Why Is Social Media Hooey in Restaurants?

I just read an article at the MustHaveMenus.com blog and they pointed at a post at Technorati by Brooks Briz where he cited results of a survey that I think he said MustHaveMenus.com posted (it was a circuitous reference and it confused me too) but the short of it is that somebody, somewhere said that over half of restaurant owners from somewhere suggested that social media would never work for them or in the restaurant industry. I have to question these finding.

I get how busy restaurant owners / manager are, but I eyed the results with some suspicion, the loop[ing reference being just one reason. A stat they present is that 42% of restaurant owners and managers invest in social media efforts (including blog participation, and managing their Twitter and Facebook accounts).

I'm a big proponent of social media usage by business and think that the march to social media as a fundamental part of being in business in the next 5-10 years is going to be pretty important; in my mind it's not something the industry can avoid.

I say that the the adoption of social media might be at about 50% and others are just being prudent about making large / larger investments until we can produce an A = B = $ formula that can be referenced. Right now companies all over the world are using social with MUCH better effect than traditional media and the stats are emerging that show what the 'A' and 'B' need to be.

The MustHaveMenus.com / Brooks Briz report says they polled 1,300 owners and my reference points are no where near as large as that - what's your sense of it?

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Tags: marketing, media, profitstreams, social, success.

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Comment by Steven Groves on December 2, 2010 at 11:14am
Wow! Love seeing you both here on the post and I appreciate your responses.

The adoption by businesses of marketing that have social elements embedded in them is where I think we're going and not sure how / if restaurants can avoid the move to social marketing. Yes - it does take time, but maybe not as much as some people think. Yes - the tools are still not well developed (at least near as far as i think they're going to be).

The phase we're going through right now is akin to the growth of webpages in the Dot com era and now, pretty much all businesses have a web page - now they're being called into a 'web presence'. How does that differ? It seems that it requires a conversation. Consumers are growing weary of the one-way spew that many businesses utilize as marketing and the paradigm is shifting.

Wonder how long it'll take?

Non-Operator
Comment by Brooks Briz on December 2, 2010 at 10:57am
Here is the reference to the Paul Barron quote that I brought up --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzOyXfGVHSc (check at 0:34).

Non-Operator
Comment by Brooks Briz on December 2, 2010 at 10:47am
@Amanda- Thank you for clearing that up; I appreciate the work that we do together :-)

@Steven- It was a headline and it was not intended to be misleading but I see your point. While on the subject, I have to quote QSR legend, Paul Barron, and say, "Social is not a strategy, it's a new way to communicate with your customers."

Why some businesses choose not to engage really varies. Some are resistant to change, some don't have enough information to formulate an opinion, some don't want to make the time for it, some don't care, some don't see the correlation to their bottom line and so forth.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the future, what are everyone's predictions?
Comment by Steven Groves on December 2, 2010 at 10:00am
Amanda - awesome that you caught the post and came to comment; thanks so much. I get that the restraunteurs are in a pinch that 1) they beelive that social marketing can help them and 2) that they cannot imagine how they're going to fit yet another time sink into an already packed schedule.

In my opinion, that perspective seems almost contrary to the post title of "Half of Restaurant Owners Proclaim “Social Will Never Work” in MHM Survey". I think businesses WANT to do more with social media marketing, they just do not understand yet the ROI in it and how to leverage the skills, ability and technology of others who have been there and done that.

Looking forward to connecting more! Look for me via the unbiquitious Google search for 'Steven Groves' and let's connect.
Comment by Amanda Brandon on December 2, 2010 at 9:42am
Hey Steven,
I work with MustHaveMenus. I wanted to give you a little background on our survey results and our perspective on why restaurateurs don't bother with social media.

Method: We put up an anonymous survey on our website www.musthavemenus.com. No one had to purchase our service to respond.

Owner perspective: The restaurant managers and owners we talk to every day want to do social media, but they don't think it will work because it's foreign to them. It's also time-consuming. Add those two ingredients and it's easy to see how they would not want to bother or have a skeptical opinion of it.

Our Take: We think restaurants can benefit from social media marketing because we've seen it work, but we think more education needs to happen for the owners and managers. This group is self-admittedly not the most tech-savvy group. They are interested, but need to know how they can make it work in their restaurants.

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