A social meltdown | TravelResearchOnline

A social meltdown

It is 2011 and almost 2012. Hopefully we are all aware of social media and are involved with it in some way. The newsflash is that it is here to stay and if you want to succeed in a now customer-driven world, you need to get on board.

Just last week, a new restaurant opened in town.  Annapolis has a lot of places to eat and the competition is pretty fierce and the business is not for the weak at heart.  A friend of mine and I dined there for lunch with her husband and had a very mediocre (perhaps poor) meal.  The manager was making rounds and asked how everything was. Jennifer was honest and told him that the burger was a little “rubbery” and was “incredibly salty.” She was not rude. She was not demanding a refund or a free meal. She was simply answering a question honestly.

The manager looked at her and said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Go find a better burger in this town, bring it to me and I will buy it for you.”  We all sort of looked at each other—stunned.  The bill was paid and we went our separate ways.

Now, in days gone by, the story would end here. The three of us would mutter amongst ourselves and we might or might not ever return to give them a second shot.  But today is not yesterday.

Jennifer got back to her office and created a facebook status update about the rude attitude of the manager at the restaurant (she tagged the restaurant).  And unfortunately for the restaurant, Jennifer has just shy of 3,000 “friends” on facebook.

It did not take long to accumulate more than 100 comments on this update. Some were expressing a similar experience, others were off topic and talking about other restaurants, and others were taking the side of the restaurant.  It really doesn’t matter who was right or wrong—the damage has been done.

The restaurant knows about the comment (remember, they were tagged) and offered no response.  And since everything we read on the Internet is true, so was this issue.

Now of course, the vast majority of her “friends” doesn’t care, and will not join the conversation. But the fact remains that nearly 3,000 people  have been exposed to her opinion and in turn have formed their own opinion as well.  How many of those 3,000 will at least consider dining at another establishment? I bet a majority.

Now, I am not a restaurateur, but I have to think that a restaurant client is a lot easier to come by than a travel client. Can your business survive a hit like that?

Get in the game.

  One thought on “A social meltdown

  1. I was in the resort restaurant biz for 17 years, and so, as you can imagine, this type of situation had the potential of shutting a place within a mere matter of weeks. (only 17 resto’s at this major ski resort) so word travels fast. Now with “frinds” in the 1,000’s, I wouldn’t take that chance!

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