Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Restaurateurs Embrace Social Media Sites

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Restaurateurs Embrace Social Media Sites

Article excerpt

A decade ago, restaurants began recognizing the necessity of having Web sites. Now, with the proliferation of social networking sites, restaurants can either tap into the online resources to inform customers and build loyalty or be left behind.

When Kari Snider, owner of Cicero International, looks for food or drink specials at her favorite restaurants or watering holes, she jumps on Facebook and Twitter to find ideas. If she can't decide what to do for dinner, she reads her friends' posts on social networking sites for suggestions.

Mike Koehler, new media director for the Oklahoma City office of Schnake Turnbo Frank PR, said with so many people using social networking sites daily, a restaurant will be discussed with or without the owner's participation. He said restaurants wanting to succeed will take charge of their presence on social networking sites by spending a few minutes online.

"If you can have a piece of that conversation, then obviously you're going to have some return on that," Koehler said. "I tell people these conversations are going on about you, and about your industry. It's just whether or not you choose to be part of it."

Elena Farrar, general manager of The Wedge Pizzeria, started a Twitter page for the restaurant four months ago. As of Tuesday, the eatery had 387 followers.

"I use it to let people know about specials we're having or remind people that are on Twitter that see us, that if they're craving pizza, they should come to The Wedge and eat," she said.

Some early experiments have included exclusive offers on Twitter for specials at one of The Wedge's two locations. So far only a few people have cashed in on the Twitter specials at the two restaurants.

"It's not a huge response," Farrar said. "One night, we had about four people."

But for a medium that is free, Farrar appreciates any additional business generated by Twitter.

Koehler said while many restaurants may boast hundreds of followers on social networking sites, it is the quality of those followers that benefit a restaurant most. …

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