Archive for ‘Hospitality’

January 13, 2010

Disaster Culinary Management Teams

This is an alert seeking Chef Volunteers willing to work in field kitchens in Haiti.

Over the past 72 hours I’ve been networking with:

U.N. World Food Programme
American Culinary Federation
FohBoh (Michael Atkinson, CEO)
Share Our Strength (Billy Shore, Deb Shore and Ashley Graham)
People Report (Joni Doolin, CEO)
Fast Casual (Paul Barron, CEO)
U.S. Department of Defense (Col. David Lapan, USMC, Chief Public Affairs Officer)
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps (Lt. Col. Samuel Russell, QM, Chief of Commanding Generals Office)
Sodexo (USA and China)

I’ve had direct conversations with the above entities. Some of these conversations have led to this call being shared with the Executive Board of the National Restaurant Association, McDonalds Corporate Office, Chefs for Humanity and the U.S. White House Office of the First Lady.

The next two to three weeks in Haiti will see prepackaged ready-to-eat meals being distributed. Then, transition will occur to actual food preparation in the field. The field will be extremely challenging.

Specifics have not been solidified at this time – but I encourage anyone interested in volunteering to leave a comment here to this blogpost.

Please read comments for Updates (I’m updating in the comment section as developments occur)

Announcement: If you are a Chef that can volunteer for Haiti or might be able too, please leave a comment so we can get back to you.

The chefs and restaurateurs of the USA, particularly those affected by Hurricane Katrina, offer vast management experience in efficiently feeding large numbers of people. We’ve demonstrated this ability to hit the ground running, quickly take collaborative command of culinary management (in partnership with various government and NGO organizations) and lend our significant skill and financial resources in a large scale humanitarian response.

The combined networks of the National Restaurant Association (including its partner state hospitality organizations), the American Culinary Federation, Share Our Strength, and other entities such as FohBoh.com (largest social network for the industry), Nation’s Restaurant News and Fast Casual – represent the ability to quickly notify and mobilize volunteers and donors.

Haiti

The sheer scale of the earthquake disaster in Haiti will require mass-feeding on a scale similar to the needs facing the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I believe there are numerous talented professionals that would be willing to respond to an organized response in the field.

I also believe there are logisticians who can quickly coordinate such an effort, facilitating organization, placement and distribution of Disaster Culinary Teams in Haiti.

Much as SAR Disaster teams are fielded, the restaurant industry in the US has the ability to provide critically needed knowledge and practical experience, in addition to the financial generosity this industry is particularly known for.

Initial Actions Taken

I’ve contacted the following and have received immediate and positive feedback:

Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, the White House – waiting on a callback.

People Report, Joni Doolin, CEO

FohBoh.com, Michael Atkinson, CEO (largest social network for the restaurant industry)

Fast Casual Alliance, Paul Barron, CEO

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December 31, 2009

2010 Is About Meaningful Content

Written for and cross-posted on FohBoh.com. I’m one of ten front-page contributors to FohBoh – the largest social network for the restaurant industry with over 13,000 members.

There’s been tens of thousands of conversations this past year about social media:

  • what is it,
  • how do you quantify ROI,
  • how can you compare it to traditional marketing/advertising,
  • what is the role of traditional PR/Marketing/Ad agencies with it,
  • how do you use it, and,
  • what is the most effective strategy?

Have you figured it all out?

I haven’t – social media is extremely dynamic, fluid and changing all the time. I read the leading social media theorists (Mashable.com, Paul Barron, Amanda Hite, Chris Brogan and numerous others) constantly; every day. While I’m not an expert and never want to be called a guru, I am most definitely a proponent, a social media evangelist and power user, both for my business and on behalf of some of my clients.

There’s been a number of pronouncements in the past few weeks – predictions – of what 2010 will bring for marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. I’m here on the last day of 2009 to share my distillation of these predictions with you.

The End of Traditional Marketing & Advertising (Static Announcements)

Let’s face it – have the marketing/advertising/PR strategies of the last forty years worked for you over the last two years?

  • Is running a newspaper ad every week with a coupon really working for you?
  • Is running a thirty second radio ad like a used car salesman begging people to “come on down” really working for you?
  • Is the static “brochure” of a website really working for you?
  • Is getting listed on the restaurant page of the newspaper working for you?
  • Are the menu pages in the Yellow Book working for you?
  • Is your direct email campaign really working?
  • How results-satisfied are you with text messaging the special on hot wings and draft beer?
  • Did placing an ad in the State Visitors Guide really work for you?
  • Did making that 60 second video ad for the local cable network really pay off?
  • Are static messages (think: flyers/coupons/etc) on Facebook and Twitter working for you?
  • [for the major multiunits] Did that 30 or 60 second major network ad really build relationships in your local communities?

I could go on. It seems there’s countless means to market and advertise a static announcement to the public. Is it really working for you?

2010 Equals Content

Your customers want to believe you are in community with them – for their needs, desires and wishes. Are the traditional strategies listed above really demonstrating how much you value your customer?

So how can you communicate with your customer dynamically, meeting their needs and desires?

  • Listen to them
  • Comment on their messages – sincerely
  • Let them produce content toward you
  • Don’t get defensive
  • Keep the mantra simple: It’s Not About You : It’s About Your Customer

Paul Barron and I had a conversation last week about the landscape of marketing, advertising and the social web. In an excellent post titled “Real Time Search could impact restaurants – big time!” on his blog Social Coco, Paul states “The point is that real-time is consuming the web in terms of new content that was not there just a few short years ago. This new content will impact restaurants in a big way as consumers not brands post videos, blogs, tweets, wall posts and podcasts more about their restaurant experience. And guess what all this will come up in: real-time search!”

John Jantz, in an article titled “Small Businesses Will Simply Become More Naturally Social” (cross-posted on Social Media Today and Duck Tape Marketing), states: “Social media activity and behavior can help facilitate communication and connection with your entire collaboration universe: prospects, customers, suppliers, partners, and employees and as such should be freed from the limited thinking.”

Free Stuff

We all like free stuff in this industry – free samples from the sales rep, free food and goodies from the tradeshows, etc. The old saying “free is a very good price” is part of our weekly vernacular. How many of you like free positive publicity?

Why not encourage your customers to share their life-stories with you through social media? Maybe a customer’s son or daughter videotaped the parents wedding anniversary dinner at your place. Perhaps a kid on the local baseball team is a regular customer – ask him for an interview that you can share. Take a couple pictures of your favorite businesspeople around town – share them through social media:

“My friend Joe at Zeke’s Auto knows more about foreign cars than anyone else I know. (picture link on web of Joe)”

What I’m suggesting is to use your marketing/advertising efforts to build community instead of standing on the street corner bull-horning the nightly special.

The 24 to 48 Hour News Cycle

I’m not saying never talk about your business – I’m saying make the community needs of your customers take priority in your marketing/advertising. I’m saying that even large multi-units can do this – by being meaningfully engaged in local community through social media.

You have the opportunity to create a localized 24 to 48 hour news channel that benefits and build community. And when you talk mostly about others, when you put others first, when you give to the community – it will reward you.

People will respond – and they will love the occasional story from your crew! You – as restaurant owner, as chef or line cook, as general manager, bartender or waiter, hostess or dishwasher – have the opportunity; the right even… or perhaps responsibility, to connect community together – just as much as the minister, town council member or fireman.

Tell your community’s stories first through your messages and your stories last. People will notice. Make your message revolve around your customers, not you.

Blogpost Fluff: Top 2009 Facebook Statistics

Facebook currently boasts over 350 million users

50 percent of Facebook users log on in any given day

Each day, 35 million users update their status

55 million status updates are posted each day

2.5 billion photos are uploaded to the site each month

3.5 million events are created each month

There are more than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook

Over 700,000 local businesses maintain active Pages on Facebook

Users

The average user has 130 friends on the site

On average, users spend more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook

The Like button is used on 9 pieces of content on average each month

25 comments are written by users on Facebook content each month

Most users are member of at least 12 groups

International

About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

December 17, 2009

Debate About Customer Contact and Feedback Systems

Debate About Customer Contact/Feedback Systems

Social Web, Email, Paper Comment Cards, Tableside and Blogs

Technology is completely changing the game for service industries. You would not be reading this post two years ago if it weren’t for the atomic explosion of the social web.

I believe paper comment cards are dead. They have zero value today. For reasons enumerated by several sources here in FohBoh and my own observations, I declare the paper comment card an archeological relic of an earlier age. If you are still using paper comment cards, you’re a dinosaur.

I also believe there is limited functionality communicating with customers via email. Do you really think a customer is going to provide their email address to you – just so you can send them advertising and marketing? My email inbox is flooded with relevant content: Clients, Peers, LinkedIn discussions, about twenty different Smart Briefs, Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and my favorite blogs that I want to see; not to mention the tweets I want to save. I don’t have time to open your advertising and marketing junk (especially if I opened it once before and that is what it was).

Blogs that are written well, contain intriguing imagery or video with compelling content, are informative of the life of your business (meaning your people, your passions, where you source your materials, or what fun-filled special event is happening) are going to interest me. I’ll probably follow you – either by RSS feed or asking you to directly email me with it. I know it’s a blog. I know that you’ve put time into it. It’s succinct, relevant and visually compelling.

But I’m here today to argue something tried and true. Visiting tables. You know this works. Just as you know that if the POS system fails, you can always write chits.

I wonder how many operators keep old-school blank ticket pads in the office for that emergency?

There’s no more effective customer contact and customer feedback system than the owner or manager spending time on the floor visiting tables. Chatting up regulars and greeting new faces is the simplest, easiest and most direct personal contact an operator can implement to build relationships and get feedback, discover customer concerns and let the customer know how much you appreciate their business. It’s at this point that gaining effective feedback happens, whether that is verbal communication or using digitally based survey collection/reward systems.

Now Immagonna give you a twist, before I give the microphone back to ya.

The social web, with it’s different networks like Facebook, Twitter, Urbanspoon etc., is virtual tableside. Customers find it much easier to “friend you” through social networks than they do to give you their email. They find it much easier to post comments on restaurant search sites, than they do to (risk their security) provide you their email. And you get to draw them into conversations. Just as there is a virtual front door to your restaurant – there’s a virtual tableside chat waiting for you.

If you want examples of this, go follow Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill on Twitter (@Rick_Bayless) or Ron Zimmerman of the Herb Garden ($190 pp dinners) on Twitter (@Herbguy). They’ve been doing it for a year. The customer feedback they receive is astounding.

Over on Facebook, search out the Boston restaurant Myers & Chang – they do it as does Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse in NorthamptonMA (owned by a socialmedia rockstar).

These case studies prove that restaurants across the dining option spectrum use social media to engage existing and new potential customers by visiting tableside – virtually – and on the floor.

Do you disagree with any portion of this post? I’d love to hear it and debate you…

An interesting find:

A few days ago I received a tweet sharing a 20 minute video by the Executive Editor of WIRED magazine, Kevin Kelly, titled “The Next 5,000 Days On The Web”. Did you know that the web is only 5,000 days old now? That’s only thirteen years. We’ve only had email for less than fourteen years. We’ve only had Facebook since 2004. We’ve only had Twitter since 2006.

December 10, 2009

Social Media Marketing in the Restaurant Business – Guest post by Justin Levy

“I’m often asked about the story of my little steakhouse, Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse, in Northampton, MA. It’s not often that I write about our full story. Well, recently I was asked to contribute a case study to the WOMMA Metrics Guidebook. I thought it may provide for an interesting read for you and may give you some insights or be helpful to you for application into your industry. Once you’re done reading, or even before you start reading, make sure you download the WOMMA Metrics Guidebook.” Justin Levy

This is a guest post by Justin Levy. His background:

Justin Levy is General Manager of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency as well home to the Inbound Marketing Summit events, Inbound Marketing Bootcamps and a host of other educational events. In this role Justin helps businesses navigate the unknown seas of new media marketing including how to use social media tools, blogs, community platforms, and listening tools to drive business value. If you’d like more information about how Justin can help your business, please contact him.

When not busy with New Marketing Labs, Justin is Partner and General Manager of Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse, located in Northampton, MA. To learn more about Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse, please visit our About section. To share his food expertise, Justin also blogs at Prime Cuts where he teaches his readers kitchen techniques, how to cook, how to grill and shares innovative recipes.

Justin regularly speaks to groups and at events about his successes in driving revenue using new media with his steakhouse. You can find Justin at many different social media, marketing and tech events, conferences and meetups. If you’re interested in having Justin speak at your next event, please check out his Speaking Page.

In general, restaurants have a few main ways that they typically market their business: You can run ads in the local grillnewspapers, buy radio spots, have television commercials produced, and grab prime billboard locations. All of these marketing tools will help gain a restaurant visibility and exposure. They’re part of most restaurants’ marketing toolboxes. But, these marketing tools don’t help when an increasing number of eyeballs are turning to Google as their primary source of information.

When my best friend and now-partner, Joseph Gionfriddo, purchased Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse, the extent of the restaurant’s web presence consisted of, essentially, just a copy of the menu. Joe was spending most of the marketing budget on local newspapers and radio spots. The restaurant was struggling to survive even though the food that Joe prepared was some of the best I, and everyone else that came through Caminito’s doors, had ever tried.

Recognizing an opportunity to lower our marketing budget and use the web as the primary tool to drive more bodies through the front door, I approached Joe with the offer of a partnership. My primary responsibility: create the strongest presence, both offline and online, for Caminito, in as short of time as possible.

We immediately sketched out a 12-month strategic marketing plan that included:

* A complete revamp of the website.
* Developing an online presence through social networks, a blog, and a video blog.
* Creating a listening station that allowed us to monitor for conversations across the web about us, our restaurant, our competition and our industry.

Since many of these tactics provide for solid SEO, as part of our goals, it helped us to gain several thousand links in Google and other major search engines. As our online presence became stronger and we developed a more engaged community, we began to rank for prime keywords that we targeted as being important for our restaurant to drive business through search results.

Our take: if prospective customers ran searches for restaurants in the area while making a decision of where to dine and our restaurant dominated the front page of Google, they would be more likely to visit Caminito. Though we had made the decision to decrease our traditional marketing spend by approximately 80% we still continued to run local newspaper and some radio spots. Since not all of our customers use the Internet to do their research, it was important to us to continue to use these avenues to reach our customers. We also contacted each of the newspapers, other print publications, radio and associations to negotiate for digital advertising options, linkbacks on their websites, logo, bio and/or menu publishing.

The first month of this strategy being in play we saw a sales increase of 20% as compared to the same month the previous year. Over the past almost two years we have maintained an increase in sales every single month as compared to the same month the previous year. Additionally, we have finished each year approximately 20-25% up in sales as compared to previous years.

As time has continued, we have tweaked our strategic marketing plan but still maintain the above tactics. This has helped to continue to create conversations, both online and offline. To measure the continued increase in online conversations we use a combination of Google Alerts and Twitter Search. While this does create some duplication, it ensures that we never miss any conversations happening around us, our brand, our competition, or our industry. We monitor offline conversations through anecdotal interactions we have with our community and inferred through the continued increase in new customers and increased sales.

To further guide decision-making we also measure everything from the number of comments we receive on a blog post, to the number of hits on a video, the total number of subscribers, where those subscribers come from, how and where our blog and video posts are shared, who shares them, the level of engagement we have, the number of conversations that are started and tons more. The challenge is keeping up with all of this data flowing in and bringing it all together to analyze our overall online impact.

As a result of the measurement systems we have in place the impact of online and offline conversations is clear to us. Online conversations help to further our online brand, increase conversations, improve search rank for evolving prime keywords, demonstrate and expertise in the food industry, create new opportunities, and increase sales. The offline conversations translate to word of mouth marketing that helps to drive increase and repeat sales.

November 6, 2009

Are your servers making spitballs of “bad” comment cards?

Do your restaurant managers get every comment card guests fill out? Are waitstaff trashing the bad comment cards? Do you have an effective means to capture guest contact info via “opt-in”?

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Rewarding Feedback – a phenomenal new consumer-focused product that was invented with the primary focus of driving revenue to restaurants, gaming establishments and service firms.

This unique process collects guest experience data at the time of the experience in exchange for coupons for a future visit. The Rewarding Feedback process replaces the need for paper surveys, online questionnaires, telephone follow-ups and even mystery shopper services. The process provides the opportunity for the business to obtain feedback on every customer interaction (rather than the typically low volume of feedback results currently received by conventional means).

The standard restaurant implementation has the on-site hostess present the guest with Rewarding Feedback equipment to complete a quick survey at the end of their meal. Upon completion of the survey, the data is analyzed instantly. The guest receives a valuable coupon, regardless of the survey results, but if the guest experience has been satisfactory, a second coupon is provided to the customer to share with a friend. If the guest experience has been deemed less than satisfactory, on-site management is notified of the problem immediately, thereby allowing the establishment to “save” the relationship with the guest, before they get their bill. Coupon types and expiries can be varied, depending on the marketing campaign established.  In addition, you can market the coupons to other organizations – creating additional revenue.

What makes the Rewarding Feedback process so valuable is that it allows every establishment to collect real-time, actionable data while at the same time turning the consumer into a valuable marketing resource on behalf of the business.
Our reporting portal allows management resources to review individual establishment results or compare results from a single establishment against others in a defined region and/or chain.

For more information visit Rewarding Feedback.

November 6, 2009

Sodexo Uses Social Media in Recruiting Hospitality Professionals

A number of weeks ago I met Kerry Noone, Marketing Communications Manager for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition Group over Twitter. While I do not remember the context of the original dialogue, we’ve chatted at length about Sodexo’s use of social media – especially in recruiting top talent for their organization. Kerry has over 3,000 followers on Twitter and 228 on Facebook.

Sodexo recognized the proposition value of using social media in recruiting in 2007, more than tripling the traffic to their career website. Perhaps the strongest statement from dialoguing with Kerry is this – “In order for a company of any size to use social media successfully for recruiting they have to be consistent, honest, genuine and, most importantly, they have to be responsive. We respond to every wall post or discussion question related to the culture and experience of working for Sodexo because we want potential candidates to know there are real people ready to help.”

The formal interview is here:

When and how did Sodexo see the ROI and value of using social media as a platform for recruiting top professionals?

Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition team set out to create positive experiences for our candidates through Social Media marketing in 2007, which in turn has helped us to strengthen our employment brand and drive traffic to our Careers website. Soon after we started using social media marketing, we more than tripled traffic to our career site and these tools have helped us reduce our investment and reliance on job boards. If there is a number to track, we track it. We look at the number of Facebook members, LinkedIn group members, Twitter followers, YouTube video views, returning and unique visitors to our blog, click throughs on the links, trendlines, etc.

Other tangible results include :

· Increased traffic to Sodexo Careers web page of 182% since launch of our initiative

· Sodexo Careers social media properties provide approximately 142,000 page views and more than 5 million media impressions per year

· Sodexo Careers Blog: The blog site has been visited over 22,000 times since it’s launch and now receives about 3000 unique visitors per month

· Sodexo Careers Facebook fan page now has over 1200 fans and receives more than 4000 page views per month.

· Sodexo Careers LinkedIn group has almost 1400 members and over 100 discussions have been started or commented on by our members.

· YouTube – over 60,000 video views since the launch of the channel in 2008.

· Sodexo Careers on Twitter has more than 3000 followers.

· More than 50 members of our recruitment team and several other Sodexo employees are active on twitter, greatly expanding the reach of our brand and helping to grow the targeted talent networks that will fill our positions.

How long and how complicated of an assessment process was it for Sodexo to arrive at a decision to use social media in human resourcing?

Even before participating in the first Second Life Virtual Careers Fairs with Sodexo in May 2007, we realized the future of recruiting would include online social spaces. We saw an opportunity to use Social Media marketing to audit our brand, participate in conversations, increase our positive footprint on the internet and to build personal relationships with potential candidates and current employees. In November 2007, we created our Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a Linkedin group and, in January 2008, we launched our Careers blog. More recently, we have started using Twitter and Flickr. Soon after establishing a company presence on these sites, we trained our team of more than 50 recruiters to use these tools to network and communicate with potential candidates. With more than 110,000 US employees and 6,000 client locations we have career growth opportunities that need to be creatively communicated. Most candidates know us as a food services management company, however, we are a leading facilities management provider and part of a global organization with talent needs in IT, Marketing, sales, etc. We are able to highlight unique jobs on our blog by highlighting some of our employees and their experiences in and out of work.Our goal is to give our visitors the opportunity to take a look inside Sodexo, to interact with us and to strengthen our employment brand and improve our candidate experience.

Is social media paying off for Sodexo as a human resource strategy? If so, any success examples?

Once we started using social networking sites to connect with people, it didn’t take long before we started to build relationships with potential candidates. We look at the interactions and discussions within the groups and can easily determine the great value and therefore success of our social media strategy. As an example, if you are familiar with the Sodexo Careers Facebook page, you’ll see we are talking to candidates every day. Our candidates are reaching out to let us know how much they appreciate the access to our recruiters. Our recruiters have embraced social media in their jobs as recruiters. Without them we would not be actively communicating with candidates across the country about their career opportunities on Facebook, Linkedin, our blog, and on Twitter. The active participation of all of our recruiters is what sets us apart from other companies using social recruiting. Our social media marketing has become a valuable online resource for candidates across the country seeking more information about Sodexo and for employees around the world with the desire to connect with their colleagues.

Did Sodexo try any strategy that ultimately proved not to work and was discarded?

The ultimate goal of any recruitment strategy is to generate candidates and hires and we have several examples where Social Media has played an integral role in identifying and/or attracting a recent hire. Traffic and hires are tracked as best as they were able (recognizing that hires often come from multiple sources). As I mentioned before, if there is a number to track, we track it — Facebook members, LinkedIn group members, Twitter followers, YouTube video views, returning and unique visitors to our blog, click throughs on the links, trendlines, etc. By looking at the numbers monthly we are able to see the growth and activity. We are also able to identify activities that have increased or decreased traffic and make adjustments to our plans. We look at the interactions and discussions within the groups and how they all work together to promote each other.

What are the networks being used and why?

We started with our careers blog, Facebook, Linkedin, and a You Tube channel in November 2007. In 2008 we added Twitter and Flickr to our social media marketing. The purpose of our social networking efforts has been to build personal relationships with potential candidates and current employees and our goal is to give our visitors the opportunity to take a look inside Sodexo, to interact with us and to strengthen our employment brand, which is why we have been careful not to take on too much and remain focused on building the networks we have.

What recommendations would you give an independent or small unit operator in using social media to find good people?

Companies that are not using Social Media for recruiting are missing out on the opportunity to connect with candidates. The easier you make it for candidates to connect with you through social networking sites the more successful you will be with your social recruiting, which is one of the reasons we created a “Network With Us” page on our career site. We want candidates to reach out to us. In order for a company of any size to use social media successfully for recruiting they have to be consistent, honest, genuine and, most importantly, they have to be responsive. We respond to every wall post or discussion question related to the culture and experience of working for Sodexo because we want potential candidates to know there are real people ready to help. Of course when an organization decides to create a Social Media strategy for branding or recruiting, it’s important to consider the risks. For example, as a publicly traded company, there are issues we are unable to discuss legally. We’ve made a conscious decision to allow virtually any discussion, positive or negative, as long as it isn’t offensive and is related to the culture and experience of working for Sodexo. As the voice behind our social media marketing, I am often the first person to welcome a candidate to this space on the internet we call “Sodexo Careers” but ultimately the goal is to connect candidates with recruiters and our Hiring Managers. It’s also important to communicate your brand consistently on all of your social spaces and avoid copying and pasting corporate press releases into your sites to maintain a genuine and personal approach.

Foodservice companies of all sizes can effectively use social networking to meet their human resource acquisition needs. It’s likely to source better candidates than traditional print media and has a much lower cost to execute. The other tangible benefit is that it markets your organization brand to the public through one more channel.

But please, don’t just put out a message that anonymously says:

“Needed: Chef with experience. Send resume via email with cover letter stating why you want to work for us.”

Everytime I saw a job announcement like that I was confounded on how the heck I would know why I would want to work for you – if I couldn’t know who you were…

You can contact Kerry Noone via the Sodexo Career blog at http://www.sodexocareersblog.com/

October 13, 2009

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Welcome to Chalkboarder.com’s chalkARTblast! Inside you’ll find ~

  • Our Client’s News
  • Social Web News Clippings
  • Chalkboarder.com News
  • Job Openings at Chalkboarder.com
  • Favorite Blog Posts Last Week
  • Video Pick of the Week

And other goodies we liked from last week J

ADVERTISEMENT

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Customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty are

built from the table up.

Your food, service, management and corporate identity meet the customer in the restaurant. So why wait until customers leave to measure their experience? Through Rewarding Feedback your customers can articulate specific experiences that are important to them. Rewarding Feedback allows your managers to “hear” what customers are saying while they are still seated and at the height of their dining experience.

Rewarding Feedback

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Chalkboarder.com Client News This Week

1337 Wine & 1337 Wine TV

Following a conversation with Marc Fusco, Owner of 1337 Wine, we’re sharing his Skype Wine Tasting Series over social networks. An amazing idea bringing Vintners to a tasting through Skype from around the world.

Rewarding Feedback Inc,

Headquartered in Toronto CAN with a US Sales office in Las Vegas, Rewarding Feedback retained Chocorua Group and Chalkboarder.com to collaboratively strategize and execute market penetration into the USA.

As part of that process, they and Chalkboarder.com are developing an extended eight month social media campaign.

Update: Developing two month strategies for introducing Rewarding Feedback to multi-unit and independent restaurant organizations, with specific targets in New England and the Pacific NW.

Jenee Halstead

Update: Jenee is “back in the saddle again”. We’re searching for an artist to design cover art for her newest release, an EP; almost ready for release. With Chalkboarder.com, Jenee is crafting a holiday card campaign and the social web distribution of her new EP. Other activity includes Chalkboarder.com updating and consolidating her social network operations and strategies.

Tapwater Music

It seems to be the time of year when music groups go into partial seclusion – Tapwater is taking some time off from the road, while their frontman spends a month or so in Africa. We’re really looking forward to his return and sharing new sounds he’s discovered. For Tapwater, Chalkboarder.com is busy building a new website and blog, in addition to developing a comprehensive year long social web strategy.

Update: Chalkboarder.com is working on Tapwater’s new website design and new blog.

Savant Culinaire

While Savant Culinaire is a sister company to Chalkboarder.com – or, more of a pet travel project of ours – we think its appropriate to share what Chalkboarder.com is doing on their behalf.

Savant Culinaire is offering a sweet package gastronomic tour of Chile in late March of 2010. Chalkboarder.com is executing the social web networking and promotion of this amazing itinerary.

Update: Savant Culinaire is exploring the idea of partner relationships with wine/food oriented social media tycoons.

Chocorua Group

Chocorua Group (a sister company of Chalkboarder.com) offers strategic brand and concept development for organizations. They are excited to announce that Rewarding Feedback has retained their services for the next eight months.

Chocorua Group will be assisting Rewarding Feedback with market presence in the USA hospitality and other industries. Stay tuned through Chalkboarder.com for more announcements – such as taking Rewarding Feedback to the following trade shows:

  • New England Food Show, Boston
  • Las Vegas International Restaurant, Nightclub & Bar Show
  • National Restaurant Show, Chicago

Update: Chalkboarder.com is now conducting social media awareness of Chocorua Group via social media and networking.

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Social Web Clippings ~ Our Favorites From The Last Week

Mashable How To: Use Social Media in Your PR Pitch Plan

Seattle Post Intelligencer Starbucks, Microsoft Mighty in Social-Media Marketing

Mashable Young Social Mediaphiles: 36% Tweet and Check Facebook After Sex

Justin R Levy Determining Social Media ROI

Brand Savant What’s Wrong With Social Media Marketing Strategy

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Chalkboarder.com News

Employment Announcements

  • Group Creative Director. Searching for a PortlandOR based Creative Director experienced in edgy public relations/marketing campaigns, communications, social web. Must be street and business savvy and “get” cutting edge social media.
  • Chief Technology Officer. Searching for a CTO well and deeply versed in Web 2.0 and 3.0 developments. Must have deep experience in web and mobile applications.
  • Regional Sales Directors. Chalkboarder.com is searching for uniquely qualified persons with established networks, especially in the hospitality industry. Commission based with benchmark milestone ownership opportunities. Opportunities for this position exist geographically in:
  • Boston
  • Washington, DC
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco, and
  • Los Angeles

We are in second round interviews with very talented applicants for NYC and Atlanta.

  • Social Web Strategists. Searching for talented and creative account managers. Based in PortlandOR. Must be fluent and established in the social web. High personal follower counts are a plus.
  • Human Resource Director. Searching for a talented and savvy HR Director to be based in PortlandOR.
  • Chalk Artist. We’re looking for one unique artist, experienced in the traditional medium of chalk art. Half-time to start. This position is Oregon based and will produce a video-taped chalk art rendering of a Chalkboarder.com’s client message for each chalkARTblast. Videos will be permanently maintained on You Tube and distributed virally. Great opportunity to get your skills noticed.

Negotiations This Week

  • Veritable Quandary. We’ve pitched a proposal to one of PortlandOregon’s most venerable restaurants to execute their social media.
  • Paddy’s Bar & Grill. We’ve initiated contact with another of PortlandOregon’s restaurant and bar insitutions.
  • Le Cordon Bleu. We’ve begun a dialogue with the Chief Marketing Officer for this national group of culinary schools to interview them for an article on how culinary schools use social media.
  • Coffee Fest. We were invited to present a seminar at Coffee Fest NYC/NJ in March and when asked if we could propose social media services, were invited too. We issued a comprehensive social media proposal to them today.
  • Social Grub. Still in dialogue with Social Grub on many levels. If we land them, you’ll be first to know!
  • Montana Stock Growers Association. Ranchers move a bit more patiently than the rest of us – we know they’re busy getting ready for winter. We’re patient with these folks – they’re ranching families that live pretty rurally. We did hear last Thursday that it had dropped over two feet of snow just north of YellowstoneNational Park.
  • Denominational Capital Campaign Consultancy. Dialogue continues with this quiet, yet effective consulting group, that approached us for assistance in guiding churches on social media applications.
  • Subcontracting to traditional PR/Marketing Agencies. Negotiations are waiting on response to proposals from firms in NYC and Virginia.
  • We’re launching a global social media campaign pitch to one of the world’s most distinctive alcohol brands, Jagermeister. Stay tuned on this.

Publishing, Speaking, Seminars & Conferences

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO, was invited to present a seminar on social media/web at Coffee Fest in NY/NJ, March 4, 2010.

Jeffrey and Dr. Ola Ayeni of M-Dialog are co-producing a video webinar on social web applications to the hospitality industry, scheduled for Nov. 16. This panel dialogue will also include Paul Barron, Publisher of Fast Casual Magazine. Dr. Ayeni, through a personal relationship, is asking the Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook to moderate. Stay Tuned for further details!

Jeffrey and Bill Bridgmon (VP of Sales, Chalkboarder.com) are attending the International Hotel/Motel/Restaurant Show in NYC November 7-9 for networking and potential clients.

Jeffrey will be attending (with a media pass) People Reports Best Practices Conference in Dallas, November 10-12. This conference brings together hundreds of CEOs and HR Directors from the major multi-unit restaurant chains in the USA. Networking opportunities abound.

Jeffrey will be exhibiting Chalkboarder.com at the annual New England conference of Professional Association of International Innkeepers, November 16-18 in Nashua, NH.

Jeffrey posted his first article on FohBoh last Thursday as one of their ten featured front-page contributors. Here’s the link to Emergent Social Technology Is Changing Hospitality Right Now: Supply Line. All content posted on FohBoh is also cross-posted on our blog – and Jeffrey is a fairly active writer!

Jeffrey was asked by the magazine Today’s Restaurant to contribute an article for their special May issue devoted entirely to emergent technology.

Stay tuned for information and a link to a webinar on social media that Jeffrey participated in last week.

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Noted Blogs

Nation’s Restaurant News TV Show Bachelorette Looking for a Few Good Restaurant Men

Special Video Blog by Volkswagen

Musical StairsRolighetsteorin.se – The fun theory

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Video Of The Week

(for fun)

The Luckiest People In The World

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chalkARTblast is produced by Chalkboarder.com

Currently published Mondays, except on federal holidays.

Future publishing will be daily.

Copyright Ó2009 Chalkboarder.com LLC

(503) 305-6397

info

October 7, 2009

Emergent Social Technology Is Changing Hospitality Right Now: Supply Line

Tuesday’s front page FohBohist Amanda Hite shared an outstanding video produced by The Economist – titled “Did You Know 4.0 – The Media Landscape”

The video visually and effectively describes the cresting radicalization of mobile and social web technologies that are already changing the Hospitality Landscape. Are you prepared for this tsunami to affect your operations?

How will emergent mobile and web technology change the hospitality industry over the next couple of years? Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing communications with Nadia Aly of Microsoft, Michael Atkinson (FohBoh CEO), Paul Barron (Fast Casual) and others who are thinking about this topic.

Much of the dialogue here on FohBoh has centered on how operators should prepare for and take advantage of social media and social networking. There’s been less dialogue on how emergent technologies and applications can improve the efficiency, productiveness and financial return for suppliers and distributors. How can the supply/distribution chain quickly assess and implement new web and media applications to provide greater service to operators?

Let’s look at the various sides of emergent technology and web applications in this light.

Supplier/Distributer Social Networks

What are the advantages to a supplier or distributor in embracing social networks like Facebook or Twitter?

• Increased face-time with operators at their convenience.
• Mini-sales campaigns through social networks.
• Paper-less marketing.
• Introduction of new products through social networks and online redemptions.
• Directly engaging suppliers/food manufacturers through the distributor.

I’ll give you an example, based on years as an Executive Chef. My life as a Chef is busy; this you know. I usually do not have a lot of time to meet personally with the Sales Rep. Often; the Sales Rep drops a sell-sheet, which I might just throw in the trash due to my workload.

It’s likely that I am logging into Facebook at the beginning or end of a day. In the future, my full-line distributor has posted a food manufacturer profile; perhaps with a short video showing me the best product they have to offer and explaining it. Maybe that is a new potato product from McCain or a new green To-Go container from someone else. That message might also offer me a deal if I click on a digital coupon to take advantage. The message is there at my convenience and puts me directly into engagement with the manufacturer.

• Delivery Logistics/Announcements
• Short Orders on Trucks
• Last Minute Deals

Again, let’s go to the future for the Chef. Wouldn’t it be great if the transportation director at the distributor could send a Twitter message to me letting me know the truck is an hour or more late (or – broken down a few hours away)?

I’d be thrilled as the Chef to get advance notice early in the day on my Twitter account that the truck doesn’t have the dried mushrooms I ordered; well, not thrilled, but at least the distributor is giving me and my Sales Rep a heads up so we can figure out a solution as soon as possible.

You know, that Twitter message you sent me 4 pm on Ordering Day, about the buy three cases get one free – I might just take you up on that, especially if I could Tweet you back and say put it on my order. Last minute sale, anyone?

I’m sure there are others here who can think of the social network benefits suppliers and distributors could bring to operators.

QR – Microsoft TAG ~ The Next Evolution of Bar Codes

QR / TAG is the next generation of bar-coding. FOHBOH has an example of the FOHBOH TAG on the front page.

Michael Atkinson posted a great article on Microsoft TAG and QR late Tuesday night – pointed at operators. Let’s look at how manufacturers, suppliers and distributors could take advantage of this intriguing application.

What if the Chef could pass his camera phone over a TAG printed on the delivery invoice, get a secure link to all the invoice data, download that data in comma-separated format and import it right into his inventory management software?

Here’s the benefit to the operator. First, transparency and accountability in the inventory process. There’s no room to manipulate the inventory to skew the cost percentages at the end of the month. The only real variable becomes waste. The distributor is the data entry into the inventory, not the Receiving Agent or Chef.

Second, the ending inventory becomes a different process. If the purchases are being put into the inventory equation on delivery and the sales of inventory are being redacted on the sale – at the end of the period a report of what you should have on hand is generated. With that, inventory becomes a process of marking discrepancies (“hmmm, now where did that go?”).

Third, real-time financial data. Instead of the Chef or Receiving Agent physically updating the purchase cost of items, it’s done automatically, creating a financial document, the inventory that is transparent and last cost purchased. How many inventories have you seen where the prices were at least a few months old? With the volatility of markets, how does that reflect an accurate snapshot or report of your financial position?

What about putting a TAG on a head of beef at birth? Some of my ranching friends are not going to be real keen on this idea of trace-back ability. That TAG gets updated with every inoculation or inspection the animal receives. It gets updated when the animal is moved from ranch to feedlot and then updated again when run through the slaughterhouse. The information on the TAG is then shot-gunned to every portion cut with new TAGS. What does this mean in today’s guest-driven market?

• Product Recall – Instant TAG scan of the steaks in the Chef’s cooler with the mobile phone. Chef knows immediately.
• Empower Restaurant Sales – The restaurant can scan the tags on cryovaced portion cuts and inform their customers that the steaks this week are from Bar-O Ranch in Wyoming, grass-fed on prairie grass and fattened in Nebraska. They could even tell their customers when the animal was born. How powerful is that message from the restaurateur to the customer?

Again, the opportunities to use this new technology are endless. A winery could TAG their bottles with tons of specific information. The wait staff could – heck, even the customer could – scan the TAG on the bottle and know the details of terroir, date of harvest and time in cask.

What if the food manufacturer put a redemption TAG on the case delivered to the operator that they could scan with their phone and email in? What if the distributor put a TAG on the invoice informing the operator of special announcements? What if industry suppliers put TAGs on their magazine advertising containing deals or further information – does this mean the end of product request cards that you have to mail in? What if the manufacturer distributed through Twitter or Facebook to distributors a message with an embedded TAG communicating something compelling with a call-to-action? What if a Sales Rep showed a TAG on his phone that the Chef scanned with his, again sharing a message from either the manufacturer or the distributor?

Here is the TAG I use for Chalkboarder.com.

Chalkboarder.com Services MS Tag

Chalkboarder.com Services MS Tag

Nadia Aly from Microsoft shared with me several other sources for learning about TAGs:

Conclusion

The Social Web, new applications and social networks are creating vast opportunities for unique developments in our industry, not just for operators, but also for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. The industry engagement across the board is about to explode. All stakeholders in our industry have the opportunity to be incredibly more dynamic, efficient and communicative. How is your organization preparing or strategizing to capitalize on this tsunami?

As always, blog posts here on FohBoh are invitations for engagement and dialogue. We’d love to know what you think about this… got ideas?

October 5, 2009

chalkARTblast 001 : Chalkboarder.com’s New Weekly Bulletin

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chalkARTblast 001

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Welcome to Chalkboarder.com’s first issue of chalkARTblast! Inside you’ll find ~

  • Our Client’s News
  • Social Web News Clippings
  • Chalkboarder.com News
  • Video Pick of the Week
  • Job Openings at Chalkboarder.com
  • Favorite Blog Posts Last Week

And other goodies we liked from last week J

ADVERTISEMENT

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Customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty are

built from the table up.

Your food, service, management and corporate identity meet the customer in the restaurant. So why wait until customers leave to measure their experience? Through Rewarding Feedback your customers can articulate specific experiences that are important to them. Rewarding Feedback allows your managers to “hear” what customers are saying while they are still seated and at the height of their dining experience.

Rewarding Feedback

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Chalkboarder.com Client News This Week

Rewarding Feedback Inc,

Headquartered in Toronto CAN with a US Sales office in Las Vegas, Rewarding Feedback retained Chocorua Group and Chalkboarder.com to collaboratively strategize and execute market penetration into the USA.

As part of that process, they and Chalkboarder.com are creating an extended eight month social media campaign.

Jenee Halstead

Jenee is in partial retreat for now – working on music and other lifestyle developments. Her newest release, an EP, is almost ready for release. With Chalkboarder.com, Jenee is crafting a holiday campaign and the social web distribution of her new EP.

Tapwater Music

It seems to be the time of year when music groups go into partial seclusion – Tapwater is taking some time off from the road, while their frontman spends a month or so in Africa. We’re really looking forward to his return and sharing new sounds he’s discovered. For Tapwater, Chalkboarder.com is busy building a new website and blog, in addition to developing a comprehensive year long social web strategy.

Savant Culinaire

While Savant Culinaire is a sister company to Chalkboarder.com – or, more of a pet travel project of ours – we think its appropriate to share what Chalkboarder.com is doing on their behalf.

Savant Culinaire is offering a sweet package gastronomic tour of Chile in late March of 2010. Chalkboarder.com is executing the social web networking and promotion of this amazing itinerary.

Chocorua Group

Chocorua Group offers strategic brand and concept development for organizations. They are excited to announce that Rewarding Feedback has retained their services for the next eight months.

Chocorua Group will be assisting Rewarding Feedback with market presence in the USA hospitality and other industries. Stay tuned through Chalkboarder.com for more announcements – such as taking Rewarding Feedback to the following trade shows:

  • New England Food Show, Boston
  • Las Vegas International Restaurant, Nightclub & Bar Show
  • National Restaurant Show, Chicago

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Social Web Clippings ~ Our Favorites From The Last Week

Social Media Today ~ A great article on Best Buy’s recent Facebook snafu. Did they handle it appropriately?

Mashable ~ Mashable reports that Internet Ad Spending in the UK has now topped Television spending.

Mashable ~ We love Mashable’s reporting on the social web. This article lists the 10 Most Romantic Social Media Finds.

Christian Science Monitor ~ CSM is reporting on how Facebook and Twitter are helping the flood victims in the Philippines flee rising waters.

Mashable ~ Five Ways to Make Your Business Transparent. Good reads, good reads.

Social Media Explorer ~ Social Media for a Small Business Restaurant

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Chalkboarder.com News

Employment Announcements

  • Group Creative Director. Searching for a PortlandOR based Creative Director experienced in edgy public relations/marketing campaigns, communications, social web. Must be street and business savvy and “get” cutting edge social media.
  • Chief Technology Officer. Searching for a CTO well and deeply versed in Web 2.0 and 3.0 developments. Must have deep experience in web and mobile applications.
  • Regional Sales Directors. Chalkboarder.com is searching for uniquely qualified persons with established networks, especially in the hospitality industry. Commission based with benchmark milestone ownership opportunities.
  • Social Web Strategists. Searching for talented and creative account managers. Based in PortlandOR. Must be fluent and established in the social web. High personal follower counts are a plus.
  • Human Resource Director. Searching for a talented and savvy HR Director to be based in PortlandOR.
  • Chalk Artist. We’re looking for one unique artist, experienced in the traditional medium of chalk art. Half-time to start. This position is Oregon based and will produce a video-taped chalk art rendering of a Chalkboarder.com’s client message for each chalkARTblast. Videos will be permanently maintained on You Tube and distributed virally. Great opportunity to get your skills noticed.

Negotiations This Week

  • Social Grub. We’re in dialogue with Social Grub on many levels. If we land them, you’ll be first to know!
  • Montana Stock Growers Association. Dialogue should resume again this week. We’re patient with these folks – they’re ranching families that live pretty rurally. We did hear this morning that it had snowed deeply in parts of Montana, so we guess they are pretty busy getting their stock into appropriate quarters.
  • Denominational Capital Campaign Consultancy. This quiet, yet effective consulting group, has approached us for assistance in guiding churches on social media applications. Very intriguing ideas.
  • Subcontracting to traditional PR/Marketing Agencies. We’re exploring two negotiations this week, one with a firm in NYC and the other with a firm in VA. Both are very talented PR/Marketing firms. The VA firm is led by the former Marketing Director of AOL and Mapquest.
  • We’re launching a global social media campaign pitch to one of the world’s most distinctive alcohol brands. We think we’ve got a great idea – and since we’re only one connection removed from the top – an outstanding chance.

Publishing

Jeffrey Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder.com posts his first article on FohBoh Thursday as one of their ten featured front-page contributors. In it, he’ll explore what the social web could mean for suppliers and distributors in the hospitality industry and how that might increase operator sales volumes.

Additionally, Jeffrey was asked by the magazine Today’s Restaurant to contribute an article for their special May issue devoted entirely to emergent technology.

Stay tuned for information and a link to a webinar on social media that Jeffrey participated in last week.

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Noted Blogs

Paul Barron’s Social Coco ~ Idea Creation for your Restaurant

Progressive Dairyman ~ Seriously, It’s Time to Tweet

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Video Of The Week


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chalkARTblast is produced by Chalkboarder.com

Currently published Mondays. Future publishing will be daily.

Copyright Ó2009 Chalkboarder.com LLC

(503) 305-6397

info@chalkboarder.com

October 1, 2009

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.

iPhone

iPhone

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?

Seabass

Seabass

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?

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(503) 305-6397

info@chalkboarder.com

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