This Building43 video is a goodie. Robert Scoble does a quick 2 minute interview with Isaac Mogannam, the owner of Phat Philly Cheessteaks in the Mission District in San Francisco, CA. If you’re a restaurant or small business owner trying to figure out how to make the web work for you in your local area, this short video is worth your time.
According to Isaac, since opening a little less than a year ago, Phat Philly Cheesesteaks has gotten around 275 mostly positive reviews on Yelp and he says that it’s had a major impact on his business. He estimates that around 40-60% of his new business is driven by Yelp (woah!), and because of the size and popularity of the site, people searching for food in their local area usually find his restaurant (and everyone’s reviews) on Yelp before they find the restaurants website. That’s an important insight for any small local business – people are using the web to find out what’s good in their area and, because of the way search works, their first interaction with your brand online is often NOT your website. Instead it’ll be the popular social sites where all the chatter is happening, so you can’t afford to ignore what people are saying about you online. Because people’s first impression of you happens where the chatter is, ignoring the conversation is a big mistake.
In this interview, Isaac talks about how he’s embraced Yelp, started listening, joined the conversation and used it to his advantage to quickly build a local (and loyal) customer base. Not surprisingly, he says he did it “one customer at a time”.
This video was originally posted on Building43.