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Sinatra's Old Haunts Turn to Foursquare

  |  May 8, 2012   |  Comments

NYC and LA restaurants tell different tales about attracting consumers via social media.

Frank Sinatra was known to frequent Barney's Beanery in Los Angeles and Monte's in Brooklyn back in the Rat Pack heydays. But would Ol' Blue Eyes get a kick out of Foursquare the way some patrons of the two historic eateries do now?

ClickZ recently spoke with the restaurants about their social media campaigns, revealing varying levels of enthusiasm. They generally agreed Foursquare had proven to be the most lucrative channel in which to spend their time, when compared to Facebook and Twitter. While they liked the engagement created by all of the channels, they were more interested in the idea of being able to easily attribute foot traffic to Foursquare.

"Foursquare is all about the check-in; it's all about foot traffic," said A.J. Sacher, regional manager at Barney's Beanery, a five-location business that opened its first "gastropub" in 1920. "That's the easiest correlation to see. For that reason, we are starting to invest more time on Foursquare, because you can see the feet on the ground."

Barney's, which hired a social media coordinator in 2010, ran its first Foursquare campaign only six months ago. It's recently been working with marketing platform MomentFeed to manage its social and location-based initiatives.

On Monday, Sacher and his team launched a contest challenging consumers to crowd-source photos for a Barney's location by using Foursquare and Instagram. Five winners will select a photo from among the pool of photos they crowd-sourced to serve as the cover for the individual location's Facebook Timeline. They'll get a $100 gift card and have a booth reserved to watch the NBA Finals on TV.

Foursquare, Sacher said, "draws a direct link that is really key for us."

Legendary Spot Hopes Social Results Pick Up

Monte's is a 106-year-old Italian restaurant located on Carroll Street in Brooklyn, tucked in a residential-industrial, yet-to-be-gentrified neighborhood named after the infamously polluted Gowanus Canal. While its place in Brooklyn history is secured - NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg paid a visit when the establishment reopened last year - attracting consumers who live in nearby neighborhoods to the location has sometimes been challenging.

So the mom-and-pop restaurant began dabbling with social in November 2011, enlisting the services of local marketing provider eBoxed. Tina Esposito, manager of Monte's, so far wonders whether Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms truly impact foot traffic.

"We need a wider base, I think," Esposito said. "We want it to work. We know it's worked for other people. But it hasn't translated much here."

Monte's has run multiple campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, launching a new offer every few weeks. It pushes ideas like Monday night trivia and Tuesday surf-and-turf specials to its modest social media audience, mainly 2,600 Facebook fans/likes and 4,300 Twitter followers.

According to eBox, like Barney's, Monte's is seeing clearer results from its Foursquare activity. Right now, the restaurant is running the following Check-In Special on Wednesday nights: an Angus burger, fries, and a beer for $10 flat.

Chris Awad, marketing director for eBoxed, said Foursquare has "delivered the highest conversion rates" for Monte's.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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