Restaurant companies are increasingly focusing marketing strategies on word of mouth tactics and social networking sites as tools to attract new customers and keep current guests coming back.
The 2009 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will gather executives from top restaurant companies for a panel discussion on how chains and multi-concept operators are increasing revenue and guest loyalty through new media marketing.
â€˜Effective marketing strategies make for a successful restaurant business. In the current economy, companies are increasingly using a new generation of cost-effective tools, such as social media networking, blogs, viral videos and other online channels to maximize their word of mouth potential, said Lorna Donatone, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2009 and President of School Services at Sodexo Inc.
The panelists are:
Billy Dec, CEO and founder, Rockit Ranch Productions
Rockit Ranch Productions operates Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda and The Underground nightclub in Chicago. The marketing and publicity campaign for the opening of The Underground was developed to create an exclusive Ã¢â‚¬Ëœin- the-know’ buzz months before the doors actually opened to the public, and ensured a constant barrage of celebrity and entertainment- oriented press coverage by outlets such as People, US, In Touch and OK! magazines.
John Moser, marketing and brand officer, Denihan Hospitality Group
Moser’s innovative strategies have led the three DHG brands, Affinia Hotels, The Benjamin and The James to have one of the highest repeat guest ratios in the industry, posting triple-digit percentage increases in brand recognition and keeping the company on the cutting edge of technological innovations that impact travel.
Margie Myers, senior vice president of communications, Dunkin’ Brands
Myers is responsible for global public relations, franchisee communications, corporate communications and customer service. Myers and her team also serve as part of an ongoing integrated marketing effort to drive Dunkin’ Donuts’ increasing involvement in social media and online communications.
Brad Wahl, vice president of marketing, The Krystal Company
Wahl has spearheaded some of Krystal’s most notable and recognizable branding campaigns, including the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship, which annually receives over 100 million free media impressions.
Under Wahl’s leadership, Krystal has effectively leveraged new media tactics as a way to promote brand affinity and propel word-of-mouth. Social media initiatives executed under his direction include the creation of an online-entertainment community at Krystal.com, an active company blog and daily engagement on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
William Whitman, Jr., vice president of communications, McDonald’s USA LLC
Whitman serves as a member of the McDonald’s U.S. Executive Leadership Team and works closely with senior leadership, franchisees, suppliers and other key stakeholders. Whitman works with each group to define communications strategies and tactics, which drive McDonald’s U.S. Plan to Win and expand strategic partnerships and alliances across all facets of the McDonald’s system.