The Black Sheep Bistro was a fantastic restaurant with Mediterranean influence in their cooking! Pricey, but delicious.
Perhaps best of all was enjoying their food for free. My hair salon is next door and if I happened to be there around mid-afternoon, the first batch of the special of the day was brought over for everyone in the salon to enjoy.
Sadly, they closed their doors after many successful years. But they had a brilliant exit strategy. Five years before closing they started making videos on food preparation in anticipation of a new career that included those videos.
Another restaurant moved in soon after; roughly a little over a year ago. After my usual “coiffing” I stopped over to say hello. The overall atmosphere appeared to be casual and laid back. It was only around 11:15; the lunch rush hadn’t started yet. A gent close in age to me that looked friendly said hello. Turns out he was the son of Nana Jean, the namesake for the establishment as well as the owner.
Spoke to him for a few moments, welcoming him to the area and asking about the menu. Then I mentioned what I do for a living, handed him my card and said if he needed any assistance with marketing strategy that I’d be glad to support him.
The reply? “I know ALL about MARKETING…I have a degree in blah blah blah BLAH ….” Whoa Nelly! Was just letting you know, okay? After thanking him for his time, I was out the door, never to return.
Nana Jean’s closed a few months ago.
They haven’t taken down their Facebook page, so I took a quick peek. Their last post appears to be an act of last minute desperation:
A quick assessment reveals that sixteen posts were made July 1 – November 11, 2011. Apparently, the owner did not see much value in having a Facebook page. Interestingly enough, more people had checked into the restaurant than there were fans; why didn’t they like the page?
Initial posts focused on the beauty of the food, with some photos of the large screen TV peppered in. However, by Labor Day the focus had turned to discounts and took on a selling flair.
No sign of a Twitter account. No presence on Google+
The website was lackluster, sporting a menu without photos, just text. In fact, there were very few pictures, period.
Did social media play a role in their demise? It’s highly possible. There’s no evidence that Nana Jean’s took any opportunity to differentiate themselves from hundreds of other restaurants in the area. They were at a disadvantage physically, located in a quieter part of town, suggesting that part of their woes included a lack of foot traffic.
Would a social media strategy have helped? Yes. Properly engaging their customers via a presence on social networks would have created awareness in the local area. Some folks would ultimately try this establishment and become “ambassadors of the brand”, spreading the news via good old fashioned word of mouth.
A simple way for them to engage would have been posting visuals of food on Facebook and Google+ pages (and their website for that matter). Everybody eats and almost everybody enjoys food! A halfway decent digital camera, lots of takes, and little cleanup and polish on the chosen photos, and there you go.
Was the food not up to par? Since I didn’t eat there, can’t say. The few photos posted suggested that the food is delicious.
There’s a new restaurant in that space now. I’m considering stopping by and checking it out. Hope I don’t get my head bitten off if I do check it out.