The Food Channel recently had a chance to speak with several industry leaders about what they see for the coming year. The subject of social media—and how best to use it—came up a lot.
Far from talking theory, these executives are neck deep (or higher) in using social media to drive traffic and, ultimately, profits. In terms of acumen in using a more social approach, chain restaurants, and independents as well, are some of the most sophisticated practitioners.
Dan Kim, President & CEO of Red Mango, says social media is very important to building his brand. ‘Even before we opened the first store, we used Myspace and a lot of other social networking sites to drive awareness and build a fan base for our concept. We believe it’s a very valuable tool.’
Paul Barron, Founder and Publisher of fastcasual.com says the impact of social media is going to move through the industry like wildfire. ‘The restaurant industry is a social environment. Because of that, it fits well with more social engagement in terms of media.’
Kim emphasized what a step forward social media interaction can be compared to what it was in the past. ‘You not only speak to your customers, but have them speak back to you in real time. In the past it was all about comment cards and surveys. With Facebook and Twitter, especially, we can hear those responses in real time and address them in the right way.’