Whereas so many industries have turned to computer technology in every aspect of their operations, restaurants remain a relatively low-tech operation. Sure, computers direct orders and websites increase exposure, but the kitchen can still be a computer-free zone.
Yet many restaurants are making a move towards Internet technology—and not just with websites and online promotions, but with decidedly Web 2.0 ventures such as Facebook
. For those unfamiliar with the newest Internet phenomenon, Twitter is a website where individuals and organizations can send out quick updates (up to 140 characters) throughout the day: anything from “Just got back from London!” to “I hate my co-worker’s shoes.” Users then “follow” each other’s updates, so that they stay informed, via phone or computer, of anything a friend wants to post.
How do restaurants fit in? An increasing number have now established their own Twitter accounts, allowing their patrons (or even potential patrons) to follow them in real-time. New and already well-respected Brooklyn pizzeria Motorino
keeps customers abreast of specials (“Olivada Crostino with roasted garlic oil. $4.50”), service updates (“we just started taking reservations, it's filling up fast , but there is space”), and company news (“Motorino was just nominated for best pizzeria in NY Timeout. If you think we deserve it please vote for us.”) Houston coffee shop Coffee Groundz
uses Twitter to communicate with regulars and even to take orders.
Mobile vendors, such as Manhattan’s Dessert Truck
, uses Twitter to let patrons know where they’ll be stationed. Faster than a formal website update, accessible from a cell phone, Twitter is the fastest way to get out the word. And even restaurateurs who don’t use Twitter themselves might scan other’s updates, searching for their own establishment’s name and reading the reviews.
Of course, most restaurants continue on just fine in technological obsolescence. But for those willing to make the effort, a whole new world of outreach is now possible.