The Buyer
Paul Mabray: how Danny Meyer reigns on social media

Paul Mabray: how Danny Meyer reigns on social media

US restaurateur Danny Meyer is for many the George Martin, the Nile Rogers, the Quincy Jones of the hospitality business. It’s not just the fact he has been behind some of the most influential US restaurants, and helped create chains such as Shake Shack, it is how he goes about his business, treats his customers and staff alike that really stands out. Here US online consultant Paul Mabray looks at how that unique approach can also be seen in how he uses social media like no-one else.

Paul Mabray
7th November 2017by Paul Mabray
posted in Opinion,

Everywhere you look across the UK on-trade, particularly the big steak and burger restaurants such as Hawksmoor, M Restaurants and Meat Liquor you can see and feel the influence of US restaurateur, Danny Meyer, the man behind the hugely successful pioneering Union Square Hospitality Group. As Paul Mabray explains he has a way with words, pictures and social media as he has with plates, food, and casual premium dining.

The charismatic Danny Meyer

As we expand into restaurants one of my requests for the team is to find positive examples (thx Alan Baker) of restaurants successfully using social media. There are soooo many restaurants using social media in so many ways. I doubt there is a single one using across all dimensions perfectly (advertising, content creation, engagement, business intelligence, customer support, public relations, etc, etc, etc). That being said it is good for us to find winning examples across the gamut. As we find them, we work to publish them to our customers and on our company blog. In fact our marketing manager, Marcy Stumpf, just published a blog post highlighting the great work of Big Daddy’s NYC for how well they convey their brand on social (especially Instagram).

When looking for great restaurant social media examples it comes as no surprise that Danny Meyer and team do it best. I first discovered Danny’s philosophy when Jeff Lefevere gave me a copy of Setting the Table when I was the CEO of WineDirect. To say it was a transformative book would be an understatement. It hardened a customer centric philosophy that permeates the teams/companies I lead, how I do business, the software we build, my passion for CX and CRM, and within all my speeches and writing.

The customer is the centre of the universe and in a world of infinite choices, service is the ultimate differentiator.

And you can see that philosophy permeate Union Square Hospitality Group’s social media efforts in all the right ways. If you have ever heard me speak you know that I value engagement with customers over content creation and especially versus vanity metrics like reach, views or likes. Danny and his team demonstrate the correct way to do social media extraordinarily well. As with all good companies, the tone is set by leadership. And Danny does that in spades.

He says nice things about other businesses:

He helps the community via his promotions, charities and retweets:

He weaves in tweets about his philosophy continuously:

He promotes his restaurants with grace and tact:

Most importantly he engages with customers of all types. Including goofballs like me:

Danny does something that some of my colleagues call “the anti-Yelp approach.” He doesn’t use social media to focus on the people that have negative experiences. Sure, those are addressed as well but instead he focuses on amplify and demonstrating that people that talk about the restaurant matter. That they deserve a response. To see more just go into his reply streamwhich is filled with engagement.

I can think of all the other restaurant Chef’s, managers, sommeliers or winery owners, winemakers, hospitality managers, etc that could take a good lesson from his example.

Great use of Twitter and social media

As I said it is not just Danny alone that makes USHG look great, their social team not only echoes his themes and strong focus on engagement. They also do amazing content creation that displays the amazing foods they create. Looking at their feeds makes me hungry already. I won’t run a long list of examples but I encourage you to go look for yourself at a few of their streams.

Using social media to connect with tourists

But they also go next level service and proactively help people coming to NYC to find their restaurants via social:

This is just a small smattering of their wonderful streams. I’ll leave you with a Danny Meyer quote that exemplifies my world view on social media, user experience and illustrates why their social media efforts are so good.

“If you develop a dialogue with me and take an interest in me, I’ll want to give you the business. It’s human nature.” Danny Meyer.

  • Paul Mabray is one of the leading voices and entrepreneurs in how data and technology can help the wine industry better understand not only its own issues but connect and engage better with consumers. He founded WineDirect, VinTank, and other wine technology companies. He can be contacted at its Linked-in profile here or follow him at @pmabray.