A Cool Restaurant Foursquare Story

So I was picking up lunch last week at one of my family’s favorite lunch spots in Wilmington – a small local family owned place with fantastic food and really good service. While I was waiting at the hostess stand for our soup and sandwiches – I fired up Foursquare on my iPhone to see what businesses near me might pop up. The place I was standing in popped up. It’s a small local favorite and usually has some older patrons so I was surprised they were a Foursquare venue. Old is cool – just sayin’.

Well, I tapped through to “check-in” and I noticed a guy had just checked in 12 minutes before me and was the only person who had ever checked in there. If fact, he was their Mayor! The place is very cozy and small so I quickly scanned the dining room and there he was,the mayor, having lunch with a friend. Not only was he the mayor, but he had also left a “tip” for others to “try the seafood bisque”. I thought that was really cool. Of course I tried to see what was on his table and see if he was having his favorite meal – but realized I was staring and felt like a weirdo so I turned my attention back to my iPhone.

As I started to check-in myself, our food came out. The young girl who rang me up is the same girl who always rings me up – very nice, always smiling and seemed approachable so I started a conversation that went like this:

Me: “Did you know your restaurant is on Foursquare?”

Her: “What square?”

Me: “Foursquare – kinda like Twitter except it asks Where are you? It lets you see where your friends are right now and what they like there. It’s way cooler for restaurants…and more fun.”

Her: “Hmm…ok – so why are you asking?”

Me: “Well – your busy so I’ll spare you details on what it is – but there is a guy here right now and I know his name and I know he comes here often and I even know his favorite soup but I have never seen him before in my life. He is sitting right over there. He is the mayor of your restaurant! I just thought you might like to know your mayor is present.”

Her: “[smiling – laughing] Huh?”

Me: “Ok, Foursquare lets people like that guy “check-in” when they visit your restaurant. His friends see this and can learn more about why he loves your restaurant. People get points for checking in and the person who checks-in the most is your “mayor”. It’s like a game. It’s cool for a restaurant because that guy can leave tips and to dos for others that visit your restaurant. In fact, he left a tip to try the seafood bisque and I’d love to try it. Can you change my french onion soup order to the bisque?”

Her: “Sure!”

I then showed her my iPhone and how I could see this guy was there – we looked at their venue page showing anyone who’s been there recently, who is there now, the mayor’s photo and tip he left about the seafood bisque. I could see her realizing how cool this was so she called the owner over and explained it to him. They kept nodding their heads like whoa – this is amazing – and thanked me for showing it to them. I paid and I left. As I was walking out I noticed the owner walk over to the mayor to talk to him. They were laughing and shaking hands. I suspect a free cup of seafood bisque was being poured soon after….

Restaurants – get on Foursquare, see who your loyal customers are, what they like and if they are there right now! You can also sign up as a business and post specials for your mayor and others who visit your restaurant frequently. The cool thing is that even if people are checking in next door at your competitor’s venue – their phones will know they are near you – and your specials will pop up! Come on – really? How could you not try to persuade customers at other places close by to come visit you?

Here is some more info for businesses and (for good ideas) a listing of a ton of restaurant venue pages with specials they are offering loyal customers.

Off to check-in at the YMCA just to keep mayor status there. Funny – many people there much more deserving of that title than me.

Wes @ Schedulefly