Picture this: you’re at the newest Italian joint in town. You have a camera phone and presumably a Twitter app installed. You’ve ordered lasagna and when it arrives, the first few seconds are as intense for the owner, as it is for you. You take a picture of your scrumptious plate, tag yourself, pin the location and all this while the new kid on the food block is twiddling his thumbs wondering if that was a 140 word appreciation or a stinking review that will be picked up by nearly 500 of your online friends. That’s the power of social media over your local restaurant.
While blogging about recipes, reviews, restaurants etc. has been popular for quite a while, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and a plethora of innovative mobile apps have created a mini storm in the food and beverage industry. In India, sites such as zomato.com have a platform on all iPhone Operating Systems, Windows phones, Android supported devices, Blackberry, and Nokia phones. With more than 20,000 menus to boast of from 10 cities across the country, restaurant guides and user reviews, it has turned into a food lovers’ hub.
And the sharing business gets more creative. Around 2009, when The New York Times discovered that people were tweeting complete recipes in 140 characters, it was posed as a challenge to their readers. And of course, received a thumping response.
However, social media doesn’t restrict itself to sharing recipes and reviewing eateries alone. Take for instance, apps like Cookbook that throws up recipes based on ingredients you have in stock in your kitchen. Or The Photo Cookbook which is a collection of various recipes with high resolution photos, that take less than 30 minutes to prepare.
From locating the nearest restaurant based on your current craving to a selection of recipes based on the occasion; vegetarian specific restaurants and even apps that help you track your calorie intake- the relationship between social media and food is certainly ‘app’etizing.
More and more restaurateurs today prefer to market their business through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a wonderful way to build a loyal customer base through fans and a great platform to announce food festivals, promotions and events. Foursquare promotions are a great tool to promote your business too. Check-in to Foursquare from a restaurant that runs the offer a specific number of times, or walk in with a certain number of friends and you can tuck in a free appetizer.
What interesting food related apps or promotions have you come across lately?