Category Archives: Food Companies

Perfect event for “non-Twittering” restaurants, chefs, food-companies!

YOU ARE WHAT YOU TWEET!
Using Twitter as your recipe for online success

Monday, October 19, 2009
Mayflower Park Hotel, Seattle
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
$50 for early-bird registrations (by Oct. 9); $65 after Oct. 9/at the door (if space available)
http://youarewhatyoutweet.eventbrite.com/

As a restaurant, chef or food company, do you dream of:

  • Being “the” neighborhood destination for socializing, eating and drinking
  • Connecting with customers and your community
  • Making more money
  • Multiplying repeat business
  • Making frequent customers feel special
  • Attracting a steady stream of new customers
  • Getting name recognition for making delicious food

If so, we have an event for you! Using the micro-blogging tool “Twitter”, you can accomplish all these things and more! This is a customized event for restaurants, chefs, wineries, breweries, and food-related companies that are not using Twitter – but that are pretty sure they should be! If you are scared, curious, skeptical or not sure about what Twitter can do for your business or how to get started then this is the event for you!

You’ll hear success stories and sage advice from featured panelists:

We’ll show you how using Twitter effectively can deliver:

  • “Talk of the Town” status
  • Access to your customers through engaging conversations and feedback
  • Full restaurants/stores with adoring fans
  • Loyal customers as you provide inside info and/or special offers
  • “Raving Fans” by acknowledging and interacting with your customers
  • New customers attracted by recommendations and special promotions
  • Positive feedback about your food in a highly visible and viral platform

And the end result of this event? You’ll be inspired and motivated to take the plunge and join us on Twitter, thus creating a more robust community for all of us in the Puget Sound food scene. Information will be provided on programs available to help you start Tweeting! We look forward to seeing you there!

TO REGISTER: http://youarewhatyoutweet.eventbrite.com/

Hosted by the Mayflower Park Hotel and Andaluca Restaurant

Food and beverages provided by: Andaluca Restaurant, Woodhouse Family Winery, Buchanan Chocolate

http://youarewhatyoutweet.eventbrite.com/

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Filed under Beverage Companies, Events, Food Companies, Restaurants, Twitter

Tour Seattle like an insider

I’ve always wanted to be like those characters on the old TV show “Cheers”, or to be more specific, I wanted what the theme song promised “you want to go where everybody knows your name”.

savor seattle aug09 008And so that is why I now want to be Angela Shen (right) when I grow up.  Seriously.  As the founder of the nationally-celebrated Savor Seattle Food Tours, she can’t seem to go anywhere (at least in the downtown Seattle food world) without everyone greeting her, hugging her, giving her food – you get the picture.  You can feel the love a mile away.

It is this “feeling” that helped propel me into my recently-launched Social Media for foodies business, because I am all about enjoying great food, being connected with the purveyors and enjoying the flavor of Seattle.  Angela has that. I want it. And you can get it by going on one of her tours.  Follow along…

header_logoI have known Angela for several years through a local networking organization (BNI) and I have watched her grow her seedling business from a solely-owned and operated one-tour pony into an eight-employee, multi-tour Triple Crown threat (excuse the horse racing analogy; that’s another of my many past lives).  She has been celebrated in Bon Appetit magazine, USA Today, and Frommers Travel Guide.  But, believe it or not, I had never actually been on the tour until recently, when I signed up for the Gourmet Food & Cultural Tour.

I gathered along with 7 other hungry tour-ists (but not all tourists!) at the Mayflower Park Hotel lobby, set for our three-hour tour of 8 delicious food establishments in the downtown area.  We were outfitted with sound equipment, which I was skeptical of at first, but later found out was essential given the noise on downtown streets and in some of the bustling restaurants.

savor seattle aug09 006First stop – Andaluca and one of my favorite chefs, Wayne Johnson. Chef Wayne, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at Andaluca, paired an amazing crispy duck cake and apricot chutney (left) paired with a glass of sangria – a perfect way to start our afternoon trek!  The marriage of flavors in the duck cake – which is perhaps the only of its kind in the area – was marvelous, and we were off to a wonderful start.

Along the short walk to our second stop, Angela filled us in on a bit of Seattle trivia and history (Doc Maynard, brothels, etc), most of which seemed new to me, even though I grew up here!  But it was presented in a fun, lively, informative way that made me feel just like one of the tourists, here for a sunny afternoon tour.

savor seattle aug09 014Our second stop – Serious Pie.  Not as in “dessert” but pizza made withserious ingredients. The chef appeared from the hot kitchen to describe their version of pizza, which ain’t your daddy’s pizza! The crust is incredibly light and thin, as a result of using a slightly wetter dough and cooking it longer (7-9 minutes) at a lower temperature (680 degrees) than their competitors (2-3 minutes at 1000-1300 degrees).  This gives the crust a tasty slight char on the bottom, witha beautiful “structure” that features amazing toppings such as buffalo mozzarella with San Marzano tomatoes, or roasted chantarellemushrooms with italian black truffle cheese – wow!

In addition, Serious Pie’s other “secret” is to cook the pie until nearly done BEFORE adding the cheese – that way the cheese doesn’t burn or really even cook at all, but melts beautifully to maintain its artisanal structure.  They also cure their own meat, make their own dough, buy all ingredients locally – and then do as little to them as possible.  Seriously perfect.

savor seattle aug09 028Then it was time for more Seattle history – timber town, wooden buildings, the fire, “seamstresses” and taxes – you’ll have to take the tour to find out what that all means!  So we came to the third stop at Il Bistro, a charming candle-lit restaurntin a cave-like space next to Pike Place Market. We tasted a creamy saffron risotto withmussels and clams, paired with a San Giovese (right) – buono! We also discovered an important fact – Il Bistro offers one of the best Happy Hour deals in town -there are 15-17 items on the menu with half-size portions at about 1/4 of the regular price! Note to self – return here many more times!

savor seattle aug09 044Then we made an unscheduled stop at the famous Pike Place Fish – where Angela is CLEARLY a favorite daughter! – and she arranged an impromptu fish-tossing moment for a couple on the tour who were celebrating their anniversary.  The wife made a beautiful catch (above) while her husband documented it perfectly on his trusty camera.  Nice touch, Angela!

savor seattle aug09 059Next stop was Creminelli Fine Meats, actually inside the Market, where we sampled several fabulous handmade artisan salamis and sausages (right).  Then it was time for the longest stop on the tour, the Pike Brewing Company, where we were treated to a fascinating tour and great education from our vivacious tour guide Abil!  We then sampled a couple of beer/cheese pairings, the best of which was the Tandem Double Ale and Beechers Flagship cheese – a combo that will be served at many future parties in my home!

The last two stops satisfied our sugar cravings, as we visited Fran’s Chocolates and Gelatiamo.  Fran’s, located in the Four Seasons hotel, sampled four chocolates for us, including a pair of the amazing salted caramels – simply a must-try if you’ve never had one!  My favorite is the dark chocolate gray salt version, but I wouldn’t turn down the milk chocolate smoked salt variety either!

savor seattle aug09 085The Gelatiamo gave us – unexpectedly – my favorite moment of the tour.  Why, you ask?  While Angela only planned to take us downstairs to see the machines that crank out the luscious gelato and sorbetto every day (always at least 16 flavors!), we were treated to an impromptu appearance by the owner Maria Coassin, an authentic Italian if there ever was one!  All at once, she was gracious, apologetic, edgy, proud and generous about her products – which is EXACTLY what I want from a food tour!  I want to see the raw emotion of the chef/owner and experience their passion for their food, even if it’s by showing us a fallen cake that wasn’t “perfect”, all while dishing it up for us to sample anyway!  I heard her speak of her love for what she does, the many trips back to Italy to learn and return with new inspiration, and her devotion to a perfect product for her customers.

I’m feeling a little hungry now, how about you? And did I mention the $65 tour fee includes a handout with recipes, restaurant details AND a special discount card for 10-15% off products/services at more than 40 downtown merchants (including those on the tour)?

So there you go – an insiders tour of Seattle, giving you the “everyone knows my name” insights and discounted services to boot!  I dare you to resist!

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Filed under Beverage Companies, Events, Food Companies, Reviews

5 reasons why restaurants should use Twitter

twitter163In my new venture of social media advising and strategy, many have asked me “why should restaurants use Twitter? What’s in it for them?”  So I thought I’d share a few recent examples to illuminate my strong feelings about how they could benefit from this fantastic social media tool!

There are at least 5 major benefits restaurants (and food-related companies) stand to gain from investing time and effort into using Twitter:

  1. Larger client base with deeper relationships
  2. Increased visits, more sales, greater loyalty
  3. Decreased marketing expense and greater overall ROI
  4. Dialogue that leads to positive word-of-mouth marketing
  5. Increased visibility for establishment, products, website

I have encountered at least a baker’s dozen real-life examples recently, where restaurants missed great opportunities to increase their exposure, gain new customers and learn more about their guests’ experience – all because they aren’t on Twitter.

You might wonder – what’s the big deal? What are they missing out on?  So here’s what I’ve learned: 

Restaurants have the opportunity to capitalize on the “buzz” being tweeted (discussed) every day as people make plans and debate where to go for happy hour, dinner, etc.  They could even tweet back and offer a special deal or mention that night’s specials. During the recent 100-degree heat wave, smart restaurants on Twitter were reminding potential customers that they had air-conditioning, offering cool drink specials and just being a part of a “hot” conversation (pardon the pun)!

Once we, the diners, are actually in the restaurant, we will probably tweet updates during the meal and/or post photos, showing potential customers all the great items you have to offer.  It’s not a bother – we like to do this!  (A recent study by Socialnomics.net showed that 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices, showing that people update anytime, anywhere.)  But we aren’t going to the trouble if you aren’t using Twitter and aren’t benefitting from it – we just aren’t.   But for you, it’s free advertising: “Come eat here, eat beautiful food, be happy!”  That kind of positive, instant word-of-mouth marketing is priceless.

And once you’ve delivered a great meal, your customers tweet to all their friends, along with thanking each other for the dinner, etc.  It’s more exposure for your brand and practically invites new customers to visit.  Back to the Socialnomics.net research, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, and only 14% trust advertising – so where do you want to put your marketing efforts?

And one smart strategy employed by some restaurants that use Twitter is to actually “thank” those customers via tweet!  Talk about building customer loyalty – you just thanked me for spending money with you in front of all my friends!  Where do you think I’m going out to dinner tomorrow? Yup, back to my Twitter-friendly restaurant!

Do you see the beauty of this?  We, tweeters, want to patronize your establishment because you are “one of us” and we want to tell everyone how great you are.  Is there a better reason to be on Twitter??

I want to wrap up by telling you about a fascinating concept called Taste and Tweet (Twitter @TasteAndTweet),   The organizers, Clay Loges and Blaine Millet, invited a Twitter-happy group of foodies to El Gaucho Bellevue (Twitter @ElGauchoBell)  to help raise awareness and increase visibility for the restaurant – which is not ideally located in a somewhat-hidden office building down a side street.

tasteandtweetI was invited, along with 18 other active social media enthusiasts, to enjoy a multi-course lunch, in exchange for tweeting details as the event progressed.  It was an amazing feast of four cocktails (yes, 4!) , four superb dishes and one lovely chocolate ganache lollipop for dessert.  Chef Steve Cain came out to describe each dish and the pairing to the cocktail, and General Manager David Scherling (Twitter @DavidScherling) supplied additional details and answered questions constantly during the event.

So what was the result?  For their investment of 2 hours and lunch for 19, the restaurant received nearly 310,000 unique impressions (323 tweets during the event, mulitplied by number of “followers’ each person has) on Twitter, along with a multitude of blog posts and other publicity in the week that followed.  I’d say El Gaucho got their money’s worth – how about you??  And I probably don’t have to tell you about the buzz that’s now been created for future events like this – everyone wants to participate, restaurants and “taste-tweeters” alike!

So now, do you think restaurants should use Twitter?  I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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Filed under Food Companies, Restaurants, Twitter

Twitterpated about food

Twitterpated?  Yes, Twitterpated. twitter163

In the Disney movie “Bambi“, the friend Owl explains “Nearly everybody gets twitterpated…you’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. Woo-woo! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air.”

Yup, I was minding my own (personal chef) business and I was abruptly Twitterpated by the “pretty face” of food and social media!   For the past few months, I’ve been immersed in all things Twitter, following food bloggers, chefs, restaurants, food companies, critics – you name it.  I’m completely Twitterpated with the incredible possibilities for food-related companies and I want to help.

You may wonder, why should food companies use Twitter?  And my response is, why shouldn’t they? 

As Scott Ginsberg, of “Name Tag Scott” fame says, “Be out in the marketplace with your ideas or be OUT OF the marketplace completely.”  If you are a food-related company and you are not on Twitter now, you are invisible, to a degree, and here’s why.

It’s an incredible opportunity to turn what has been a monologue for restaurants et al into a dialogue with their community, current customers, future customers, media, etc.  Food-related companies can now interact in an even more personal way and open up avenues for new business, along with increasing trust and loyalty.

For example, here are three key “wins” in using Twitter:

Visibility: Twitter is a great way to meet new customers who don’t know you yet, especially if you can do business outside your local area.  You can also create stronger bonds with current customers, and offer special deals to drive traffic to your website or storefront. And, if your competitors are on Twitter, shouldn’t you be there too?

Opportunity: Twitter allows you to stay on top of industry trends and observe your competition (see above!). It also provides quick and inexpensive market research, giving you insight on what your customers think and want. Forget the expensive and time-intensive focus groups – ask your Tweeple (Twitter followers) and get answers now!

ROI: Twitter allows you to create considerable “buzz” for your company and positive, rapid word-of-mouth credibility, virtually for free.  This is a hot topic of debate, since while the Twitter technology itself is free, there is the cost in time and effort for someone to manage it.  However, many would point out that most companies already have marketing staff and expense, and this is just a reallocation of their focus.  And the ROI on a free tool is pretty much “sky’s the limit”!

As my friend and business coach Sara Yao, recently pointed out, the relationship in this type of marketing effort is best seen as “correlation not causation”.  At the end of the month, if your sales are up 50%, aren’t you happy – wherever that came from? Of course you’d like to know the exact source so you can replicate it, but you can’t accurately track advertising now (billboards, ad, tv) as it is.  At least with Twitter you can use code words to track traffic and sales through special offers and the like.  While you might not be able to finger Twitter as the “causation” of all these sales, it’s certainly “correlated!”

In my Twitterpated state, I could go on and on about this topic, but I think you get the point!  And I’d like to close with a brilliant excerpt from a recent Wired article by Joshua Davis.  While the content had to do with “whether to friend your boss on Facebook”, I think it’s a perfect analogy to why you – the food company- should even be on Twitter (and other social media for that matter)

“If the rules of the jungle are any guide, you should definitely follow the Twitter feeds of all your superiors. Dominant monkeys occasionally send out troopwide alerts (i.e., yelps and screams) about the state of the jungle. Sometimes it’s information about predators; other times it’s about the direction the troop will move that day. The expectation is that all of these pronouncements will be duly noted, and we all know that leaders can get extremely angry if they are not heeded. Our closest animal ancestors laid down the law—we have no choice but to follow.”

Now, you know I’m not calling us all monkeys (!), but you get the drift – you need to know what’s going on in your jungle!  So tell me now, why aren’t you on Twitter??  And if you are, please share a success story from your efforts below.

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Filed under Beverage Companies, Food Companies, Restaurants, Twitter, Uncategorized