So it’s been a week since we gathered in San Francisco for the first ever Foodservice Social Media Universe Conference and I am finally getting the chance to sit and really reflect on everything that went on in those short two days.  Wow.


Even as a person that is immersed in the social media landscape each

and every day, I walked away with new outlooks,  ideas, and thoughts to apply to my efforts. The talent that made up the keynotes and speaker panels was extraordinary and my only regret was not being able to spend more time in the breakout sessions. Thank you all for helping make this year a success. The attendees sent over 3,000 tweets generating over 15 million impressions in the short time we were together. That's a lot of knowledge!


Here are my top three #FSMU moments…


The first was really a group of moments. My IRL (in real life) experiences at FSMU. One of my favorite parts of social media is the capability to connect, grow and foster relationships with people all over the world. In fact, many of the speakers and attendees I met for the first time at FSMU, I feel like I’ve known for years. I remember when Michael Minichello of Restaurant Raps walked up to the registration table I gave him a huge hug. Then thought, “oh crap, I’ve never actually met him. Hope that’s ok!”. The folks I’ve been talking to and connected with online for some time I finally got to meet face to face. And as much as I love social media and those connections, nothing beats in real life interaction.


My next highlight was the one and only Kathleen Wood keynote (she’s really the only keynote I got to watch). I tell ya, no one lights up a room and pumps people up like this one. She’s on my list of folks I am so fortunate to have in my corner; both as a mentor and a friend. My favorite part was her quote from Steve Jobs which left a tremendous impact: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Um…. Yea! We here at FohBoh have been called crazy a time or two and it’s my belief that we can change this industry.


My third highlight was the reception on Monday night at Bistro Boudin. We held a reception that benefitted Share our Strength and their Dine Out for No Kid Hungry. Definitely one of my favorite memories from the conference. If you haven’t yet checked them out they are an amazing organization who’s goal is to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. I feel that this problem in our country is inexcusable and it really is our industry’s responsibility to solve. If you haven’t gotten involved you can do so here. During this reception was the first time I got to step back (take a breath:) and really observe. It was so exciting to see so many smiling faces talking about all of the great information they learned that day. Folks were sharing more best practices, teaching each other how to check in on Foursquare and check out on Bizzy, as well as tackling top of mind issues in the social media space. It really was amazing to see.  

Personally, walking into this (a first year conference as well as the first time planning a conference) I really didn’t know what to expect. A huge hats-off and thank you to our partners at Networld Alliance: Valerie, Dan, Kris, Jason and Allen this could not have been done without you. Thank you for your partnership and execution of seamless event.


A few other special shout outs to Jill McFarland, Cathy McPhillips, Brie Foulds, Libby  Tucker, Avery Block, Nicole Walls, Chris Bursham, John Scroggins, Tom Hanson, Steven Groves, Michael Brito, Bill Campion, Nate DaPore, Michael Minichello, Mike Schneider (aka Schneider Mike:), Asif Khan and Patrick Goodman. Ok that was more than a "few". The energy and passion you brought to this conference I can't describe in words. Thank you for being such an important part of FSMU and for your support for FohBoh and for me. I couldn't have done it with out you.


I know now that this is our space. This was our stake in the ground. FSMU will be around for years to come bringing together the brightest minds and thought leaders in the social media restaurant space.  Thank you to Michael and my team at FohBoh for all your hard work leading up to and during the conference. A special shout out to our Senior Analyst Emerald Reilly (@FohBohGem) for not only working her heart out but for keeping me sane. You ARE the FohBoh GEM.


So cheers to a successful first year and I can’t wait to see you next year! And believe me folks, we’re already planning :)

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Tags: FSMU, FohBoh, FohBohGal, Foodservice social Media Universe, sarah atkinson


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Comment by Steven Groves on October 14, 2011 at 7:07am

Thanks for the kudos Sarah; I hope I can live up to it! 

Wendy, happy to connect - feel free to contact me at ProfitStreams (303.586.1152 / any friend of FohBoh is a friend of ours...

Comment by Wendy Simms on October 13, 2011 at 12:20pm
Thanks, Sara.  I did attend Steven's session.  I think we are all still trying to figure out the B2B side and looking at other industries is helpful.  It's an evolution!
Comment by Sarah on October 13, 2011 at 11:46am

Wendy - Thanks, it was awesome to have you there and we look forward to hosting you at many more to come! B2B is definitely top of mind for us here at FohBoh. Steven Groves led a great B2B panel at FSMU did you attend? If not, I highly reccomend connecting with him: .  We would love to chat with you about how our team can help Mariner and your clients succeed with social media and social data! Shoot me an email


Libby, thank you. Wouldn't have been the same without you. You were a HUGE contributor before and during the conference and we are thrilled to have you on this journey with us. Cheers to many more successful FSMU events!

Comment by Libby Tucker-beer2buds/promobomb on October 12, 2011 at 1:13pm

Sarah, I know I already commented on Twitter but I just wanted to mention again that this is a great post.  As Bill said, very heartfelt.  The hard work that went into this was obvious.  I've loved being a part of FohBoh and the growth over the past few years - what a journey!  I too was honored to be a part of FSMU, and was so thrilled to see how far things have come.  Amazing event and like you said stake in ground for years to come!  


Comment by Wendy Simms on October 12, 2011 at 11:55am
Thanks to the FOHBOH and Networld Alliance teams for putting on a great event.  Great content, great speakers and a great group of attendees!  It exceeded all expectations!  A tremendous feat for the first year!  Looking forward to many more!!  (and would love to get additional insights on the B2B side of social within the foodservice industry)  How can suppliers and manufacturers support operators in the social sphere??
Comment by Sarah on September 29, 2011 at 10:49am
Bill, Michael, Jon and Steve - thanks for the kind comments! I appreciate everything you all contributed to FSMU! See you next year!
Comment by Steven Groves on September 28, 2011 at 12:48pm
Thx for the shoutout Sarah!  The team did a great job and it was a great time for ProfitStreams.  I look forward to this year as we hit our stride and connect with even more people; foodservice online marketing will never be the same.
Comment by Jon Rock on September 28, 2011 at 10:38am
Nice blog, Sarah. You and your team did an awesome job putting the show together! I look forward to next year.
Comment by Michael L. Atkinson on September 28, 2011 at 10:31am

Thanks, Sarah! Great post and I agree with Bill, very heartfelt. You did an outstanding job and frankly, FSMU would not have happened without your efforts.

This is clearly your bailiwick; social media + foodservice. What people may not know is that your entire career has been grooming you and preparing you for this. First, as a foodserver and trainer from the age of 16 through college with great brands like Macaroni Grill, Claim Jumper and The Cheesecake Factory. Second at Virgo Publishing in sales, marketing and editorial, where digital + trade media entered your life as did social networking with MySpace and Facebook and then FohBoh, as employee #1. Can you say perfect career path? A FOH employee since 1999, an active social networker since 2002, a degree in business and communications and now, a social media marketing and services maven since 2007 with FohBoh. What's next? I'm sure it will be great!

Congratulations on your promotion to Director, Social Media Marketing at FohBoh. You've earned it!

Comment by Bill Campion on September 28, 2011 at 9:26am
What a great heartfelt blog Sarah.  You are the real deal!  You are the heartbeat of FohBoh and we love you for that.  Conference exceeded my expectations.  You guys took it over the top.  I consider it an honor to have been chosen as a speaker/facilitator.  I especially enjoyed our afternoon on the deck at Cheesecake.  That's one of my fondest memories!  See you soon in Dallas.




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