Dan Barash Online

Restaurants adjusting to the digital age
January 7, 2010, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

By Hugh Robert

January 07, 2010, 6:04AM

Among its numerous other distinctions, 2009 was the year during which the world discovered social media. Businesses large and small stampeded to establish presences on Facebook and Twitter, hoping to better connect with digitally savvy consumers.

The restaurant industry wasn’t immune to the contagion. By year’s end nearly all the major players and a good number of independents had staked out their claims to social media space.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, those same operators are trying to figure out just how to manage their new online presence.

Some are discovering that the feedback social media provides isn’t always pleasant and can occasionally be just plain malicious.

There have also been instances where restaurant promotions intended to be local in scope have “gone viral,” forcing franchise operators across the country to either disappoint customers or honor deals they never intended to offer.

Even more pernicious are those circumstances where thoughtless (or disgruntled) employees use social media to trash a restaurant’s reputation. The damage from one YouTube prank video can, as Domino’s Pizza discovered, be immediate and widespread.

Restaurant operators intending to get into social media need to understand that the half-life of an on-line presence is frustratingly brief, so maintaining a Facebook page or a Twitter following cannot be hit-or-miss. Successful use of social media is a high maintenance proposition; stale, out-of-date information is toxic in the Internet world.

For the most sophisticated corporate players, the emerging thrust of their social media efforts isn’t about “attracting eyeballs,” it’s about enhancing and protecting their brand in a new and rapidly evolving public arena.


1 Comment so far
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This is a message I’ve been sharing with the restaurant industry for more than two years. Thank you for putting it into words so attractively. Best to you,

Comment by laurawynn

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