Managing social media can be overwhelming for some restaurant operators, but at Arby’s headquarters in Atlanta, the three-person social media team handles the task in-house—literally. Arby’s head of social media Josh Martin and his two employees spend their days monitoring the chain’s five platforms, which include a combined 3.6 million followers, in a 364-square-foot listening room equipped with just TVs and phones and the occasional curious corporate onlooker.
The team moved from a concealed office into a conference room with glass walls near the elevators. During work hours, all social interaction happens in real time from the room, dubbed the Fishbowl. Arby’s also stopped limiting posting to high-level staff.
Arby’s social media strategy used to be hard to explain, says Martin. Now, people from product development, for example, come to see what fans are saying about new foods, and the team can instantly share feedback to immediately give a sense of consumers’ reactions.
The Fishbowl also attracts attention from franchisees. Arby’s invites current and potential franchisees to the room, where Martin’s team walks them through the social media strategy. “To be able to showcase this functionality definitely sets us apart,” Martin says.
Tools to go live
The room is set for video streaming, which allowed Arby’s to conduct its first Facebook Live event in October. Martin’s team and Arby’s test kitchen chefs created Porktraits (portraits using pork belly) to post on social, based off live requests from fans.