Social Media Delivers a Bigger Slice of Business for Vittoria and La Favorita

by Laura Berry

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Vittoria Website The man behind some of Edinburgh’s most successful restaurants is cooking up a storm by reaching out to customers through social media.

Tony Crolla has won plaudits and prizes for the quality of his log-fired pizzeria, La Favorita and for the Italian cuisine on offer at branches of Vittoria on Leith Walk and George IV Bridge.

Now he is ensuring the dining experience extends well beyond the three restaurants by also interacting with customers in their favourite online venues.

Tony spotted the growing importance of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which have hundreds of thousands of users across Scotland.

He said: “Of course our customers want everything to be perfect when they sit down to dinner in one of our restaurants. But the reality is that the restaurant experience no longer begins and ends at the front door.

“Now people want to go online to check reviews, look over the menu or find out about special offer before they come out – and they often write about their experiences and even share photographs afterwards

“You can do so much on a business website. But people also want to easily network with their friends and family and let know what they are doing and that happens on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“You have to go where your customers go and interact on their terms. These sites are now too important in daily life to be ignored, so I want to make sure people can find us there.

“Like most other businesses we are new to this, but we have at least made a start and we’ll be listening to what our customers tell us.”

Tony realised the potential of social media after his son bought a new car and colleagues were discussing it within minutes after reading about it on Facebook. Meanwhile many of his staff keep in touch with all the latest news from family in Italy via social networks.

He added: “It doesn’t matter what age you are, these are tools which let people of any age keep in touch at any time.

“Restaurants like mine are successful because they have a great reputation and survive on word of mouth business. If that word of mouth is spread on line it could reach a lot more potential customers.

“If someone has something good to say about us then word spreads quickly, which is great and these social media channels also let us reward our most loyal customers with special offers and discounts.

“However, we may not always get it right. If people are saying less flattering things, we want to know about it as quickly as possible so that we can fix it and make it better.”

Tony enlisted the help of the Holyrood Partnership to embark on a social media campaign to help staff  interact with customers and keep them up to date with all the latest restaurant happenings.

Through Twitter and Facebook fans and followers will also get access to exclusive special offers and discounts.

Both Vittoria and La Favorita can be be found on Facebook. Vittoria can be found on http://twitter.com/eatvittoria while La Favorita is on http://twitter.com/edinburghpizza.

Public relations agency Holyrood Partnership successfully provided PR support to Vittoria and La Favorita for a number of years. Now it is extending its communications experience to help establish an engaging social media presence for the restaurants.

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