Over the years social media has become the largest marketplace for the restaurant industry. Restaurant brands today are more convenient advertising themselves through social connect than putting an advertisement on television or a newspaper ad for that matter. Social media being the mass media connects to larger masses giving much more visibility.
And, since customers are more vocal these days about what they like and what they don’t, it is becoming very difficult for restaurant owners to respond to them. Social media guide the restaurateurs in defining their social media goals and working out a strategy that would work best for their set up. But what seems difficult for the restaurateurs is managing consumers on the social platform. According to experts, as a restaurant owner one need to accept all kind of feedback and reply to it timely. It’s the part of the ecosystem. One can’t get applauds all the time. And, Social media is something you cannot ignore. There are many incidents that is happening these days for eg: recently a man drank liquid nitrogen without knowing that the drink ahs to be taken once smoke dissipates made much noise on social media, some blaming restaurant, fewer the customer who didn’t understand the food and experience.
“It is very important to stay in touch with your customers and look at expanding your customer base. Our most preferred mode of communication has been Social Media as it instantly activates brand recall. We have an in house marketing and social media team that looks after all our outlets, “says Pankaj Gupta, Co-founder of Oye Kake and Cafe Haqq Se of Flavour Pot Foods LLP.
According to The National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, The study also found that social media environment has become cluttered with too many different platforms and restaurant owners’ efforts were frustrated by limited resources and understanding of how to approach social media for their businesses.
“If a restaurant gets negative feedback again and again, there is something wrong with the product”, shares Shuchir Suri, whose three passions include Food, People and Technology, exactly in the order, believes that brands could actually leverage on negative reviews by handling them well and creating goodwill amongst the readers. He also suggested that user generated content is better than restaurateurs creating them and one must leverage on that as it is free of cost.
Many a times people share negative reviews to get free meals and it becomes very difficult to manage it experts believes. However, one has to address it. Like at Impresario Entertainment owned by Riyaaz Amlani, they have a policy where within 24 hrs, they respond to every single comment that is made online. And they take negative reviews to understand what went wrong with the customer’s experience.
Restaurant business of being personal with the customer should be taken online as well. Also, technical angle is important to handle consumer feedback to track down fake and the genuine profiles. One can’t buy social reputation. They will have to build it.
Hence, Social Media cannot give you a tangible return. It is for creating a personal connect. You might have thousands of likes on your page but it does not mean you will have thousands entering your restaurant on a day to day basis. Social media is a way to communicate and when you will sound like a sales person on it, no one will like it, believes experts.