Can someone please explain to me why so many Little Rock restaurants continue to resist implementing social media into their marketing plan? I wrote about this issue last year, and sadly, not much has changed for the better.

Having an adequate website, along with maintaining a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook, are absolutely essential for a restaurant these days. But why aren’t most places doing all three? Is it a lack of awareness/knowledge, outright laziness, or a combination of both? Whatever the reason(s), it seems many places throughout the Little Rock area are missing a golden opportunity to increase exposure and potentially sales (at a fairly low cost).

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Here are some establishments who seem to be handling their social media business quite well.

Mugs Café: The fairly new café in NLR maintains a clean, simple, and beautiful website. This certainly echoes the vibe you get when having a cup of coffee inside Mugs. And although Twitter and Facebook follower numbers are still somewhat low, due in large part to its newness, Mugs regularly updates both mediums with messages and pictures. I suspect these figures will rise steadily in the future.

Hot Dog Mike: I couldn’t stand that ridiculous “Until We Meet Again” campaign (fueled in large part by social media) and I wasn’t a fan of his Kickstarter (not big on any business doing it), but there is absolutely no denying his social media magic. Dude has 6,400 Facebook followers and just as many on Twitter. He’s constantly posting location updates and pictures, as well as interacting on a regular basis with his legion of fans. Hot Dog Mike’s website reads more like a blog roll, but that’s really splitting hairs…it’s there and serves its purpose.

South on Main Brings It

South on Main Brings It

South on Main: The coolest spot in Little Rock has only been in existence for a few months, but is there any other restaurant doing a better job on social media? No. Hell, they’ve almost reached 4,000 Facebook fans, an insane number in such a short period of time. SoM’s Twitter numbers are much lower, but they do an excellent job of going back and forth with the followers they do have, many of which are avid local foodies. With a gorgeous website, excellent musical event promotions, and fantastic food pics, it’s easy to see why South on Main is currently king.

Big Orange: Right up there in the social media world with SoM, Big Orange has an elite, user-friendly website, equipped with testimonials and pictures, as well as solid numbers on both Twitter and Facebook. Both accounts, Big Orange West and Big Orange Midtown, excel at promoting events, specials, and giveaways, while also exhibiting a warmth towards customers.

The Southern Gourmasian: This is Little Rock’s #1 food truck, due in large part to Chef Patterson’s creatively tasty creations, but also because of a consistent social media presence. The numbers won’t jump out at you, but followers can always expect regular locations updates, along with a well-maintained website. I wish chef would engage his loyal fans more often on Twitter, but it’s understandable why he doesn’t. I can only imagine how difficult and time-consuming it is to run a food truck.

Notes on some other spots worth mentioning:

Waffle Wagon: Fairly new food truck in town. Great on Twitter—funny and really engages followers. Growing Facebook presence. No website, but not absolutely crucial.

The Pantry: Continues to do a solid job…would enjoy more tweets.

Local Lime: Wait, no website? What’s the deal with that? Great on Twitter, always quick to respond.

The Faded Rose: One of the better Facebook accounts in Little Rock. Adequate website. Technically, they have a Twitter account (almost never updated).

What are you thoughts on my list? Agree or disagree? Any major omissions? Would love to know.

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Amy B. November 5, 2013 at 7:10 am

At a bare minimum, every brick-and-mortar restaurant needs a MOBILE website that shows location, hours, and menu. And it takes minimal skill, time, and money to set that up.

    Greg November 5, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Agreed Amy. If you are out looking for a quick bite the first thing you do is try to find a menu on your phone.

    It is absolutely critical. Facebook doesn’t cut it, not all the information (menus being one of those) show up on the mobile version.

    Why LL and a few others continue to not have one completely blows my mind.

Erin November 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I am amazed at the number of websites where I have to search to find the hours. Not just for restaurants but its certainly frustrating whenever it happens. It shouldn’t be hard. Needs to be one of the first things I see!

Dan November 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Little Rock generally blows hard when it comes to social media. I fully concur with this post.

Buck up, Little Rock. We are on the verge of a real culinary breakthrough…all it takes is a few clicks on your iPhone.

Mark November 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

HAM’s daily specials & touch of the neighborhood is spot on. Also a fan of Natchez’s daily pic of their changing menu board.

Ditto on Hot Dog Mike. He was the father of social media in this market & it was fun but I checked out after the comeback. Just got too tiring to keep up.

    The Mighty Rib November 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    HAM is awesome on FB, but no website and low Twitter numbers.

Jason November 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I would definitely include Natchez on the list of doing it right. That daily shot of the menu board is pretty enticing. Other than that your list and your comments are pretty spot on. I love what Mugs does with their social media. The Big Orange accounts and the South on Main accounts are exemplary.

    The Mighty Rib November 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I considered Natchez, but their Twitter updates need to increase to make this list. I agree, they do an excellent job on FB.

John Keller November 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Great commentary Kevin. More restaurants need to use Instagram as well. I know Natchez, Local Lime & Big Orange have good presence on there too. I would think that Social Media & a successful food truck is a must since it’s the best way to communicate with your customers. It’s crazy that so many restaurants here are lacking in this free creative avenue

    The Mighty Rib November 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks, John. You raise a good point with Instagram. It’s actually something many folks have gotten on my case for not utilizing.

Stephanie November 6, 2013 at 9:50 am

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a foodie, but I am not made of money– nor do I eat everything. If you want me to visit your restaurant, you need to make your menu AND prices available online, preferably in a mobile version. Based on the responses here, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Bottom line: you will get more customers if you make this info immediately available and keep it updated.

Ashley November 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

Interesting. Local Lime has a mobile site but not a desktop site:

    The Mighty Rib November 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Ashley…thank you so much for pointing this out. Interesting.

Christie November 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

We’re currently re-writing our Professional Food Writing class at the culinary school to include this very thing, teaching future chefs how to promote what they got with social media and the web. I mean, it’s time, already.

    The Mighty Rib November 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Such a wise move on the part of you and the culinary school. Kudos! 🙂

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