#RestaurantWeek: The power of retweets is phenomenal, says Dan Doherty

By Gordon Macmillan

From the 40th floor of London’s Heron Tower, home of the @DuckandWaffle, executive chef Dan Doherty (@DanDoherty_) runs a kitchen that not only has one of the best restaurant views the city has to offer, but one that is open 24 hours a day.

That scale of operation might make some places appear faceless, which is why Doherty keenly stresses how important it is to show there’s a face and a person connected to the brand. And that leads to how he uses @DuckandWaffle on Twitter.

As well as using the account to provide a personal connection, Doherty is a fan of how Twitter helps restaurants listen and gain feedback, which diners might be unwilling to share in person.

“It’s like listening into someone’s conversation — what people wouldn’t normally tell you face to face, or to their waiter, they’ll talk about it on Twitter. You can gain honest feedback about dishes that are working, dishes that aren’t. It’s important to hear everything that goes on,” he says.

They’ll talk about it on Twitter, you can gain honest feedback.
Dan Doherty, Duck & Waffle

Part of listening to what customers are saying means appreciating the value that positive reviews on Twitter can have on a restaurant and thanking customers. As Doherty says, “It’s huge. People come and Tweet they’ve had a good time, and the power of retweets, it’s phenomenal. It takes one person with 20,000 followers to retweet something and five of their followers, and it’s such a snowball effect.”

Because of this, adds Doherty, restaurants have “got to be on [their] game”. That means not only listening, but also responding to what is being said.

Top tips for using Twitter

His biggest tip might sound obvious, but it’s one that isn’t universally observed. Simply put: use the platform, and make sure your account doesn’t become home to tumbleweed. “A lot of places have a Twitter account and it’s either stagnant or they don’t keep it fresh and up-to-date,” he says.

As a chef, his final piece of advice is about creating great food Tweets and, for Doherty, that’s about using pictures. “It’s all good and well describing a dish, but when people can see it they can really connect with it.”

Watch our interview with Dan Doherty