Archive for ‘Hospitality’

May 23, 2011

Tradeshow Social Media: One-third-way through the #NRAShow – Twitter Analysis

The National Restaurant Show, happening in Chicago this weekend, is by far the dominant restaurant/foodservice tradeshow in North America. The National Restaurant Association website states that this show draws, on annual average, 50,000 attendees internationally over four days. This year, they state there are over 1800 exhibitors.

The Assumption

Tradeshows provide a unique opportunity to bring together industries. They offer community-building in centralized real-time, provide buyers with connective opportunities to meet sellers, provide industry specific educational opportunities and.. most importantly, have the potential to leverage all of this to broad-path long-tail effectiveness via the social web. Leverage through the social web:

  • provides exhibitors and attendees greater contact time – before, during and after
  • deepens the educational experience for attendees, both in products/services and in seminars
  • creates a broad path of micro data points, all search engine optimized, for both the tradeshow and exhibitors (and attendees, for that matter)
  • deepens the connective fabric of the industry

We’ve been following the Twitter hashtag for this event #NRAShow, since the beginning and have made some initial observations of engagement by Show attendees and exhibitors.

Before sharing these, a shout-out must go to Paul Barron, for providing a hashtag metric analysis site we could observe. Paul purchased a hashtag tracking service which can be found here for the NRA Show:  http://bit.ly/jOU8JB

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592  –  Number of Contributors to Hashtag

86  –  Number of Exhibitor Twitter Accounts Using Hashtag

506  –  Number of Non-Exhibitor Twitter Accounts Using Hashtag

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14.5%  –  Percentage of Exhibitor Twitter Accounts to Total Tweeters on Hashtag

1019  –  Average # of Followers – Exhibitors Using Hashtag

9 – Average # of Tweets During Show – Exhibitors Using Hashtag

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85.5%  –  Percentage of Non-Exhibitors to Total Tweeters on Hashtag

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4.7%  –  Percentage of Hashtag Tweeting Exhibitors to Estimated # of Show Exhibitors

1%  –  Percentage of Hashtag Tweeting Non-Exhibitors to Estimated # of Show Attendees

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Chalkboarder’s Opinions

Exhibitor adoption, as evidenced by the hashtag traffic, is still in its infancy.

Attendees are not using social media to interact with the Show.

Attendees interacting with Show exhibit hashtag useage rate six times that of exhibitors.

Show management could do a better job of marketing the social web interaction to both exhibitors and attendees.

Exhibitors could develop strategies using traditional marketing that drive potential attendees into the social web before, during and after the Show.

The National Restaurant Show has a clear opportunity to exponentially increase exhibitor exposure (sales opportunities) to attendees using the social web in future shows. Effective deployment of a comprehensive strategy should include:

  • Year round social web engagement by Show management with exhibitors and existing/potential attendees.
  • Provide exhibitors with social web tools to increase engagement between exhibitors and attendees before, during and after the Show. Such tools might include:
    • Traditional marketing “pushes” to the social web connectivity with exhibitors
    • Marketing promotions to attendees by exhibitors to connect in social media, via traditional and social web strategies
    • Provide an online database, searchable by product/service category, for visitors to the Show website to find exhibitor social web accounts – significantly prior to the Show

Wrap-up

Nothing beats getting face-to-face at a tradeshow. Social media, conducted well, considerably leverages the opportunity to bring exhibitors and attendees together during a Show. Exhibitors and attendees who have connected and conversed prior to actually meeting at Show time, make the most efficient use of their time, leading to other potentialities to present to both attendees and exhibitors.

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Notes on Data

1. List of Identified Exhibitors Using the Hashtag

Top and bottom four not used in calculations.

Twitter Account            # Followers  # Following  # Tweets

nutrilabeling                  0                  0                   67

jamesoneida                 5                  16                 12

epicuredigital                6                  5                   73

hubertco                       7                  0                   0

99apps                         25                 0                   24

vinnyoneida                  25                 85                 28

chicagobuffets             27                 87                 80

pepsicofoodserv          36                 259               24

compelcart                   41                 91                 296

winecrusader                 43                 37                 283

manualsolution              54                 103               29

adstonature                  58                 138               64

getpunchh                    65                 76                 148

mccormick4chefs          76                 80                 103

olo                               80                 63                 70

tlpriest                          85                 121               97

magictradeshows          99                 200               211

smrestaurants               130               218               188

culinitweets                   132               138               94

merchantware                136               302               110

expion                          137               41                 292

vollrathco                     151               101               221

finelinesetting               156               421               503

bungemoe                    169               222               269

hennypenny                  174               217               585

scotsmanice                 210               249               312

wineshowcasemag        233               755               4

squirrelsystems             236               455               156

grecian_delight             240               256               505

nrnjobplate                   241               153               1124

usfoodservicesf            257               516               439

ifanca                           258               300               351

cobblestoneoven          263               1172             98

capitolcups                   267               420               823

hospitalitypads             281               1003             33

intlspices                      295               950               80

chefbigshake                320               199               186

wineshield                     323               761               209

idahoanfoods               358               733               328

hobartcorp                    366               190               617

digitalmenubox             374               1012             440

fishbowljoe                   376               482               594

back2scratch                392               313               1289

thermapen                    428               477               480

heartlandhpy                 433               398               673

peoplematterceo           466               362               1029

tsbrass                         467               471               530

turtletransit                    471               942               91

wasserstrom                 480               676               871

oneida_ltd                    507               273               162

gpprofessional             508               678               960

monkeydish                  538               502               741

ssproducts                   540               1999             397

shomack12                   562               746               2980

rewardsnetwork             675               426               792

loveandquiches             691               1042             1048

socialgrub                    755               1263             163

dietzandwatson             758               996               667

openmenu                    786               1469             2237

fohbohgal                     877               488               4488

laudividni                      879               455               861

anchorhocking              881               885               2003

hospitalitysoc               937               1999             47

hospitalityrew                951               2000             30

graciousgourmet           1068             2003             1320

rubbermaidcomm          1186             325               190

fastcasual                     1307             389               1132

safeeggs                      1344             1676             1620

wileycooks                   1405             921               822

calphalon                      1561             1230             250

nrnmarketing                 1796             697               503

flatoutbread                  1926             1848             4778

viennabeef                    2315             1023             2170

eatsauca                       2343             113               75

fishbowlinc                   2514             1892             364

fohboh                         2721             1392             2767

herbalwater                   3563             3290             1644

activeion                       3653             3190             1144

communitycoffee          5626             2741             1539

wheresauca                   7278             90                 2736

elischeesecake             8404             8549             5598

emmaemail                   8709             1516             2342

googleplaces                28159           26                 924

yelp                              43375           98                 1847

livingsocial                   49668           3611             8958

pepsi                            68496           42227            3190

 2. Identifying Exhibitors that were using the hashtag was conducted by reading the tweetstream. A few of the accounts were not “official” exhibitor accounts, but either identify themselves in their Twitter handle, bio or by tweeting that they were exhibiting for a company they work for and gave a booth number.

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December 19, 2010

Presenting in the Ignite Style

A Different Way to Present Concept


This past month, I was invited to participate in Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Conference Ignite presentations. Having never presented in the Ignite style, I decided to research effective methods of communicating in this presentational mode.

For those of you who have never done nor seen an Ignite presentation, it works like this. Presenters get five minutes for their topic and provide twenty powerpoint slides. The slides are assembled into one combined presentation and they auto-flip every fifteen seconds.

This means, as the presenter, that you can’t control the advancing of your topic slides – they change every fifteen seconds. Talk about presenter pressure! I already knew that I wanted to talk some smack to the USA restaurant industry and did some research through Google and YouTube on effective Ignite presenting skills.

The key lessons I learned from this research (which caused me to chuck my first draft) were these:

  • Go thematic. When preparing your presentation, stay in a generalized topic, meaning, don’t try to push a lot of details.
  • Use imagery. The slides are there to reinforce what you are speaking too.
  • Put tiny clues into your slides to keep you on topic; maybe one or two trigger words.
  • Be a storyteller. Structure your five minutes like you were telling a story to peers at happy hour.
  • Stay away from a bulletized presentation style.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Stand in front of bright lights when you practice. Don’t worry about messing up – in fact, what counts is your ability to recover if you get stuck.

Here is the Youtube video of my Ignite presentation at PSU’s Digital Marketing Conference 2010. I planned my target audience to include social media, as a way to get exposure for Chalkboarder. Mind you, by mid-way through my presentation, my microphone hand was noticeably shaking. It had been nearly thirty years since I was on a stage that size with lights that bright.

Another of my favorite presenters from the day…

Paul Ting: Add Some Australianisms to Your Social Media

I want to give props to everyone who organized and ran Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Conference, especially those involved in producing the Ignite Series. They all worked supremely hard to deliver professional results.

Here are all the other links to the Ignite presentations from that day:

Jennifer Wakayama: Ugly Kitchen Contest
.
Andy Van Oostrum: A Planning Framework for Personalization
.
Don Bourassa: Location Based Services for Great Advertising
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Kim Stetson: Digital Organization
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Mary Nichols: Social Media for Product Development
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Matt Selbie: Customer Retention & Marketing
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David Smith: Convert Listening to Revenue
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Taylor Ellwood: Imagine Your Reality Business & Social Media
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Charlie Levenson: Everything I Learned About User Experience
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Bret Bernhoft: Free Tools
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Ayleen Crotty: Customer Superstars
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Jennifer Hancox: Digital Marketing for Restaurants & Bars
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Jeff Simmons: Grassroots Marketing Through Social Media
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Lydia Smith: One Path, Many Ways: The Camino Documentary
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Siouxsie Jennett: Google Adwords vs Facebook Ads
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Mark Brundage:  Building Communities to Create Growth
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Mark Wills: Everything You Need to Know About SEO
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Kent Lewis: A Path to Retirement Using Social Media
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Kate Ertmann: 3D Trends Marketers Need to Care About
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Rhiannon West Chamberlain: Social Media & Travel

.

Everyone did a fantastic presentation. I believe for most, it was our first Ignite experience.

October 13, 2010

Early Adopters (Restaurants) Sprint Ahead in Social Media Marketing

A majority of restaurants face serious risk as consumers increasingly shop for dining via mobile devices. A majority of restaurants risk ignoring the opportunity to drive sales by not adopting proven strategies that embrace this societal shift. They run the risk that society will view their late-game entry into social media as non-compelling, boring, or worse, spammy.

Are you using the tools of the social web yet? Even more important, are you doing so with effective and well designed strategies? Are you chatting up your fans/followers about your community, about their interests or about shared passions? Are you sharing local news from your community, such as local events outside your operation?

Brand owners and managers have to consider how entry into the social web is viewed by the broader community. In the last year, effective social web strategies for driving business have shifted. In the early days, simply broadcasting (or “shouting”) daily specials sufficed. Today, that’s considered spam. Jumping on Foursquare and rewarding “mayors” was fairly simple and effective during the newness of their web-launch, but today, if a restaurant simply jumps in without strategy, they’re behind the times.

As the use of social media by American restaurants has progressed, a clear trend has emerged. Those that embraced social media (less than 10%) in the past two years are sprinting ahead in diverse and sophisticated tactics and strategies, while those that held back run a risk of appearing unknowledgeable, un-savvy and “soo” Web 1.0.

Early adopters such as AJ Bombers, a popular restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, increased their sales by nearly 100% in the last year by effectively using social media. Two of the best food trucks in Portland, Oregon (Whiffies and KoiFusion), attribute 80% of their growth in the last year to effective social media. Success stories like these demonstrate the power and allure of social media strategies for foodservice operators.

In a study published last fall, Chalkboarder analyzed the “virtual ease of entry” (how easy it is for a new or existing customer to enter your restaurant virtually) into 2200 popular restaurants in fourteen major markets. One year ago, less than 10% had adopted Facebook, less than 6% had adopted Twitter and less than 2% were blogging. Of the 2200, less than 65% even had active websites. The base information of Chalkboarder’s study was confirmed a few months ago by Fast Casual Alliance, who hired Forrester Research to do a similar assessment. The numbers haven’t changed in a year.

Statistics from Socialnomics paint a vivid picture of the opportunity the social web offers this industry. Fifty percent of the world’s population is under the age of thirty; ninety-six percent (96%) of these millenials have joined a social network. One out of eight USA married couples met through social media. Eighty percent of companies use social media for recruitment. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is females aged 55-65 (household decision makers). Fifty percent (50%) of mobile social web traffic in the UK is on Facebook. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world.

There is still massive opportunity to reap the benefits of social media. Fundamental strategies of talking online with fans/followers, publishing community news and sharing features on your distinctive brand proposition — apart from the food and beverage — are the main drivers. Build on these fundamentals and sustainable community happens.

For restaurants that have not adopted social media, caution and research is in order. Avoid the risk of bumbling your foray into social media by seeking consult with a reputable social media strategist (perhaps over a few dinners in trade). As with any new-course business strategy, observing and researching a definable course takes a little time, but the return is measurable.

 

September 15, 2010

No Kid Hungry

September 19 – 25, 2010 ~ Great American Dine Out

I’ve lived on both sides of the tracks. I’ve lived both broke-as-hell-homeless and pretty well off in my quite full life.

Great American Dine Out

I grew up in Helena, Montana. We were pretty well off growing up, in the upper echelons of local society, entertaining often. I remember, though, visiting friends – other kids who lived in single-wide mobile homes with broken vehicles in the yard. Today, knowing what I know, I wonder how many of them were hungry, especially in the middle of those wickedly bitter cold Montana winters.

I follow @hardlynormal on Twitter, a former Hollywood filmmaker named Mark Horvath, who now travels the country and world documenting and interviewing as many homeless families and folks as he can. Daily, there are stories he tells of young children, homeless and hungry.

In 2004 I traveled to Nicaragua, spending two weeks with a very rural and very poor rice plantation squatters village, helping them to construct a comedor, a community kitchen, from local fieldstone and wood. The comedor was being constructed to provide the children breakfast before school, with five years of donation from the Japanese government. While these were some of the happiest people I’ve ever been with, I witnessed the children hungry.

In 2005, six months after Katrina, I traveled with Mary Sue Milliken (Food Network Chef/Borders of Los Angeles), Floyd Cardoz (James Beard Chef/Restaurant Tabla NYC) and other top industry professionals to New Orleans. By day the participants of this Share Our Strength group bore witness to the total devastation and hunger; by night we discussed it over dinner with Chefs John Besh, Susan Spicer and others.

Nearly 17 million children in America struggle with hunger. That’s almost 1 in 4 kids.

In the world’s wealthiest nation, childhood hunger is simply unacceptable. Hunger impairs our children’s health, growth and development in significant and long-lasting ways.

I’ve long been a supporter of Share Our Strength – they are singularly my favorite organization. In 2007, at the National Restaurant Show Annual Dinner, I was fortunate to spend more one on one time with Billy Shore and his sister Debbie, when Billy was honored by the NRA. I’ve participated in eight Tastes Of The Nation as a contributing Chef and instigated the formation of the Maine chapter (we raised $50,000 from 200 contributors on our first event in 2005).

It only takes political will. Our restaurants are the cornerstone of our society. Restaurants are where we gather around to celebrate joys and sorrows, crossing political and theological fences to be in community with each other. Ending childhood hunger only takes consolidated political will.

Please join me September 19th to 25th for the Great American Dine Out. As part of the No Kid Hungry campaign, funds raised through the Great American Dine Out are granted out to anti-hunger organizations that demonstrate effective work to help end childhood hunger. For more info click here.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO

Chalkboarder

September 4, 2010

Restaurateurs Have More Right Than Ministers…

Leah Chase stood in the middle of her restaurant in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, pounded her fist into her palm and flatly stated “By God, I’m going to reopen.” Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, fifteen feet from this life-long restaurateur, I watched her eyes, full of fire, grit and bull-dog determination.

Leah Chase

Leah Chase

Leah Chase apparently never ran her restaurant to get rich. When I met her that early spring, she was aged, standing in the utter ruins of a neighborhood with rich history – a history full of music, food and long relationships. As we stood in the chaos of a blown-out restaurant, jumbles of electrical wires and naked framing abundant, the smell of mold and decay rampant six months after destruction, Leah told us stories of the restaurant.

Two of these stories illustrate clearly a thesis I propose to you. The first is from the civil rights era in the sixties. Leah and her restaurant were much younger then and as we stood there in her bombed out establishment (with no federal or state relief in sight), Leah related how she cooked for and served Martin Luther King several times a week, often joining his table for the post-dinner strategy sessions. MLK built community. He was one of those rare ministers that crossed theological divisions to build community in a tour de force display of will. Leah, with her abilities in food and service, helped sustain that effort, and through that work, built local community in Lower Ninth Ward that crossed theological, and political, divides across five decades.

Her next story is more poignant. Within 72 hours of Katrina lashing the Lower Ninth Ward in demolition furies, Leah and a few of her crew gathered at the restaurant. Within a week, Leah and some of her crew were making food for those residents of Lower Ninth Ward that had stayed behind. By the end of the first week, people were gathering at Leah’s restaurant, pinning notes to the beams, searching for those they knew; striving to come together in community again. Leah’s restaurant became the gathering place in Lower Ninth Ward to find your neighbors. Her restaurant was the focal point of rebuilding in tragedy; so much more effective than safety agencies, churches or other entities.

My thesis is this. Restaurateurs and Chefs have more legitimate right to be called “community builders” than ministers, politicians or nonprofits do. In this industry, our establishments are places where people gather; coming together across theological and political fences to celebrate each other’s joys and achievements, mourn each other’s losses and provide comfort and companionship, laugh with friends and family, assist and counsel peers. Our restaurants, from the coffee shop to the neighborhood bar to the casual fast-food to the best dining spots in the world, embody this age-less tenet of our business. We are humanity’s sacred gathering spot.

Since the age of hunters and gatherers, humanity has gathered around the fire. We are the only specie that has gathered around fire and used it to prepare food. Each time humans have done this, we have reinforced the basic building block of community – sharing with each other; sharing sustenance, not only in meal, but also in gathering together.

Today, in this society, it still occurs. It happens every day in our one million plus restaurant locations in the USA. Our specie still gathers and communes with each other in joy and compassion. While often the fire is tucked away in the back of the house – it remains the gathering place. I think as hosts, we often forget this, in the daily struggle with staffing, equipment, suppliers, et al.

How much more village can restaurateurs and chefs build by keeping their right as community builders closer to the chest? How much deeper connections can we assist in forging by recognizing each table as a unique and singular moment of opportunity to strengthen the bonds of community and humanity? And to be frank, wouldn’t a restaurant that pays attention to this enjoy the benefits of greater sustainability?

Three years after standing with Billy Shore, Mary Sue Milliken, Floyd Cardoz, Ron Ruggles and others on that Share Our Strength expedition to Katrina-devastated New Orleans, Leah re-opened her restaurant. I’m humbled that I was able to meet her. I hope my daughters have 1/100th of her spirit and determination in their lives and that they too – are community builders, no matter what their profession.

As always, I welcome your feedback, critique and observations.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO ~ Chalkboarder

@JeffreyJKingman



May 1, 2010

Facebook and what the new changes mean to the restaurant business

Facebook and what the new changes mean to the restaurant business. A podcast.

This week I was humbled and honored to participate in a podcast hosted by Paul Barron (@paulbarron), Publisher of Fast Casual Magazine. The other participants were:

Carri Bugbee (@CarriBugbee), Andrew Pascal (@ARKFoodie), and Nash Sherchan (@iRestaurant)

It was deep and enlightening to be a participant.

Jeffrey

From Paul Barron’s blog Social Coco:

What a great forum with some awesome people to discuss the recent changes at Facebook and how this may affect the restaurant business.

Joining us today: @iRestaurant @CarriBugbee @JeffreyJKingman @arkfoodie

Facebook released a variety of changes at the most recent F8 Conference.

From the Huffingtonpost:
“Having built one of the Web’s most popular hangouts, Facebook is trying to extend its reach through new tools called “social plug-ins.” These enable Facebook’s users to share their interests in such products as clothes, movies and music on other websites. For instance, you might hit a button on Levis.com indicating you like a certain style of jeans, and then recommend a movie on another site. That information about the jeans and the movie might be passed along to other people in your Facebook network, depending on your privacy settings.”

Listen in on some great ideas and commentary from experts in the restaurant industry speaking on the impact of Facebook.

March 10, 2010

Client Case Study: Coffee Fest

This past weekend Chalkboarder headed over to Meadowlands NJ to provide social media coverage of Coffee Fest’s first of three 2010 tradeshows. We were fortunate to meet some truly outstanding people within the specialty coffee and tea industry, from growers and suppliers, to roasters, coffee/tea shop owners and baristas. There seemed to be a fair number of folks attending who were planning to open a coffee/tea house.

Coffee Fest NYC Barista Competitor Megan's Signature Drink

Our mission at the Show was to journalize – to capture as much of the activity as we could to share with the friends of Coffee Fest and hopefully – that they would then share the high energy of Coffee Fest with their communities.

We’ve got some blogging to do – some retrospectives of the show. We were able to capture a large number of videos, create a Youtube Channel for Coffee Fest and engage a lot of the attendees and exhibitors through Twitter.

You can find all the videos over here at Coffee Fest Youtube, search the Twitter archives by using the hashtag #coffeefest, and stay tuned for the blog postings over here on Jeffrey Kingman’s Leaf & Berry Blog.

January 27, 2010

Brave New World

Illustration by Kathy Boake

A great article on how foodservice and hospitality operations can use social media, written for the Canadian hospitality industry by author Lesley Young for Foodservice World Magazine.

FH 01 10_BraveNewWorld

She quotes our CEO Jeffrey J Kingman in several places.

January 20, 2010

From One Chef (former) to Another: Get Real

From a Yelp Review in Portland OR

Since our table was quite long we could not converse with everyone at once. I made a visit to the other end of the table after dinner but before dessert to thank people for coming. One guest had ordered salmon and it was too under-done for her liking. She sent it back to the kitchen requesting it be cooked longer. The chef sent it back, saying that is how salmon should be cooked, refusing to cook it further. Needless to say, the guest did not eat her salmon. To me, that was over the top rude. I can just about guarantee she will not be back, and I’m not sure I will come back based on that arrogance.

Yo, Chef – WTHeck?.

We still have in this industry pretentious and jerk chefs (that jerk descriptor is directed at all the chefs I was the replacement for and had to rebuild relations with the BOH and FOH staff).

If you aren’t completely focused on giving the guest what they want – you need to get into some other field.

January 20, 2010

Yelp & Urban Spoon Comments

Guest Experience Staff Training

I’m researching a study of the restaurant industry, using Yelp and Urban Spoon as the main viewframe. While I’ve written in the past about how operators could use these two sites to their advantage, I feel compelled to share a different observation tonight.

Does your team need a refresher on what makes great experience for customers? I bet if you spent one hour with an all-staff meeting, asked them to all bring their laptops in for the meeting, then gave each staff member ten restaurants in Urban Spoon’s “Affordable Fine Dining” Category to view – that you’d have one hell of a good meeting discussion.

The trick to this is having your staff read the comments of these ten restaurants, then share the outstandingly good and bad comments with the team as a whole and then to look at yours.

Not only is this good training on excellent guest experience, it will give your staff the direct feedback of the dining public in your area; what they think about you, about your competition and what their expectations are of a good or great experience.

I promise you, it will be an eye-opener for your team.

The other thing it will do (bonus) is provide your staff with real-time competitive analysis of the other teams that they are directly competing with in your area. What a great way to bring your team even more together towards a common goal!

By the way, it’s so easy for operators to get their basic information on these sites. I am completely clueless as to why any operator would stuff these two sites with pictures, the menu, etc.

Also, it’s extremely rare to find an operator responding to the negative comments (much less the positive ones) on these sites. How much time a night does that take – to look for a comment from the night? Thirty seconds? And then to write a reply? Another five minutes to increase guest loyalty so they’ll tell all their friends about your place?

Yelp and Urban Spoon should be the most basic of social web management for a restaurant. An operator should visit them daily – that would take maybe two minutes, tops.