I decided to use a local business for my case study, Hambrgr. Hambrgr is a locally owned and operated restaurant/bar with 3 locations, one in St. Catharines and 2 in Hamilton. Hambrgr opened their doors in 2015, in the heart of downtown Hamilton with the promise of “making the best damn burger you’ve ever eaten.” With simplicity as their mantra, they deliver the perfect combination of locally sourced ingredients, a large selection of craft beer, culinary artistry, and an experience you will not forget.
Why I choose Hambrgr
Choosing Hambrgr was pretty simple for me because my husband works for the company as their Director of Operations, and I already follow them on Instagram and Facebook. When I first started following their Facebook and Instagram pages I loved it, I thought the pictures where very well executed and colourful and I didn’t put much more thought into it until I started taking this program. Now through taking this program, I have a different set of eyes and have had discussions with my husband about what I like about their social media presence and what I think could be improved upon.
Social Media Platforms
Hambrgr utilizes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (although they have not posted to Twitter since April 2018). They post a lot of promotional posts, mostly menu items, including the monthly milkshake flavour as well as the limited weekly chef special (Chef Smash). Here are a few ways they can break up the monotony of promotional posts.
- A contest – They could run a contest to have the customer invent the next milkshake flavour, add a hashtag
- A Survey – Have them vote on a pre-selected list of flavours
- Share customer-generated content – turning their customers into valuable brand ambassadors by showcasing their comments and photos to the world.
- Show behind the scenes of the business – Profiling the people behind your restaurant is a great way to build relationships and add personality to your brand. You can make followers feel more connected to the business and the people that make it all possible.
- Adding to the behind the scenes bit, I might even shine a spotlight on individual employees and share what their favorite menu item is.
I did a general search of Hambrgr online and found a few reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor; none had been responded to by Hambrgr. The non-response is a missed opportunity to learn about their business and to turn naysayers into brand advocates. By addressing negative reviews and showing gratitude for positive ones, they can build a transparent and friendly persona online. It can show that they are not afraid to talk about their flaws and make a public attempt to improve upon them. On the other hand, when it comes to their Facebook page, they do an excellent job of responding to the positive feedback. They personalize each response by including the reviewer’s name and responding to the input and not just using a generic reply. But, they have missed a huge opportunity to grow their business and gain a broader demographic by don’t responding at all, responding inappropriately and not listening to the customer. A consistent negative review they receive is about the atmosphere not being child-friendly and not having high chairs or boosters to accommodate families. I have included one response below, how would you have responded differently?
Why would you say you appeal to an “older crowd”? What does that mean? People over 50 that do not necessarily have small children? What about grandparents? There are more and more people waiting until their 30’s before starting their families. I’m confused by what demographic they are targeting. I don’t see how having a few booster seats on hand would hurt their business primarily because in this same response they boast about being a “family-focused” restaurant. To me, what they are saying is “family-focused” to those who have children out of a booster seat, and if you have a baby or toddler, you are unwelcome. It’s just hurting them.
In conclusion, I do believe their approach is working but could be tweaked and made better. Hambrgr needs to interact with their customers more and not just post promotions all the time. Social media platforms provide you with a direct line of communication to existing and potential customers. They need to keep those lines open and listen and join the conversation on all posts regarding Hambrgr, not just their Facebook reviews.