Restaurants See Social Media As The “Great Equalizer”

ORLANDO — — Patrons waiting to get into the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show on Monday eyed the chili pepper mascot warily as it danced with no music.

It was cute, and some even posed with it for pictures outside the exhibit hall at the Orange County Convention Center. But considering the popularity of social media workshops at the show, an oversized pepper is not the kind of promotion a lot of restaurants are seeking.

Social media — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online review sites like Yelp — add a new dimension to word-of-mouth communication, said Chris Conneen, founder of Pizza Gallery & Grill ( at The Avenue Viera.

Say Conneen wanted to tell someone about a great meal he had. "If I Tweeted this out, I have 500 followers who have 500 followers who have 500 followers, and it goes viral. With one Tweet I could be telling thousands of people," he said. "The power in social media is really incredible, really cool, really a little bit overwhelming, but I kind of look at it as a great equalizer."

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL).