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To Growing List of Eateries, Tweets a Sweet Deal

From Devra J. First of the Boston Globe: On Dec. 2, computer consultant Jen Deaderick got on the social-networking site Twitter and posted: “Tupelo02139 is preparing.’’ It was her first missive, or tweet, on behalf of the Cambridge restaurant Tupelo, where her husband is a chef. The restaurant was more than four months away from opening.

Other tweets followed, about getting inspected, planning the menu, picking the paint. By the time Tupelo opened at the end of April, word had spread among followers of the restaurant’s Twitter stream (@tupelo02139), and their followers’ followers, and so on.

“Our opening night was packed,’’ Deaderick said. “At least half were there because of Twitter.’’

What can you do with 140 characters or less, the length of each tweet? A lot, restaurants are discovering - everything from posting daily specials to luring followers with offers of free appetizers to offering a glimpse of kitchen life. It’s all good for business.

“It’s instant and free marketing,’’ said Chris Barr, a manager at L’Espalier, which joined Twitter this month.

Restaurants are starting to sign on by the dozens, inspired, perhaps, by the success of Kogi, a Korean barbecue taco truck in Los Angeles that gained national notoriety by tweeting its whereabouts. (In February, Newsweek called it “America’s first viral restaurant.’’)

“It was two or three a week [joining], and now it’s closer to two or three or four a day,’’ said Aaron Cohen of the Twitter stream @eatboston, which spreads the word about the restaurant scene. He estimates between 60 and 70 local restaurants have joined - everything from high-end establishments such as L’Espalier and Craigie on Main to quick-service chains like Boloco and Papa Gino’s.

One reason for Twitter’s popularity is that it’s both easy and inexpensive. There’s no need to hire someone to design a website. You just log on and start posting. “You could be a pizza guy at a greasy spoon sending text messages from a three-year-old cellphone,’’ Cohen said. “You don’t need technology to be spreading your message on Twitter. It’s very utilitarian.’’ Boston Globe Full Story

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