Restaurants Reach Out to Customers With Social Media [telecom]

Restaurants Reach Out to Customers With Social Media

By ELIZABETH OLSON January 19, 2011

RESTAURANTS and bars thrive on repeat business, but customers increasingly expect more than just good service, food and drinks. They want to be engaged and entertained, and some food establishments are turning to location-based social media to help keep customers happy and loyal.

Buffalo Wild Wings, a national restaurant chain that offers casual dining and televised sports, is embarking on a campaign, called "Home Court Advantage," to involve customers beyond the smartphone "check-in" they use to note their arrival.

The chain, which has 730 locations around the country, is known for its wing-eating contests and trivia challenges. Beginning this month, it is working with Scvngr, a location-based social media network, to introduce contests and rewards for its customers. Its main target is tech-savvy basketball fans, an important demographic for the chain.

Like the social media companies Gowalla, Foursquare and Loopt, Scvngr is largely reaching the people in their 20s and 30s who frequently use their mobile phones to flag their presence at a specific spot, and to notify friends of their location. While millions of people have signed onto such sites, it is estimated that just 4 percent of smartphone users in the United States have tried these services, with a mere 1 percent using them more than once a week, according to the most recent Forrester Research survey. Most users are men, however, and some 70 percent are between 19 and 35 - and that is the ideal profile of a Buffalo Wild Wings customer.


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Monty Solomon
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