn't reply but it was good to know that someone was listening.

  • Jodi Bart

    Glad to hear that the response improved your perception of the company even though you had a bad experience with one person. Since they are that responsive, I'm sure Tacodeli has a google alert set up to catch this type of stuff and I bet the person who responded to you will appreciate your comment, Ben.

  • Ben C.

    A few months ago, I went to Tacodeli for breakfast, had kind of a negative experience with the cashier and tweeted about his attitude. They immediately responded and wanted to know my location, the name of the cashier, and what happened. I was too hungover to write back and didn't want to get anyone in trouble over a bad attitude so I didn't reply but it was good to know that someone was listening. 

  • Jodi Bart

    Glad to hear that the response improved your perception of the company even though you had a bad experience with one person. Since they are that responsive, I'm sure Tacodeli has a google alert set up to catch this type of stuff and I bet the person who responded to you will appreciate your comment, Ben.