Friday, April 8, 2011

School Gets an A+ for Social Media

You know what I love these days? Restaurants that "get" social media. You know the ones that understand the importance of interacting with their customers? The ones that embrace this "whole new world" of Facebook and Twitter, and realize that "Hey, you know what? It's 2011. We gotta keep up with the times, step up our game, and start doing things differently". These days, having a website is sometimes not enough; it serves as a good starting point but there are many more ways and avenues to engage with customers.

Not going to name names, but one time, a restaurant owner and I were talking about the opening of his new restaurant. He had websites for both his current restaurant and his new restaurant, but nothing beyond that. So I suggested to him the benefits of Facebook and Twitter, and how getting involved in it can really help get the news out about his new restaurant. He immediately shot the idea down, telling me it is not necessary and that he simply does not have time to do all that. 

OK people, this is not some hole-in-the-wall type restaurant, it is a pretty established restaurant in the neighbourhood so all I can say is:


Now, turn 360 degrees with me to a restaurant not only does social media right but embraces it in every way possible. School (formerly School Bakery & Cafe), in my opinion, sets a really good example as to how when social media is done right, it can do wonders in terms of attracting and engaging with their customers. Last week, School launched a whole new look and revamped their website. I love it! All their food pictures make me drool =D

Right away you should notice the "Tweet" and "Like" buttons that are easily accessible beside each School event, making it extremely convenient if you want to let your tweeps and/or Facebook friends know about it. Also, you can easily Like School's Facebook page from their homepage so that you can keep track of their news and upcoming events. Notice that School has free wifi, which I think is absolutely essential these days (especially for people like me who love to tweet and post pictures when I'm at a restaurant). Instant feedback is where it's at!

School also has a whole section called "Schoolville" dedicated to social media; a place where everyone can be involved and have fun in the "Schoolville community". Their Twitter (@schoolville) and Facebook icons are promptly displayed on top.

Check out all the "COOL SHIT @ SCHOOL" =P
  • The Student Gallery - If you send School your school picture, you will automatically get a coupon for a free baked treat with your coffee. Once a month School will pick one lucky winner from the gallery for a complimentary dinner for four!
  • foursquare - If you are the mayor of School, you will get a free dinner every month (value of $40). Even if you're not the mayor, simply show your foursquare check-in to the server and receive a free baked treat (see pics of their baked treats here, they are soooo yummy!)
  • Pop Quiz - A fun and quick way quiz! My vote is "CHOCOLATE"
  • Recipe Lab - Handy recipes section which I know I will check often

    The VIDEO VAULT section is where you can submit any video you have from your last school trip and School will post it. I'm old now so this section does not apply to me =(

    The SCHOOL BLOG is pretty much self explanatory. Currently, their blog features Amy Pataki's flapjacks article on The Toronto Star, my Cheese School blog post, and the head chef Brad's "Spiced Grapefruit Crepes with Cream Cheese" recipe. By the way I'm totally honoured to be on there #^_^#

    I think it would be great if all restaurant owners realize the importance of social media these days and how it is essential to build a strong online community by engaging their customers through Facebook and Twitter.

    Lastly, I need to let everybody know that I AM NOT affiliated with School in any shape or form. I genuinely love their food and what they are doing in cyberspace. That is all ^_*