Posts Tagged ‘Food Marketing’

For Restaurants: Does Twitter Equal Truth?

Posted 09 Mar 2010 — by S.E.
Category Food Alert Trends

For some time I have wondered why so many people in the food world are fascinated by Twitter. Chefs have been using Twitter regularly for a couple of years now and in some cases gained national attention for their tweets. Their posts are harmless anecdotes in some cases and in others can be quite harmful. New York Times food writer Julia Moskin captured in a February 2010 article examples of how chefs are behaving badly through the use of Twitter. Twitter appears to be some sort of digital megaphone that people are using in a knee jerk way. I don’t get it.

However, I do know that Twitter has proven to be a useful way to connect buyers and sellers. The popular press has reported via several high profile stories, about the multitude of food trucks using Twitter as a serious marketing tool. Celebrity chefs and popular restaurants have caught on as well and now you can follow your favorite on Twitter. Twitter appears to be a serious marketing tool.

After reading Moskin’s story I signed up for an account and searched out a chef that I would enjoy following. Chef Chris Cosentino (@OffalChris) fit the bill. Chris was one of my students back in the 1990’s and was mentioned in Moskin’s story. With a new Twitter account of my own (@satedepicure) and some time exploring the Twitter environment, my understanding of Twitter was starting to clarify.

Final clarity was found when I met Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chairman of Twitter. Jack presented a one hour session to a group of us about his background, the founding of Twitter, and where Twitter is headed strategically. Jack, like many an internet prodigy, is a wonderfully articulate guy who exudes a high degree of authenticity and intellect.

Jack Dorsey

He’s clean cut, casual, and travels the planet with an iphone and a days worth of razor stubble on his chin. Dorsey created Twitter out of pure curiosity as a utility to help people communicate in singular or broadcast form in as simple a way as possible. As a result, he liberated digital communication by creating a system that allows anyone to communicate or “tweet” to the entire planet in 140 characters or less using a cheap mobile phone with text messaging capability. Dorsey repeatedly mentioned three characteristics that make Twitter unique. He stated that Twitter provides users immediacy, transparency, and simplicity when it comes to communication. These three factors are catalysts that enable greater human interaction. Think of the tweets as triggers for increased human interaction and feelings of connectivity. I finally get it.

Twitter provides chefs and restaurateurs with an inexpensive tool for connecting on a regular basis with their customers and for broadcasting brief real time messages to their broader constituents. Due to Twitter’s architecture, these constituents can respond to such a post providing additional perspective and transparency. In effect these additional posts pull the truth out of a message (in theory). The whole process is extremely simple and, in the best cases, trigger human interaction. In the worst cases, Twitter is a tool that can enable some chefs to be reckless in a very public way. Like any tool in the kitchen, Twitter can be beneficial of detrimental; it all depends on how you use it.

Travel Promotion Act Signed Into Law Today

Posted 04 Mar 2010 — by S.E.
Category Food Alert Trends

In case you missed it, the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law today by President Obama. The act requires the creation of a public-private Corporation for Travel Promotion that will coordinate global advertising and promotion of the United States as a travel destination for business, pleasure and education while also clarifying U.S. entry policies. Funding for the act will come from public and private sources and a controversial $10 fee imposed on each foreign visitor to the U.S.

The act has drawn praise from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and most of the major hotel brands as a positive step toward improving international travel to the U.S. According to the Democratic Policy Committee and the Department of Commerce, there were more than 600,000 fewer overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2008 compared to 2000 resulting in tens of billions of dollars in lost visitor spending and taxes. As promotional activities ramp up and the number of overseas vistors improves, the hospitality industry is expected to benefit. With restaurant sales projected to grow just 2.5% in 2010, this additional public-private support for the hospitality industry is a blessing.

For Emeril, Three (on TV) is a Magic Number

Posted 01 Mar 2010 — by S.E.
Category Food Alert Trends

 Before the year is over Emeril Lagasse is likely to have three shows airing nationally on three different networks: “Emeril Green” (Discovery Communication’s Planet Green), “The Emeril Lagasse Show” (ION Television), and “Emeril’s

Emeril with Karina Smirnoff

Fresh Food Fast” (Scripps Networks Cooking Channel). “Emeril Green” is a fantastic show currently airing that is recorded on location at Whole Foods market. “The Emeril Lagasse Show” launches on the ION Television network later this month. The show will feature a recorded prime-time talk show with a “live entertainment meets cooking show” format. This is a configuration Emeril is familiar with and one that allows Emeril to shine.

 When the Food Network ceased production of Emeril’s flagship “Emeril Live” back in 2007 I wasn’t surprised. The Food Network’s transition away from cooking instruction by cream of the crop professionals like Emeril and toward food-related entertainment has been happening for some time. Scripps Networks, parent of The Food Network appears to be aware of this shift and the need to correct it. Scripps’ announcement of the creation of the Cooking Channel, The Food Networks younger more practical sibling, could represent a return to the old Food Network’s roots. Having Emeril join in the launch of Cooking Channel is simply a matter of history repeating itself. Emeril has the talent and clout to move this fledgling forward even with the other two shows airing concurrently.

Emeril is a guy who carries a load beyond what is humanly possible when you consider the number of successful

Emeril Jams with Neville Brothers

restaurants, ventures, television shows and philanthropic causes he is committed to. Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to interact with him in person on multiple occasions and even though he is flat out busy, he always radiates a deep love of food, positive attitude and authentic personality. The last time I saw him was in November 2009. It was toward the end of the night at his annual Carnivale du Vin fundraiser for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and he was sitting at a table near the front of the room listening to the Neville Brothers play their last few songs. He looked exhausted but when I approached he leaned forward, grabbed my hand, shook it and thanked me for attending. Emeril is never too tired to be positive. That night he and some of the world’s greatest chefs including his buddies Mario Batali and Charlie

Trotter raised approximately $1.9M for charity. Seems the greater Emeril’s success, the more he gives back. With his stock on the rise, there are many who, like a rising tide, will be lifted with him. I hope you join me and thousands of others by tuning in to or recording “The Emeril Lagasse Show” on Sunday, March 28th at 8:00PM on ION Television. Emeril’s the real deal; he’s all heart and one of the best chefs I know and he just keeps getting better.