My friendly neighbourhood sports bar

Let me preface this first by saying I’m generally not a reviewer. That is to say you’re not likely to find me on Yelp or Google or something similar to that leaving a review for a business, positive or negative, unless it’s park of the normal convention for that particular platform. After an eBay or Amazon purchase, for example.

That being said, on occasion when I’m treated to what I feel is exceptional service, I make a point to share it usually on a social media platform be it Twitter or Facebook. One such occasion just occurred last night.

I had made plans earlier in the week to have dinner with a friend of mine who was in town from Japan although we didn’t have a set plan for where to go. Both of us had been watching Game 3 of the Ducks-Predators series but with Nashville trailing 2-0 and looking like they had nothing in the tank, he began to make his way out to where we would meet. Lo and behold, as it seems to be a common occurrence so far in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Preds battle back with two quick ones to send the game to overtime.

I had mentioned casually earlier in the week after seeing a Facebook ad for a buy-one-get-one-free offer at the sports bar just down the corner where I lived so it became a no-brainer at that point that Cravings Restaurant and Sports Bar would be the destination.

Cravings isn’t quite like the typical sports bar to me, at least not on the two occasions that I visited. They’re a family restaurant converted into a dining room side and a “sports bar” side featuring wall-to-wall televisions after being taken over by new ownership. The “sports bar” is a bit on the smaller side – they’ve got about four booths and four more tables in the middle – and there’s not really an actual bar component.

None of that mattered to me, though. I’ve never been big in the bar scene, and quite frankly I was looking just for a place to watch what was to be left of the game.

I had come across Cravings several months earlier looking for a spot to catch a Canucks game, and after first stopping at the bar next door only to find the poor staff couldn’t find turn on their big screen projector and that apparently their kitchen service was already closed but they could order in food from the White Spot conveniently located next door (this was 7 p.m. on a Saturday), I cut my losses and went next door to Cravings which Google had informed me was now a sports bar.

I knew I would get friendly and personable service from their owner, Lily, as that was what I had encountered on my first visit to the newly-renovated restaurant months earlier.

What really got to me was the follow-up on social media a day later though. My experience was positive enough (minus the fact the Preds couldn’t manage to complete the comeback) for me to decide to write a nice review on their Facebook page. The reply I got completely amazed me.

replyfromcravings

It wasn’t so much the offer of a free dessert – something that I later, in doing some research, noticed the restaurant kindly offered to many of their reviewers – but the fact the owner recalled what I had ordered the night before and recognized me based on my Facebook profile picture.

Perhaps I made an impression at the time, but then again for a restaurant that serves guests all day long, I’m still stunned that level of attention to detail was displayed.

If you’re an organization on social media, the ‘social’ part of it is critical. There’s not much use having an online presence, especially on social media, if you’re not being dynamic and interacting with those who interact with your page. You might as well not be on social media in that case.

I couldn’t find Cravings on Twitter, which is probably a good thing for the time being because I’m not sure being a small, family-run operation they’d have the resources to continually post updates while, at the same time, trying to run the restaurant. I was a little disappointed not to find them on Instagram, however. #FoodPorn is a thing, and I think they’ve definitely got a few menu items they can highlight in addition to promoting some of the special events they’ve got going on. (Word is you can catch all the big UFC fights here with no cover charge, although you won’t find me there because that’s just not my thing).

I’ll pass along one further piece of advice to them, and to really any organization out there, which is to claim your business on Google if you haven’t done so already. It lets you manage some of the information about your business that appears on Google’s page, including opening and closing hours, that many people take for gospel because Google said so. It takes less than five minutes, and could prove immensely beneficial down the road.

Kudos to you, Cravings. I’ll be back for that complimentary dessert and I’ll probably get those nachos that I probably would have ordered that night had the Ducks not scored so quickly into overtime.

 

 

It’s about time

On one of the very first pages of this website, I mention the importance of having a web presence and the importance of maintaining such a presence. I really should have practiced what I preached ages ago.

I’ve been “in business” for nearly 10 years, pretty much from the moment I wrapped up my very last course at Simon Fraser University in the summer of 2007. At the time I had just wrapped up an internship with the media relations department of the Vancouver Canucks (remember that Henrik Sedin quadruple overtime goal that year?) and was looking for a way to stay involved with the team.

Although I moved on quickly to being hired by the BC Lions in a non-communications capacity (I had previously interned for them as well a year prior), I was offered the opportunity continue working with the Canucks by contributing a regular piece to their website called “Game Notes.” The concept behind that was to regurgitate, in a more easy-to-read format, the media game notes package that each team produces for each game.

That concept, thankfully, didn’t last long. It became much more interesting, and fun, to create a game day preview piece. “Game Notes” eventually became “Tale of the Tape” which later on became “IT’S GAMEDAY!” From about midway through the 2007-08 season to the end of the 2015-16 season, it was a staple on Canucks.com and I tried to make it the standard-bearer for all game day preview pieces on any team site across the NHL.com network. In its earlier days, the format was copied by at least a couple of other NHL teams and maybe an AHL team or two.

But I digress.

The point is, “Game Notes” was my first freelance project. From there, I’ve “sold” freelance work to Canucks Game Day Magazine, Canucks Yearbook, PA SportsTicker, Sports Network, Tourism Vancouver, and BC Business Magazine.

But the truth is, I never had to sell anything. Every ‘customer’ I’ve been fortunate enough to have along the way has been thanks to those first connections I made with the Canucks.

So why am I doing this now? Because I need to.

Opportunities have become more scarce, and the competition for similar services is much greater.

At the same time, as grateful as I have been for the opportunities I’ve received in the past, I need to branch out. Sports, in particular hockey, will also be a passion of mine but I don’t want to just be “the sports guy” any more.

I’d be thrilled if a sports organization came across this site and decided to reach out looking for a content creator. But I’d be equally thrilled if someone reached out because they needed a writer to create content for their dental business or their real estate business, or someone needed a webmaster to maintain their website for them.

So if you’re reading this, and you feel so-inclined, send me using the contact information on this site. Let me help you with your communications goals.

As for this blog, I figure it will be a mixture of communications talk, a lot of Canucks and hockey postings (passion is passion, after all), and really just whatever I feel like.

Thanks for reading, and welcome to my world.