Do you follow The Pantry on Twitter and Facebook? I do. While scrolling through my FB feed a few weeks back, I noticed an announcement/picture for a private event pig roast at the restaurant. A big, beautiful roasted pig’s head was right there, front and center, on my computer monitor.
This prompted me to contact The Pantry’s owner. Within days we had coordinated a private party pig roast to be held in early January for 15-20 of my friends.
Why do I mention all of this?
Because just one picture on FB caused a chain reaction of events that will inevitably lead to a few hundred dollars going to The Pantry’s way. One post, one customer…hundreds of bucks. Think about that for a second.
It was instant gratification for me (the customer) and future bucks for them (the restaurant).
Apparently, The Pantry is in the minority of Little Rock eateries which understand the potentially positive impact on a business’ bottom line with the proper utilization of social media. It is hard to find a local restaurant that has a modern website and active Twitter and Facebook accounts.
This dumbfounds me.
Essentially, social media is not only free advertising (which helps build name recognition), but is also a tool to immediately reach and respond to your audience. What restaurant wouldn’t want that? Customers now expect the entire interactive package from dining establishments, yet most Little Rock restauranteurs continue to live in the Dark Ages of outdated websites and lackluster social media interaction. What better way to entice customers than with a daily tweet or status update about the chef’s special or the latest cocktail creation? For the emerging food truck business, how convenient would it be for patrons to realize that you happen to be stationed just down the street from their office desk today?
Is it a time issue? Maybe. Maintaining proper Twitter and Facebook accounts take time…time that could be going to other areas of the business.
Is it a cost issue? Maybe. In big cities like Houston and Boston (where I’ve lived), you’ll often find marketing firms running the social media show for restaurants. In Little Rock, this probably isn’t the case.
The bottom line: there are no excuses. Little Rock restaurants need to find the time and means to make social media a top priority. It’s just good business.
Little Rock is ready to take that next step in becoming a legitimate food town, but progress will be severely limited if our local restaurants continue to view social media as a burden rather than a platform to reach the public. That would be a shame. We’ve got some amazing folks doing some outstanding things with food. I just wish more of us knew about it.
Until then, the people who are unaware of these mom and pop places will continue to fill those Olive Garden parking lots.