5 Marketing Tips For Restaurants

The restaurant industry is reeling right now with the mandated shutdowns of dining rooms all across Fairfield County. But here are some tips and a marketing toolkit to help amplify your local reach.

1. Social Media Likes Won’t Pay the Bills. The algorithms are designed for the user, not for the businesses that try to reach their followers. You need to use social media to get people to sign up for your email list. Your email list will always reach more of your customers.

2. Nothing Else Matters But Today. If your website’s front page talks about dining reservations, happy hours, booking events, and everything else, you are missing the opportunity to capture the attention of people searching for you. Mothball the regular stuff, and make the first thing to see is your offer during the shutdown.

3. Keep It Simple. You have 3 seconds to convey what you want your customers to do. Link to how to order online the biggest link, and then add other ways to order to below that, the hours and days you are operating below that and a link to the Google Maps for how to get to you.

4. Communicate Daily. Remember the time when restaurants sent out the daily fax? New routines for people working from home are opportunities to send out reminders that you are open and are taking orders, whether it is for pickup or delivery. People are getting inundated with information, so that daily reminder is crucial.

5. Segment Your List. Tag people within your delivery range, and the new people who sign up to your list. They are the closest to your place of business so you should strengthen those ties. 

Norwalk 2.0 has put together a local marketing toolkit that can help you reach more local customers and stay on message. Check out https://norwalk2.org/toolkit/

Call For Artists

It is that time again, and we are looking for artists who would like to exhibit at SONO Beach, and at the SONO Arts Celebration. Let us know if you are interested by filling out a short form. The link is here.

Creative Place Making

One of the reasons that we spend so much time organizing communities is simply because good things happen when serendipitous connections happen. Not so long ago, I was reading a Harvard Business Review article on the sense of place where Kodak was singled out as a company that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rochester NY is not exactly known for its tech scene is it? Yet Polaroid, in the heart of Cambridge, was in a fairly fluid tech scene, yet somehow missed the bandwagon of going digital in much the same way as Kodak has, and with the added indignity of watching Instagram create instant digital filter effect photos that can be shared on the Internet in a seemingly incremental step from the old skool polaroid instant photo print.

For companies, being there means having a presence on the ground to deeply understand places that hold resources important for the future. Kodak might have been a different, much greater company now, dominating digital imaging the way it had dominated film-based photography, if the company had “been there” in Silicon Valley soaking up the sunshine of digital creativity, hiring a new Internet-savvy generation, and connecting with entrepreneurs inventing the future. Instead, the firm remained firmly in Rochester, New York, capital of an older technology era.

Like most things, its more than a sense of place that allows for innovation, its also a sense of culture. Rosabeth Moss Kanter spots the difference in this graf:

In contrast, Reuters, an information-provider that was also threatened with Internet-caused obsolescence, reluctantly allowed a key staff member to move from London to California, where he showed up in the places that emerging talent hung out, including the Stanford student cafeteria. By being there, he was in preferred position to invest in many star start-ups (which could pick and choose their investors) and make friends with potential partners. He also brought in global executives to see it for themselves, which accelerated decisions about changes in the parent company. Two years later, connections solidified, he could return to London and make occasional return visits. Five years later, the CEO declared that Reuters had transformed into an Internet company.

It’s an apparent paradox: The declining significance of place is associated with the rising significance of place. Technology helps us connect with anyone anywhere nearly instantaneously, crowdsource ideas, and work on virtual teams without ever being in the same place. But being in the same place at the right time means being able to make serendipitous connections, and even to get mistaken for someone important. That’s why executives trek up the snowy Swiss mountains to Davos, or why art dealers flock to Art Basel and Art Basel Miami. Furthermore, showing up and being there has an emotional appeal even when it lacks instrumental value. People pay a premium to attend live sports and entertainment that they could get free on TV or the Web.

Creating places for different people to mingle and exchange ideas is part art and part science. We like to think that the POP UP model we’ve created is the right alchemy in building a sense of place and sense of innovation and energy that will foster good things.

Looking To Do Something?

Hey, we’re all about connecting with people who do cool stuff. Our online submission process for doing stuff in POP City is open. We’re looking for innovative, cool and fun. All three would be totally awesome. The submission process is fairly simple. Tell us who you are, what you want to do and if you are an artist, show us your work! The rest of you just get to type.

Not too many questions (we hope) and we’ll be in touch.

Submit Here.

The Art of the Pop Up

Jackie presents that Art of the Pop-Up during the first at Stamford Ignite. Watch the five minute overview on how to think about revitalizing downtowns with pop-ups and all sorts of different ideas.


Pop Ups of a Different Kind

Lena Steinkühler New York Biotopes lovingly showcases NYC with abstract plants and creatures mutating before your eyes. Her film, a graduation project, was a reaction to, in her words, insufficient living space for plants and creatures. “These creatures and plants, partly mechanical, partly organically in appearance, spread more and more over the city and fill it up with life.” It’s a stunning film.

New York Biotopes from Lena Steinkühler on Vimeo.

The Winter Newsletter

the renaissance

Brughel the fight between carnival and lent
As we sit here writing this on our deck overlooking the Norwalk River, we miss the lazy days of 80 degree sunshine, but are appreciating the nearly 60 degree run up to Christmas. Well, we know it won’t last, but the crazy weather certainly has been on the minds of many this past fall.So many people have been impacted by Sandy, that we’re sure that you personally know someone who is still dealing with the trees, the sand, the debris and the water. And insurance. And FEMA. Kudos to all our first responders who worked around the clock. We want to give a special shout out to a city staff person who jumped into a situation that was seemingly spiraling in a bad direction. We speak of the tremendous flooding that wiped out many of the first floor apartments at Washington Village.

Once David Shockley of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency heard that residents were still dealing with debris and damage weeks after the storm, he connected residents with about 150 volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Darien who worked tirelessly to clean and clear damaged goods and debris. We thank these volunteers for aiding some of our most vulnerable residents. With the recent news articles about future development proposed in this area, we hope that all involved recognize that organizations that can’t provide basic services efficiently shouldn’t be encouraged to manage larger projects.

Now back to our regular periodic peaceful observations. Since this is the holiday season we would like to extend our holiday wishes for all the holidays that anyone wishes to celebrate, including the NFL playoffs. All of the holidays mean end of year, and this year adds an extra day of intrigue in the form of the Mayan End of the Calendar, otherwise commercialized as the End-Of-The-World (as we know it and we feel fine…) MB prefers to think of this as the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. It also ushers in our annual appeal.

After a recent trek through the mountains of Vietnam, MB navigated the mountain of mail on her kitchen counter. Caught between the multiple versions of Pottery Barn catalogs pimping nifty stuff to make her house photoshoot-ready, were a multitude of end-of-year fundraising appeals from every not-for-profit organization under the sun. It made us remember that ‘hey, we’re a 501(c)(3) doing good stuff, let’s ask people for money’. So here we are. Asking for money.

We won’t give you any personalized mailing labels, calendars or totebags – just the warm and fuzzy feeling that you are helping to make Norwalk a better place. However, to show our appreciation, those extra special friends who donate at the $100 level will receive a specially handcrafted warm and fuzzy item.Act now!  Operators are standing by. Now back to our regular programming.

Donating to 2.0 this year will lead to the launch of our amazing project: FACES of Norwalk, a Mural Arts Trail. Being big proponents of vibrant downtowns, we were happy to see so many of you tell us in last year’s survey that you wanted to see the Norwalk Center area spring back to life. Now we’ve always thought that our world cuisine restaurants and funky art spots made a cool downtown. But we too wanted more, so we’re going to work with our awesome project partners to program some cool stuff and put our connectivity passions into action. But even though we’ve gotten a healthy amount grants (thank you very much DECD) and raised many funds, we still need to close the gap. Call it the arts achievement gap.

Did we mention that it was easy to donate?

If you care about the West Avenue corridor, you might want to take the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s survey, or attend the December 17th meeting at Stepping Stones from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.While we look at 2013 as being an exciting year for 2.0, we want to make sure everyone who wants to join in the fun can. So before we begin to rock Wall Street with art happenings and pop up events, we’re going to start with an old fashioned community meeting in February. Stay tuned. We will outline our trailblazing project that highlights Norwalk’s past, present and future, and explore whatever else is on your mind.

So enjoy what’s left of 2012, and we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

MB + Jackie

Big changes start with little projects, and this is only one of a few projects we’ve started to change the world.
You can learn more about more at norwalk2.org 
or follow us @norwalk2.

more from norwalk 2.0

Further Reading

Here’s what’s being read by theNorwalk 2.0  team right now:

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

by Jeff Speck

Board member Bruce Beinfield has assigned this book to the the team and we share it with you.

Thanks for Subscribing

The team at norwalk 2.0  wants to extend a hearty ‘thank you’ to all of our wonderful supporters. You’ve made the norwalk 2.0 community shine, and we want to keep that going! If you’re not a regular just yet visit the Norwalk Center for enlightening discussion on the latest Norwalk issues.

City Hall 2.0

In the latest issue of American City & County, there is a great article about how government can engage the community it serves. Norwalk has taken some steps but clearly lacks a plan on how to get there. I’ve excerpted the start below:

This article appeared in the February 2012 issue with the title, “City Hall 2.0.”

Access to government drives engagement. The more opportunities residents have to participate in civic activities and discussions, and the more channels available through which they may participate, the better connected they will be to their government agencies and representatives.

A well-run, city or county contact center can centralize customer service and offer residents a variety of channels to communicate with their government, including live agent, Web, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), mobile and social media. Those technologies are not only being used by big and affluent jurisdictions. Thanks to open source software, interoperability and portability, mapping and location-based services, low-cost mobile and no-cost social media, all shapes and sizes of local government can expand access to people, data and services.

Multi-channel contact centers generate citizen engagement by matching technology tools to community demographics and popular devices. Engagement in a community may be boosted through free mobile apps, wireless public kiosks or grant-funded public computers at libraries and senior centers.

Recent elections have demonstrated the power and communication value of new media technologies. The reach of text messages and social media postings can be compounded by a variety of community networks when residents forward information to friends, families and co-workers.

Mobile applications are becoming the most rapidly adopted technology in history and are increasingly important in providing access to the Internet. Mobile phone applications can extend outreach to groups that may be difficult to contact, including visually impaired people and those who are hearing impaired. In fact, low-income residents and minorities are twice as likely to use a mobile phone than a desktop computer, according to recent Nielsen data.

Data and customer feedback from mobile applications and other new media technologies can help drive change and improvement in government operations. Cities and counties can use data from multi-channel contact centers to identify high complaint areas, specific needs for workload and resource allocation, trends in business processes, customer communication requirements, and government effectiveness and timeliness in addressing problems.

For example, if 40 people in a neighborhood complain about a wastewater problem, that data can be used to target resources for capital improvements and to possibly garner votes for a bond program. At the same time, data that identifies two people who called 20 times each may not represent a real problem.

A number of local governments are actively engaging residents through their multi-channel contact centers. The “311 Action Center – We’re On It” in Kansas City, Mo., functions as residents’ central point of contact for city services. The call center receives about 450,000 calls per year, and 49 percent of residents used 311 services last year. After the city upgraded its integrated online service request application in 2009, usage doubled. The city recently launched KCStat, a data-driven, citizen-participation initiative to improve city services, beginning with the highest complaint areas. A related effort, KCMOmentum, uses a social media framework to generate ideas from the community and online discussions.


Boston’s multi-channel contact center handles 94.9 percent of the more than 260,000 annual calls to the city and, in 2011, answered 98.65 percent of calls within 30 seconds. The city also engages residents using social media and a new live online chat service, so they can become the “eyes and ears” of the city. Through “Citizen Connect,” residents report problems and submit service requests to the call center, online and through mobile phones, using a downloadable smartphone application with texting or tweeting.