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Social Analytics Cracks Case Of The Jalapeno Cocktail

NewBrandAnalytics scours social media feedback to help the food industry identify operational issues ranging from unappealing drinks to inconsistent chefs.
Jennifer Wolinski, marketing director at the Alicart Restaurant Group, said her firm took note of mentions that cropped up several Sundays in a row about slow and disorganized service at the changeover between shifts at its Carmine's Family Style Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C. Management was able to adjust schedules and give new instructions to the staff until those complaints faded away, she said.

"This is a good way to utilize customer comments in an effective manner and a timely way," Wolinski said.

Wolinski and Crave's Sussman both said trying to monitor individual comments across all the restaurant review sites is very time consuming, and the NewBrandAnalytics service helps keep it manageable.

"I think we got an immediate return on investment-hundreds of hours saved in the past year," Sussman said. In the past, staff would spend much more time trying to analyze social feedback and still "get less of what we needed," he said.

NewBrandAnalytics also has developed its own "credibility assessment" that attempts to determine whether the person posting a particular message is a frequent reviewer with a large following, or an isolated crank. The idea is to help distinguish between someone who regularly posts thoughtful reviews, versus someone who comes out of nowhere and only posts negative comments. A cranky customer with a large social media following might need to be responded to via marketing or customer service--but that person's comments might not be a good reason to fire your maitre d'.

"We ran into an issue in Miami with a guy who applied for the head chef position and wasn't hired, and then turned up online posting all one-star reviews. It was just so obvious it was this guy," Sussman said. Crave reported the issue to Yelp, which filtered and eventually removed the comments, he said.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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