toronto restaurants social media

Toronto Restaurants Have a Growing Appetite for Social Media

When it comes to food, everyone's a critic. Restaurants have always relied on word of mouth from satisfied diners to spread the word about their menu - especially in Toronto where there are new restaurants popping up all the time. With the explosion of social media tools, it's easier than ever for foodies and food-lovers alike to share experiences - I always Tweet out my new favourite spots.

We recently compiled a list of the Top 10 Toronto foodies to follow on Twitter. But what about the restaurants themselves? How are they embracing social media tools - or are they? Some local restaurants are adopting new media tools, and some still have far to go.

One local restaurant recently gathered the tech foodie community for a Twitter-themed night out. A friend invited me to the Eats, Beats and Tweets event at Queen West's Nyood restaurant, held on the opening weekend of Winterlicious. This special two-night event celebrated all things tasty and tech; diners feasted on a tasting menu while Tweets about the food were displayed on the walls, and Twitter-friendly DJs kept the crowd entertained.

Restaurants in Toronto are also jumping on the Twitter bandwagon - Pizzeria Libretto (@PizzaLibretto) Tweets photos of daily specials; the Gladstone (@GladstoneHotel) crowdsources new menu items, and my personal favourite, (@Poutinerie), shares news about upcoming locations around the city.

Another notable example is Mildred's Temple Kitchen (@mildredstemple), who 'pepper' their stream with hashtags, photos, videos, and replies to future diners (food pun intended).

And if the tech crowd won't go to the restaurant, the restaurant will go to where iPhones congregate. Local social media darling Freshii is starting to pop up as choice caterer at events around the city - from ING Direct's recent Meet and Tweet mixer to the popular Third Tuesday social media event.

One place restaurants are lacking? Their websites. There must be an unwritten rule in the food industry that says that Flash is king. Every site has catchy music playing while images whiz across the screen - any web developer's nightmare (just ask Bretton MacLean).


So what's the next step for restaurants? As an iPhone addict I hope restaurants leverage mobile applications. Right now third-party applications like Urbanspoon are the go-to resource for diners looking to get on-the-go advice on where to eat. Restaurants need to take advantage of new sites like Foursquare (Magic Oven is currently looking at Foursquare promotions) and mobile coupon platforms like Clip Mobile to offer specials to consumers and bring in local traffic.

So while you can probably find your favourite restaurant on Twitter, tech foodies around the city like @SpotlightCity and @KarmaCakeDotCa agree that restaurants are just scratching the surface of capitalizing on social media tools to build their following and attract new customers. But one thing's for sure - the tech community is looking forward to seeing what they cook up next.

Find more mouth-watering Tweets on blogTO's Twitter list of Toronto restaurants.

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