Back to Business

3 Dec

Here is a copy of my Foodie post on my other blog- Food for thought

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own restaurant, there can be some real financial advantages to starting with a food truck, primarily because the initial investment is a fraction of opening a restaurant.

Open Forum recently looked at the costs and, depending on a city and space, brick and mortar spots start around $125,000, whereas a food truck could be as low as $30,000. But, the intrinsic value of a food truck is the opportunity to test your product and different neighborhoods before investing in expensive real estate.

Regardless of what road it may lead to, the food truck business is a tough one. Daily expenses just to keep things moving rack up quickly, like gas, mechanical repairs for both the truck and equipment, weather (you lose money when it rains) and fees for permits and parking unless you are lucky to have a preplanned semi perm spot! This can be highly effective. We have Truck alley – a place where there

are several trucks gathered.

Then, there are the long hours and tiring work in small, tight, often hot spaces.

The gentelmen who run Big Yellow food truck shed a little light on the issue. I prompted them with this question: Suppose your little sister came to you and said she wants to start a food truck, after you tell her about all the riches and fame that await her, what advice would you give her?

“First and foremost,” started Miley Holmes, “anyone who thinks that running a food truck will lead to riches is fooling themselves! The biggest misconception about this business is that it’s a way to get rich quick. Margins are tight, space is limited and the market is unpredictable. So, the reality is that you are never going to make a fortune from running a food truck.”

They go on to propose that running a food truck is some of the hardest work there is. Days start early and end anywhere between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. (the after-club crowd is usually a hungry crew).

“People forget that we’ve been prepping for hours before our doors open,” Holmes said, “and we spend hours cleaning after we’re closed. And we do it all two or three times a day, sometimes 14 or 15 days in a row!”

Still ready to quit your day job?

“There is no such thing as time off,” Holmes said, “just time off the truck. We’re constantly emailing, making phone calls or sourcing product.”

Then, there’s maintenance, repairs and a lot time checking weather updates.

“All in all, it is a lot of fun and it is very rewarding, but my number one piece of advice is to have an end goal,” Holmes said. “On that note, know anyone who wants to buy us a restaurant?”

Still she did not deter me! I love to cook, I love bold fresh inventive flavors and I want to share it with whoever is willing to try!!!! Looking forward to our hard open next summer!

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Final Laughs!

22 Nov

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We near the end…

22 Nov

Although our time in this class grows closer to its end- we need not feel sad or scared. I believe we have developed the tools to get us started on our Social Media pursuit. I know I previously stated I was not very excited to blog- well that has changed! I have created 2 other blogs one for my personal rants, opinions and Nerd rage questions as well as one that will be used to promote my series of books coming out next year!!!
The use of Blogs seems to be a steady and entertaining. If you search hard enough you can find information on almost every subject you can imagine up.
I know that I will be using my blogs to both promote and entice my consumers as well as hopefully engage them in creative discussions that will benefit all involved and perhaps even develop into group endeavors for a future book.
Perhaps one of the best ways I have found to describe the use of Blogs for things that may not fit in a normal new article is “Cover what you do best and link to the rest” I think this describes Blogging for me.
If you have not noticed from my previous posts humor and food – that is my outlook on life. Blogging seems to be a happy media for me to express and explore both of these aspects of my life as well as enhance my business!
Tell me how Blogging has helped, frustrated or even entranced you!!!!!!!!!!

Blog Practices

15 Nov

I was never one to blog or tweet. I of course was an avid Facebook user and back in the day even Myspace however over the last few weeks I have come accustomed to tweeting and reading up on everyone’s point of view. It has become part of my daily routine. I have used this blog page to learn and grow in my social media journey and at first it was my intention to let this page go after the class ended and redevelop a new page with a more professional approach but I have decided to leave this as it is so you and others that come can see my progression.

I want to admit blogging to me is difficult for a couple of reasons; one is that I am way over opinionated and I can ramble FOREVER….and two because of my schedule. Finding the time to sit and write everything I want to say without publishing a novel is difficult for me but I am learning.

This class has taught me the basics and given me a taste of what’s to come in this journey. I have found Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff to be of significant help in this endeavor and I am sure to keep reading and rereading it. I really enjoyed the sections on branding I was able to grasp the concept and utilize it immediately.

At first I was a bit terrified to go into the field of Social Media because of my age but now I am much more comfortable with it in its entirety and look forward to pursuing a long term career in the area. My one and only dislike so far is on Twitter- I am still not a huge fan of it. Some of the random things posted like “Eating my cereal OH YEA” really?? Did I need to know that? People post some of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen! Other than this complaint I am looking forward to continuing my focus on the use of social media in the food industry!As I have previously stated the use of Yelp is particularly effective for my area- everyone has a voice and the rating system is pretty right on.

How many of you have used Yelp either in making decisions on where to eat or to voice your opinion of a place?

Image 7 Nov

EmbraceSocialMedia

The Dreaded Review

7 Nov

Terror or Triumph in text
Posted on August 5, 2013 by tarrasann

The food industry faces many hurdles and social media is but one, yet it can be an incredibly dangerous tool. Yelp for instance can be a show stopper for a food establishment. Before the days of social media people of course used word of mouth but with these tools if your customer is not happy, your product was less than steller or your employee were having a bad day- it takes but a brief moment to type even one word description on Yelp and BOOM you have lost business. No delay no waiting period instantaneous bad press! This can go both ways of course and you may reap the benefits of glowing reviews. A quick rule to live by is to rectify and modify quickly to keep the customer happy!

We use foursquare, Facebook, and Yelp to do most of our promos and I personally contact every single customer complaint or compliment by replying to a post. Most cases this has proven to be highly received by our customer base. They feel a connection and feel validated when I address their concern publicly.

I implemented these sites and policies exactly 1 year ago August 8th, 2012 and as of todays date we have shown a 43% increase in business and a 71% increase in sales. I see this as a very impressive and positive outcome for the company.

Valiante, David. “What’s the Cost of a Bad Restaurant Review?” Collingswood Patch. Http://collingswood.patch.com, 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013.

Social Media in the Food Industry

4 Nov

Social media is all around us and encompasses a large variety of information and allows the companies to reach all demographics of consumers. The restaurant industry has embraced this wondrous adventure with both arms and will be experiencing massive growth in the next few years.

Of course there are the more well know avenues, where if you look most everyone has a profile on Facebook which allows the user to post comments, sales, ads , draw attention to themselves and offer promotions and Twitter allows the user to track compliments and complaints.There are others as well however there are other social media tools that are very conductive to the restaurant industry.

Belly is software designed to assist places with loyalty programs and punch cards. It emails consumers after they check in at different locations with programs such as Foursquare. It also handles and makes the mobile apps then offers sale prices/discounts to the users.

VenueLabs is another up and rising tool that is changing things in the food industry. VenueLabs takes data from literally hundreds of other profiles like the ones mentioned above and places it in a more workable setting; thus allowing the user to track, marketing strategies, trends etc.

The last one I would like to discuss before ending this post is ChowNow. I currently use this program on a local basis. This app allows the restaurants to take orders online from other social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and even mobile devices. This app opens the doors for more products to be pushed. I know I use a Facebook page to market my newest sales, specials etc. and being able to take orders online and have them ready for the customer when they get there has been a huge plus!

For more information on social media tools used in the food industry check out these sites:

http://www.brandwatch.com/2012/02/socialmediaintherestaurant-industry/

http://nrn.com/social-media/7-social-media-tools-restaurants

Here we go!

23 Oct

To all of you,

So I am new at this! I struggle with blogging in a whole but I will give it my best shot! For this blog I will be addressing my journey through social media. I have of course been a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram kind of girl but was never really sure about blogging so he we go! Thank you for joining me in this journey.

Social Media has defiantly become a way of life for all of us. Our tools, lifestyles and even relationships have evolved with the help of Social Media. We can now share our heartache, dietary choices, random thoughts, criminal warnings, and recipes and just about anything with anyone who is watching, following, reading etc. through Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster and many others.

Social Media has branched itself into all age groups allowing its users to connect with others that share similar interests and desires. “Social media is the fastest growing area of new applications for older adults using technology,” said Tom Kamber, the executive director for a New York City based non-profit called Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). It would seem everyone has jumped on the techno wagon!

There was a time when people lost touch with those that moved away and social media tools have put an end to that! Now you can find just about anyone anywhere at any time and reconnect past relationships, loves and families. Another wonderful advancement in social media is instant messaging. Being able to message a loved one, a business contact or just a friend can keep things running smoothly and more efficiently. I see this as a huge plus for companies; no more waiting for contract negotiations, you can connect instantly and discuss issues that arise. I personally am not one to post what I had for breakfast or spill my feelings all over a page but I do thoroughly enjoy using messenger programs and being able to speak directly to someone at any given moment if the need arises. This aspect allows me to multi-task efficiently. I can message someone, while typing a report, running my store and eating my lunch. It has defiantly been a time saver for me.

I see no end to social media. The media tools will continue to appear and the users will continue to advance their knowledge and use of them.

By: Cadie Thompson | Technology Editor, CNBC.com , Published: Sunday, 10 Mar 2013http://www.cnbc.com/id/100537483