|Restaurants generate social media chatter before opening the doors|
Social media started off in the hands of consumers like you and me, but recently, retailers and restaurants have seen the opportunity it presents to connect with customers. Baton Rouge eateries have taken full advantage.
There were days not long ago when attempting to open or maintain a restaurant without a website might make the venue look unprepared. Now, a dedicated Facebook page, Twitter feed and updated info on sites like Urbanspoon often act as the de facto ways for patrons to gather information about their favorite locale.
Magpie Café is a new natural and organic foods café and coffee bar near the Perkins Road overpass that serves a variety of coffee blends, soups and salads.
Magpie Café joined Facebook in December 2011 but didn't officially open its doors until May 21 of this year, after a few delays. Fortunately for those awaiting the grand opening, owners James and Lina Jacobs kept customers informed every step of the way, posting to social media with daily updates on construction and even state Health Department inspections. Now the owners tweet and post to Facebook every morning about the daily breakfast and lunch offerings.
Tweets about freshly baked chocolate or walnut zucchini bread and homemade blueberry scones are met with tweets from patrons rating their dining experiences for all to see. Although the café does have an official website, this kind of interaction is certainly something traditional restaurant websites cannot achieve—and for Magpie Café, that's just fine.
Before Twin Peaks officially opened its doors Jan. 9, there was already a buzz surrounding the new lodge-themed sports bar and grill restaurant. The franchise's first foray into Louisiana has been a success so far, thanks in part to an aggressive social media campaign that started well before the opening.
Meggie Miller, marketing director for Twin Peaks Restaurants, says social media efforts for their franchises are coordinated nationally, but each location is responsible for daily updates. In cases where the manager or franchisee may not be social media-savvy, wait staff often pitches in. “Most of the girls are already updating their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, so it doesn't require much effort for them to spend an extra 10 minutes to update the company's page as well,” Miller says.
Meanwhile, Fat Cow, the new premium burgers and salads restaurant located near LSU, first joined Facebook in July 2010. It signed the lease for its location in October 2010 but didn't hold even a soft opening until August 2011. The official opening came a few months later after it received approval to serve beer and alcohol.
But during that year before the bricks-and-mortar business was established, the company served burgers and participated in several festivals in the area while drumming up support on its Facebook page. The promotional period helped the company learn quite a bit about what to expect once it was in full operation.
Just as I once couldn't imagine a restaurant without a dedicated website, it's now hard to imagine one without a social media presence. Times are a-changing, and letting your customers know your menu and hours of operation simply isn't enough in the “right-now” world in which we live.
“Social media is the new word-of-mouth,” says Scott White of BizCom Associates, a Dallas public relations firm that works with Twin Peaks, among others. He says that while it takes time to build that presence, the effort can create a very loyal local following.
Patrons want to know the manager, interact with the wait staff and find out the daily specials before walking in the door. After all, this is Louisiana—where eating is not just something you do a few times a day. It's a social event.
comments powered by Disqus
Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.