This has been re-posted directly from Angelsmith's website.
By Ryan Owens
Whether you’re a vendor looking for leads, or a restaurant operator looking for a way to improve your social media marketing knowledge, LinkedIn food and restaurant groups are an amazingly useful place for making all kinds of top notch connections.
With so many groups to choose from, you could quickly find yourself on information overload. You can’t join every group (LinkedIn limits participation to 50 groups per user) but you can join the ones best suited for you. I’ve compiled a list of the restaurant groups that help the agency achieve its objectives.
If you want a better understanding of the group before joining, check out the statistics. They can be found in the lower right hand side near the bottom on the group’s page. LinkedIn provides information on growth, activity, demographics and the primary job function of the participants.
Many of the groups listed below are open, but some require approval. Usually, an introductory note to the group owner explaining why you want to join and how you will contribute is the only credential you need.
This group is affiliated with FohBoh.com, a social networking site for restaurant operators that’s making a big splash in the category. You’ll frequently find links to useful studies and surveys about restaurant marketing. This is also a good group to find job postings in the restaurant sector.
Stats: 2746 Members
Function: 20% Operations
Inside this group you’ll find helpful tips on how to overcome the challenges faced by some of the biggest brands from people who actually know what they’re talking about. But great insights are just the beginning. You might land an amazing new job, as talent recruitment also figures prominently in this group.
Stats: 17,452 Members
Function: 27% Sales
This group provides many useful links to articles about the intersection of social media, marketing and food service. You’ll frequently see announcements about Fortune 500 companies and appealing offers from vendors.
Stats: 51,289 Members
Function: 18% Operations
This is a fun niche group that focuses on culinary trends. It’s a great place to get ideas for new menu items, share food discoveries, and network with other foodies. You’ll frequently find links to articles on the hottest food blogs.
Stats: 2733 Members
Function: 31% Operations
This group is an offshoot of FoodBev, a site that bills itself as, “the world’s fastest growing food and drink industry website.” Of all the groups we researched, this one has the most activity. A great place to get the scoop on big brands and emerging trends in the processed food sector.
Stats: 10,456 Members
Function: 15% Sales
As the name suggests, this group was established for chefs to share information about the restaurant business. It’s an open group that’s a great place for marketers to learn about the issues facing chefs, managers and kitchen staff. It’s also a top place for recruiters to find the best talent.
Stats: 12,474 Members
Function: 48% Operations
If you’re looking to meet decision-makers who own and operate top restaurants, this is the group for you. Discussions usually revolve around marketing and operations with the occasional financing opportunity thrown in for good measure. And who doesn’t need a little financing advice now and then?
Stats: 6,427 Members
Function: 34% Entrepreneur
In this group you’ll find a significant amount of discussion about issues facing food and beverage managers. And it’s not just idle chatter, this is a great space for vendors to meet operators who could benefit from their goods and services.
Stats: 29,049 Members
Function: 19% Operations
Links to useful information abound in this group and there is a real sense of community.
“If you are a hospitality management professional looking to network with the brightest minds in the business and keep up to date on the latest trends and happenings, then you’ve just found your network,” says group owner Robert Krzak.
Stats: 3,628 Members
Function: 23% Operations
If you want to know how mobile technology is transforming the restaurant business, this is one group you need to join. We’ve been participating in a number of lively discussions on mobile payment and social media trends in this group.
Stats: 2,497 Members
Function: 32% Operations
These are just some of the restaurant marketing and networking groups that we participate in. Finding the right LinkedIn group for you will depend on your personal and/or company objectives. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of trial to see what’s a good fit.
Let us know which other restaurant groups you like in the comments below.