How Dallas Restaurants Manage Social Media

Viral restaurants.JPG
Yes, I know it looks like Mickey Mouse. Get over it.
That restaurants are using social media to get their message out is nothing new. As soon as any business owner realizes that networks like Facebook and Twitter provide an outlet and advertising at a low cost -- only the man hours it takes to set up a feed and gather and interact with followers and fans -- they jump in thumbs first.

But just participating in social media doesn't guarantee success. While some restaurateurs wear their twitter handle like a glove, others have an odd relationship with the internet. When a taco place tweets that they'll be serving tacos tonight (or something similarly mundane), it goes over like a lead SMS balloon. There are a lot of open-mic-comedy-night awkward silences when it comes to restaurant updates.

Worse, internet projects can go viraly negative. A recent McDonald's twitter campaign to leverage the hash tag #MCDstories backfired some. "I haven't been to McDonalds in years, because I'd rather eat my own diarrhea," one person wrote.

At the same time, other restaurants garner followers and retweets by the thousands. Jay Jerrier at Cane Rosso may have the largest social media presence of any Dallas restaurant, and he's reaped plenty of coverage because of it. Is the coverage because his pizza is good? Or because he tweets many times a day from behind an avatar depicting a cute red dog? Probably both.

Brian Luscher of the Grape, Lockhart Smokehouse and Pecan Lodge, all have active online presences, though none updates with the frequency of Cane Rosso.

Before Twitter and Facebook became available, restaurants had to type up press releases and buy adds in newspapers to reach out to their customers. These actions took time, thought, and planning, and they were typically collaborated on by professionals with an eye for marketing.

Social Media, however, has no filter. A late-night tweet lubricated with a little booze can go up in a few seconds. Tweets and posts about special events can be posted without examining whether or not the message aligns with the larger image a restaurant is trying to convey. And often personal twitter accounts become associated with restaurant personas. When Brian Luscher tweets about eating burnt ends or finding Lord of The Rings Pez dispensers, is that interpreted by his followers as a personal piece of information, or an endorsement from the Grape?

If you have a favorite local restaurant that you follow on social media -- or one you're ready to unfollow -- let us know in the comments. Or, you know, Tweet it.

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Maximise Revenue
Maximise Revenue

Every now and then when building a business mostly marketer's are using a social media networks as their way for advertising their business and ads to introduce their products but not in a direct way to convince people but making good relation first.

Jacob Sloan
Jacob Sloan

@1b75045892031bf92fd08ca8ec7f7599:disqus and other restaurants that actively use social media to do more than just post "on message" are on the right track. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook present small business owners with a great way to display the personality of their brand and make a more emotional connection with their customers.

It's a no-brainer for local businesses. After all, the mom-and-pop establishments of years past always had a face — whether it was the cashier who asked you how your kids were doing or the bartender that always remembered your drink order. There's a personality there with which the big, corporate brands can't compete.

As more and more opportunities to interact directly with their happy (and upset) customers emerge, every brand is becoming more human. Having some personality and transparency in their updates on social networks gives their interactions with customers (online and offline) context and establishes a bond that can turn a fan into a customer for life.

I'd recommend taking a look at how Oddfellows — http://twitter.com/#!/Oddfello... — is thanking those that post about their food and adding a little personality to their tweets, beyond just updates of specials, events, and changes in business hours, or how Katy Trail Ice House — http://twitter.com/#!/KatyIceH... — talks up their patio and carries the fun, sports vibe of their crowd onto Twitter.

And restaurants can use more than just Twitter and Facebook. Foursquare allows them to engage with users actively eating at and recommending their locations, and YouTube is a great way to be more visually engaging, beyond the Twitpic. For a local example, check out how Meddlesome Moth has used YouTube for announcing events — http://www.mothinthe.net/event... — and to give a bit of background on their new beers. They could do more with it than what they have so far, but the videos they're putting out now carry more weight than just a newsletter or tweet message announcing that they have a new beer on tap or a new event coming up.

Razzoos
Razzoos

Razzoo's Cajun Cafe CEO tweets via @jb_powell, and Razzoo's tweets via @Razzoos_Cajun     ... Check 'em out!

Lee
Lee

Jay is very responsive through social media.  I was having trouble booking my rehearsal dinner at Cane, but after a tweet and a facebook post, we have everything sorted out in a couple days.

David G.
David G.

maybe this guy needs to pay closer attention to other aspects of his business rather than obsessing over tweeting and posting?

youtalkin'tome?
youtalkin'tome?

Cane Rosso ain't got shit on Johnny's! Say sumthin"...didn't think so, bitches!

Bev Garvin
Bev Garvin

Social media works best when used with the intent of connecting to others in a relevant meaningful way. Traditional message blasting isn't engaging and people are good at ignoring that kind of communication. Restaurant owners who use social the right way have a big advantage because the foodie community is very active in social spaces.

I honestly love the food at Il Cane Rosso (I am the Mayor on Foursquare) but as a marketer, I have tremendous respect for how well Jay uses social media.  He embraced it early on, even before he knew what to do with it.  He tweeted while hauling pizza in and out of the oven every 90 seconds. As busy as he was, he was consistent in his efforts, he stuck with it and figured it out.  Today his social network is powerful driver of business, the restaurant just expanded the space and they're making plans for new location(s).

Now I'm hungry for pizza. =)

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

I follow @tacojoint because I like their food & I like the people there. I wish they'd post more often, it reminds me when I haven't been in awhile.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

"I haven't been to McDonalds in years, because I'd rather eat my own diarrhea,"that is effing genius!  watch out Dickey's BBQ.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Out here in the 'burbs, I appreciate how La Finca Chiquita uses social media to not only promote specials and such but also to post Allen High School football scores and engage the local community. It many not be revolutionary but it's a reason to stay subscribed other than ads for the food.

foodp99
foodp99

I think a lot of restaurant owners need to understand that getting their message out just by using social media has the potential of negating the "exclusivity" of certain announcements that need to be handled with more care. Social media can become a double-edged sword if not managed appropriately. Sometimes, the message needs more focus and more attention by a professional. At the end of the day, they can attain better results by having someone else manage the more important and newsworthy items. 

mark
mark

 You forgot the "r" in your name.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

If you use twitter to advertise and put your company out there, then make it a business twitter adventure only.  I like getting updates about specials and new plates but I dont particularly care of your opinion on the weather or your kids tastes.  Get a second tiwtter handle, Its not hard to manage two twitter handles, especially with tweetdeck and tweetcaster and such out there.

Steven
Steven

Congrats to the GREAT Robert Wilonsky moving to the DMN.

As for the DO site:   ....and you're done.

jon from TJs
jon from TJs

Social media is a tool to broadcast a message.  but it doesn't create a message and it doesn't make a bad or dishonest message a good one.

can't be all sizzle and no steak.  but if you have great steak social media is a great way to share the sizzle.  since he is mentioned, Jay has done a fantastic job.  But it wouldn't work unless his pies weren't awesome, his events weren't worth going (Veritas Tues Nights, celebrity chef Mondays), and his real life personality was any different from his sincere real life personality.

seabird20
seabird20

Hmm, not sure I agree with you Jon. I don't see social media as a way to broadcast a message - more a way to engage with the connections. many of the SM failures come from the expectation that SM is just advertising "on steroids". I think its more. Getting some level of engagement ups the stickiness.

Carrie
Carrie

 @quesadyas is doing a commendable job with social media.  The owners are really great guys and very passionate about what they do for a living and it shows in their marketing efforts. 

Nic Rodriguez
Nic Rodriguez

I follow @1b75045892031bf92fd08ca8ec7f7599:disqus because his tweets have been known to get me to change dinner plans. Plus, it's awesome food porn.

twinwillow
twinwillow

I couldn't give a flying shit about "social media" networks because happily, I don't belong to any of them.However, I'll eat pizza at Cane Rosso before anyplace else in Dallas. Simply because, I like it the best!

Jay Jerrier
Jay Jerrier

Well, the good part about social media is that is an "opt in" process - if you don't like it or it's just too much volume..unfollow.

Because I'm morbidly obese and like to eat, I try to post pics of food we're working on.  We use social media as a tool to try and build community with our customers - to try and make it more of a personal experience.  Sometimes it fails, sometimes it works...it's all for fun.

On a serious note, we use a tool called Market Chorus that aggregates all mentions of Cane Rosso from across the inter webs (including twitter) and allows us to post to FB or retweet from within 1 consolidated window.  Much more comprehensive than Google notifications.  If any restos are interested, let me know.

Danielle Glick
Danielle Glick

Cane Rosso is an outstanding example of what social media can do when you apply the right philosophy for your business goals. For many restaurants, that right philosophy is to grow and engage a community of loyal customers. Great food photography helps too.

Jay may be a natural social media genius, but I see many small business owners make the mistake of not allocating enough time and/or marketing budget to grow and manage their social media community to full potential. The result is the difference between aimlessly posting on Facebook versus having a strategy that leads to measurable sales and recognition like Cane Rosso is seeing.

Hootsuite is another social media consolidation and scheduling tool that I'd recommend for restaurants with one to several locations. I've used it for almost 2 years and still like it.

Btrizza
Btrizza

Really Jay?  Morbidly obese?  I've seen you and you look overweight, however, not morbidly obese!  Moving on....I am a followerer on FB and I think your posts are perfect. I like that they are more of a personal nature, as if we(FB fans) are all good friends of yours. AND YES, we follow because the pizza(food) is GREAT (not just good)!!

Garden Cafe
Garden Cafe

 I've been using NutshellMail, but this sounds much better!

Bev Garvin
Bev Garvin

I use NutshellMail too and also MarketMeSuite

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Tim Love is a pretty damn good follow on Twitter.

matt
matt

the nova guys posting pics of nightly specials gets me every time. 

imho, the biggest help to social media and yelp are excellent and tasty looking pics.  not sure why everyone that owns a place doesnt flood the yelp photo section for good measure... 

sass
sass

Some people might get tired of the vast amount of tweets and posts (Tempest, for example), but no one has helped his or her business more in this city than Jay. And it's not even close. His posts are informative, funny, and drool-worthy - the perfect piefecta. See what I did there?

Tempest
Tempest

Cane Rosso needs to shut the fuck up. Wind bag deleted long ago.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Thank you. It's hard enough to a get a table there as it is. I'll be very happy to take your seat while you're getting delivery from Pizza Hut or Domino's.

Doug
Doug

As long as a restaurant understands social media can be a two edged sword, I don't understand what the problem. I follow Cane Rosso just because they make incredible food. I don't follow restarants I don't care to eat at.

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