Restaurant Marketing During Social Media Shutdowns

Restaurant Marketing During Social Media Shutdowns

Sam Mustafa, CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group shares his insight on the importance of having a diversified online marketing strategy. This topic highlights the recent blackouts of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and the effect of marketing specifically in the restaurant industry.


SOCIAL SHUTDOWN: Turning Anxiety Into a New Diversified Marketing Strategy


How is your company diversifying your strategy?

As many of you are aware, we experienced the greatest and most widespread blackout of social media platforms in history during the first week in October. This included the temporary collapse of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp around the globe.

While this definitely impacted everyone’s social media addiction, including myself, as a business owner did you find that this event also impacted the operations of your business?

Being the CEO of the largest hospitality group in Charleston, you can imagine that at first, I was a bit anxious. Having working knowledge of Marketing, I knew how important social media is in providing brand awareness and even online sales. Immediately, I was calling my Chief Marketing Officer, J Michael Walker to see if he was aware of the blackout. To my relief, he was already 5 steps ahead and provided the reassurance I needed to hear.

Being an expert in his field, J Michael knew exactly what to do at this moment. By incorporating other traffic driving techniques such as e-mail blasts and incorporating active social platforms, such as TikTok and Pinterest, his marketing department was able to drive equivalent traffic to Charleston Hospitality Group restaurant locations, and even incentivize our patrons to come in with promotional offers.


Marketing In The Food and Beverage Industry

Marketing plays a profound role when it comes to driving traffic into establishments in the Hospitality industry. Much of this traffic and marketing efforts start at the top of the “marketing/sales funnel” (also known as AIDA model) with brand awareness and reaching your target guest, then trickle down to action. This can be described as guests making their way to your establishment.


The AIDA model can be described as the following:

Chg Aida Model
Chg Aida Model

I- Interest

Your restaurant’s brand should uniquely identify itself apart from other restaurants that provide a competitive advantage. This edge should reinforce your menu, atmosphere and all around guest experience. Take for example, our portfolio of restaurants at Charleston Hospitality Group. We have 5 different restaurant concepts, each different from the next. Restaurant concepts that comprise our hospitality group include Toast All Day, Eli’s Table, JohnKing Grill and Piano Bar, Queology and HonkyTonk Saloon. You will find that our diversified group of restaurants reinforce our mission at our corporate headquarters- providing the grandest experience in Charleston, from sunup to sundown, where each experience is personalized. All of these elements contribute to an effective marketing strategy in which we utilize across all of our brands.


Sam Mustafa is the the CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise. Named one of the nation’s 100 most influential CEOs by Nation’s Restaurant News and frequent speaker on Joe Pardavila’s Podcast on ForbesBooks Radio. He has also been featured on Medium, Authority Magazine, describing his version of the American Dream. Sam is one of the leading voices in the Restaurant Industry.


1) Orendorff, Aaron. “The Sales Funnel – Your Complete Guide for 2021.” ClickFunnels, 13 May 2021,

2) Woods, Laura. “How Restaurant Branding Affects Business.” Small Business –,, 21 Nov. 2017,

3) “Featured on Market Watch Magazine- Diversified Drinking at Charleston Hospitality Group.” Charleston Hospitality Group, 26 May 2021,