After twenty years as a chef and strategic brand consultant, I launched a social media/networking service this summer. I am conducting a brief survey:

1. Is your organization using social media/networking?
2. Is the human resource cost prohibitive?

Jeffrey Kingman
Twitter Me

Tags: facebook, linkedin, media, networking, social, twitter

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Thanks Keith...

Yes, please ask away. There are several good industry folk who are researching the topic vigorously - Keith, Michael Atkinson, Paul Barron of Fast Casual Magazine are a few. has posted a resource page of social media best-practice theorists here.

Jeff, excellent work. We still have to quantify the return of social media to restaurant owners in actual patrons sales. We can show data from now till tomorrow but without proper numbers to sales, social media is still a hard sell.

Thank you. Here's an excellent article on quantifying ROI of social media for businesses of all types.

What's Your Twitter ROI? How to Measure Social Media Payoff

It's merely an exercise in projecting costs to results; no different than any other ROI exercise in a restaurateur's business plan.

Jeff, I am not talking of ROI measuring metrics which to a restaurant business owner means spend and traffic. I mean showing simple digestible numbers that shows returns.

Ola Ayeni
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It's different for each organization. A multi-unit, with it's economy of scale, will look at it different than the independent with $1mil annual revenue. I think the harder sell is the independent, but that's also the operator that stands the most to gain.

Social media is entirely about "word-of-mouth", as Keith states below and leading theorists state.

What we do is meet with the operator, listen to them, evaluate their community and their desires and then plot out several scenarios of engagement. We estimate the costs based on time and labor, especially who is providing the labor.

Ola and Jeff,

This is how I take it and how I am explaining it to people, not just in food/food service, but hotels and other businesses :

The best form of advertising is Word of Mouth. it beats newspaper, yellow pages, television, radio.

What social media, does, it seems to me, is make the word of mouth work faster and to a greater audience. You just "type" your thoughts or "text" your thoughts rather than "Wait till I get home and tell Aunt Mary about this new place."
With social media, you can essentially do it in the restaurant, tell Aunt Mary, Cousin Sue and whomever else who may be listening.

It is an exciting phenomenon for the food industry and is long overdue.
The monitoring of the data will be the key. Once people (in food management) realize
the importance and the impact , it won't be the hard sell that many believe it is.
Bill Bridgmon and I had a very similar conversation to what Keith just said the other night before you spoke to him. Word of mouth is huge in this area. It makes or breaks a great many restaurants. And with the increased usage of FB, MS, Twitter and such, the turnaround time for word of mouth has gone from days to instant. With that being said, we went on line to see how many of the restaurants in the southern White Mtn area of NH were using Social Networking sights. We were amazed to see how few (2) were actually taking advantage of this great media. It's time to bring these places up to speed on what they are missing. Chalkboarder is definately a solution.
Michelle, Keith and Jeff, many owners are still locked in the old mindset of good food, good service and they will come.... That is the hard part of evangelizing social media to many owners. As you are aware, many owners also do not even have a marketing budget talk more of doing social media.

I really like Keith's analogy of SM as the word of mouth done in a quicker way. I was asked to present to a group of local owners recently and I defined SM as a word of mouth on steroids. Once you begin SM and your restaurant gets high with friends and folks coming, it keeps your restaurant high all the time once you keep doing it. But you need to keep getting high ( I mean spend time) in order to keep getting high( consistently doing sm)...

The question I usually get is what do we write on FB or Twitter and how do we begin.....

Many owners are used to the quick unsustainable methods of getting high. One time buzz of traditional media.

We all have work cut out for us.

Jeff and I are planning a Video Webinar coming soon...


I got a great chuckle from your analogy of steroids! :)

Compelling content, produced simply and that tells a story from inside your operation, is what communicates (it has to be authentic). Publishing today's specials doesn't engage nearly as much as relating the human side of your restaurant.

I am very excited about the Video Webinar we are working on...

Hello Jeff,
I'm starting to use social media and do not consider the human capital cost prohibitive. However,
the creative content issue and technology component to keeping our message fresh and unique is challenging. I'd like to explore educational opportunities to develop our social media platform in-house.
Hope that helps in your survey.





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