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Appell HPThe Real Social Media Revisited

Back in April of 2015, just two short years ago I wrote a column called The Real Social Media. In it I stated, “I have written about Sales, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media topics but never about the real Social Media, Networking.” One definition of Networking as a noun is: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.

When I started Today’s Restaurant almost twenty two years ago, I began looking for groups that had the restaurant industry as a common thread so I could meet the members and learn about their companies, meet potential new advertisers and find new subscribers. As a result of my searching I came across a group in Ft. Lauderdale that specialized in restaurant information. The group was a Leads/Networking group that meets weekly to report on industry information including New Openings, Closings and Personnel changes. The members represent companies that supply products or services to restaurants and hotels. Some of the members who were there when I joined are still attending. The group is what I like to call self-governing and that is a major plus for any restaurant owner looking for new suppliers in Florida.

As the years sped by I became involved with other Networking Groups some industry related, some not. I met people from all industries representing industries that were able to overlap into the Hospitality/Restaurant industry. I was always asked by an insurance company member, “Why don’t we start a group of our own for our industry.” Well, after many years I decided to try it and created the TRN Networking Group.

The group welcomes new members in categories not currently filled and restaurant owners, managers and chefs are invited to meet the group at the end of any meeting to meet the members and discuss your needs. See

Networking is truly Social Media with the emphasis on Social. It usually is done in an organized group environment but we all have heard about the benefits of playing golf and the many big deals that are made on the golf course and in the 19th Hole having lunch. The group can be as small as two as long as there is a shared interest.

Existing restaurant owners and those with aspirations to begin or expand to a new location should seek out the groups in your area and contact them to take advantage of the combined knowledge that is contained in these groups. Attending a Meeting or a Meetup will allow you the ability to shop for your needs all in one place. Imagine sitting at a table and speaking to a Credit Card Processor, a POS provider, a Banker, an Architect, a Cleaning Service, an Insurance Agent, Business Broker, Video and Sound Systems and much more as they come to you to introduce their services with the guarantee that they are responsible, fair vendors.

Networking can be done in many ways and there are all types of groups available in all parts of the country. Being a member of a Networking group as a restaurant will at the very least bring you customers from the group and they will in turn bring their friends exposing you to a whole new group of customers. As a vendor member you will benefit from information and the trust of other vendors and it will lead to increased sales. Be “social”, join a group or visit a group to make more money.