Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Hints, Tips, Reviews - How will Benihana keep track of them?

With so much being said of the Benihana fiasco in Kuwait this week, one more thought that came to mind yesterday was how do businesses like Benihana start to keep track of what people are writing about them?

In the days of traditional print media, you knew typically which newspapers or magazines had restaurant reviews and you could scan them each day to see what was being said about you (or your competitors!).  As blog sites started appearing, it started becoming a bit more challenging but still to some degree could be managed if you set up Google Alerts to track what was being said on the Web.

Today though, things have moved on.  Some of the most effective referrals or recommendations people rely on are peer-to-peer reviews.  While blogs may have been where we saw peer-to-peer reviews initially pop-up, they've started coming on social networking sites like Facebook in the form of status updates or on Twitter.  More recently location-based Apps like Foursquare, Facebook Places and even our region's own me360 came on the scene where people start leaving tips, tricks, reviews and hints about places visited or frequented.  The idea is that you're more likely to rely on advice given from someone you know than a reviewer who works for a magazine or newspaper (who you've never met and may have their own sets of biases).

Word of mouth has always been effective and now we're spreading this virally through social media networks or location-based Apps.  We've already seen peer-to-peer journalism in action where even big networks like CNN have embraced it with their iReport segments.

In this case then, how do businesses like Benihana start keeping track of what is being said?  I'm sure this is the million-dollar (or KD) question for team at Benihana Kuwait is waiting to answer as they start sniffing out where they can launch their next lawsuit.