My family and I live in Robertson Quay where we are literally surrounded by over 130 restaurants, cafes and bars within a 1.5 km radius. We love dining out and are always looking to discover new places around our neighbourhood. So seeing that we are surrounded by some of the best dining choices in Singapore, places that we have walked past hundreds of times, how do you think we decide where to eat?
For the most part we look at places that are busy and link it with the assumption that the food ‘must be good’. Sometimes we are right and sometimes that’s not necessarily the case. Like most diners who live in Singapore, we choose which restaurants we want to dine in based on:
Customer & friend’s reviews
Pictures we find on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest
Word of mouth / recommendations
Known as the food capital of the region (if not the world), Singaporeans boast their favourite past times as shopping & eating – in no particular order! Tourist who flock from all over the world also know Singapore a as culinary melting pot for multi-nationality cuisines and know that they will have many, many choices to indulge in.
The problem is that finding the right place to eat these days is like finding a needle in a culinary haystack – even for seasoned ‘foodies’ like us. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hungrygowhere (and a many more) have become ever so popular in Singapore as diners rely on them more then ever for dining options & ideas.
So what does this mean for diners like me and you?
It means that we can access information on any restaurant, the type of food they serve, what others have said about them in a matter of seconds. In most cases we have already formed an opinion on what type of service the place offers and how good their deserts are before we even know where it is. With apps popping up for multi devices and different operating platforms, the diner has the power at their fingertips to make not only a quick decision but also a firm opinion on restaurants all over town.
Personally I think it’s great. My friends and family often share reviews and information on new places (a great source for new places opening up in Singapore is my buddy Robbie’s portal www.greatnewplaces.com).
What does this mean for restaurants around Singapore?
Simply put, they need to get digital and make sure they have a solid social media strategy in place. Facts for restaurant owners to consider when it comes to social media penetration in Singapore:
Facebook is the most popular social network in Singapore with longest time-per-session spent in the world – a staggering 38 min 47 sec. With over 2.7 million Facebook users and an online population penetration of 76.36% – Singapore is one of the most digitally connected social media markets (per capita) in the world. Recent study shows that over 49% of people use Facebook when searching for a place to eat !!
Twitter has 2.5m users (or 49.4% of the population) and spend around 40.6 hours logged in a month!!
Pinterest has 97,000 users (or 2.3% of the population)and use it for 2 hours per month on average!!
Trust in social recommendations are rising in Singapore and everywhere around the real (and digital) world. A joint CMO Council-Lithium Study shows that 80% of users “try new things” based on social media content shared by other users. What’s even more interesting is that the study also suggests that 74% of users also “encourage their friends to try new products” – can you imagine the power this has in either making or (very quickly) breaking a new business?!
A major issue restaurants all over the world today are facing is to do with “Foodstagramming” (where diners shoot pictures of their food in restaurants and share it on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest). With citizen journalism sweeping the globe everyone can post and upload whatever they want so how can restaurants manage this phenomenon?
The real question is ‘can they manage it?’
In NYC, some restaurants have gone as far as banning ‘Foodstagramming’ altogether. The chefs and owners of some of the best restaurants in the city complain that amateur photography of their food shines a ‘non-appetising’ light on their hard-worked creations and often act more as a deterrent then an attraction. This is a hot topic and we will have to wait to see how it unfolds.
In the meantime, here is some advice I would like to offer restaurants all over Singapore (take it with a grain of salt, dash of pepper and sprinkle of olive oil):
Focus on making happy customers and maintain transparency on social media
Remember that crisis dealt with in a timely manner and resolved in a reasonable fashion add to brand image and inspire customer confidence
Have a solid social media strategy for key platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram that drive engagement and ultimately ‘brand advocacy’
Customers who are willing to take photos and write reviews of your restaurant and food are potential Brand Advocates and Evangelists – empower, encourage and incentivize them!
If you are a fellow diner, I would love to hear from you about your favourite restaurants and if you are a restaurant owner, then please share with us some information about what we can expect to indulge on when we visit your wonderful restaurant!
Bon Appetit Everybody!
Boost Consulting (www.yoursocialbost.com) has put together a ‘Social Media Starter Package’ for restaurants of all shapes and sizes. Singapore based restaurants (who qualify) can claim up to 85% of what they spend on this service back from the Singapore government.
For more information on this, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below and we will get back to you. [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]