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Why do Restaurants need to use Social Media? September 10, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants — stepheppichdaily @ 12:10 am

Restaurants need Social Media – period.

As the economy has taken a downturn over the last several years people are being more picky where they spend their money.  Going out to dinner for some people is a luxury that just can’t be afforded.  For others, going out is a special occasion with family and friends.  The question is where do you go?  Where do you want to go to have a great experience, great food, and a reasonable price?  A lot of restaurants shake their heads wondering why their establishment isn’t packed like it was five years ago on a Friday Night.  If they paid attention, just a little, they would find out what their customers want.  Their customers want a Voice, and through Social Media, restaurants can have that voice.  Just ask Scott Wise of Scotty’s Brewhouse or the guys at West Coast Tacos.

I don’t care who you are in Indiana, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve been to Scotty’s Brewhouse.  If you haven’t been there, you’ve heard of it.  Scott attributes part of his success because of Social Media.  Scotty’s is on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.  Not only does he utilize these tools, but he is a complete master marketer.  Scott runs contests like the “Stick your tongue to a frozen flagpole” or the “Jump into the canal on St Patrick’s Day” for gift cards.  Of course, visual evidence of said act has to be produced, and Scott, like the genius he is, posts the pictures, to his Facebook and Twitter pages.  What might seem crazy to the average joe, I see as brilliant.  First, the puts the contest out there for his 5,113 followers on Twitter and his 6,509 Facebook Fans to hear about.   What makes me laugh and shake my head,  people actually do stick their tongues on flagpoles, and jump into the canal for gift cards.  He had several people post pictures for both contests.  He announced the winners, again on Twitter and Facebook – giving recognition to the winners.  Everyone else, green with envy.  Brilliant.  Any restaurant could do something similar, but they don’t.  Their tables are half full, and there is a wait at Scotty’s.  I swear there is a Scotty’s cult running around here in Indianapolis.

Not only does Scott run fun contests, he engages with his customers.  I’ve personally been at a Brewhouse, had a question about a discount or a problem with service.  Scott addressed my question/problem WHILE I was at the restaurant.  That’s service folks.  His staff are all responsive and active on Social Media as well.

One story that I will leave you with about Scotty’s Brewhouse.  I was on Twitter on a Sunday.  Scotty’s has a Sunday Brunch.  Someone tweeted that they were enjoying a Mo Fo Bloody Mary at the Brewhouse downtown location, took a picture of it, and posted it on Twitter.  About 5 minutes later, Scott tweeted that customer back and said “tell your bartender that the  garnish on your drink is wrong.”  That’s powerful stuff.

Onto West Coast Tacos, where did these guys come from?  I mean it’s like they dropped out of the sky and almost instantaneously became a big gun in Indianapolis.  If you haven’t heard of them, which I find hard to believe, you will.  They run their operation out of a mobile truck.  Serving west coast style tacos featuring steak, chicken, pork and fish.  Served on a warm tortilla with fresh cilantro, these things are yummy.  All out of a truck!  The most interesting thing about these guys is you never know where they’re going to be unless you are on Twitter or Facebook.  They post their locations daily, and you – the customer go to them.  I remember the first time I went to the truck, there was a line.  I’m not kidding, a line.  Parked right next to Acapulco Joe’s  (which was a staple in Indy for many years).  A line at the truck, Joe’s dead.  These guys depend totally on their product and Social Media.  There isn’t anywhere to sit, they only accept cash, still there is a line.  They have 3,617 followers on Facebook and 2,439 on Twitter.  Remember, they’ve only been in Indy for a couple of months.  You have to follow them on a Social Media site to know where they are going to be.  They mostly stay in Broad Ripple or Downtown, but I’ve seen people ask (almost beg) them to come to their side of town.

The problem is with restaurants is it’s a hard business.  I grew up in a restaurant and I remember how hard my family worked day in and day out to get customers in the door and build a solid reputation.  Social Media can help you establish a solid base of devout customers.  Customers that know if you have a compliment or a problem, it will be appreciated or taken care of.   The problem is the time factor.  Most restaurants don’t have time to dedicate to being as responsive as they would like on Social Media.  That’s where I can help.  I’ve helped several establishments here in Indianapolis grow their following, be more responsive, and show some appreciation for their customers.  New and repeat.

Check out my Ghost Tweeting website  at

I would be happy to chat with you about how to utilize Social Media as a tool to grow your business.



Sunday Brunch at Zyedco’s September 5, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants — stepheppichdaily @ 9:41 pm

Zydeco’s is definitely one of my favorite restaurants in Indy.  I mean it’s only fifteen to twenty minutes from 465 to the door -address is technically Mooresville.  I still say Indy.

Before I left the house I decided to check Facebook, a chronic habit of mine.  I posted yesterday that I was going to Zydeco’s for Sunday Brunch and tagged them in my post.  Deb Hutchinson (Carter & Deb own Zydeco’s) is my friend on Facebook and in real life so I knew she would have something to say.  This is what she wrote:

Yeah! I get to see Ms. Favre! Are we going to have a problem next week? Vikings – Saints???? I’ll wear my Jersey tomorrow if you wear yours…

I laughed.  Deb is a huge Saints fan, and I’m a huge Favre/Vikings fan.  I was devastated last year when the Vikings lost to the Saints in the NFC Championship game, but was happy for their big fan Deb.  The highly anticipated rematch is Thursday night, so of course she’s going to give me a hard time.  I had a cute outfit planned for my brunch adventure, but thought, maybe I should check to see if Deb is wearing her jersey.  I called the restaurant and Deb answered the phone, all I had to say was, are you wearing your jersey?  She said no, I didn’t see your reply on Facebook, are you wearing your?  Of course, I replied.  She said OK, I’m going to run home and change, I laughed – of course she is.  I said see you soon, and hung up.

Zydeco’s on the first Sunday of the month has a Sunday Brunch.  I’ve been for dinner several times, but not brunch.  That was going to all change today.  We loaded up the car and headed south with Cajun on our mind.

When we got to the restaurant there was a Jazz Band playing, which just added to the New Orleans style atmosphere that Zydeco’s has.  I was greeted by Deb in her Saints jersey with a hug.  At Zydeco’s you’re part of the family.  She had her camera ready to a photo op.  So I stood there with my friend getting our picture taken, what I didn’t notice is the sign that Deb stuck behind my head.

The Brunch menu changes from time to time because everything at Zydeco’s is fresh.  The dinner menu changes monthly because everything is fresh.  Today’s Sunday Brunch menu includes a drink, appetizer, entree, and desert for $24.95.

Choices of drinks include a Hurricane, a smooth fruity drink made with rum, a glass of House Wine, a Mimosa (champagne and orange juice), or a Bloody Mary.  You can also have Soda (Pepsi products) Coffee, Tea, or Juice.  I opted for the Bloody Mary, which had just the right amount of heat, with olives and spicy green beans as a garnish (Which Karen – one of the staff- makes herself). Mr. D had a Mimosa and my Mom had a glass of wine.  Sam and Kam stuck with the hard stuff, soda and water.

Appetizers included Jambalaya, Veggie Creole, Gumbo, Bistro Salad or Half & Half (half Jambalaya, half Gumbo.  I had the Half & Half, which was warm with New Orleans goodness.  The chicken was tender and the sausage melted in your mouth.  This little bowl of heaven was accompanied by warm bread to make sure you didn’t leave any of the goodness behind.  As I was wiping away the last bit of my Half & Half my entree arrived.

Entrees today included Steak Chimi (flat iron marinated in a smoky & spicy Chimi sauce) with rosemary roasted potatoes and dirty rice.  Spicy Shrimp and Cheese Gritts.  Veggie Creole.  YaYa Chicken with Rice and Jambalaya.  Crawfish Creole mumbled eggs.  Chicken and Andouille Gunbo.  Jolie Blond Pasta.  Cochon and Potato Salad.

Mr D. and I choose the Steak Chimi, my Mom had the Shrimp and Cheese Gritts, Sam had the YaYa Chicken and Kam (Mr Excitement) had the Chicken Fingers and Fries.

The Steak Chimi, which had just been added to the menu, proved not to be a disappointment.  Deb suggested I try it, and I always go with what she suggests.  The steak was smokey and tender, cooked perfectly to order.  The dirty rice was flavorful and seasoned delightfully.  The potatoes were warm with a nice crisp on the outside and mashable on the inside.  I tasted my Mom’s Shrimp and Cheese Gritts which were very creamy, and loaded with shrimp.  My Mom’s only comment was “the only thing wrong with this dish is that there isn’t any more of it”.  Sam’s YaYa Chicken was tasty.  The chicken breast was huge (very moist and juicy) the sides of rice and jambalaya overflowed on the plate.

Finished, looking at each other like, how could I possibly eat one more bite of anything, our waiter came and said, so what’s for dessert?  I gave my fresh strawberries with whipped cream to Kameron, which he devoured.  Mr D and my Mom had the Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.  I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of Bread Pudding.  My Mom coaxed me into trying a bite of hers.  I was warm and the rum sauce made it fabulously gooey.  If she hadn’t taken it away from me, I would have ate the whole thing.

While we were finishing up Deb came out and talked to us for a bit.  She is one of the many things that gives Zydeco’s its New Orleans charm.  Laughing until our bellies hurt we decided to pack up and head home.  Deb walked us to the door and bid us farewell, encouraging me to cheer on the Saints Thursday – as if.

If you have not been to Zydeco’s I would make it a point to make the drive for the best Cajun/New Orleans style food in Indy.  You won’t be disappointed.

Hours of Operation:

Wednesday 5-9 pm, Thursday 5-9 pm, Friday 5-10 pm, Saturday 5-10 pm.  Jazz Champagne Brunch “First” Sunday of every month from 11-2 pm.

Deb also told us about some exciting things coming up in 2011.  Be sure to check out their website for details

Find them on Facebook at Zydeco’s Cajun and on Twitter