Successful restaurants have been using Twitter to support a variety of promotions and drive business. The 140-character limit on the Twitter message is simply a shortened version of those status updates we all know from Facebook.
The results of Twitter can come in the form of increased drink sales, customer buzz and website and blog traffic. Philadelphia-based Starr Restaurant Group uses it to publicize drink deals and new openings. The group has succeeded in connecting their restaurants with their guests.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager of Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon and has used Twitter to document his experiences behind the bar in a quirky, humorous style. The Cocktail Guru, my beverage consulting business, has benefited from Twitter. I tweet about where I travel and the cocktails I create for New York bars like The Campbell Apartment, Bookmarks Lounge and The World Bar. It may include events I am organizing for brands, recipes or an update on a favorite bar around town. Traffic on my website has been up nearly 50 percent and I’ve nearly doubled my subscriber base.
The U.S. Bartenders’ Guild New York Chapter—of which I’m the president—started tweeting in January. We let bartenders know about our activities, including competitions, events and educational experiences and link to our favorite bartending articles. Our chapter has grown from 25 members to nearly 200 members. Twitter also can be used on a practical level to find staff or bring in a rare Bourbon. A simple search of your bar or restaurant on Twitter can bring up every instance in which your establishment was mentioned and they may include critiques.
For chains, Twitter is a great way to stay competitive in a growing on-premise market. One tweet could reach thousands of followers across the globe in a matter of seconds.
Before using Twitter, consider the following: Be professional and try not to include too much personal information if tweeting for your bar or restaurant.
Building a following on Twitter is very strategic. Twitter has added a location function that eventually will allow you to see people talking about wine or cocktails in your area and those are the people you want to follow. You can also build a following by “retweeting” those tweets you deem exceptional in content.
Twitter is very much about communicating on a much closer level than we’ve ever experienced before. As children, we all learned to “share” our toys in the sandbox with the neighborhood kids. Now as adults, we have the ability to share with millions of people with that one tap on the “enter” key.
Step by Step
1. Connect with your customers.
2. Promote more than just your brand, be a source of information on trends.
3. Keep track of successful promotional elements and try to
stay ahead of your competition.
4. Remain focused with your tweets and stay on topic.
5. Strategically build a core following.