Social media and the internet has changed our world and how we do just about everything.
In Kenya, Maasai warriors who have no electricity or running water are on Facebook, sharing political views and conservation efforts. Information on wars are now brought to us via citizens who tweet about attacks and, most recently, Kim Kardashian was asked to speak at a Silicon Valley tech conference on social media skills.
Social media has also drastically changed the restaurant industry. People search for new restaurants on their phones, looking at Yelp reviews to help them make dining choices, or visiting a restaurant's web page to seek out pictures of dishes to whet their appetite. So, it stands to reason that savvy chefs and restaurateurs embrace technology. Some more than others. Like the Pubbelly Boys, who are taking a giant forward leap into new media with the announcement of Pubbelly Media Group.
See also: The Pubbelly Boys: Soverigns of Swine
The Pubbelly partners, Jose Mendin, Andreas Schreiner, and Sergio Navarro, have teamed up with Tara Zottola, Juan Fernando Ayora, and Ben Wolkov of Lucky Frog Studios to form the new company, which will be a "one-stop food and tabletop production company offering creative services including photography, videography, digital design, culinary consulting, food styling, and social media services." What does this mean for the future of restaurants?
Until now, cafe owners and chefs hired publicists, web designers, or did the work themselves, with mixed results. The introduction of a full-service media company that has chefs and restaurateurs as partners could change how restaurants see the public and how the public sees restaurants.
Andreas Schreiner, co-managing director of Pubbelly Media, says that when he and his partners opened Pubbelly in fall of 2010, he wasn't even sure if it was important to have an online presence. "Back then, I didn't know the magnitude of the internet, let alone the money or the funds or the capacity to hire anyone. Sure, we knew about Facebook and Twitter, but over the years we've come to recognize the world has turned into a purely digital platform. News and entertainment moves in such a quick medium due to social media and the web, you have to get on the bandwagon or you're going to be left behind."
Schreiner says that the idea to form Pubbelly Media Group was an organic marriage between Pubbelly and Lucky Frog. "Our team was approached creatively by Lucky Frog, and we talked about perhaps the possibility of doing a collaboration. We were nowhere near where they were regarding photography, imagery, and graphic design.
"Aside from being blown away from their talent, we decided to form this little marriage, and its been fantastic ever since. We're incredibly fortunate to have these partners. We're a tight family. We do everything in house, and the work that's come out of it, different events and branding that have happened over the past year have been really phenomenal for us. It's amazing to have this additional facet to our brand that's helping us take another step in the world."
Schreiner says that the newly formed media group is currently working on some projects for clients not only in the restaurant industry. "We are definitely not only about restaurants. We have several other clients that we are working with on a social scale and a branding scale. This is a fully separate company that's able to take on any type of clientele, as long as there's a fit."
When asked what its like working on this new endeavor, Schreiner describes a hothouse of ideas. "Our meetings are amazing explosions of the mind. It's like being in the ocean and being hit by waves of creativity.
"I reference it a lot to when we created the restaurants. Perhaps the idea came from an inspiration, then Jose [Mendin] would execute the ideas. It's the same with media. Everyone has talents, then we work together. We've brought in the element of being on the ground and they've shown us things that we had no idea of, like how to use digital platforms to enhance the guest experience and communicate with our customers."
Schreiner says that if he were to give his not-so-tech-savvy past self-advice on the eve of opening Pubbelly, he'd tell him to not be afraid of social media. "I would tell my past self to embrace social media and technology, but make sure you understand it completely before you start. Develop a plan and work that plan. But most of all, don't use it to sell yourself. That doesn't work. Use it to tell a story."