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The Melting Pot marries social and mobile via Foodspotting partnership

Restaurant franchise The Melting Pot is driving foot traffic via a national campaign that rewards consumers with prizes when they snap pictures of their favorite dishes.

The campaign is being rolled out to all The Melting Pot restaurants and runs through Sept. 25. The Melting Pot is working with the Foodspotting app on this initiative and is the app’s first national partner.

“The goal of our Foodspotting promotion is to raise awareness about our brand on a growing social site and drive traffic into our restaurants,” said Sandy D’Elosua, national director of communications for Front Burner Brands, Tampa.

“The campaign is aimed at current fans as well as Foodspotting users who may not be familiar with our brand. We’re conducting a 90-day pilot program to test this promotion and evaluate a return,” she said.

Front Burner Brands is the restaurant management company for The Melting Pot, Burger 21 and GrillSmith chains.

Snap to win
Via the partnership, consumers can download the Foodspotting app, which is available for iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices.

The app uses the device’s location to find nearby restaurants where consumers can upload pictures of their meals to share with friends and family.

Users can upload pictures of dishes from The Melting Pot to be entered to win prizes. In order to be entered, entries must be tagged with either the word ‘fondue’ or ‘Melting Pot fondue.’

Each week, one entry will be randomly chosen to win a $100 gift card to The Melting Pot.

In addition to prizes, consumers can also unlock virtual badges by snapping pictures of particular menu items.

Social connection
In addition to the partnership, The Melting Pot also has an optimized mobile site and the company is currently evaluating whether to develop an app.

The company also has an active social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest that are monitored consistently by the brand.

Social media and mobile constantly go hand-in-hand and marketing campaigns that combine each have been popping up more recently.

The Melting Pot partnership is a great example of a mobile campaign that combines social media to give users an incentive for using the app.

Additionally, with the focus on sharing and social media, the campaign is likely to quickly spread the word about the campaign to users’ friends and family.

Location-based services have mixed reviews – some mobile experts say that they are just a fad while others say that the technology presents a huge opportunity for marketers.

However, if a location-based service gives users an upfront value, then users will have a larger incentive to interact with an app and marketers are able to tie an ROI – in this case increased food sales – to an initiative.

“Considering location-based services are becoming more prevalent than ever with geotargeting, we want to accommodate the local trend as much as possible,” Ms. D’Elosua said.

“We want to be where our customers are so in addition to our corporate social media presence, our restaurants have local Facebook pages and Twitter accounts as well as Foursquare and Foodspotting place profiles,” she said.

“As we follow this trend, we want to make sure that wherever we go with mobile development benefits the brand as a whole and makes sense for our entire franchise system of more than 140 locations in North America rather than jumping on a hot trend that is only popular in one city.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York