Operators to learn about  word-of-mouth marketing in the 'social age'

Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the biggest tools that restaurant operators have to help drive traffic and sales. Although we know that people talking to their friends about their positive experiences has inspired others to try brands – anecdotally – it's been hard to measure how effective those words really are. It's also been hard for restaurateurs to see which of its customers are "talking them up" or to reward those loyal customers. The same is true when it comes to addressing customers talking about their negative experiences.

Social media and the smartphone have made that much easier, however, and restaurant operators will learn all about how to use both mediums to increase positive word-of-mouth marketing at the Fast Casual Executive Summit's session called " Show Me The Money - Word of Mouth Marketing in the Mobile Era."

Panelists include Jonathan Fornaci, CEO of Rita's Italian Ice; Samir Wagle, COO of Andre Boudin Bakeries; Aaron Noveshen, founder and president of The Culinary Edge and Pacific Catch Restaurants; and Jitendra Gupta, CEO of Punchh, a company that provides mobile customer loyalty programs.

Fornaci, Wagle and Noveshen will share their stories about how to provide customers with tools to spread positive reviews through social media and how to measure social media's influence and direct impact on driving new customer referrals to the store, Gupta said.

"The panelists understand the power of word-of-mouth marketing and they know their loyal customers are the best resource they have to spread positive word of mouth," he said. "Operators invest in social media because they want to make word of mouth work for them. Social media has rapidly become the favorite tool of restaurant marketers – because of its ability to drive word of mouth about their brands."

Punchhing in

At the summit, Punchh and FastCasual.com are providing a check-in game for all attendees. After downloading the free Punchh app to their phones, attendees will scan a QR code at the beginning of each session, and after completing five check-ins will win a prize.

"It's just a fun way to engage the attendees while showing them exactly how our app works," Gupta said. "Not only will they learn first-hand about what this can mean for their business, they will win a prize."

Read more about the Fast Casual Executive Summit online.

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