Tag Archives: social media for restaurants


Periscope: A New Medium to Connect with Customers

New Social Channel: Periscope

There’s a new social media outlet on the scene: Periscope. I know, I know, the last thing you want is another social media network to have to keep up with.

Well first, if using social media for your business, you should only be using the networks that make sense and your customers to better connect. So if you or your customers aren’t benefitting from one of your channels, move on from it!

Second, Periscope is different than your post-type channels and will allow your customers to keep up with you real time.

Periscope prebroadcast

Screen prior to starting your broadcast. Add a title that will be relevant to your live stream.

What is Periscope?

Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, connects people all over the world in real time via smartphone. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Instead of posting words, pictures or video clips, Periscope allows you to broadcast so people can watch whatever you want them to see in real time.

“It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation,” Periscope explained. “While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience as place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”

Periscope was launched in late March 2015, and had one million users in it’s first 10 days. It has been connecting people from all over the globe ever since. Simply log in, and either choose someone else’s live stream to watch wherever in the world, or start broadcasting your own.

People can interact with you too via text if you enable that option. So while you are broadcasting, people can connect with you and share thoughts, ask questions or just say “hi” in real time.

So How Can My Restaurant or Foodservice Benefit from This?

Businesses, entrepreneurs and more are capitalizing on Periscope to give fans, customers, etc. and inside look into anything. Often times tweeting out when they will be live streaming ahead of time, then again at the time they go live, businesses can quickly gain a following on Periscope and create a personal bond.

Periscope broadcast

Viewers have the ability to comment in real time, as shown in this screen shot.

For restaurants, there are many opportunities you can stream live on Periscope and involve your customers. A few ideas include:

  • Back of the House Behind the Scenes: To advertise, leave note cards on each of the tables which will be a neat opportunity for guests to see a “behind-the-scenes.”
  • Create an Entree: Advertise beforehand a time when you will be putting this entree together both in the restaurant and on social media. This not only is great for current customers, but may be intriguing to chefs and others around the world to learn about your cuisine and culture.
  • “A Day in the Life:” Are you popular with your customers? Do you have a large following? Give people a glimpse in the day in the life of you. You don’t live in that kitchen. (Well, almost.)
  • Host a Q&A Session: Choose a topic pertinent to your foodservice operation then host a Q&A. This will allow your guests or peers to learn more about whatever you are interested in sharing.
  • Chat with Regulars: Share a quick experience with followers or anyone that wants to find you with one of your regulars. Speak with them ahead of time, but if they are on board just have a quick conversation, share a laugh, anything with them! People will enjoy seeing that and will think of you the next time they’re in town, or if in town and looking for a great place to eat.
  • Use as a Teaching Opportunity: Host sessions to help your guests with tasks they can do in their own kitchen. For example how to cut properly, benefits of a good knife, cooking techniques and more.
  • Save and Share: Not everyone can be live when you are, and Periscope does allow you the opportunity to save your broadcasts. After broadcasting, save the video and share it through social media, your blog, etc.


Ready to get started? Here are some great resources on how to make the most of your Periscope experience!

Images from the Periscope website

Using Social Media for Your Restaurant: Foursquare

Image from Social Media Examiner

In our final installment of the “Using Social Media for Your Restaurant” series, we’re going to cover Foursquare.  The sites we’ve covered (FacebookTwitter, Yelp! and Foursquare) were chosen because they are well known, but there are more sites out there. If you find one you think will work well for your customers, by all means pursue it.

We first took a look at Foursquare when our home city, Indianapolis, declared April 16 as Foursquare day.  After looking into it, we realized Foursquare is much more than just “checking-in” a place.  A few weeks later we got in touch with Russ Chargualaf, executive chef of Houlihan’s (Castleton Square, Indianapolis) for a blog and learned how great of a marketing tool Foursquare is through his experience.

What is Foursquare? I think we hit the nail on the head in May’s Foursquare blog:

“The location-based social media site, Foursquare, is gaining popularity among millions of mobile app users worldwide and also for over 250,000 (and counting) businesses—many being restaurants. With over eight million users and over 2.5 million check-in’s per day, this is another great advertising tool for restaurants. Best of all, it’s free and doesn’t take much time at all.”

Image from Foursquare Website

Where to Begin? If you haven’t joined Foursquare, you can go here to get your account. Upon logging in, you will be able to see what your friends are up to, but you will want to look into information for merchants to get working on new things for your restaurant.

First, similar to Yelp and other social media sites we’ve discussed, you will want to claim your venue.  Once you’ve claimed your venue, you can update your bio, other contact information (i.e. Twitter, website, and phone number), categories, tags and more.

While logged in, you can also view your venue stats which will allow you to know your customers better.


Badge Image from Zagat Blog

When you’re logged in on your venue (or any venue) you will notice tips.

“Tips are generally things you’d recommend to others,” the Foursquare support site says.  For example, someone may leave a tip saying, “Try the bacon cheeseburger!” or “Stop in Friday nights for a free appetizer!”

Once joining, you will see people checking-in and writing tips on your wall. In one of Chargualaf’s many marketing strategies, he utilizes Foursquare’s tips on locations in surrounding areas.  We posted in our May blog:

“In Houlihan’s case, at every hotel or motel within a mile, Chargualaf will put in a Tip welcoming someone to Houlihan’s with a short history, specials and hours.  Also, he’s been creative by creating a Tip for Midas and other car repair shops that says, “Just got your bill? Come and share your sorrows with us.  Half off drinks all day, everyday at Houlihan’s Castleton Square Mall.”

Foursquare Specials

Restaurants are one of the key places Foursquare specials are used. These are implemented for both new and loyal customers upon checking into your establishment. Upon checking in, customers can earn badges as a reward.  You can use these badges to then reward your customers.

“Be it a mobile coupon, prizes, discounts, your name on it, we dig it,” Techsterr.com says in their Tutorial on How to Create Foursquare Special for Business.

Steps for Starting a Special (through a Campaign)
Click here for more information on Foursquare’s specials.

  1. Click “Manager Tools”
  2. Click “Campaigns”
  3. Choose “Start a Campaign”
  4. Choose which type of special you would like to run (Techsterr fills you in on all the definitions for which type of special to run here)
  5. Finalize the verbiage, in which you will be able to see on the right hand side of your screen what your special will look like
  6. Just before you begin your special, you’ll reach a screen to show your special and you can choose when the special ends, save it for later if you need to then click “Start Campaign Now” to get rolling

It’s More Than Specials…

Just like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp—there are multiple aspects of Foursquare and ways to use it to grow your business. While it’s free, you must remember these two words: Self promote.  Grab attention by placing a check-in widget on your website, blog, etc.  You can even add in a special tab for your Facebook page or WordPress blog.

We’ve told you in the other blogs in the series, get the word out to your customers in all ways you can, so inform them about your Foursquare presence at your establishment and online. In your restaurant, you can look into printing off “Check-in” signs or get window clings.

By making your presence known on the web, you won’t only be attracting your regulars; you will be attracting people in the area that find you. Via their phone or on a website, customers can search an area and see what’s around them. So by running specials, posting tips and just keeping current, you will attract a new set of customers while remaining loyal to your regulars.


Take a look at these resources to help you through your Foursquare journey. We hope our social media series has been helpful. Be sure to comment below with any of your own tips for using social media for your restaurant.

Foursquare Merchant Platform by Foursquare

Foursquare Marketing Tips for Restaurants by Rebel Marketing Cafe

Houlihan’s: A Foursquare Success by Central Restaurant Products

Top 5 Foursquare Mistakes Committed by Small Businesses by Financial Bin

Why Restaurants Should Be Using Foursquare by Harrison Marketing

Image from Foursquare

Foursquare for Restaurants and Bars by Twitter for Restaurants

Keys to Success with Social Media Marketing: Foursquare by ClickZ

Using Social Media for Your Restaurant: Twitter

In last week’s crash course on using Facebook for your restaurant, we learned just how important social media really is and how it can increase business to your restaurant. This week we’ll delve into Twitter.

If you’re completely unfamiliar to Twitter, visit the Twitter Guide Book for everything you need to know. This is also a great resource for frequent users as well.

Today’s blog will cover the basics. For those who use Twitter regularly for your restaurant, please comment below how it’s working for your business.

So what is Twitter? They said it best:

So you, the restaurant, are what people find interesting and compelling.  The end goal is to have people follow you—and they will. Like we said, you won’t see drastic numbers overnight. But as time goes by, your following will increase. Spread the word to customers in your signage, menus, website, etc. and it will help increase your number of followers too.

Getting Started

Get an account here. When choosing a name, you may have to be a little creative based on availability–but still pick a name customers will easily recognize.  They’ll walk you through the rest of the steps.

Composing Tweets

For anything people are reading, from news stories to magazine articles, if you don’t catch someone’s attention in the first couple sentences, you have lost them as a reader.  You can actually accomplish a lot in the 140 characters Twitter gives you because it’s forcing you to get down to the point. Keep it simple and relevant. You can tweet about things in the past or for the future, but as a restaurant, you can take advantage of the moment and tweet about what’s going on right now.  It might drive someone in the door. Twitter has especially been great for food trucks in letting people know where they are.


“Serving breakfast from 7a.m. to 11 a.m.!”

“Pork tenderloin special only available today.”

“Stop in for our famous BBQ bacon burger for lunch this afternoon.”

“The ABC food truck will be at the corner of 10th and Smith Street today from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.”


Many restaurants, like McDonalds, Hard Rock Café and Dominos, tweet conversation starters related to their restaurant but engage readers without just promoting a special. We learned last week in the Facebook blog that it’s okay to promote, but over-promoting drives people away.

“Today’s topic: diversity and inclusion at McDonald’s. We are a leader in the area and proud of the recognition we’ve received.” –@McDonalds

“Happy Birthday to the legendary Les Paul! He would have been 96 today.” –@HardRock

“Another 90+ degree day today at Domino’s HQ. No truth to the rumor that we’re cooking pizzas on the sidewalks.” –@dominos

Just like Facebook, you can connect with others too—which is a great way to get your name out there. Keep in mind Twitter is a live newsfeed, so the more you tweet the more people will see you.

The Twitter Vocabulary

Here are a few of the most commonly used words you will see when using Twitter. For all Twitter vocabulary words, check out the Twitter Glossary.

Tweet: Your message to the world.

Retweet (RT): A forwarded tweet.

At symbol (@): You have your username, i.e. ours is CRPRestaurant. The @ sign is used to call out usernames on Twitter. So, for instance, to message us, tweet @CRPRestaurant.

Mentions: You can click on @Mentions, next to timeline just under the “What’s Happening” box to see any messages tweeted to you.

Direct Message (DM): A private way to send messages.

Follow: Following is exactly what it means. When people choose to follow you, they’re following what you have to say because they’re interested. You can follow people (i.e. customers, resources) you’re interested in and respond to them.

Hashtag symbol (#): Marks keywords in topics in a tweet. You can use them in sentences or after. It’s a good way for people who aren’t following you to find you in the search box or even in trending topics. (i.e. “Stop by for #dinner tonight and enter in our #contest.” OR “Stop by for dinner tonight and enter in our contest. #dinner #contest”)

Trending: A trending topic is one of the most popular topics on Twitter at a particular moment in time. You’ll see everything trending on the right side of your page. You can take advantage of these when you can relate something you’re about to tweet. Let’s say “wings” is a trending topic and you just happen to have a special going on, take advantage of it. (i.e. “We have 2 cent wings tonight! #wings”)

In Conclusion….This is Just the Beginning

When it comes to the message, Twitter is incredibly simple. If anything, get an account to tweet information about your restaurant to customers.  But if you’re even the slightest bit of technologically savvy or simply interested in what else Twitter has to offer—there is so much more. Here are some other Twitter resources to look into that will help you utilize Twitter best for your restaurant. Happy Tweeting!

Tweetr: iPhone app with many high functions including scheduling tweets.

TweetDeck: Personal real-time browser allowing you to connect through a variety of social media sites.

Twitter Search: Find what topics you’re interested in on Twitter.

Tweet Button: Add this to your website or anything web related for you—especially great for blogs.

HootSuite: Another social media dashboard.

Link/URL Shortening: Your 140 characters are important—Twitter just began a feature that shortens links for you, or you can use sites to shorten URLs like Bitly, Ow.ly and Google URL Shortener.

Pictures: Similar to link shortening, you can use certain websites to upload pictures to then share them on Twitter from a link such as TwitPic, Lockerz, Yfrog, Pikchur or Twittxr.

Twitter Apps: As a restaurant owner, you probably find yourself most of the time helping your staff. Use a mobile app to help you with your on-the-go schedule.

The question of social networking for restaurants

Recent trends reflect the foodservice industry’s hesitancy to jump onto the social media bandwagon. It could be a tremendous source of revenue for your business, or it could be a public relations nightmare, if not properly managed and monitored. According to Fast Casual Magazine, most restaurants are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Many restaurants have implemented some form of social network, whether it be an online profile or a blog, but have found it difficult to engage their audience.

Some of the advantages of social networking include taking a one-on-one approach with customers, being able to answer questions and respond to comments, and to squash criticism before it becomes viral.

However, it is important to have a clearly communicated policy regarding comments about your establishment. Tell your visitors that you will respond to legitimate complaints and criticism via your profile or blog, but that you will not allow comments that are offensive, irrelevant or just plain rude. You can respond to these users in a private message, and let them know you’d like to help resolve their issue, but it’s important to control any chatter about you that occurs on your site—after all, that’s the whole idea behind social networking: it’s a means of communicating with others about a common theme.

Take a look at this blog’s comment policy here.

Social networking can also be a way for members of the foodservice industry to communicate with one another.

The most popular social network for the restaurant industry is FOHBOH, which boasts nearly 10,000 members from 100 countries. It is the self-proclaimed “water cooler” of the foodservice industry. It can also be a great way to share ideas, get feedback, make friends and new business connections and to learn and do business.

What kind of ways are you using the internet? Does your establishment belong to a social network? Do you have a blog? As always, your feedback is much appreciated.