I usually write about great design and great design and hospitality experiences should be publicised.
Lets look at restaurants. What makes for a great restaurant experience. For me it is a combination of three factors: Food, Environment and People. If your meal tastes fantastic, is served by staff who are fully engaged in their work, even enjoying it, and you are eating in a well designed comfortable dining room then you will let others know.
The good food and engaged staff are in the control of the restaurateur, and we as designers make a big contribution to the style and comfort of the dining environment.
If you have worked hard to perfect Food, Environment and People how do you let potential diners know, and how do you keep in contact with previous diners. If you own your own hospitality business how do you monitor what is being said about you.
There are a number of things you can do.
Yelp – Claim your business on Yelp. Its free to claim and customise your page on Yelp's review pages. There are a lot of review pages out there but I think Yelp is the most active. Put the effort into creating a good page here and it will pay off in search results for your business. Yelp will e-mail you whenever anyone reviews your business and you can respond publicly or privately. You can also keep track of how many visitors you have. Have a look here
Facebook – Create an exciting Fan Page. You may have a personal profile on Facebook. A business page here offers you the chance to keep customers up to date. You could keep a gallery of photos showing what your at in the kitchen. You could let everyone know about new ingredients you are working with and any events you have coming up. The thing is to update regularly. I'm guilty of not posting as often as I should have. See here
Twitter – Set up an account. Customers will post comments both negative and positive about your restaurant on twitter. You can monitor these and respond to them if you have an account. If they are good you can also retweet them. Twitter allows everyone to become mini reviewers of your business and you need to know what customers are saying. You can also post pictures on twitter. Have a look here
The Blog - If the options above work for you and you want to take things a little further. Try writing a blog. There are plenty of platforms out there. You can tell the story of your business, showcase new recipes with great photographs. Blogging takes work and if people begin to follow your posts they will expect them to be regular. But search engines love regular content updates. Here's a good restaurant blog with a great use of photos.
All of these sites allow you to interact with your customers when they are not in your restaurant.
You can also monitor what people are saying about your brand and join in.
And also have a look at the photo, don't forget to let people know they can connect with you via the internet.