Posts tagged ‘restaurant’

February 10, 2011

Question: Can comment card content be used in social media optimization by a brand?

Many of you know I traded a 20 year career in hospitality management to found Chalkboarder. I am still very passionate about the hospitality industry and culinary management/creativity.

Today comes a question from a restaurant friend – that I’d like to get your opinion on.

Can a restaurant (or other business) use content from comment cards in their on-and-offline marketing materials? Should they?

Most comment card systems are anonymous. Should a business be able to use a comment left by a customer, if the customer believes they are just addressing management? Thoughts?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section below..

Disclaimer – all comments below are considered public dialogue and may be used in future blogposts by this author. 🙂

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January 30, 2011

Meet Chalkboarder's Award Winning Beverage Consultant Jabriel Donohue

One of the core services Chalkboarder offers clients is hospitality consulting. We love startups, enjoy operational consults and try to stay away from consulting hospitality businesses that are shutting down (those aren’t fun).

I’m very excited to announce the latest addition to our Consultant Roster here at Chalkboarder. Please take a moment to meet award winning bartender extroardinaire and beverage encyclopedia Jabriel Donohue.

Jabriel Donohue - pleasing guests at Acadia Bistro (PDX)

Jabriel Donohue Bio

Jabriel is a Portland, Oregon based Bar Manager with experience mixing drinks and designing profitable, quality-focused beverage programs up and down the West Coast.  His business development philosophy centers on a trinity of ongoing employee training, product quality, and employee retention.  His mantra, which you may hear him muttering to himself from behind a glass of pastis is, “The worth of an establishment is measured by its patrons.”  With several nationally published and award winning drink recipes under his belt, Jabriel is excited to focus his attention on helping business owners create exciting, unique and profitable beverage programs that will drive sales and bring patrons back again and again.

Jabriel is thrilled to join the Chalkboarder team and looks forward to assisting our clients in developing long lasting business strategies and beverage programs.

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 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



July 30, 2010

"Crawl" with Paul Barron of Portland Restaurants Effectively Using Social Media Aug 11

PRIORITY DISTRIBUTION

Join Paul Barron (@paulbarron), Publisher of Fast Casual Magazine and the USA’s leading influence on social media and the restaurant industry, and Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder, on August 11th as we “crawl” restaurants in Portland OR that are effectively using the social web to build community.

Paul Barron

Paul Barron, Producer

Paul, presenting “Web 4 Era for the Hospitality Industry” at Lola’s Room in SE Portland that evening (hosted by Social Media Club PDXdetails here) is producing a “Day in the Life of a Social Web Content Producer”, using video interviews and journalizing. He’ll begin the day departing the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Conference in Salem, meeting with Geoff Latham of Nicky USA, lunching at Oregon Culinary Institute, “crawling” the Portland restaurant social media scene and presenting at Social Media Club PDX’s August get-together.

In addition, he will be live-streaming the Social Media Club PDX event that night. Details to follow on the live-streaming.

All restaurant, hotel, hospitality, public relations, marketing and social media professionals interested in the application of social web tools, theory and technology for the food and hospitality industries are welcome to join us for this crawl the afternoon of Aug 11th. We’ll announce an itinerary on August 4 via social media.

Please contact Jeffrey J Kingman at (503) 481-2479 or jkingman@chalkboarder.com for additional details.

## ^jk

July 28, 2010

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH Using Social Media to Monitor Your Competition

By Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO Chalkboarder, written for and published by Inside F&B Magazine.

Most Chefs and Restaurateurs are strong competitors. Our restaurant communities may be full of camaraderie and industry friendships but, like street pickup basketball games on the corner, we’re highly competitive. We wouldn’t put in 60 to 100 hour weeks if we weren’t.

Every strong competitor has highly developed situational awareness and observation skills. Along our careers in hospitality, our coaches, the industry trainers and mentors, honed these competitive skills in us repeatedly. Today, in the new era of Web 4.0, the competitive advantages of using social media include discovering what others are saying right now about your competition and your operation, staying on top of your competition’s latest news, and ruthless as it sounds, reaching out to your competitor’s dissatisfied guests to invite them to your place.

As much as we work hard to train staff, execute creative and effective team leadership and positively surmount daily organizational challenges, we also have to have our eyes and….

To finish reading the article please visit it here at Inside F&B Magazine.

July 26, 2010

PDX Food Trucks Experience 80% Growth Via Twitter

I talked with two of Portland Oregon’s leading street food trucks last week, the day after CNN Travel stated that Portland has the best street food in the world.

Check out what they have to say about street food – and how social media, especially Twitter, have empowered them to experience 80% growth.

The rest of the restaurant and hospitality industry might be able to glean some strategy from this.

Jeffrey

PDX Food Truck Owners

PDX Food Truck Owners

PS – Thanks guys!

July 25, 2010

USA's "Most Influential SocialMedia" Voice in the Restaurant Industry Speaks at Social Media Club PDX Aug 11

PRIORITY DISTRIBUTION

Social Media Club Portland (OR) hosts Paul Barron, Publisher of Fast Casual Magazine and the USA Restaurant Industry’s “Most Influential” Social Media Voice.

Paul Barron

Paul Barron

Paul’s presentation, “Web Era 4 – What It Means to Restaurants” is a must-hear for Portland restaurant professionals/owners and public relations/social media service providers.

Less than 10% of USA restaurants have even begun to embrace the social web – here is the opportunity to get leading theory from the top hospitality social media thinker in North America.

Paul Barron, with over 52,000 Twitter followers, was rated in July 2010 as the top social media influencer in hospitality in the USA by Restaurant Reality Check Blog. Publisher of Fast Casual Magazine and Social Coco Blog, Paul is actively engaged with the boards of both the National Restaurant Association and Share Our Strength.

It’s our distinct pleasure to welcome Paul to speak to the Pacific Northwest hospitality and public relations/marketing/social media communities at Social Media Club PDX.

Event Details:

Registration is open and underway, limited to under 100. Register here at EventBrite.

Paul Barron: “Web Era 4 – What it means to the restaurant industry”

As a leader in the new restaurant, technology and social media era and also as the founder of Fast Casual.com and QSRweb.com

Change Agent has often been my moniker and I welcome it with open arms. As a Publisher and new media maven I have spent the past 16 years developing online media to build brands and amass audience.  I believe that change is the one thing that is always constant.  I feel fortunate as a founder of many blogs, podcasts, viral video and social media platforms.  Each of these experiences has helped me to be on the cutting edge of every new media push since the first web page by Tim Berners Lee in 1992.

As an expert in understanding the evolution of digital media over the past 15 years, I can say I am one of the elite in Social Media in all sectors of business and continue to grow and understand this massive shift in communication.

As a trend watcher I have had a chance to be part of the biggest shift in consumer restaurant interaction in the history of the restaurant business. In the mid 90’s I began tracking and defining the Fast Casual restaurant segment that has grown to more than a 40 billion dollar contributor to the half-a-trillion restaurant business.

As an early adopter, consumer science master, programmer, designer, social creator and best of all a student of the actual technology that drives the web and this entire new media craze, I understand what it takes to create a digital footprint and develop a social brand in today’s online world.

I am happy to talk to your brand; group or company on how new media can change the way you do business.

McMenamin’s Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom

Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom McMenamin's

Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom McMenamin's

The little sister of the historic Crystal Ballroom, Lola’s Room is located on the second floor, directly below the Crystal. If you’re a fan of DJ’d dance events, raging local rock showcases or intimate seated performances, then take a moment and bookmark this page.

The navigation menu at left is your roadmap to Lola’s Room and the other offerings at the corner of 14th %26 Burnside. Check out what’s coming up on the Events Calendar, discover how to let us host your next party, or simply investigate our brewery, artwork and history.

A night at Lola’s Room should always include a stop by Ringlers Pub or Ringlers Annex, where there’s usually a vibe to fit your mood — great pub fare, inspiring beverages, engaging conversation, a good pool game, a rowdy party, or a groovy DJ in a dimmed and quiet setting.

August 11th from 5 to 9 pm. Cash beverage/pizza by the slice bar.

Giveaway Schwag

More schwag coming!

Registration is open and underway, limited to under 100. Register here at EventBrite. $10 pre-registration, $15 at the door.

July 17, 2010

WANNA TALK FOOD? “FOODPORTUNITY” CULINARY NETWORKING EVENT HITS PORTLAND SEPTEMBER 13 @ THE HEATHMAN RESTAURANT & BAR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Melissa Broussard, 503-638-1055; cell: 503-702-4620

melissa@broussardhill.com

Lisa Hill, 503-327-8328; cell: 503-730-8055

lisa@broussardhill.com

Twitter: BroussardHillPR

Heathman

WANNA TALK FOOD?

“FOODPORTUNITY” CULINARY NETWORKING EVENT HITS PORTLAND SEPTEMBER 13 @ THE HEATHMAN RESTAURANT & BAR

Meet Portland’s food community in person – from chefs and farmers to food writers and photographers; ”Speed networking” session; Bites from Nostrana, Beaker and Flask, Ten 01, Gilt Club, the Heathman and more…

PORTLAND, Oregon (July 8, 2010) – Seattle’s popular Foodportunity networking event hits the road this fall to venture into Portland’s hot food scene. Portland food professionals and food lovers can meet face to face with local chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, food photographers, food companies, PR professionals and food journalists and bloggers. Want to ask Castagna’s Matt Lightner what it was like to meet José Andrés at the Aspen Food & Wine festival or Philippe Boulot to divulge his favorite “steelhead” fishing hole? Or what about Gabe Rucker’s foie gras lollipops and behind the scenes at Iron Chef America with Naomi Pomeroy?

The culinary networking event takes place at the Heathman Restaurant and Bar on Monday, September 13, 2010 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $22 (including all handling fees) per person and include appetizers and a wide range of food products from local companies. Tickets are on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/118974

“I was a speaker at IACP in Portland last April and had so much fun getting to know Portland’s food scene that I knew it was time to connect Seattle and Portland’s food community,” said Foodportunity founder Keren Brown. Keren will travel to Portland in September with a posse of Seattle food writers and bloggers to connect with some of Portland’s culinary community. “It’s hard to find time to meet all the different people in Portland’s food world, so Foodportunity will bring them all together in one location on one night!”

The following Portland chefs and food professionals will be available for informal questions and conversation in the library of the Heathman Restaurant and Bar between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

  • Philippe Boulot, 2001 James Beard Award for Best Chef Pacific NW; Maître Cuisinier de France; Culinary Director of the Heathman Restaurant and Bar and Executive Chef of the Multnomah Athletic Club
  • Liz Crain, food writer for various print and online publications; author of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland; editor at Hawthorne Books.
  • Matt Lightner, executive chef of Castagna and 2010 Best New Chef, Food & Wine Magazine; and the Oregonian’s 2010 Restaurant of the Year. Nominated for Rising Star Chef from the James Beard Foundation.
  • Naomi Pomeroy, owner and executive chef of Beast; Food Network’s Iron Chef America challenger and Best New Chef 2009 Food & Wine Magazine. Nominated for the 2010 James Beard Award for Best Chef Pacific NW and received Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year in 2008.
  • Gabe Rucker, owner and executive chef of Le Pigeon and Little Bird (coming soon); Best New Chef 2009 Food &  Wine Magazine. Nominated for the 2010 James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef and Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year in 2008.

The Heathman Restaurant & Bar will host the event and executive chef Philippe Boulot will serve a selection of appetizers alongside several Portland restaurants, including: Beaker & Flask, Clarklewis, Gilt Club, Nostrana, Ten 01 and Scratch.  Beer and wine will be available from a cash bar, and a wide range of food products from local companies will be available to sample. Companies interested in getting involved may contact Keren Brown at Kerenlovestocook@gmail.com.

In addition at 8:30 p.m., the first 30 Foodportunity ticket-holders to send an email to infopdx@foodportunity.com will get a seat at the “speed networking” session, hosted by Byron Beck, a freelancer for national and Oregon-based publications, who also appears on television and radio, has his own blog at byronbeck.com and contributes to pdx.eater.com. What better way to meet so many foodies at one time (for 1 minute each) and hand out business cards in this face to face setting.

About The Heathman Restaurant and Bar

The Heathman Restaurant exemplifies the best of the Pacific Northwest using seasonal ingredients inspired by the flavors and cuisine of France. Recipient of the James Beard Best Chef: Pacific NW award in 2001, Philippe Boulot partners with the region’s select growers, producers and vintners to find the highest quality ingredients. Boulot was honored by the Academie Culinaire de France as the Academie’s Chef of the Year. The Heathman Restaurant and Bar was chosen as one of the “Best Bars” by Portland Monthly. For more information, please call 503-790-7752 or visit www.heathmanrestaurantandbar.com. The Heathman Restaurant is located in the historic Heathman Hotel at 1001 SW Broadway in downtown Portland’s cultural district.

About Foodportunity

Keren Brown, aka Frantic Foodie, conceived of the food networking idea known as Foodportunity and has held more than a dozen food-related events this year in the Seattle market. Recently recognized by MarthaStewart.com as “Doer of the Week”, Keren also organizes monthly events for Seattle food bloggers where she holds Q&A sessions with famous authors, tours of food companies and other events to help bloggers interact. Keren’s food events information can be found at Frantic Foodie in the Seattle PI, www.FranticFoodie.com and on the events page of MyNorthwest.com.  For more information, visit www.foodportunity.com/portland and follow us @foodportunityor and #foodprtpdx.

February 20, 2010

Small Biz Social Media

I’ve become really fascinated with how small independent businesses can take advantage of emergent social web tools. Much of my professional experience has been in the non-corporate world (except for Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, GTE Sprint, and some early career positions); independents generating less than $5 million in annual revenues.

The growth challenges posed to independents are, I believe, much more difficult than that for larger organizations. With larger organizations comes economies of scale. The independent organization manager has so many more hats to wear and not nearly the time or educational resources available.

How can these organizations take advantage of the new tools of the social web? The social web research firm Wetpaint/Altimeter found that organizations with total social media engagement were able to grow their businesses by 18%. It’s no secret that the social web offers organizations opportunities, but these players aren’t able to afford the market rate for social media strategists and community managers ($100/hour and $60/hour respectively).

**Please do not think you can conduct good social media by hiring a kid with a large Facebook account – that will FAIL miserably.

How does an independent restaurant, inn or coffee house effectively compete against the multi-units in social media? This question has been rattling around my brain for the past six months and I think there is a minimum of three answers:

Do It Yourself.  Doing it yourself offers the operator complete control. It also means significant time in learning effective strategies, tools and methods. In addition, it means significant time involvement in maintaining your social media activities (production, distribution, monitoring, engagement).

Outsource To A Large Firm. Outsourcing to a large firm can be attractive because of the automation offered in distribution, monitoring and analysis. In addition, you don’t have to invest time and money in learning effective strategies, tools and methods.  The disadvantage is that your organization will still have to do the content production and the engagement, requiring your time and attention.

Hire A Small Professional Creative Company. I posit that this is the best option for the independent small business. The creative company brings all the resources for production, distribution, monitoring and engagement – crafting and executing a sound and highly individualized strategy. Time requirement for the organization is minimal, requiring meeting in person or through technology for the creative professional to gather some raw content and give reports/feedback. It’s personal and accountable.

I’m going to forecast here that 2010 will be the year we’ll see an explosion of small creative social media providers catering to small business. Market rates will be reasonable, ball-parking in the $500 to $1000 per month range. With small business being the backbone of the American economy, I believe these social media providers will become the norm.