“Twitter is a great tool to get on the same wave length as your customers. No one is above anyone and really cool conversation can come from that.”
Those are the words of pastry Chef Michelle Garcia, co-owner and Executive Chef of Bleeding Heart Bakery. Her bakeshop is the latest talk in town. That’s probably because her pastry creations have that punk-rocker feel about them which makes them so fun and unique.
But that’s not all. Bleeding Heart Bakery believes in keeping open communications with customers. By keeping lines open, not only would they be able to inform customers about the latest promos and products, they can also get instantaneous feedback from their customer base.
That’s the nice thing about Twitter. With its ease of use and personal approach, Garcia is able to stay abreast with the trends and keep her loyal customers informed about what she has to offer.
FriendsEat: What was your first reaction when you heard of Twitter?
Michelle Garcia: I was very confused…and intrigued, but mostly confused.
FE: Did you initially think that Twitter was something your restaurant could put to use?
MG: YES, most definitely. You usually cannot get me to say something with more than 140 characters, so it is well in my comfort zone.
FE: When did your restaurant start using Twitter?
MG: We started using twitter in 2008
FE: Can you share with us the first Tweet? Was it hard composing the first Tweet?
MG: I cannot, for the life of me remember…. I’m sure it had something to do with how much I hate yelp. I used to talk about that a lot.
FE: How important is Twitter in your restaurant business?
MG: Nowadays, twitter is VITAL to our business. It gets people in and out fast when we have deals and reasons to pack the place more than normal. It also helps us get out personalities across and help customers get to know what we love about life, beyond the bakery.
FE: Has Twitter significantly contributed to the restaurant? How?
MG: Yes, for sure. We were never able to let people know what was right out of the oven before, or what we made too many of…we do trivia questions and contests…it’s simply a part of our daily life…like breathing.
FE: Your restaurant is very active on Twitter, how much time do you devote daily to this task?
MG: I’m very fast and I usually tweet while baking, so really maybe only an hour… but it’s a jam packed CRAZY hour of fun and excitement spread over a 24 hour period of time.
FE: How is the interaction with other people on Twitter?
MG: Great, we have developed a lot of friendships on twitter and have had a lot of political discussions
FE: What advice would you give to a restaurant that is just starting to use Twitter?
MG: Do not just post specials,, post personal things, jokes, whatever comes to your mind…then slip in a few sales etc.
FE: Was there any memorable Twitter-related incident that will go down with the history of the restaurant?
MG: I posted a response back to a customer who I love, bringing up a recent email complaint I had gotten. The person who had sent the unruly email complaint actually emailed back, apologized and sent tickets to a show at the House of Blues!
FE: Have you ever experienced anything negative from Twitter? How did you handle it?
MG: I used to rant and rave about how much I hated Yelp….most folks agreed about me, but not all our followers are fans, some are jerks who are looking for fuel to hate us with….those people took my tweets and posted them on yelp to use as target practice against me and my business.
FE: What is your opinion on the validity of Twitter as an effective tool in marketing the restaurant?
MG: I think that people are fools if they don’t see how important twitter is to the future of commercial marketing.
FE: How do you fit tweeting into a restaurant’s already busy schedule?
MG: I run my business from my phone…and I tweet from my phone, any spare second I can…when I’m waiting for something to come out of the oven…etc.
FE: Do you see Twitter as a long-term component in your restaurant’s activities?
MG: 100% yes.
FE: What do you find are the most effective tweets?
MG: Tweets with pictures ALWAYS grab people’s attention!
FE: Do you see any changes or modifications in the future as to the Tweet content of your restaurant?
MG: I’ve been told by my partners that things will be changing, but we shall see about that!
FE: What strategies should restaurants utilize when Tweeting?
MG: You really need to divide up the content, some personal, some funny nonsense and some business
FE: How active do you get in order to increase your number of followers on Twitter? Does it even matter?
MG: I do not believe it matters at all.
FE: Have you studied the profile or demographic of your Twitter followers?
MG: No, I have not.
FE: Has there been an unexpected result from using twitter?
MG: Twitter has increased the number of large groups that visit together for things like bakery crawls and tweet-ups.
FE: Can you share with us the most effective or interesting Tweet of your restaurant?
MG: Honestly…we make cake balls….anytime we say “balls” we get SOOOO many responses…silly people
FE: If your restaurant can get a celebrity to Tweet about it, whom would you choose?
MG: Charlie Sheen…really…people listen to crazy.
FE: Do you think Twitter is instrumental to the success of the restaurant business in general?
MG: I believe it is a very important element to the success.
FE: Do you use other social networking sites other than Twitter to promote your restaurant?
MG: We also use Facebook.
FE: If your restaurant can contribute to improving Twitter to provide certain features, what would those be?
MG: Abandon the new twitter interface and stick with the old….I hate the new one.
FE: What is your name and give us a brief bio so we can write our introduction.
MG: My name is Michelle Garcia. I am both the co-owner and Executive pastry chef of Bleeding Heart LLC.
FE: Free Form: let us know something that you would like included in the interview
MG: Twitter is a great tool to get on the same wave length as your customers. No one is above anyone and really cool conversation can come from that.
The Bleeding Heart Bakery