On 1 November 2020, in the midst of the Corona pandemic, I commenced working for Utopia Cape Town, taking my career path to new heights. It has been a fulfilling journey to see Utopia grow in its visibility, its Instagram following having grown to 7800, and its Facebook Page liking to 4800, a 150 % increase on each platform in the past 12 months.
The appointment at Utopia Cape Town was followed during the course of this year by that at Anatoli Mediterranean Restaurant, Harvest Culture Eaterie, Zest Restaurant, and newkings boutique hotel.
As a Communications Consultant my duties are multi-faceted, and vary from client to client, including the following:
- Posting on Facebook, Instagram, on my Blog and my Lockdown Restaurant Facebook Group, and on LinkedIn, where relevant. I choose what is posted daily.
- Having photographs and information added to the client websites
- Changing closing times on various platforms when the Lockdown Regulations change
- Responding to reviews on various restaurant platforms, including Dineplan, Google for Business, TripAdvisor, Cape Town Restaurants: The Good, Bad and Nasty, and Facebook in the main, thanking the guests for dining at the restaurant and addressing issues raised
- Writing newsletter copy
- Planning and guiding new websites
- Proofreading Menus, and any other communication I am requested to check
- Finding opportunities for post content, for example international wine cultivar days, VIP visitors, events in Cape Town in general, events celebrated at client restaurants for commercial clients, or special birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, and weddings.
- Proactively finding opportunities for coverage on other digital media platforms.
- Inviting Influencers to dine at Client restaurants, and building relationships with them.
- Meeting with clients weekly, with one client exception, and presenting a Status Report, with the status of each Communications related activity, and tracking the growth in the client’s following on their Social Media platforms.
As a restaurant writer of 13 years standing, it has been an interesting learning curve to experience restaurants from the back end. I’ve seen waiters and bar staff come and go, none employed permanently, but they are the face of the establishment. I’ve seen that diners can be unreasonable in their demands in making bookings, in booking but not arriving, and in being mean and even getting personal in their reviews. Luckily this does not happen often.
I’ve seen new menus designed, changing with the seasons or linked to promotions such as Restaurant Week. I’ve learnt how vitally important Beverage sales are to the financial sustainability of restaurants. I’ve seen restaurants badly affected by the Lockdown of the past 19 months, and taking every regulation hit with broad shoulders and creativity, offering the best value dining currently, demonstrating that local diners are their bread and butter, and that international visitors are a bonus. I see how hard the staff works, starting right at the top, with long hours.
I’ve seen the excitement of receiving recognition in amazing reviews, and how lovely words of praise addressed to a specific waiter can lift staff and make them even better. I’ve seen the excitement of having VIP guests dining in the restaurant, even though all diners are treated like VIPs.
# Top 5 Best Date Night Restaurant, in Kfm’s Best of the Cape Awards
# Top 3 Best Rooftop Restaurant in Africa, in the World Culinary Awards.
# Top 15 Rooftop Bar and Restaurant, in The Inside Guide.
Thank you Chef Pavel Dimitrov, William Coates, Russell Zieff, and Patso Ivanov for opening the door to this amazing career at Utopia Cape Town a year ago. I love my work, and no day is ever the same. I love the trust placed in me, for being able to express my input with honesty, yet receiving guidance too. I have learnt so much more about restauranting as well as about marketing restaurants. I have become synonymous with the restaurant, and am so with pride.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide