Courtyard Restaurant In Ottawa – Doing It Right

Warning – I’m about to talk about my dinner. Bear with me – there’s a point…

Ever had one of those experiences when you just thought that someone really nailed “it,” whatever “it” is? I had one of those yesterday.

I flew to Ottawa yesterday ahead of a presentation I’m giving at a Canadian Medical Association event this morning. After several hours of hermit-like work in my hotel room, I got to thinking about dinner. Rather than going to the Milestones I can see from my room, I threw out a tweet to see if people had any suggestions.

I got about a dozen or so responses with recommendations of nearby places. Among them were several from foodiePrints – an Ottawa-based food blog. One in particular caught my eye – the chef at a local restaurant – the Courtyard Restaurant – had responded to the question:

Impressed by the response (although a little worried about a “chronic” duck (turns out it’s a good thing), I decided to head over to the restaurant.

This was a win for the restaurant already – for the outlay of a couple of seconds of typing, they’d brought in a new customer. But it continued:

Simple but effective. I laughed when I saw that tweet (to the consternation of several couples nearby, who clearly thought I was a little crazy) and again when, a few minutes later, the most over-the-top dessert I’ve ever had emerged from the kitchen… and was delicious.

What’s my point here?

Communications is changing

Communications is changing. The way you can reach your customers and your potential customers is changing. Five years ago I would have gone to a chain restaurant; instead a local establishment was able to respond to my tweeted question and, with the investment of a few seconds (and a delicious dessert), won my business and my loyalty.

An ad or a newspaper story might work with some people, but there are an increasing number of people using these online tools to find recommendations through word-of-mouth. Not the traditional word-of-mouth, but a new, scaleable word-of-mouth that can reach people instantly and effectively.

Have you thought about how you can turn this to your advantage?

(Oh, and the duck at the Courtyard Restaurant was delicious; “chronic,” if you will. Thank you to Michael Hay and his staff for a great experience)

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  • I’m a veterinarian and a couple of my clients are using twitter and they have been communicating with me there. They are telling me how their ride was on their horse or how good their dog feels. It is quite interesting since I actually started my Twitter account for the social media and internet marketing aspect, but it turns out I am getting better responses from my “real world” business via Twitter. Same thing with Facebook. I have old clients finding me again via Facebook. Social media has helped out in keeping in contact and these clients become “special” because they have a more personal connection with me vs only at the office or at the barn. They get to “talk” with me on my off time as well.

    I really like the desert idea from the CourtYard restaurant and since we are discussing it here and I got here from Twitter, that desert has paid off big time in free advertising. Well, it has paid off that is the next time I ever go visit Ottawa and if I might remember this restaurant. 🙂

  • Mary

    That’s very cool. Might use that when I get to Scranton, PA tomorrow evening. See what happens.

  • So many companies could learn from this type of experience. Really hits the nail on the head.

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  • I just wrote about restaurants using social media, and I have to say that from what I’ve seen very few are doing it right. Your example really shows how all it takes is a few seconds to bring in new customers, and to make their experience unforgettable so they’ll either return one day or tell others about it.

    A little while ago I attended an Eats, Beets and Tweets event at Nyood restaurant in Toronto. Although they tried to incorporate Twitter into the night it was obvious that it was a “jumping on the bandwagon” thing rather than than actually wanting to engage with their customers. Case in point: I Tweeted at the restaurant to thank them for the evening, and their Twitter account replied to itself to say you’re welcome. Note to restaurants: learn the basics of Twitter before you try to hold an event centred around it!

    Hopefully more restaurants will take advantage of social media tools – as someone who loves to try new restaurants I know I’m more inclined to visit a social media savvy restaurant than not.

    Erin

  • Sara Waltemire

    This is an interesting example of how social media can drive business. I think that one-on-one communication is the best way to generate good word-of-mouth advertising, and Twitter provides so many opportunities for that. I know that it drives me crazy when I get generic direct messages and other generic messages from companies and people on Twitter, so it is good to know that some companies are using Twitter to make these connections.

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  • That is a fabulous example of how to use social media tools to actually generate dollars. Some companies get so caught up in the number of followers or comments that they forget that they are still a business doing it to increase revenue. Courtyard Restaurant is doing it right. Thanks for the post.

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