I’m on Pinterest, and I noodle around there from time to time in search of news and trends that might be relevant to my life and/or work. That said, I have to admit that I haven’t plumbed the depths of the picture-driven social site the way some people in my life have, from my crafty niece who heads there to find her next project to my high-school BFF who scours it for recipes, restaurant ideas and sometimes wacky pictures of projects gone wrong.
Just as we’re all at different places when it comes to using social media, restaurants seem likewise to be figuring much of it out as they go along. Some interesting announcements are popping up about new ways restaurants are using social media and sometimes how patrons are using the same tools to interact with eateries in unexpected ways.
Subway is using social to teach would-be entrepreneurs around the globe about the ins and outs of franchising, with a build-your-own virtual Subway game that’s also aimed at identifying potential franchisees.
A&W has taken to playing for laughs by spreading obviously fake news stories and bringing back 1970s mascot Rooty Root Bear in an application that burps, Forbes reports. The brand also established a LinkedIn identity for Rooty, largely to get kicked off the site and start a protest after the site determined Rooty isn’t a real person. A&W launched a YouTube campaign featuring dozens of Root Bears purportedly doing the Harlem Shake in front of A&W eateries circa 1970.
Restaurants can drive the way consumers interact with them on social media. Often, though, consumers drive the conversation, and that can lead to unexpected trends. In Japan and South Korea, young people have taken to having potato parties. After a media report last fall on the events, which involved ordering and eating massive amounts of fast-food fries, the trend has escalated. Now, between the ordering and eating, players spread the fries across the table, take a picture and upload it to social sites, reports ABC News. “Not only do these hefty fry orders cause every other customer’s food to be delayed; the rambunctious teenagers smugly eating their fries disturb the other customers eating at the restaurant,” wrote Asian News Site RocketNews24.
McDonald’s restaurants aren’t happy with the partiers, but that’s nothing compared to the indignation an Applebee’s restaurant in Missouri expressed when they fired a server who posted a check to Reddit on which the customer had written “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” The incident garnered national media attention, including a Denver Post opinion piece by Steve Lipsher exploring the bigger issue of why so many Christians are reportedly bad tippers.
Has social media driven unexpected interactions for your restaurant? Tell us in the comments.