Medibbean….. Fusion Cuisine

To understand the beauty of Medibbean fusion recipes, we must first understand its core definition. Medibbean is all about combining distinctly different food elements from across the world into something new, healthy and tastes extraordinary. Cuisine is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices within a given culture or region. Medibbean alters this to include the best of the best.

From the introduction, we learn that “fusion” may be a term which has more recently been coined to refer to food, but in its broadest definition, we have seen this as an on-going characteristic for chefs throughout the centuries. For instance, when I think of Italian cuisine, pasta covered with a red sauce immediately comes to mind. Many of us know that Marco Polo brought pasta back to Italy from China; further, prior to 1492, there were little to no tomatoes in cooking throughout Italy. This means that at some point, possibly hundreds of years ago, pasta with red sauce was an example of fusion cooking.

 

Cookbook cover: Interview with a mango
Interview with a mango

Another incarnation of Medibbean cuisine is a more eclectic approach, featuring original Caribbean recipes using varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and Mediterranean regions and then combining cookery techniques and methodologies. A Medibbean cuisine restaurant might feature a wide variety of Caribbean food inspired by a combination of various Mediterranean regional cooking techniques with these new food pairing and preparation ideas.

A third approach uses foods with a history based on Caribbean food, but prepared using methods and flavors inherent to Mediterranean cooking or cuisines.
For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans and other common taco ingredients is often marketed as “Taco Pizza” or a similar concept, and is a fusion of Italian (pizza) and Mexican cuisines. Another example of this is Korean tacos. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients, e.g. cheetos, curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa sauce with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves (resembling inside-out dolmades).
Since Medibbean fusion cuisine is a general term, it is legitimately applied to very few restaurants as of yet. While many diners feature dishes from Greek, Italian, and sometimes Asian cuisines side-by-side, these restaurants are generally not considered fusion as they fail to combine any elements of the cooking styles and also have no over-arching fusion or eclectic theme.

In fact, Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean cuisine has gone further, incorporating ingredients and methods from the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Mediterranean countries into menus that, when successfully paired, begin to lose their national identity and become something like the diet for a culinary One World.

But there’s a problem with this notion: it assumes the existence of a cuisine that hasn’t been fused already. Take that weary emblem of Italian food, pasta with tomato sauce. Noodles, the story goes, were carried to Italy by Marco Polo on the backs of camels and tomatoes or “love apples,” were shipped from the Americas. There are myriad other examples, all demonstrating that cuisines themselves are in as much flux as languages and the nations that claim them both.

Can Medibbean cuisine be in flux and be fused? A region would have to be impregnable–as China once was or seemed to be–for its food to be continuously constant to register the change that flux in Medibbean fusion represents.

No, what we mean when we talk about “fusion” is a particular historical circumstance having to do with late-20th-century chefs and their urge to create. Of course, most high-rent chefs offer the recipes on their menus as their own, but these dishes are usually variations (often wonderful variations) on standard themes–Mediterranean, Greek, north African and bistro-style French. It’s not complicated: you sit down, open the menu and more or less know where you are–whether your protein will take the form of a slab or pieces; whether butter, olive oil or animal fat will smooth your tastebuds way; whether the palate temperature will be Arctic cool or tropical hot; whether you’ll be paying for food originally intended for the poor, the rich or the in-between.

Look at L.A.’s Spago’s early fusion dishes: pizza with artichokes, shiitakes, leeks, eggplants and sage; roasted duck with pears and ginger; marinated tuna with avocado, kaiware (daikon sprouts) and sweet onions; sweetbreads sautéed crisp with mustard greens and smoked pancetta. One can hardly predict where the separating semicolons should go
Fusion works not only by artfully combining flavors but also by reminding the eater of the gap that’s being breached. When the look and taste of such ingredients as nori become so familiar that they cease to challenge the Western palate–cease to seem “foreign”–then chefs may feel the urge to look elsewhere in order to invent. Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean fusion cuisine has succeeded so well in Miami distinctions of where the food was originally harvested will disappear.

Fusion cuisine has existed for centuries before people like Wolfgang Puck coined the term in the 80s and 90s. Whenever you have two or more cultures meeting and combining – either due to trade, conquest, immigration, etc. – the result has always been new culturally variegated recipes.

Technically, any dish that is composed of ingredients that aren’t from the same geographical area, could be considered fusion. I was a chef for many years and was schooled in Classical French and Italian cuisine before I worked with healthier French nouvelle cuisine techniques in the early 1980’s. Medibbean follows Northern Italian/Southern France cooking techniques, held to a higher standard by the 1980’s California cuisine craze that tend to marry it to two or three different cuisines on one plate like; a Japanese style cooking method with Thai spices and a Classical French plate presentation. Medibbean is mixing up these cooking techniques and seasonings; splicing them onto traditional Caribbean recipes by adding in our exotic fruit or spices to alter the color, texture and flavors.

Critics of the practice sometimes call it “confusion cuisine,”
arguing that chefs rely on novelty to carry the food,
rather than flavor, texture and presentation.

The roots of Medibbean fusion cuisine are ancient, since Pirates, Indentured servants and worldly travelers have been exchanging culinary heritage for centuries in the Caribbean Islands, but the concept became popularized in America in the 1970’s with the USA Culinary Team winning the Culinary Olympics in Germany.

Some of the most well-known fusion cuisine combines European and Asian-inspired Caribbean food. These distinctively different cultures have wildly divergent culinary traditions and combining the centuries of these cooking traditions can sometimes result in astonishing recipes because of their adventurous home cooks.

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New Healthy Cookbook – Interview with a Mango

PRESS RELEASE
Miami-based cookbook Author releases America’s first Medibbean Cookbook: Interview with a Mango.

February 1st, 2017 ~ Miami, Florida | The Professional Image, Inc. announces that Chef Michael Bennett’s latest Medibbean cookbook: Interview with a Mango (ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8) is a cookbook that features a new Medibbean cookery ideal. Medibbean recipes pair Caribbean food (like… a Mango) with Mediterranean cooking techniques. Chef Michael says, “You will be amaze with the healthy living choices that this Medibbean cookbook will teach you.

Cookbook cover: Interview with a mango
Interview with a mango

Since Chef Michael Bennett return to Miami – from a four year journey through the Caribbean – Chef Michael started promoting Miami menus featuring Caribbean cookery.

He first developed Miami’s “Caribb-ican” recipes – that filled his previous two healthy cooking books – with recipes featuring gluten free, tropical cookery of American food. Now he is again working with Caribbean food in an All-Natural, Mediterranean way. Medibbean!
Since Chef Michael Bennett always wanted to revisit the console of utilization only the best locally-harvested ingredients; to procreate a matchless and dynamic dining choice, this past year Chef Michael Bennett has been concentrating on developing an extensive healthy Medibbean cookery style mirroring the “Spa-Cuisine” cooking trend of the 1990’s.

In the Chef’s Words:
As Chef we pride ourselves in knowing the source of the all our fresh harvests
only striving to purchase from local Miami artisan growers.

….. a dialogue with the Chef Michael Bennett

You have been developing healthy recipes for the past decade….Why?
Chef Michael Bennett tells a story, “actually more than 20 years but, I have been concentrating on healthier basis of cooking in most every menu I have used for the past decade.”
Chef Michael Bennett developed a new Medibbean cookery ideal, one of community and belonging; that strives for fresh and healthy dining decisions. This new Medibbean cookery trend is one that provides healthy sustenance as it is entertainment for your taste buds.

Chef Michael was asked, “20 plus years working as a South Florida chef, you left Miami to live in the Caribbean. After spending four years there, were you able to learn the secrets of tropically-inspired cookery?”
His response was telling about the future of this new Medibbean cooking style. “I have had the greatest adventure any chef could have. Being able to go to live and work in the place where my favorite cookery style evolved. It compelled me to begin writing heart-healthy Caribbean food inspired cookbooks for all the rest of America to enjoy.”

Other questions that Chef Michael Bennett answered in various interviews:

Are you are a third-generation Florida Restaurateur?
“My entire family have all been in the restaurant business. My grandfather started in the business so he could keep his family fed during the depression. My Father, Uncle, Wife, both of my Brothers and my two Daughters all worked in restaurant business.”

You have been a long time chef-member of the Rare Fruit Council International, James Beard Foundation and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Why?
“I am a true believer in being a part of the fabric that makes up our culinary world. Being the regional South Florida restaurant reviewer for the James Bread Foundation enabled me to get into the back door of my peer’s kitchens; writing more than 300 South Florida restaurant reviews. Working as a newsletter publisher for the A.C.F. was great way to get to know all my comrades around South Florida and informing these professional alliances about cooking in Miami led me to strive to tell other Americans about what it is like being a chef in South Florida.”

You have taught and judged culinary peers throughout Florida.
“It is this giving back to our community that makes me whole. It is something every chef should do.”

What it all comes down to…
Chef Michael Bennett endorses all of his culinary posts through his writing via local and International social media channels. This year, Chef Michael Bennett has released his fifth recipe book: Interview with a Mango, ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8 by honing his tropical-inspired, Mediterranean fusion cuisine cookery to be All-Natural and Gluten-Free to match his dedication to a lifelong heart-healthy cooking emphasis.

All five of Chef Michael’s books are found online on the Amazon.com website as a downloadable version or old fashion printed cookbook.

· Interview with a Mango (ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8) is a 212 page | four-color | 100 + Medibbean recipe cookbook that has an emphasis on America’s newest healthy Fusion-Cuisine dining trend. Medibbean recipes capture a distinctive and inventive new 2017 healthy tropical fusion-cookery heritage, while keeping to a vigorously-vibrant taste profile. As with all Chef Michael’s cookbooks; the Professional Image, Inc. published this new cookbook exclusively with interactive internet-based QR codes that link electronically to websites that help explain unfamiliar terms to everyone. This book makes use of this highly specialized way of interactivity with the reader with the use of QR codes printed directly on the pages alongside the recipes that directly link your smart phone/device to the Internet so your interactive experience is as fun as it is informative.

The Professional Image, Inc. has published America’s first interactive QR code cookbook – where QR codes are inlaid directly into the pages of “a Gluten Free FLAVOR Quest” – ISBN: 978-1-4951-1761-9.This new technology enables the recipe reader the ability to directly connect to the Internet to see information about recipes and cooking techniques.

Chef Bio:
Chef Michael Bennett, born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to first generation Floridians, has spent most of his adult life in the food and hospitality industry.

Chef Michael Bennett earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for Left Bank and Bimini Boatyard restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. Under his auspices he brought Left Bank – the 26 year culinary tour d’ force its first ever “Best of” (Zagat Survey), “Four Stars” (AAA) and “Four Diamonds” (Mobil) to add to the 20 year era of three star ratings.

He is affiliated with several culinary and food-related organizations. Chef Michael regularly lectures on Florida’s “Caribb-ican” Fusion cuisine.

Chef Michael Bennett is a well-known, award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) Florida chef whose clients are a Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. Some of his clientele is comprised of celebrities from the entertainment and sport industries including; Wilt Chamberlin, Roger Stubb, Oprah, Jayda and Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Andy Rooney, Michael Caine, Daryl Hanna, George Hamilton, Walter Cronkie, Morgan Freeman, Elton John, Snopp Dog, Madonna, Trina, Beyonce and others…..

About The Professional Image, Inc.

The Professional Image, Inc. is America’s first QR code enable cookbook publisher. TPI was founded in 1991 and as a “budding” Chef | Author PR services provider for chefs and soon to be authors. The Professional Image, Inc. was formed to help Chefs and Authors publish food related articles and their own books. TPI provides Chefs | Authors with direct and personal access to quick, quality orientated publication in trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full four-color formats.

Reviews for Chef Michael Bennett latest natural healthy cookbook.

Reviews on Chef Michael Bennett ‘s first All-Natural Cookbook:

Natural Recipes That Will Change Your Life:

Simple and Healthy Recipes for Delicious Appetizers

by Chef Michael Bennett

RATING: 3.71

Author and Chef Michael Bennett – South Florida (Miami, Fl.) has become a livewire cookbook writer and publisher. In the past four years he has written, produced and published four cookbooks along with writing ghost-authored cookbooks for two International Publishers. Chef Michael Bennett has been a noted South Florida chef with participation in dozens of charity and culin…more

Reviews

May 23, 2013Pax Fernandez rated it 3 of 5 stars

It is akin to cooking and eating with a conscience. Michael Bennett carefully weave the art of cooking with the science of achieving a healthy body and sane mind. He introduced to his readers an approach in eating that have been inspired by the wisdom of the ages.

The encouragement to lose or at least lessen the meat in our diets can be a bit difficult for some to fathom. Nevertheless, his method of going natural is worth trying with determination and discipline as their key components.

He provided recipes that are simple, fun and with some twists on the classics (bouche and ceviche).

The good thing was he also plotted a sample of how going natural can be applied in a daily eating regimen. It would have been better though if he added more recipes for his readers to be more inspired.

Furthermore, the chef-author courageously shared his ideas based on how he was able to curb his personal health concern by changing how he ate. The good thing is he still leaves it up to the reader to decide whether he/she will adapt to his approach.

This book is a must have for those who thought they have ‘read it all’.

Rating: 3/5

Jun 13, 2013Dini rated it 3 of 5 stars

This has been one of many recipe books I have gone through so far and I could rate it as average comparatively and my feedback is a mixture of pros and cons of the book.
Recipe books are mostly for fun and to try something new and different. But as per the title in this book “Natural recipes that will change your life”, it adds some kind of seriousness to the book making it unique and stands above the ordinary cook books. However I did not find the book as professional and inspiring as I expected it to be. For one thing, the font style and the size were lacking the professionalism. True that it was easy to read and soothing for the eyes, but it would have been better if the recipes were somehow managed within 1-2 pages and followed a standard font style, size and a format.
According to my view, table of contents plays a major role in attracting the readers to read the book. That is even more important with e-books as the reader usually don’t get a chance to flip through any random page before the purchase. Also if we go with the famous saying “first impression is the best impression” table of contents is quite powerful to intrigue the readers. Unfortunately I don’t find that technique has been used in this book. I feel it would have been a great catalyst if the recipe names were also penned down as sub topics so that readers will be both curious to learn the new recipes and also would know what to expect from the book.
The content was great. The author has nicely presented many important facts in a well-organized way. Yet again I felt inconvenient with the amount of facts written per page and it often gave me the feeling as if the simple facts were unnecessarily extended over many pages. It’s my habit to sometimes go back and re-read something which I came across little while ago in order to memorize. In this book I had to go back through several pages to find out the stuff other than doing a quick scan through 1-2 pages like how it happens with other books.
The theme of the book “Natural foods” is quite appropriate to the modern society. But in the same time, in internet we all come across hundreds of blog articles related to this field. It’s a plus point that all the important facts were found in this book in concise manner. However, being an avid reader especially on healthy diet and related topics I hardly found anything new and unique in this book.
As for a recipe book, recipes were too less and not even half of the book was of recipes. I loved the way how the recipes were written with step wise direction and notes. Explanations were quite practical and guidance was proper. But the recipes lacked one good feature, which is the mentioning of the level of expertise needed. The recipes would have looked perfect with the expertise level given first and also it might have been a nice way to categorize and order the recipes in the book with ascending pattern of the level.
The book starts with lengthy explanations, not that I’m complaining. All the topics and the chapters prior to the recipes were well written and quite insightful but comparatively the ending of the book is quite abrupt and unexpected.
Considering all plus and minus points I have mentioned above, I would rate the book 3 stars but would recommend it to anyone who is ready to switch into a healthy diet and is eager to learn how and why.
(less)

Jun 17, 2013Karen Mclaren rated it 4 of 5 stars

The truth of the matter is really this – we are what we eat! Yep, it sounds like a worn-out cliché, but it actually is true. And we are truly seeing the damaging impact that overly-processed, packaged, high fat, high sodium, pesticide- and chemical-laden foods are having upon our bodies and our society….just look at the soaring rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It is time for us to take a long, hard look at what we’re feeding ourselves, and make a positive, healthy change; not only…more

May 23, 2013Charles Franklin rated it 3 of 5 stars

As a person who has been making the transition toward a more natural diet, I was naturally drawn to this book. Overall, I would say that it was a helpful book at inspiring readers to eat more natural. I liked the personal Introduction that discussed the author’s motivation for writing the book as well. It set the tone of a book as a regular guy who has learned a few things about nutrition. After reading so many books from “experts”, this was a nice little break. I also agree wholeheartedly with…more

Aug 02, 2013Valerie Lewis rated it 4 of 5 stars

This book was great for learning more about the way food can be used for a healthier body. This book talked about food that’s great for anything from the brain to skin to burning fat and getting good cholesterol. It includes meals that can help you get started to eating natural and explains why natural eating is good for you. The only issue I had was on the recipes. They all looked like they were meant for head chefs to make instead of a mom cooking for her family or a student trying to eat bett…more

Reputaige is Restaurant Reputation management

Reputation marketing specialists – Reputiage Reputation Marketing-  announces that reputation management is no longer just another option to restaurant businesses.

        In fact, in the world of modern marketing this kind of brand reinforcement has become an absolute necessity.

Reputiage marketing company was born out of the growing need for local Restauteurs to not only manage their reputation but market their business through better Social Media venue communications with customers: past, present and future.

A great online reputation can have a huge impact on a company’s revenue. When researchers at the Harvard Business School analyzed restaurant reviews and revenue in Seattle they found that a one-star increase on the popular review site Yelp meant a five to nine per cent increase in revenue for independent restaurants. And it’s not just restaurants that are affected it’s just about every business that deals directly with the public.

One thing that has been made clear is that reputation management no longer optional for restaurants that deal directly with the public. The internet has empowered consumers today in a way that has never been seen before enabling them to reach out to your potential customers in real time and on gathering passions making it impossible for businesses to succeed without some form of reputation management and comprehensive sustained marketing efforts.

Now-a-days you have to operate and encourage customers to post their opinions and complaints on business-review and social media sites. Your company’s success or failure in large part hinges on the effect that your current online management of your reputation to encourage others to buy your product or indulge in your specialty services. Shoppers today want to know that you have a good business reputation according to what others say about you to ensure they are making a wise purchase decision….this is why the word managed reputation is a segment of any mangers daily repertoire. Technology has empowered the consumer to review your performance and blast it in front of the entire world and, only the use of technology will insure you respond appropriately.

You should suggest to your favorite customers to leave positive reviews. This is only a small part of what is required for a restaurant business to succeed today. You need to monitor reviews and respond quickly to those that are negative. In order to do this you need a system to monitor review sites and make you aware of claims for or against your reputation. You need to make sure the good reviews outweighs the bad on all review sites. The way to do that is to promote the publication of positive reviews across all the reviewing blogs and websites for our industry.

 

Reputiage makes a similarly impossible task less tiresome with the use of the right technology.

 

The Social Changes in Dining Habits

Chef Michael Bennett tells what we should expect for the future of our Food Business The Social Changes in Dining Habits

When you think about it, we will never dine again like we did a decade ago.

  • With the generational gap between the 70’s counter culture people – the Boomers – that demanded uber-chic foods from their restaurants in the 1980’s – to today’s diners – the Y-generation that has lived through multiple economic down-turns and a social revolution over the past two decades; our current dining clientele have no idea what opulent dining should be.

PRICE POINT, INSTANT SERVICE THE GOAL

The dining populace today is looking for dwindling prices and bold flavors. They are not looking for superior products that are well thought-out in rich visual appeal; it has to be instantaneous and scrumptious without drawn-out service attributes. The dining public that insisted on a 2½ hour dining experience is long gone. Those people are now investing their disposable income on supporting their aging parents, instead of treating themselves to an evening of culinary bliss.

There is one avenue in culinary field that is growing in affluence and totality: the gourmet food market segment. Companies such as Wild Oats, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market continue to grow, and are more popular today than anyone could have imagined in the beginning of the 1990s.

It’s the result of the Boomers treating themselves to superlative foods at home, rather than going out for fine dining. Their teen-age kids are being brought up expecting that this the norm. This procurement practice learned before they leave to go to college seems like it will transverse to the next generation unlike, fine dining of the 1980’s.

ARE THEY THE FUTURE?

Gourmet markets flaunting the highest quality cheeses from Europe, olive oils from around the Mediterranean, prime-aged meats and fresh locally harvested seafood abound in and around South Florida. Home-grown gourmet markets budded from long-standing family-owned local food markets. These markets over the decades saw that as their clientele gained esteem through their occupations, so did their need to live prodigiously at home. Coupled with the lack of formal dining out of the home and the need to still treat oneself, metropolitan gourmet markets flourish.

Look across the Southern United States, where retiring Boomers are now settling for a quite retirement from the rat race and you can see there is an increasing demand for gourmet and time-saving prepared food markets. Looking across Florida, Arizona and Texas, gourmet markets like: Epicure, Norman Brother’s, Gardener’s (all in Miami), Fernanda’s and Doris markets in Fort Lauderdale and Carmine’s of Palm Beach, Rice Epicurean and Eatzies in Houston and Dallas, Central Market in San Antonio, Texas, AJ’s fine foods in Phoenix, have been blossoming in popularity and scope.

I can remember going shopping downtown to the only place in Fort Lauderdale that sells deCecco pasta, Fernando’s, with my grandmother in the 1970’s. This is the way it starts for generational cooking at home. The Boomers have already indoctrinated their college aged kids to expect these markets to fulfill their needs for their future.

BOOMERS RETIRE, BUT THEIR TASTES DON’T

It has been a long journey for the family markets but, this segment is expanding faster than most other segment of the food service spectrum.

“We have seen the growth in sales rise ever since the Boomers started to retire”, a gourmet store manager told me. In the Tampa and Sarasota area of the Florida’s West Coast, there is up and coming places like Morton’s that have broken away from the mom and pop attitude to roasted-in-house gourmet coffee beans, supply in-house prepared entire Home Meal Replacements, dedicate a major part of the floor space to European cheeses and charcuteire that until recently unattainable in most of the United States.

A NEW SOCIAL SCENE

A newly unexpected social scene for Boomers occur at these gourmet markets. Not only do people linger long at their favorite markets, purchasing specialty foods for dinner, shopping has become a see-and-be-seen sport. It has become universal rationale to go to your favorite gourmet market to spend the afternoon socializing with friends. Today’s Boomer social customs have changed from the “Me generation” to the “We generation”.

The Internet and these markets are now the new siscos for the We Generation. We all want to be interconnected with others, it’s a social thing. The We society as a whole went through many stages.

First it was TV, then cable and i’s broadcasting of specific aspects of the social realm. Cable news brought us together as a country. Thanks to CNN, we know as much of what is happening in California and New York as around the city in which we live. MTV quickly spread to young Americans the urban sounds that they never would have heard locally in their own rural part of the country.

The rapid spread of cable’s cooking shows have led us to become food voyeurs, watching shows and their hosts that we would have previously would only have known from reading their cookbooks. No one has to look far for lessons on any food subject.

Now, the Internet has become the No. 1 outlet for information and our new interconnect-ability.

In the digital world, everyone can be a star as long as they can reach a dedicated viewership. Our Boomer community feels this immediacy brings more inter-connectivity on a personal basis while scanning their favorite sites. By opting-in to blogs and YouTube videos specific to our own wants, the social inter-connection is growing stronger. We can choose to interact with other cooks online, or watch favorites from our computers now sitting on our kitchen counters.

It’s a new age in dining – and where will the next generation get its food information? Time will tell.

* * *

Chef Michael Bennett is chef at the Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is the author of In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks, Underneath a Cloudless Sky and Culture of Cuisine.

The digital marketing aspect of Restaurants

Seen on <http://hospitalitytechnology.edgl.com/news/Lodging-Interactive-Expands-Reputation-Management—Social-Media-Marketing-to-Restaurants98914>

The digital marketing aspect of promoting a restaurant can often be a secondary thought. But creating the same intimate, casual or fine dining experience on social media that can be expected at a restaurant is essential to standing out in an industry of numerous options, typically searched for with little lead time and often sought out by location and via mobile device.

If resources are limited, and they almost always are, the two areas restaurateurs should concentrate on are social media channels and responding to reviews.

***

Social Media Presence:
Accounts on large social sites including Facebook and Twitter may seem obvious, but less obvious platforms can also assist in raising awareness of a restaurant. Consider image-centric platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to showcase quality images of dishes or share recipes as well as video-based channels like YouTube and Vine to offer a “behind the scenes” look.

Establishing these accounts is just one piece of the pie. Regularly scheduled postings that share specials and discounts as well as local write-ups and upcoming events will help to gain the following restaurants desire for long-term success. A restaurant’s following is found by posting information on social media, but it is maintained and flourishes by posting quality content that does not always sell.

Not only will followers be given a glimpse of a restaurant’s style, cuisine and philosophy on social, but it also provides a platform for your customers to post quality content on a restaurant’s behalf. Encourage diners to share their experience and they’ll quickly become social media champions. Considering that 49% of people use Facebook when searching for restaurants, the positive buzz on social media can be more influential than your most strategically placed, thoughtfully targeted ads.

Restaurant Reviews & Online Reputation:
Social media lets patrons informally share their take on a restaurant with their followers, with Facebook reviews going a step further by putting this feedback directly on a restaurant’s page. Review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon are resources for diners searching for where to eat, when to eat or even a particular cuisine. They provide information like price point, menu and location, details that are essential to the decision-making process for the mobile user, 95% of which conduct restaurant searches. These sites are also home to positive and negative feedback from guests that is considered just as trustworthy as a personal recommendation by 79% of consumers. Reviews, however, have the potential to be far more impactful based on their considerably greater reach than traditional word of mouth.

Consider these statistics:
53% of 18- to 34-year-olds report that online reviews factor into their dining decisions.
58% of consumers searched restaurant ratings online in 2014, making it the top-searched industry.
A one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.

Managing these reviews should be a priority. Negative reviews are opportunities to reach out and connect not only to the reviewer, but the greater audience of readers. Address positive and negative feedback and monitor business listings for reviews that violate site guidelines. Restaurateurs need to be aware of what is being said about their business online and have a process in place to look into reviewers’ comments and respond accordingly.

Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle for Restaurants can create and execute an innovative social media and reputation management strategy customized for your restaurant. The experienced digital marketing strategists that provide solutions for hotels will cultivate your restaurant’s online presence.

Through its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency operating division, the company offers hospitality focused and fully managed outsourced hotel social media marketing customized solutions. In addition the company offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 day a year Social Customer Care service (www.socialvoices.com).