Social Media Response = Return on Investment

Reflecting back on 2011 when I managed social media for Morton’s Restaurant Group, I was fortunate to connect with many of our guests. There was one instance that generated so much attention, Jack Dorsey named it one of the top 10 tweets of 2011. It was my response to Peter Shankman’s tweet, back in August when he was hankering for a steak. Peter is a loyal guest of Morton’s so when I saw his tweet: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at the Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.” I jumped at the opportunity.

I researched flight information and prepared the restaurant team with how to find Peter at the airport when he landed. Peter was so happily surprised, he wrote the this blog post: “The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s The Steakhouse.” The story caught on like wild fire and in addition to being covered by ABC Nightly News,, Huffington Post and it generated over 300 million impressions. Company-wide sales increased 17% in one week. We also received tremendous praise for its social media, including Scott Monty naming us one of the “5 companies that are rocking social media.”

My response to Peter Shankman’s tweet was one example of how responsiveness = return on investment. But how else are businesses listening to their customers?

Likeable Media co-founder and CEO, Dave Kerpen, shares an example in his book, Likeable Social Media. While waiting in line to check into the Aria Hotel in Vegas, he tweeted “No Vegas hotel could be worth this long wait. Over an hour to check in at the Aria.” Dave goes on to say that the Aria did not respond to his tweet but Rio hotel did take notice. Rio’s approach to Dave’s tweet was not to sell him on Rio, but to empathize by saying “Sorry about the bad experience, Dave. Hope the rest of your stay in Vegas goes well.” Guess where Dave ended up staying the next time he traveled to Vegas. Rio essentially earned $600 from that one tweet. And it doesn’t stop there… because Dave liked Rio on Facebook, a friend reached out to him for his opinion. His friend valued Dave’s endorsement and ended up booking a private event at Rio. All because of one tweet!

Responsiveness wins on social media. When done properly, businesses can gain referrals, recommendations and endorsements… that ultimately lead to sales. The flip side of this story is when businesses don’t respond (Aria Hotel). Businesses can’t afford not to ignore social media.

Have you had a business listen and respond to you? Or did you ever wish that your outreach on social media was heard?

The Business of Genuine Hospitality

Genuine hospitality… that’s a practice I’d like more businesses to use. The definition of hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. To be genuine means to be authentic and sincere. These terms seem easy enough to understand but the actual practice of genuine hospitality takes consideration and anticipation of your customer’s needs.

How can businesses practice genuine hospitality? It can be as simple as getting to know your guests on a personal level. A butcher remembering a customer’s favorite cut of steak… a clothing store associate checking helping you find your size… the hotel manager learning it’s your first visit to their city and gives you a personal thank you note and souviner at check out. Those examples are so simple but how many times have you wished someone would have taken that extra step for you?

One of my favorite wine shops, Provenance Food and Wine, keeps records of our wine purchases. So if my husband and I are looking for that great wine we had a few weeks back, any one of the employees can pull up our information. It’s one extra step for the business, but that’s what makes me appreciate it even more. There are lots of wine shops in our neighborhood, but we go to Provenance because we know they go above and beyond.

I’m proud to work for a restaurant group that embraces genuine hospitality. I’ve heard many heartfelt stories from our management team from all over the world that include delivering dinner to the hospital for a frequent diner who was recovering from surgery, driving our traveling guests to the airport and adopting menu items specifically for guests preference. Here’s a few more stories from our restaurant group.

How do businesses benefit? Loyalty. Your customers will go out of their way to spend money at your business. They’ll refer friends and give your business the word-of-mouth advertising that can’t be beat.

It takes time and extra steps for someone to extend genuine hospitality but isn’t that the point? What a feeling it is to know that they cared enough to be thoughtful! Have you ever given or received genuine hospitality from a business?

Basic Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tips

There are certain holidays and special occasions that call for bubbly… Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Weddings… but I’m a strong believer for any-occasion champagne drinking. Can’t agree on what wine to pair with your dinner? Attending a company cocktail party? Getting together with friends on a Saturday afternoon? Champagne or sparkling wines are the answer.

Here’s a few basic tips on Champagne and Sparkling Wines:

Sweetness levels (for both Champagne and Sparkling Wines): Brut = Dry, Sec = Dryish, Demi-sec = Medium, Dry Doux = Medium Sweet.

Champagne must come from the region of Champagne in northeast France. There are only three grapes permitted for the production of champagne; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

How to read a champagne label.

Tips and tasting notes from my mentor, Tylor Field III.

A few of my favorite Champagnes: Taittinger, Ruinart Brut Rose

Sparkling Wines can come from any region and can include additional grape varieties such as Pinot Gris, Muscat, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, etc.

Names of sparkling wines by region: Cava = Spain, Spumante = Italy, Sekt = Germany, Cap Classique = South Africa.

Sparkling wines are usually more reasonably priced and are great to experiment and enjoy. I recommend Cristalino Brut and Nando Asti Spumante.

Since we are quickly approaching a champagne worthy holiday, I’m also including a sophisticated champagne cocktail recipe to ‘Cheers’ to your Valentine!

Chili Recipes for your Super Bowl

It’s that time of year… chili cook-off season. Where the chefs of the house don their aprons and gather their crockpots with friends and family to be judged.  And what better time to share your masterpiece than during the Superbowl this Sunday?

According to the International Chili Society, there are strict rules and regulations if you want to be recognized as a chili champion. So if you’re like me and don’t care if the salsa is homemade, or that the cooking time is a minimum of three hours, then I might have just the recipe for you. It’s not your traditional chili… it calls for chicken breast and broth for the base ingredients.

Santa Fe Chicken Chili (recipe from Taste of Home)

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 4 medium sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) salsa
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium heat, saute chicken, peppers, onions and garlic in oil until the chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes). Add chili pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Yield: 14-16 servings (4 quarts).

If you prefer beef based chili, then I highly recommend this recipe by Morton’s co-founder, Klaus Fritsch.

What will you be making this Sunday for the big game?

Photo credit: Taste of Home

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