Twitter ideas for restaurants and franchisesTwitter gives restaurant and franchise owners and employees a place to connect with customers, listen to customer feedback and get ideas. Yes, you want to promote your restaurant to compel people to stop by. However, focus on that too much and it’s a recipe for social media disaster.

Successful Twitter users share a variety of tweets that help them build relationships and help others. Here are ideas on how you can use Twitter to engage customers.

Customer service

  1. Thank customers.
  2. Answer customer questions.
  3. Reply to customer complaints as soon as possible — even if you don’t have an answer. Tweet “We’re looking into it and will get back with you.”
  4. Ask for menu or specials of the day ideas.
  5. Ask for feedback on customer service.
  6. Thank people for reviews.
  7. Ask for music recommendations if you play music or have visiting musicians.

Helpful information

  1. Share cooking tips especially for the food you specialize in.
  2. Share timesaving cooking tips.
  3. Link to posted recipes.
  4. Ask what people like to include in their dish. For example, you’re a burger restaurant, ask what toppings people like to put on their burgers.
  5. Use one or two hashtags in some tweets, such as #chicago (restaurant city) #restaurants #dallasrestaurants #nycmcdonalds (city and franchise name).

Humanize your restaurant

  1. Talk about causes you support.
  2. Tell the story behind any artwork or pictures hanging in your restaurant.
  3. Tell people about an employee’s upcoming birthday and that if they wish the employee “Happy Birthday” they will get a special treat.
  4. Share stories and quotes heard in the restaurant.
  5. Share customer celebrations with photos. (Ask the customer for permission first.)
  6. Post photos of employees at work or with their favorite dishes.

Social network integration

  1. Mention that your restaurant is on Foursquare, and customers can get specials for checking in.
  2. Ask for Facebook page “Likes” so they catch future specials.
  3. Announce a contest that encourages customers to share photos of their experience at your restaurant or their favorite dishes. Use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or another similar source for photos.
  4. Set up a business card bowl with a sign requesting Twitter IDs at the restaurant.
  5. Link to a video tour of your restaurant.
  6. Let people know where to subscribe to email updates for coupons, announcements and events.
  7. Schedule a tweetup offering a discount for a group of 10 or more.

Restaurant updates

  1. Share off-menu items that your chefs will make anytime.
  2. Announce menu items that you’ve run out of and recommend a substitute. (Bonus points: offer special pricing.)
  3. List flavors of the day or the week. For example, if you’re a yogurt franchise, list or link to your current flavors.
  4. Announce specials of the day.
  5. Post dietary menu items, such as vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
  6. Reveal the new menu or menu items.
  7. Share where people can find coupons.
  8. Post a secret word that gets a discount or free item for the day.
  9. Post upcoming special events taking place in your restaurant.
  10. Announce events or locations outside of your restaurant where someone from your restaurant will attend.
  11. Share photos of menu items.
  12. Hold a trivia contest where the winner gets something free. Questions can be about your restaurant or the type of food you serve.
  13. Announce dates and times where a food truck will show up.

What other ways can a restaurant or franchise use Twitter to connect with customers?