Posted by Casey Morgan
Gone are the days when restaurateurs relied solely on chalkboards and neon signs to advertise their businesses.
Restaurateurs have altered their business models by advertising through social media outlets such asFacebook, Twitter, foursquare and blogs to increase awareness about their presence and ultimately drive up sales.
Gusto Pizza Co., located in downtown Des Moines, has utilized various forms of social media to advertise since their doors opened in January 2011.
In addition to having a sleek, social media-drenched website, Gusto Pizza Co. also maintains an active Twitter account, a Facebook page, a“Chef’s Blog” featuring local, socially responsible organizations, as well as humorous promotional YouTube videos tailored to their clientelle. They even have an App for smartphone users.
In similar fashion, restaurateur George Formaro developed a social media advertising campaign preceding his latest business venture in downtown Des Moines, Zombie Burger + Drink Lab. Formaro tweeted voraciously leading up to opening day, amassing a huge fan base well before even opening the doors to hungry patrons.
These social media-savvy business owners still use traditional forms of promotion, like advertising in local publications such as Cityviewand Juice. But TV ads, chalkboard promos and neon signs are simply a thing of the past.
Restaurants are adapting in the age of social media, using intangible means (social media outlets) to promote their tangible products (pizza, burgers); and it’s working. Zombie Burger + Drink Lab served upwards of 1,500 patrons on its first day, smashing previous estimations; and Gusto Pizza Co. has seen an uptick in sales undoubtedly due to social media promotion.
The question isn’t if restaurants will eventually suck it up and get a Twitter account, it’s when.
Amid all the technological advances brought on by smartphones and tablets, restaurant owners and operators need to become lean, mean, social media machines to survive in such a climate, racking up tweets and Facebook posts daily.
The bottom line simply doesn’t consist of profit margins and growth projections these days; success is now unequivocally measured in terms of ‘Retweets’ and ‘Likes.’
If a given restaurant fails to create a multi-faceted online presence, how can they expect to survive and flourish in the age of information?