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Morton’s Steakhouse encourages eats with tweets

Restaurants are tweeting to drive foot traffic, create more conversation with diners and trim traditional marketing costs. Rebecca Pollack reached out to Roger Drake, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Morton’s Restaurant Group, to find out what happens behind the scenes of @Mortons. Listen up, even the CFO, Ron DiNella, is tweeting!

Who is responsible for Morton’s tweeting? Do you encourage any interested employee to tweet? How do you coordinate the frequency of the messages that get sent?

We tweet on Morton’s Twitter account from our Chicago office. It’s mainly myself, two of our wine and spirits company experts, a few of our PR and marketing staff, and our CFO (Yes, I said our CFO!). We’re on frequently each day. Sometimes we’re just interacting and sometimes we’re mentioning upcoming Morton’s events of interest.

What has been the most successful initiative/promotion that you have undertaken via Twitter?

Our tweetups where we’ve hosted actual events in our Morton’s bars [is] where we’ve gotten a great response. We’ve gotten crowds as many as 50-plus. We actually offer these guests some complimentary “bar bites” and drive great bar revenue for those traditionally slower bar nights. We’re also now hosting Q-and-As with recognized industry experts in advance of events we are hosting.

For example, we recently did a Twitter night with Peter Mondavi Jr., who provided great content to the local Cincinnati bloggers we invited in, to promote our upcoming wine dinner at Morton’s Cincinnati. It took place in our private-dining boardroom and we dropped down our 9-foot screen and the bloggers could see their ongoing dialogue. Also, we had one in Chicago and one in Richmond, Va., and those two were probably our most successful, but they generate good crowds in our Morton’s bars on slower nights of the week, enough so that we’re continuing to pursue these moving forward.

How do you complement your Twitter efforts with other social-media activities (like Facebook)?

Morton’s Facebook Page is where we encourage our guests to post more Morton’s dinner and event photos. We are highly conscious not to always be promoting. Sometimes we are just connecting with our guests. We are fully committed to hosting more events promoted only on Twitter.

What challenges have you faced with the use of Twitter?

The challenge is just making sure we’re providing interesting content in addition to interacting with our Morton’s guests and followers. And making sure that we’re doing so in a nonsales-heavy way, more that we’re putting the information out there on interesting events and promotions upcoming at Morton’s locations around the world.

Want to hear more about Morton’s social-media strategy? Roger Drake and Yelp’s Business Outreach Manager, Luther Lowe, will join Andy Sernovitz for a special SmartBrief Webinar: Social Media for Restaurants. There will be a special focus on how do to handle negative reviews.

Image credit, Bernd J├╝rgens, via Shutterstock

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