Social media is an effective platform for building customer loyalty and a channel that can support but not replace more traditional marketing efforts, writes Rebecca LeHeup, executive director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and a recent panelist at Social Media Week. Other tips: Listen to what your customers are saying and be authentic in your social media messaging.
Hooters has opened a renovated 8,000-square-foot Atlanta restaurant that's double the size of the original and includes new features such as an indoor-outdoor bar, more comfortable seating and 50 flat-screen HDTVs that are likely to be part of the chain's national prototype for new stores, said CEO Terry Marks. Revamped stores and menus are part of the chain's effort to keep up with changing consumer demands, he said.
Some California chefs are using leftover red wines to create their own custom vinegars, including Russell Moore, chef-owner of Camino in Oakland, Calif., who started experimenting with the leftovers as a cook at Chez Panisse. "I found early on that my red wine vinegar is better than anything you can buy."
U.S. consumers made 2.1 billion fewer restaurant visits last year than they did in 2010, and independent restaurants lost the lion's share of the business, according to the NPD Group. Visits to chain restaurants rose 1% last year, while traffic at independent eateries fell 4%, the report says.
The roles of farmers and chefs have begun to overlap as the farm-to-table restaurant trend grows, National Geographic reports. Farmers Natalie Veres and Cassie Parsons became restaurateurs after launching a food truck that later became Harvest Moon Grille in Charlotte, N.C. The restaurant serves pork from hogs raised on the owners' farm and uses other ingredients raised within 100 miles of the restaurant.