Case Study – Mesob Restaurant

Mesob Restaurant is an Ethiopian restaurant in Montclair NJ.  They were limited in their reach and were an unknown cuisine and culture to many potential customers.

GOAL:  Increase repeat customers, educate and excite people about Ethiopian cuisine and culture.

STRATEGIES:  Build Social Media platforms, develop a new interactive, media-rich website, make the restaurant more visible with increased PR coverage.


Adding QR codes around the restaurant served several purposes:  it educated patrons on different traditions and foods of Ethiopia through videos which would appear when the codes were scanned; it also linked customers to their social media platforms; it kept customers busy while waiting for their food and often sparked conversations with table-mates and staff.


restaurant-business-magazine - 2010The restaurant received national attention in Restaurant Business Magazine’s Grand Slams feature on restaurants who achieved success in social media.


As the article points out, restaurant owners Berekti and Aki Mengistu were too busy running the restaurant to get involved in Social Media strategies. They hired Say WOW Marketing.  In addition to setting the business up on several Social Media Platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) and developed contests, special events, even a Facebook fan party. There were also special offers made on Yelp and FourSquare. The videos of these special events as well as behind the scenes videos were seen all over the world.

Videos were taken at special events, such as Ethiopian Eskesta Dancing held at the restaurant and put up on their YouTube channel.  Other videos also posted introduced Ethiopian culture to their potential and current customers and encouraged conversations not only on line, but between patrons and restaurant staff.  The growing popularity and uniqueness encouraged me to contact WABC Channel 7 and the restaurant was featured on a Neighborhood Eats segment.  I was so inspired by the story of the two sisters who left Ethiopia and had an American Dream, that I entered them in a national contest for an American Dream award by the Restaurant Association of America and they won – complete with a beautiful award ceremony in Washington DC.

Soon after, they received  a Zagat Recognition of Excellence.


OUTCOME:  With their strategies in place, Mesob is now in charge of their Social Media.   Facebook now has almost 1700 fans, many of whom are active on that page.  In the first year, revenue jumped by 15% and Berekti Mengistu said, “For a small suburban ethnic restaurant to have such a great year in this economy,  something is really working.  Social media is the best thing that ever happened to us.”