A Sea Bass Journey in Social Media

Cross-posted on FohBoh.

Could a Full-Line Distributor Use Social Media to Drive Restaurant Sales?

Chilean Sea Bass

Chilean Sea Bass

Imagine for a few moments a scenario that might happen in the next few months – the journey of a Chilean Sea Bass through social media. Before I get to that, I want to ask how full-line distributors, such as PFG, Sysco or US Foods might use social media.

We’ve been thinking about this here at Chalkboarder.com and have a 48 hour scenario for you – a quick social media news cycle that could generate four unique and compelling messages for a restaurant to share with its customers – that those customers might share with their friends – which could increase sales both short and long term for the operator.

As a former chef, I know that the major full-line distributors have great seafood programs. As an example, let’s visit PFG’s fish buyer on the dock in Chile, negotiating with the boat captain. As the buyer concludes the purchase he takes a quick one-minute video of the sea bass with his iPhone and adds a message about his excitement in securing this amazingly fresh catch for chefs back in the USA.



He sends that video message through social media (probably through Twitter and Facebook) to the entire PFG sales force in the USA. We could say that it’s sent at 8 am in the morning. By 9 am the entire sales force has seen the buyer’s video – and forwarded it to all their restaurant customers. “Hey, check out the awesome sea bass that will be available tomorrow! If you want some, let me know now.” Compelling content and call-to-action through social media.

A restaurant chef gets this message mid-day, watches the video, and picks up the phone or text messages the salesman: “I want some – get me 50 pounds”. As soon as the chef receives confirmation from the sales rep, he immediately sends the fish-buyers video to all the customers of the restaurant in social media: “Check out the amazing sea-bass we just bought off the boat. We’ll be serving it tomorrow! Call for reservations and let us know you want fresh sea-bass!” More compelling content and call-to-action.

Got the picture? Wait, there’s more.

Next morning, chef takes a quick video of him checking the sea bass in through the back door and sends that out to the restaurants customers “When you buy fresh fish, you want to see clear eyes and smell the sea. Our restaurant only buys the freshest fish we can. We’re serving this amazing sea bass just in from Chile tonight! Did you make a reservation to get some?” Another compelling message with a clear call to action just got out the door.

At 11 am, the restaurant owner takes a picture of the great Chardonnay that goes well with the sea bass – and there’s another compelling message with call to action: “Tonight we’re serving Caymus Chardonnay with the Sea Bass special Chef is cooking up. We’re still not sure what the recipe is, but boy is that fish fresh! Call us and let us know you’re coming.” How many customers have called for reservations?



At 4:30 pre-meal, Chef is explaining the specials to the wait staff. The grill cook takes a quick video with his iPhone of the finished and incredible-looking special, then of the wine and then of the waitress tasting the fish and melting “Oh my god!” He sends it to the restaurant owner who sends it to the restaurant customers again – with the message “Our wait staff is swooning over Chef’s Sea Bass special tonight – we still have some reservations open – come on in!” Get the picture?

Let’s take this sketch one more step. Late that night, the chef sends the pre-meal video back to the sales rep, saying “We brought in twenty more tables and sold out the fish in one night!” The sales rep forwards that video and message to not only his supervisors, but also back to the fish buyer, who then shares it with the boat captain. Talk about a connected community.

The fishing vessel acquires direct connection with consumers, the consumers get direct connection with the boat captain, the sales force is motivated and communicating, and the restaurant is sharing trust and making sales. Everyone is in transparent community. Messaging is immediate and contains actionable call-to-action.

We’d love to hear your ideas on how a full line distributor could employ social media. How can the distributor build trust, help operators be successful, create sustainable community and increase their own bottom line through social media?


(503) 305-6397


Chalkboarder.com is a digital management and social media service firm operating nationally. We provide social web solutions to organizations of all types.


2 Comments to “A Sea Bass Journey in Social Media”

  1. Thanks for the purpose of furnishing this type of great posting.

  2. Interesting, but let’s not forget that Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonia Toothfish) is on Seafood Watch’s “do not eat” list because of overfishing & destructive fishing techniques like bottom-trawling. Be aware. Read more here: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?fid=13

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