Alonso Castañeda, VP of brand development and strategy for the Savory Restaurant Fund, shared how the portfolio of brands is harnessing social listening and reputation management tools to stay on top of customer feedback and resolve issues during a panel talk at the #ElevateICX virtual symposium presented by the ICX Association.

Developing a robust loyal customer base and being responsive, as well as receptive, to customer complaints are key for any restaurant’s success as bad reviews, spread fast and furious along social media channels, can hurt today’s business as well as tomorrow’s.

That’s why brands are increasingly adopting tools and technologies to keep better track of customer complaints and be receptive to feedback, whether it’s good or bad.

For brands under the Savoy Restaurant Fund it’s an operations strategy that flows from the top to the bottom of the organization and within each restaurant brand. Its restaurants are using social listening and reputation management tools, and consistently training brand operators and staff on why customer feedback and reviews are not to be ignored but rather embraced.

“There are so many ways the customer is reaching out to us. Right now when a customer complains on a social listing, sends an email, to them it’s like back in the day when they were complaining to the manager and they expect a response and if we don’t [respond] it makes them more upset and makes them feel like restaurants don’t care,” said Alonso Castañeda, VP of brand development and strategy for the Savoy Restaurant Fund, during his panel presentation, “Creating Loyal Customers and Raving Fans from Customer Complaints,” at last week’s #ElevateICX, a virtual symposium presented by the ICX Association.

The one-day symposium included nearly a half dozen sessions on topics relevant to brands striving to boost the customer experience by embracing interactive technology.

The customer loyalty panel talk was moderated by Cherryh Cansler, VP of editorial at Networld Media Group.

The Savoy Restaurant Fund partners with restaurateurs to expand unique brands that target new and undiscovered parts of the food and beverage industry. Its portfolio includes Via313 Pizzeria, The Crack Shack and mo’ Bettahs. The fund expects to invest in several brands by the end of the year and plans on opening over 40 locations and investing nearly $23 million in development and growth initiatives within that same timeframe, according to its website.

Building a raving fan base

As Castañeda explained in his presentation, by resolving customer issues in real-time restaurant managers can impress guests in their responsiveness and those customers are prone to share that positive response.

An online review, he said, is not just a customer complaint but also serves as a recommendation for future customers.

“So someone looks up your restaurant online, and you’re not taking care of those customer reviews, you’re not responding, [prospective] customers will make a decision based on that, so it’s ever more important to make sure that we are aware of it [customer reviews, complaints, etc.] and responding to every single guest,” he said, noting that response to online feedback can improve a brand’s SEO and reach on the Internet.

“The added benefit is that reviews account for 15% of how Google ranks your business, so if you’re very active and responding to reviews you are going to rank higher,” Castañeda said.

Find out more about how Savoy’s portfolio of restaurant brands are embracing technology in the quest to build a loyal fan base by clicking here to view the free panel talk.

The annual #ElevateICX event, hosted by Networld Media Group and the ICX Association, provides leaders from retail, restaurants, banks, hotels and other B2C companies a rare opportunity to learn from CX thought leaders about what’s working, what’s not, and how to create amazing experiences for their own customers. The mission of the ICX Association is to connect B2C brands to technology that elevates the customer experience.

About Networld Media Group

Founded in 2000, Networld Media Group is a leading business-to-business (B2B) media communications company specializing in digital media, associations and events in the tech, banking, retail and food service industries. Online properties include,,,,,,,, and Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX) and the Self-Service Innovation Summit.

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