« August 2010 | Main | October 2010 »

4 posts from September 2010

22 September 2010

Gefiltefest 2010, 3 October

image from www.silverbrowonfood.com
It's a bloody brilliant name.  It's informative and amusing at the same time.  It's catchy and I'd guess trademarkeable. Gefiltefest 2010.  You know what it's about.  There's going to be fressing and kibbitzing about nosh.

Receiving the email from indomitable organiser Michael Leventhal I'd assumed this was going to be another New York based event that I could only wish to attend.  But no, this is taking place in London on 3 October. 

The programme looks interesting and varied and a great start. I'm particularly pleased to see the involvement of Hazon, a US based organisation focused on improving the food we eat.  There are other elements I'd like to see in the future, such as orthodox rabbis attending.  I also think that these sorts of events should be under kosher supervision, but I appreciate that is a logistical and financial nightmare - again maybe something for next time.

I'm hoping to go along.  If you want to as well, then let Michael know if you're interested gefiltefest@gmail.com.

One important point: if you do go, you should try to take along any kosher (i.e. with a hechsher) sealed  products that you have spare.  Something like tuna, soup packets, crackers, barley, rice, pasta, cereals, tea, coffee, to leave in a collection box that will be distributed on the day.  The food collected will be given to www.jgift.org, which will then distribute the food to the needy.

07 September 2010

Shana Tova Umetukah

To all my readers who observe such things, I hope you and your families have a very happy and healthy new year and keep well over the fast.

In the past I've made some irreverant remarks linking Rosh Hashanah to the grub I've been eating in the past year, or my plans for the coming year.  I don't feel that way inclined today.  

Instead, I'm genuinely looking forward to the time the Yomim Noraim will give me to reflect and think.  I hope you have a peaceful one as well.

03 September 2010

Adverts on the site

Earlier this week I added bigger, more prominent adverts to the site.  I'd like to know your thoughts, particularly if you find them intrusive. If enough people object I'll probably remove them, or at least return them to their previous format.

I made the change because I'd like the site to pay for itself a bit more efficiently than it currently does.  I write the blog because I enjoy doing so, I know it is never going to earn me any serious money, but I'm sure there is room for financial improvement.  I do ok out of being an Amazon Affiliate and having Google AdSense embedded in the right hand column.  The odd bit of freelancing also helps.

My suspicion is that the new ads will make bog-all difference to the coppers in my pocket and will likely annoy some people.  They're beginning to annoy me, I liked the look I had going previously, so there is a fair chance that they'll all be gone quite soon.  Then again, if I earn a pretty penny, I may be able to overcome my stylistic principles.

01 September 2010

Restaurants & social media

Since starting the blog way back when, I've been fascinated by the way restaurants promote themselves.

The immediacy of Twitter has brought this into sharp relief.  Press releases, restaurant reviews and character assasinations are reduced to 140 letters and spaces.  Restaurants, PRs, bloggers and critics are all mixing it up in one big stockpot. In this environment where everyone has a voice, some restaurants thrive on being at the heart of the action.  Others hang in there despite sustained flak.  Others still, it should be remembered, thrive despite having no truck with this new technology.

From my experience those restaurants that have achieved sustainable success have done so because they run good businesses: good food that lives up to or exceeds expectations, they're in a decent location and have a sensible handle on costs versus revenue.  Good PR is also essential because the restaurant needs profile and the public needs to know why they should eat there and social media is an important element of that - it's a brilliant multiplier.

I get the feeling though, that some restaurants and their PRs feel that they have to get involved in social media as an end in itself. Rather than because it helps the company gets bums on seats and that afterall is the purpose of PR.

If I owned a restaurant and a PR agency was trying to convince me that a really important element of my communications programme was to engage with bloggers and social media and they are the only agency that really gets it, I'd ask them the following questions:

  • Why do you think bloggers are so important?
  • Can you send me your social media distribution list and explain your rationale for each individual on it?
  • I know I can't control who eats in my restaurant, but what is the value to my reputation and my bottom line of having a twitter stream and who should write it?
  • Can you justify why my restaurant needs bloggers?
  • Bloggers are always looking for the new thing, so won't they come anyway, whatever I do?
  • Who is going to get the most out of your proposed blogger outreach programme?
  • Why do so many restaurants thrive without entering the social media maelstrom?
  • Can you show me your personal twitter stream?
  • Can you explain to me what you understand by the phrase don't mix business with pleasure?
  • I thought social media was all about the conversation.  Why do I need a PR firm? Can't I do it myself?

It's not all one sided.  If I was in the food PR business, I'd ask some of my clients:

  • Who on earth are you trying to appeal to?
  • Do you not think that there's a reason that nobody has opened up that 'concept' before?
  • Are you sure you want to get bloggers here?  More coverage doesn't necessarily mean better coverage and the outcome isn't always pretty.