As this blog is entitled “tasting notes” I feel I can add the occasional restaurant review in addition to my thoughts on digital marketing. In fact, my thoughts on many restaurants is much informed by my views on digital marketing…Seth Godin provides a nice way to frame the issue…..
“Are you going to build something that’s as interesting as the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Are you going to make a product or service that when people are done using it, they can’t help but tell their friends about? The story is all that’s going to spread. Not the facts, but the story.” – Seth Godin
Just the facts ma’am.
On paper this restaurant looked great. Nice food, Great location on the Thames. The sun was shining. What could go wrong? Those are the facts. We ate oysters, fish and drank some wine. More facts. The problem though is that the experience was crap. Bad service. Bad food and worst of all bad manners on the part of the restaurant staff. The Oyster Shed now gets a bad STORY told about them because it’s the story I want to tell you about, not the facts.
Social media has given me a new voice. As a consumer I am thrilled by this. As a marketeer I am forever learning and adapting my strategies to embrace this new voice of the consumer. Social media has, as we all know, fostered all kinds of changes in marketing, consumer behavior and how as digital marketing professionals we approach selling. The times when customers were broadcast at is long gone. In fact British consumers now complain 26% more now that they have an easy outlet in social media. The era of customers simply taking it on the chin and burying their dissatisfaction is long gone. You would think that given this, restaurants would understand how to handle unhappy customers. i.e agree, offer something for free and apologise! For the Oyster Shed this does not seem to be true. My lunch companion and I really did want to love this place. Unfortunately, not only was the service slow and the food substandard with the oysters being full of shell shards and the tuna being horribly overcooked, what amazed us most was the arguments we were served up by the restaurant. Unbelievable really. To argue with a customer telling you they’re unhappy with your product or service seems unimaginable today. Surely they know this negative story will spread and that it’s not just what food people are served at restaurants that make up the experience. People want a story to share and it’s every brands job to ensure that it’s a good one and not a negative one.
So my advice to The Oyster Shed (and brands) is take a serious look at your content/food marketing efforts/customer service. Are you giving your audience/diners reasons to care about you? Are you giving your audience content/food/service that they not only want but also want to share?
On a more positive note I can recommend Gauthier in Soho which provided a faultless lunch recently and the best Louis XV dessert I have ever had. That’s a story I have shared with many of my fellow foodies and I hope will result in them enjoying the experience.