“These days at a restaurant you have plates, tables, food and Twitter.”
-Barcode owner Antonis Karagounis
“People regularly ask for restaurant suggestions from other Tweeps on Twitter. When we are able to find those requests and immediately welcome them to our restaurant, they are floored by the quick response and personalized welcome. We’ve been lucky enough to gain many new diners this way.”
-Bourbon Steak Publicist Sangeetha Sarma
A recent Restaurant Week experience reminded me that you can’t always expect restaurants to be on 100% all the time, but if someone or something fails, speak up.
Like many patrons, I had an issue, vented about it on Twitter, and received a very satisfying response. SO I decided that every Friday I will write a small piece about The Week’s Winning Food Tweet. This could be a restaurant itself, a food truck, a chef, a manager, etc. The winner will be someone (something?) who puts a smile on my face for a different or interesting perspective.
The free, 140 character service has revolutionized the restaurant industry. It’s necessary for restaurants to actually engage their followers in order to create loyalty and really make patrons & potential patrons feel like friends.
I wanted to take a look at the Top 5 ways that restaurants use Twitter effectively. That means they aren’t just tweeting the daily specials, but following my rules to inform, satisfy, calm and entertain!
1) They make me smile during the workday
My favorite Twitter use comes from Equinox or @EquinoxDC. LOVE this account because it is a perfect mix of important restaurant information, DC events, and general musings from owners Chef Todd and Ellen Gray.
Equinox (818 Connecticut Ave NW) is a Twitter winner with more than 1,000 followers and 2,000 Tweets, because it is actually run by the couple behind the restaurant. That makes it personal, and as you can see above – funny.
You can also hear about the restaurant’s seasonally inspired menu, always changing wine list, and even ingredients. This account is one of the most humanized feeds in DC. Ellen Gray tells me that she only joined Twitter about nine months ago and that she loves it because it gives her the opportunity to be a real personality to anyone who is interested.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they have learned a lot more about Equinox because of our tweets,” says Gray. “I tweet for Todd. He dictates – you can always tell when it’s Todd because he has me Tweet out dishes or wines he is working with….I’m the socially conscious one. Ying and yang.”
2) They talk to me!
There’s no connection better than actually “talking” to your patrons. I know I love going to an establishment, getting great service, and actually hearing back from the restaurant if I complimented it on Twitter. So advice — reply to customers who Tweet you (even before they come in) and those same customers will spread the good word.
Similarly, restaurants can and do reach out to diners who might have left after having a bad experience and try to make it better. Barcode’s Antonis Karagounis tells me that with Twitter “you can let your customers be your eyes on the floor.” So true & so smart.
3) They give me free stuff!
I love a discount. The only thing I like more than a discount is a giveaway. A lot of DC establishments (I’m looking at you cupcake shops) already use Twitter extensively to promote things like free dessert, free coffee, half price wine, etc, to the first people to retweet or just show up. This is a great way to build a following and get people to walk through the door.
4) They tell me what’s coming up!
I love getting useful information from restaurants. This can be something simple like sending out daily specials, tweeting the ingredients in a new dish, putting up cool recipes, or telling customers about upcoming classes and events. Just one thing DC Restaurants — use more hashtags!
5) They make me hungry by showing me pictures of food!
This is something that we need MORE of in DC. Did you make a good dish? Show me and make me want to come in!
Three more Restaurant Tips: Give shout-outs to your employees, engage more with other businesses (even if they’re the competition!), and really if you’re going to Tweet please care about your account, update it your tweets and just look around to see who’s talking about what.
So who is your favorite Tweeter? What do you think restaurants can do better on Twitter?