In San Francisco we can get quite literally anything we want to eat from a mobile food business, the options here are endless. As a city united by food we are loyal to the businesses we support and enjoy sharing our experiences with each other. For instance in SF, Blue Bottle Coffee reigns supreme, Pizza Politana is one solid margarita pizza and for proper Mexican food, of course you would only go to El Huarche Loco. These of course are all of my opinions and open for debate. With the so many social media outlets now available to us we have never been more involved in what, why and where we eat and debating, further more voting for our favorites is all part of our city’s culture.
San Francisco is a city where social media significantly impacts where we find a lot of what we eat and drink. On any given day you can easily travel around the city via one’s mobile device and find a number of tasty bites without ever having to step foot into a brick and mortar establishment. For example, in SF, food trucks are a dime a dozen- I can get Indian food on one corner and Japanese on the next and finding them is literally just a click or swipe away. Current technologies like Twitter let me follow a food cart, publicly declare my loyalty to their curry chicken salad while advertising their location and full menu which helps them gain popularity. The ease of this immediate action allows me to post often and quickly. “For both the Chef and food business owner as well as the customer it’s an intimate and direct way to immediately reach and speak to one another, that invaluable channel of communication is something that all involved benefit from” says Jason Rose, Chef and former Culinary Director for La Cocina, an incubator kitchen located in the Mission district of SF. “When you give the general public a consistent and convenient way to voice their opinion it allows everyone to share their thoughts and feelings about all kinds of experiences. In the vulnerable arena of mobile food businesses it allows the business owner an outlet where they can speak directly to their customers and build a relationship that goes beyond passing their products thru the food service window. Social media continues to serve as a powerful tool in a city where so many food businesses are trying to sustain and continue to grow, it’s a brilliant thing.”
Social media’s effects on Bay Area food businesses is evident by the masses regularly waiting in long lines at their favorite food trucks, coffee stands, restaurants and pop-ups. Why do people participate? Why do I follow my favorite food trucks to find out their locations? Why do I bother ‘liking’ my dessert and really, who cares, right? Wrong. Social media, especially for mobile food businesses, can single handedly determine a businesses success. When we follow, ‘like’, check in, and post pics of a food truck’s offerings you help them build a clientele that directly effects their profits. By using mobile applications like Foursquare or the ‘Places’ function on Facebook you can check into your favorite food cart, bar, coffee shop or restaurant you are making it known to all who follow you that you are indeed eating Tacos from El Buen Comer and then cupcakes from La Luna Cupcakes. You are letting the business owner, Chef, fellow diners and all of your community know you are loyal to their business-such an easy way to feel connected and support what you think is a great product.
In addition to voting for our favorite food businesses to gain more fans, likes and stars, social media gives us rewards like virtual badges and hierarchy status symbols so we can gain recognition for our postings within the virtual communities we belong to. I became aware of how well social media is seamlessly thread into eating in SF when recently I sat down to dinner with some friends and noticed that everyone around the table was on their phone. We were all ‘checking into’ the restaurant we were at by using Foursquare. A friend declared she had been so active with her check ins that she had reached a new virtual milestone and without picking up her head from her Droid said, “No, way. Now I’m the Mayor” We all played it off like it was no big deal, put our phones away and started sharing interests about the menu, daily happenings, news updates and our families. However silently, truth be told, I can’t wait to be a Mayor.
What are your favorite mobile eats in the city? Have somewhere we should check out that you love? Let us know how you use social media to connect with the food you love.
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