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Press: Travel + Leisure 2014 SMITTY Award

Travel + Leisure

Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards 2014 - Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards Best Overall Use of Social Media Winner for Restaurant/FoodTruck/Market: Sam's Chowder House @samschowder

Sam’s Chowder House wins Travel + Leisure 2014 SMITTY® Award for “Best Overall Use of Social Media by a Restaurant, Food Truck or Market”

Half Moon Bay restaurant honored for its standout campaigns highlighting best and most innovative use of social media and selected as one of 12 businesses nationwide to join Facebook Small and Medium Business (SMB) Council

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. – (June, 2014) – Sam’s Chowder House is proud to announce that the restaurant has won a national Travel + Leisure SMITTY® Award for "Best Overall Use of Social Media" in the category of Best Restaurant/Food Truck/Market.  The Travel + Leisure SMITTY® Awards  (Social Media in Travel + Tourism™ Awards) recognize the most innovative use of social media in the travel industry nationwide, and 2014 winners included well-known companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Four Seasons Hotels, and Expedia, among others.  The distinguished jury of nine digital insiders and travel industry experts included Al Roker (NBC’s Today Show co-host), Mike De Jesus (Twitter Head of Travel and Tourism) and Rob Torres (Google Managing Director of Travel).  The judges received entries from around the world and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories, based on their innovative, informative and compelling social media programs, and ability to connect with and engage their fans. Award winners are featured online now at and will be featured in the July issue of Travel+Leisure magazine.  An awards party celebrating the winners and judges will be held on July 9 from 6-9pm at the Rooftop of the Refinery Hotel in New York City.

“When our first Sam’s Chowder House opened in 2006, social media was in its infancy,” says Julie Shenkman, co-owner of Sam’s Chowder House.  “When we launched a second Sam’s seven years later, our Facebook page was open for business months before the restaurant was even open.  Today most of our guests are using social media, and it’s the cornerstone of our marketing strategy.  We connect with our seafood-loving community online to extend the restaurant experience, so our guests feel special until they can come back and dine with us in person.  It’s really changed the dynamics of the business – with social media we can easily engage with our guests, whether they are locals who live down the street or visitors from faraway places such as Hong Kong or Italy.”

In addition, Shenkman was also selected by leading social media company Facebook to join the social network’s first 2014 Small and Medium Business (SMB) Council, after the engagement on the restaurants Facebook page caught their attention.  Comprised of 12 small businesses from different industries across the U.S., the SMB Council met in March of this year at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Ca., to help build a small business community, boost advocacy, and provide feedback on how the social network can improve the experience for business owners.  Sam’s was also chosen by Facebook last year to be one of three national companies featured in a success story video to highlight “best practices”:

The restaurant uses a variety of social media platforms, which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, for menu updates (fresh local crab has arrived!), education (how DO you properly crack and eat a whole lobster?),  special offers (it’s Dollar Oyster night!),  event promotion (come to our Wine Lover’s Dinner!), building relationships (please welcome our newest sous chef!), a feedback channel (what’s your favorite dish?), information sharing (hurry - it’s 80 degrees here in Half Moon Bay), current events (The Prince and Princess of Monaco just dined at Sam’s…really!), and to nurture ongoing relationships with guests.  Social media is also used for menu management across multiple sites, for recruiting new staff, and to connect with potential diners from its fleet of Sam’s ChowderMobile food trucks, which travel the Bay Area serving the restaurants famous Clam Chowder, Sam’s Lobster Rolls, and catering private events.

While serving social media to over 30,000 fans across the globe, the two Sam’s Chowder House restaurants and four mobile food trucks serve over 600,000 guests in person annually.  Join Sam’s Chowder House and Sam’s ChowderMobile online communities to stay up-to-date about latest news, menus and special offers on these social media channels:

Facebook:  (Half Moon Bay) (Palo Alto) (mobile food trucks)

Known for award-winning ocean fresh New England style seafood, and farm-to-table cuisine, Sam’s Chowder House is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner daily, and Sunday Brunch. Sam’s Chowder House overlooks the ocean in Half Moon Bay, CA., at 4210 North Cabrillo Highway, and is now also in downtown Palo Alto, CA., at 185 University Avenue.  Takeout, gluten-free and vegetarian options, childrens menu and private dining are available.
Media Contact: Julie Shenkman
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