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Jimmy’z Beats Sugarcane On Social Media Day

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Above: This picture from Sugarcane was one of ten photos from around the world that Mashable chose to run on its website highlighting Social Media Day.  (Photo by James Echols aka Coach)

So Mashable created this “holiday” called Social Media Day where we’re supposed to “celebrate the revolution of media being social” – which is their way of saying we need to go out and get drunk with friends while tweeting about it.

Some of us in Miami do that anyway without having to step in line to some geek-inspired holiday, but we figured we would play along in the hopes that we could cash in on some sweet social media specials.

After all, we not only like to party, we like to brag about it online as annoying as that may be to our friends who stay home.

But we also like to get a discount in exchange for all those tweets, updates and check-ins we do because let’s face it, we’re providing free advertising to the establishments we frequent.

The problem is, we ended up at Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill in Midtown Miami last Thursday, which flat-out told us they would not honor Social Media Day by giving us any special discounts other than the usual happy hour specials where cocktails go for $7 instead of $12.

So there we were – more than 150 of us – crowding the bar at Sugarcane, wondering what in the hell is it we’re celebrating other than a surge in business for Sugarcane?

By the time happy hour ended and they started charging us $12 for our cocktails, we decided to move the party to Jimmy’z Kitchen in Wynwood where we were given endless pitchers of free sangria as well as ten percent off our food bill.

So guess which business won our social media hearts?

Alex de Carvalho, who organized the Social Media Day event with Sebastian Rusk of Social Buzz TV, said they both share blame for not insisting that Sugarcane provide some type of discount for bringing in hordes of people to its restaurant.

But he also believes Sugarcane could have been more flexible once they started seeing how many people were spending money that night.

“We asked the manager if he could at least extend happy hour but he said he couldn’t do it because of corporate protocol,” de Carvalho said.

The manager did give de Carvalho and Rusk free drinks that night, but that wasn’t enough to convince the 150 people to stay for dinner.

Most ended up going home after happy hour, but more than 30 of us ended up at Jimmy’z Kitchen where we were welcomed with open arms by Chef Jimmy Carey, who is more familiar with mashed plantains than he is with Mashable, but understands the power of social media and how it affects his business.


If you really want to see how disappointed we were in Sugarcane, check out the above video, but turn the volume down if you are at work unless your co-workers are cool with a little profanity.

But if you want to see just how much business we brought Sugarcane, check out Rusk’s video below.

Mashable Chooses Miami Photo, Further Promoting Sugarcane

In fact, a photo taken by Miami Beach 411 forum contributor James Echols, who goes by Coach on the forums and runs Soul of Miami, was one of ten photos that ended up on Mashable highlighting Social Media Day, despite the fact that they received hundreds of photos from the 1,400 meetups that were held throughout the world.

But Sugarcane obviously doesn’t appreciate the social media promotion because it also screwed us over on Foursquare Day – another geek-inspired holiday that encourages us to part with our dollars – when social media peeps showed up expecting drink specials, only to be slammed with the restaurant’s usual high prices. And this after it was named the “official meetup” place for Miami.

According to CB Gaines, whom I interviewed after the April 16th “holiday”.

I cannot find my receipt from that harrowing experience, but I remember being charged $30 for 3 drinks Leila had. As you remember the 4Square blurb said cocktails for $4.16 beginning at 4:16 p.m. When I questioned my bill, the bartender referred me to the manager who explained that the special was only for 2 drinks, a champagne cocktail and Spice of Life. But even the one Spice I did order came out to $5 on the bill. He explained that was because their software did not have any provision to show “cents” on the bill. That drove a software engineer next to me nuts who said, “That would be so easy to fix.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy’z jumped on the Foursquare Day bandwagon with the following promotion on its Facebook page, which it honored:

AT JIMMY’Z KITCHEN WE KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IS TO CHECK-IN, EARN BADGES, AND FIGHT ABOUT THOSE MAYORSHIPS ... AND FOR THAT REASON WE ARE CELEBRATING #4SQDAY!

CHEF JIMMY HAS COME UP WITH A SIMPLE DINNER SPECIAL SHOW YOUR FOURSQUARE CHECK-IN, SPEND $16, AND WE WILL GIVE YOU A FREE DESSERT AND COFFEE!

WE ALSO HAVE A GREAT SELECTION OF $4 CRAFT BEERS!

HAVE A DELISH DINNER WITH US AND CELEBRATE YOUR CHECK-INS!

The difference between the two businesses is clear.

Sugarcane is owned by Sushi Samba, which has restaurants in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Miami.  While it has earned rave reviews for its food, it obviously is unable to make a local adjustment without going through corporate headquarters in New York.

And Jimmy’z is owned by Chef Carey, who has spent decades in Miami and can usually be found in the kitchen of his Wynwood restaurant, except when he is in the dining room greeting customers.

Sugarcane has earned four stars on Yelp while Jimmy’z has earned four-and-a-half stars.

I’m betting that extra half-star is for the personal presence he brings to the restaurant.

And I’m hoping next year he gets all our social media dollars on Social Media Day and on Foursquare Day.

 

Related Categories: Miami: Local News, Miami: Food & Restaurant News,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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66 Comments on

"Jimmy’z Beats Sugarcane On Social Media Day"

Mike LaMonica says:

That’s it. I’m over it. If you want me to do your advertising, pay me. Right down to the license plate bracket on my car.  Mr. Car dealer, you want me to advertise for you, pay me. Mr restaurant, you want me to pimp you, comp me. Not to dis Alex or Sebastian, but you get what you negotiate.  Sugarcane should have made the overture to welcome such a connected crew. Their blunder. And now comes the bad Sugarcane payback.  When will companies wake up? We are all citizen journalists and our voices have never been more listened to. Thanks.

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 5:53 AM

Under the Sun says:

The SM “bueyes” are churning the ” trapiche” on sugarcane.lol!

I’m all cool for $ votes, but when Jesse Jackson Rainbow Coalition mentality kicks in, expecting a ” kick-back discounts.” it’s going to be interesting how this slippery slope develops.

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 7:45 AM

UTS says:

Miller - why don’t you start a Flash Mob type operation where you show up at a place with 50 guys and tell the manager, ” what the fuck you going to do for us ?’ I’d even join in on the fun.

That might be a trend that catches on. You’d be an inspiration to soccer mom’s dealing with McDonalds before they empty their vans.

What I want to know is did Sugarcane not honor what was negotiated, if at all ? If there was nothing guaranteed, you can’t force this putiando culture on a business. Let them just be and move forward to a more accomodating place. You guys get to sound like bitches if you don’t get a discount but I captured the fun aspect on the video.

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 11:06 AM

James Echols says:

Hey, glad you liked my photo! I did not even know Mashable chose it. I didn’t submit it, so I wonder how they found it. I guess they follow the website. Anyway, good analysis.

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 12:53 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Great article, Carlos. I didn’t even bother writing about SM Day on Silicone Bitch because it feels like a fake holiday. Social Media Day is really every day. Whatever.  I do want to thank Sebastian and Alex though for putting something together. In the end it was about how amazing it was for everyone to meet up in real life and connect, which is exactly what happened.  It felt like an “old skool” tweetup and that was good.

There are still so many businesses out there that simply don’t get it. I come across this all the time when organizing tweetups and you simply have to walk away knowing you’re going to bring great business, free advertising and potential loyalty to someone else who appreciates your event and the people attending.

Jimmy’z (who also has another restaurant—the original—on South Beach), absolutely “gets it” and is lucky to have the awesome Natascha Otero heading his social media efforts.

Remember SxSe last year? The Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale absolutely got it, too.  This year—those folks who are supporting SxSe in Key West—are cooperating with discounts.

But Sugarcane is stuck to the corporate nipple and it hurts them in the end.  That’s too bad, because I like the food and the ambiance there.  Businesses that don’t get it don’t realize what a win-win situation it can be for everyone involved.

You didn’t include my rant in the video, but the service was abominable on SM Day. I had one bartender make eye contact with me and then she never came back. I waited 20 minutes for that woman and she completely ignored me even when she wasn’t busy. They had about 4 bartenders back there so it’s not like it was all on her shoulders.  I ended up walking to the back of the bar, grabbing a beer glass for myself and sharing a pitcher with friends who had already order.

By the way, I also got stiffed on the 4square day drink special. I think however that sometimes event organizers forget to broadcast specific details. I’m not sure if that’s what happened on 4square day, but clearly it was a bait and switch on some level.

This is big pet peeve of mine—when organizing an event you pretty much need to get it in writing what is being offered and make damn sure it is plastered on every invite and tweet. If you have an agreement over email, BRING the email with you and show it to the bartender because maybe the manager forgot to tell him, etc;

Florida did good on SM Day though. Only 10 photos were featured on Mashable and not one, but TWO were from Florida. Key West was put into the mix.

In case our readers want to know more about mofongo, I wrote about Jimmy’z delicious dish here:  http://sexandthebeach.blogspot.com/2011/02/mofongo-madness-at-jimmyz-in-wynwood.html

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 2:40 PM

John Nykolaiszyn says:

I saw this post this morning in my reader courtesy of the South Florida Daily Blog. I didn’t really think much after reading the post, I kind of just went about my day.

However, I caught myself thinking about a post I had read about a vendor, a blogger and a pair of Crocs and how this incident some parallel situations. (http://nosenseoftime.org/2009/07/threatened-at-blogher/)

Granted I’m not suggesting that you were “blackmailing” anyone, but I don’t understand why you feel the need to shame Sugarcane/Sushi Samba in the post and praise Jimmy’Z for a made up holiday?  I mean outside of the people who are fully immersed in Social Media does anyone else really know or care about the holiday? And if one of the supposed tenets of social media is to “Do no Harm” then why call Sushi Samba out? 

Maybe I’m viewing this with another filter and maybe I’m completely wrong, but I still can’t shake the overall feeling of shock and embarrassment for the business owners. It’s as if the Social Media community in South Florida would think that these actions are perfectly normal. While I know that it’s not true, this post does nothing to dissuade that impression.

Posted on 07/06/2011 at 9:21 PM

Carlos Miller says:

John,

Maybe if your blackmail blogger brought in 150 people into the Croc store, she might have been able to justify demanding a pair of Crocs.

Personally, I wouldn’t wear those if they gave them to me.

Bottom line is, Sugarcane is well within its right to operate its business the way it sees fit and I’m well within my right to speak my mind about it.

Or are you a little uncomfortable with consumers having a little clout?

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 12:14 AM

Under the Sun says:

I’m waiting for the day Social Media joins AAA and AARP and issues discount cards.
Can just imagine the administrative costs and thugs on payroll. LOL !

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 2:00 AM

Under the Sun says:

Social media got Obama to stop at Frita joint. All it got me was diarrhea. LOL !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of4Iq6bl2eo

I consider Carlos Miller as a friend and I have internally forgiven him for taking me to this joint but I have to respectfully disagree with his stance.

In the end, the product can only speak for itself for itself. I’ve never been to Sugarcane or Jimmy Z’s. Maria has expressed her opinion on her fondess of the quality of Sugarcane. I have yet to see or read why Jimmy Z’s is a better option. I haven’t heard the palate’s speak. The emphasis seems to be placed on who showed the group respect. The consumer ain’t going to give a shit about that.

Having said that, I believe their has to be a learning curve on both sides. Businesses have to still adapt and learn how to benefit from Social Media, and in turn, Social Media needs to learn that for a business to remain open, it has to operate within certain margins. It also has to be aware that some businesses have a number of partners and considerations that have not all bought on to the idea or have established policy. For that reason alone, it is silly to go virile against a business not playing their game in such early stages.

As a very, very small interest partner on an upcomming enterprise in Miami. I’ll consider some SM tactics but I know for my business interest, traditional marketing is going to be our key. We’ll incorporate a thing or two in time for SM but we certainly won’t get bullied around. The product we believe can overcome that.

John - What was it I heard two years ago that Crocs was about to go belly up ? It seems things have turned around. I’ve been to outlets in St. Augustine, Orlando, San Destin and Florida Mall. It’s hard not to get trampled at a Crocs at each experience. It’s the busiest place in the mall/outlet. As a practical man who hates laces, I love the product and have six pairs.

Things good ?

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 3:37 AM

Alex de Carvalho says:

As the co-organizer, I chose Sugarcane for Social Media Day based on location, ambiance, and the fact that they were already participating in social media with an active Twitter account. It was difficult to estimate the number of people that were going to attend, because people tend to RSVP at the last minute, but we did call Sugarcane a week in advance saying we had a big group coming over. We called them again a few days before the event with an updated estimate.

For commenters here running small businesses, let’s look at the facts:
1. 150 people show up to spend money at your venue on an OFF night. In other words, lot of new business walked in.
2. You were alerted beforehand—this was no surprise to you. You had time to plan.
3. You already participate in social media and the very same people you reach out to online decided to show up at your doorstep en masse
4. The made up holiday we were celebrating is called SOCIAL MEDIA DAY (as opposed to, say, “Hubcap Day” or “Covered Parking Day” or “Kitchen Towel Day”). Duh?
5. These people who show up at your doorstep are all Twitterers and bloggers—some of whom have large followings. They are social in the real world and they are social online.
6. One of the most widely read blogs in the world, Mashable, was covering Social Media Day and picked the photo of your venue as one of the top 10 featured on the blog out of 1,400 meetups around the world

Does it take a business genius to figure out there’s an opportunity here?

Some businesses like Jimmy’z took this opportunity to embrace the social geeks and got huge love in return. As Carlos mentions, we get together a lot over the year, in smaller groups. Every time we meet up, we choose a venue—and no, we do not ask for specials on those smaller occasions. But we do spend money and we tip well. It’s obvious we’ll choose venues that love to have us.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 9:07 AM

Carlos Miller says:

UTS,

I provided links to Yelp reviews to both restaurants to give readers an outside opinion on them. Both have stellar reputations.

Sugarcane had four stars and Jimmy’z had four-and-a-half stars.

Also, Maria provided a link in her comment to her review of Jimmy’z.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 9:50 AM

John Nykolaiszyn says:

@Carlos - I agree that you are well within your rights. The post left me with a negative impression. I believe that I’m well within my rights to share that with you.

@Alex - Thanks for the clarification I knew there was more to the story than Mr. Miller had mentioned. You’ve got a great reputation in the space and that’s why I was shaking my head at the original post. Thank you for all you do in the space.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 10:37 AM

Carlos Miller says:

John,

You can shake your head all you want but the point of this article is that consumers have a lot more power than we did just a few years ago.

A smart business owner will use this to his advantage as Chef Jimmy of Jimmy’z does.

I seriously doubt he feels as if he is being blackmailed.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 12:11 PM

Dan M. says:

I don’t see the point of asking for a discount.  It sounds like they provided a wonderful atmosphere, the attendees seemed to have enjoyed themselves and there was already a discount in place (happy hour).  If the cost of drinks is beyond your reach and you need to be provided larger discounts perhaps you should seek an establishment in a different pricing tier (Zekes?).

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 1:28 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@John—thank you.

@Dan—Our meetup was from 6pm to 10pm. They were running their regular happy hour which ended at 7pm. In other words, the happy hour was there whether we attended or not, and the happy hour was not extended to accommodate the 150 surplus guests they hosted on an off (ie., an otherwise slow) night. The happy hour cost of drinks was within reach, but not the regular prices.

It’s standard practice for event organizers to ask establishments to extend discounts for large groups, and most often establishments are happy to provide them for the economic reason that marginal costs decrease with each new customer since the establishment incurred no new marketing or labor costs to serve those customers.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 1:44 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

@John - It may seem like we are a bunch of whiny brats who didn’t get free ice cream, but that’s not the point here and you can’t really compare it to that blogger who threatened the Crocs guy.

Alex already pointed out what I wanted to reply to you, so you’d see it in the actual context. 

I’ll add more:  we are a very dynamic and influential community of active social media professionals and users.  It’s not the first time Sugarcane has been featured in an event that was broadcasted on the social networks. Last year, I interviewed their chef live on site for my co-hosted radio show on locals and social media.  As well, the South Florida foodies had one of their huge group dinners there.  Social media pro @nataschaos had a birthday party there along with a Coquito throwdown (a Coquito is a popular Puerto Rican holiday beverage).  There have been more events and I have seen Sugarcane mentioned on my network many times.  Sugarcane has also paid attention and replied to my tweets.

And Alex pointed out, sister restaurant Sushi Samba had a “big deal” tweetup last year with many from the same crowd.

So what fell through the cracks on Social Media Day and Foursquare Day?

My point here is that every business that uses social media successfully understands the power of customer loyalty and how this media facilitates great community outreach. Why would any business, especially a restaurant, not want that?

I hope this article, which is a good case study, can open some eyes as to how a business can lose from not taking advantage of all this.

The only things I don’t like about Sugarcane is the abominable service I got at the bar on Social Media Day and the price mix-up on 4square day. Those are the only two negative things I can say.  All this can be easily fixed from a PR point of view and it’s not the end of the world for Sugarcane.  Maybe they just need to revise their corporate policy a bit to be more flexible for events like these.

@UTS - I have eaten at Jimmy’z many more times than Sugarcane. They’re both very different establishments, so it’s apples and oranges. And I do think the consumer will care a great deal about which business shows more respect and appreciation.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 1:53 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

@Dan, just adding to what Alex said .. 150 people at Zeke’s? Love the place but not big enough.

Every event I have organized in the past that coincided with happy hour has always extended the discount for event attendees well into the evening. It’s just good business practice to keep people there. Eventually they get hungry and also order food.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 2:06 PM

Social Media Douchebag says:

So basically Sugarcane should give in to mob mentality?  I hate to break it to you but you do sound like a bunch of whiny bratty kids.  Waaaaaaah!  I showed up with a big group at a restaurant and didn’t get a discount!  WAAAAAAAAAH!!  WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

I love that Sugarcane did not give in and basically said, “Fuck you, tweet your wrath until your fingers bleed.”  You were outclassed.

Was there ever any confirmation on Sugarcane’s behalf that they would provide any deals for your “holiday”? 

No, there wasn’t.

Is Sugarcane supposed to take what they know - there are an unknown number of people who will be showing up to our establishment - and then provide concessions for these people? 

No.  How would they distinguish Social Media Day people from regular patrons, especially when they don’t even know how many people are coming so cannot make appropriate accommodations? 

Does Sugarcane offer deals for anyone who follows them on Twitter?

No, they don’t. 

How is “SOCIAL MEDIA DAY” any different than “Hubcap Day” or “Covered Parking Day” or “Kitchen Towel Day”?

Other than the fact that you wrote it in all CAPS, it’s no different.  It’s a made up holiday.  If you asked 100 people on the street if they knew what social media day was, 99% would not know.  Sorry, you lose there too.  Or should I say, “#FAIL”

Bottom line is that you people who are complaining are exactly what is wrong with Social Media.  You feel you are entitled to discounts and that red carpets should be rolled out simply because you have a smartphone or a blog.  Guess what?  Your opinions are just that - opinions.  You are the same type who will get raging hard ons for JimmyZ’s and tweet how great it is but the second you have one inkling of a bad experience you’ll jump on Yelp and raise holy hell about how bad it is and how everyone there should be fired and the place should be closed or burned to the ground.  Pretty hilarious, I know.

And you know what’s even more hilarious?  If everyone who is damning Sugarcane to hell won a prize that said, “You can have a free meal at Sugarcane or JimmyZ’s” I guaranfuckingtee each one of you would go to Sugarcane because that’s the “cool” place to be seen.

Get over yourselves already. 

PS - I have ZERO affiliation with JimmyZ’s or Sugarcane.  In fact, I think the food at Sugarcane is WAY overhyped and the service blows so I personally never go.  Just thought I’d post that to avoid the 100s of “you’re an employee” posts that are sure to follow this one.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 4:09 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@socialmediadouchebag—It’s easy to troll anonymously, isn’t it? We can agree to disagree, but at least put a real identity to your rant.

The day you can advertise and talk about establishments on hubcaps or kitchen towels around the world, then hubcaps and kitchen towels will be no different than social media. Until that day, though, social media allows everyman—including anonymous trolls—to talk positively or negatively about their experiences at establishments. Whiny brats or not, the group’s consensus—the social construct—is that they felt slighted by this establishment. Whether you deem to judge them justified or not, the hard business fact is that many won’t be frequenting that establishment as often anymore. Also, based on the community’s reaction, organizers won’t be inclined to hold future events there. Maybe that’s the intention of the establishment—but they could have told us before when we alerted them in advance we’d like to hold an event there and when they had enough time to organize enough wristbands for the 200 attendees we estimated and told them we’re coming.

Maybe anonymous trolls don’t like to read and prefer to conveniently skip over the facts?

Moving on now ...

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 4:33 PM

Carlos Miller says:

SMD,

Maybe you’re right, but the truth is, many businesses do their best to accommodate the social media crowds, so perhaps we’re victims of our own egos.

I personally think it’s ridiculous that we have to celebrate Social Media Day because Mashable decided that was suddenly a holiday.

But I also like to hang out with my friends, so I decided to go along with it.

I refused to go along with Foursquare Day on that principle alone, but then later realized I missed a good time.

But then I heard how Sugarcane engaged in bait and switch tactics on Foursquare Day, I was going to write an article about it, but got caught up doing other articles.

So when this came up, I felt the issue needed to be addressed because there was an obvious communication breakdown going on somewhere.

I wanted to throw the issue out there and get people talking, which is what is happening.

In reality, Sugarcane doesn’t really need us, judging by the steady clientele and positive reviews on Yelp and from professional food critics.

But we really don’t need them either considering there are many other restaurants willing to give us special discounts in exchange for bringing in a large group of hungry, thirsty people.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 4:39 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Like it or not, social media has permanently changed the business landscape so many of us grew up on.

Some businesses have opted to take a chance on social media by engaging local bloggers or tweeters and others have failed to see the value in it.

Chevy, who only a few years ago, was suffering from declining sales and had to be bailed out by the government, has embarked on an aggressive social media campaign, which if anything, has put it back in the radar of young, prospective buyers.

It’s a long-term strategy, so it’s unclear how this has affected sales at this time, but as a guy who has driven nothing but Japanese cars for 20 years, I will definitely test-drive their cars next time I’m in the market, something I would never have done before their social media campaign.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 4:55 PM

Social Media Douchebag says:

@alex How did you know I was from Mordor?

Doesnt matter whether I post as Alex Smith, John Waters, or Social Media Douchebag, it’s a telltale sign you’re winning an argument when the other side resorts to name calling, especially in a Lord of the Rings kind of way.

The social construct felt slighted because of a sense of entitlement.  They were not slighted.  Had you, the organizer of the event, provided Sugarcane with details of the event you wanted to hold at their restaurant and had they agreed to provide you with some discounts, then your argument holds water.  But you failed to do that so any complaining is just whining.

@Carlos “I personally think it’s ridiculous that we have to celebrate Social Media Day because Mashable decided that was suddenly a holiday” - You HAVE to CELEBRATE??  Is there a gun to your head?  No.  You just wanted to go to an event to see friends and have something to write about.  No one forced you to “celebrate”.

Again, if Sugarcane agreed to something for Foursquare Day and then didn’t honor it, ok you have a gripe.  But they likely didn’t much like they didnt in this case you are complaining about above.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 6:07 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@socialmediadouchebag Apologies for the ad-hominem. Then again, it’s hard to discuss this over a beer with you since I don’t know who you are. Then again, I believe you started the name-calling by qualifying us as “whiny complainers.”

And I’m not complaining. I jumped in here to state the facts: we contacted Sugarcane before the event; we gave them an estimate of attendees; we requested specials.

From there, the community felt slighted by the high price of drinks.

So to summarize:
- I take the blame for choosing the location, as stated in the article
- We contacted the venue in advance to allow them time to plan
- We tried to negotiate specials based on the large attendance we estimated and communicated to them
- During the event, we reiterated our effort to extend the happy hour
- I am not complaining; I am stating the context and voicing my choice to choose other venues in the future

As a reminder, neither Sebastian or I are full time or professional event organizers. I for one took this one because I enjoy meeting up with this community in particular, whatever the made up reason we come up with. However, I am not remunerated for organizing stuff—although in this case I did benefit from free drinks offered by the venue’s management.

There is no argument. As an observation, few businesses would take the risk of upsetting a community in their own demographic target, whether the community is right or not (“the customer is always right,” remember?). This one did. It may be their intention—Miami can be weird that way. So be it. For me, it’s a lesson learned, since I don’t like to let my friends down.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 6:22 PM

miamism says:

OUCH!!!  I have to admit….and don’t kill me please….I’m a Sugarcane fan (love their cocktails, their food and their service).  The problem here is that they used Social Media to get the word out and now they obviously don’t need it anymore.  Too bad, because I’ve been impressed with their efforts and considered them a prime example on how to do it right.  DISAPPOINTED to say the least :(

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 9:19 PM

Carlos Miller says:

SMD, I never said I had to celebrate Social Media Day. I said I just wanted to hang out with my friends.

Believe me, if I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have.

Posted on 07/07/2011 at 9:44 PM

Social Media Douchebag says:

@Alex - “We tried to negotiate specials based on the large attendance we estimated and communicated to them” Key word there is “tried”.  Did you negotiate anything where Sugarcane said, “Sure, here’s what we can do for your group”?  No, you didn’t.  Therefore, if they want to treat you like normal patrons (which you are/were anyways) what’s the big deal?  You should’ve expected that unless told otherwise beforehand.  Seems like somehow getting together for Social Media reasons means being cheapskates and expecting handouts and red carpet treatment.  Not in my world and apparently not in Sugarcane’s world either.

@miamism - what are you talking about?  Sugarcane did not reach out to this group via social media.  They wanted to use Sugarcane as a venue.  Then they wanted concessions for being allowed to have their event there.  If you think they “do social media right” there is no reason to change that way of thinking.  You should respect them more for standing up for themselves and refusing to give special treatment to people just because they have Yelp accounts and smartphones.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 1:05 AM

Carlos Miller says:

SMD,

Miamism is saying that Sugarcane used social media in the beginning when nobody knew who they were. And so has Sushi Samba on Miami Beach, which is owned by the same company.

But now that Sugarcane is a hot commodity, they don’t need the social media community anymore.

And I guess that’s cool.

It’s like the new kid in school who befriends the group of nerds in the beginning because that kid doesn’t know anybody.

But after a full school year, that kid has become popular. So at the start of the next school year, those same nerdy kids walk up to the kid they once befriended, only for that kid to pretend not knowing who they are.

Haven’t we seen that movie before?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W—Zymygeoo

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:50 AM

miamism says:

@SMDB I did not say they reached out to this group - I said they used Social Media to get the word out and now no longer need it…and yes, including this group.  IMHO, not providing a simple discount and blaming “corporate” was a poor business decision.  Do I agree that it should have been handled before the event? absolutely!  And at that time, the event should have been moved elsewhere if they played the corporate card.  Too late now and a lot of people are left with a sour taste, which is sad.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 7:42 AM

Mike LaMonica says:

I was fortunate to be invited (with guest) to a recent social media/blogger dinner event for a restaurant. The discount they gave us? 100%. I discount anonymous comments the same amount. 100%.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 8:17 AM

Social Media Douchebag says:

@Carlos - your analogy makes no sense.  I’m pretty sure Sugarcane still has a Twitter account (@sugarcanerawbar) and that they tweet quite frequently (promoted their chef @ last night’s Taste of the Nation). 

@Miamism & @Carlos - how do you come to the conclusion that Sugarcane “doesn’t need social media anymore”??  That too, makes no sense.  I think we can agree that when a restaurant opens that very few people know about it initially, correct?  So, they might use Twitter and/or Facebook to get the word out.  “Getting the word out” rarely lasts more than 3-6 months.  If the “word” isn’t out by then, they are likely dead in the water.  However, if the word is out and people are coming that doesn’t mean the restaurant pats itself on the back and says, “Well, we’ve done it.  Thank god we don’t have to tweet anymore.”  Of course they continue with social media.  It’s a part of most business’ marketing plan these days.

@Miamism - how do you know that the manager who stated they could not offer specials was merely making up a story about “corporate” not allowing it?  Do you work for Sugarcane or their parent company?  I’m going to go out on a limb and answer my own question - no, you don’t.  So, in your opinion, the manager should have done whatever it took to satisfy a group’s requests when no prior arrangement was made to do so, even if it meant he could possibly lose his job?  C’mon now, that’s just unreasonable especially in today’s economy.  Now, let’s just say you are correct and there is no “corporate” rule…  If I’m that manager I’m saying there is a corporate rule so I can keep my position on treating the group like everyone else, end the discussion, and not look like the bad guy.  That’s sales 101, honey.  Management is always the bad guy, not the sales rep that interacts with the customers.  As I stated in an earlier post - even if the manager agreed to the groups requests, how would it have worked anyways?  How would Sugarcane distinguish the SM crowd from regular patrons???  The answer is simple - it wouldn’t work and would lead to problems and possibly piss off REGULAR patrons who aren’t afraid to pay regular price for their meals)

@Mike - You must be a pretty important guy if you’re being recruited for free meals.  Thanks for contributing nothing to the conversation by letting everyone know.  Oh, and thanks for proving yet another one of my points - the restaurant didn’t invite you because they wanted to give away food for free.  They invited you because they wanted to get buzz going, maybe a tweet or a blog post, or maybe you just tell a few friends you enjoyed their food.  So what do you do?  You post here about the free meal and don’t even list the restaurant’s name or say anything about your experience.  All you do is hype yourself getting a free meal.  I’m so impressed.  I bet the restaurant would just love to thank you for the zero return on investment.  Oh, and my name is Steve Rodgers and I live in the Flamingo on South Beach if that helps you keep your discount that you apparently feel entitled to because you have a blog.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 10:10 AM

Maria de los Angeles says:

For the record, in my experience, Sugarcane does require corporate approval for just about everything that’s not a regular customer walking in for drinks or food. At least that was the case when I did my radio show broadcast there. I also once gave up on doing an event there because there were so many hoops and I wasn’t even asking for a discount.  I was in contact with HQ in NY about it, not the local manager.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 10:56 AM

Maria de los Angeles says:

You know it really is a shame this post is focused on Sugarcane because there have to be at least 100 businesses or more that have had no issue supporting the local social media community in the last year alone. A lot of good things have happened without a hitch.

It’s not about what each group represents (it could be a fundraiser party, a big birthday bash, a conference meetup, whatever) it’s about businesses recognizing and embracing community.  Even without social media, Yelp, online forums etc;  this would still be important.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 11:23 AM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@socialmediadouchebag

You’re posing some questions again that were already answered, which makes me think 1) you’re paying selective attention, and 2) you’re affiliated with Sugarcane. I wish MiamiBeach411 would check your IP address. This is why it’s important you identify yourself.

How would Sugarcane know which people to give specials to? That’s easy, like any other establishment would do and like Sugarcane itself has previously done: they hand out wristbands or drink tickets to group members. Sebastian and I can provide a list or identify people as they walk in. This is not a big deal.

The fact that it’s social media day or accountant’s day is largely irrelevant to the establishment, other than the fact that a large group of people are coming, which represents a windfall profit for them on an off night ... ie., a night they wouldn’t have made as much money without the group. Do accountants and doctors and bicyclists and social media people all love to get discounts? Of course. It has nothing to do with being cheapskates. As I said, we get together all the time in smaller groups and don’t ask for discounts. This was an exception, not the rule.

But the fact that it’s social media day holds additional significance, because the people attending are more likely than other groups to share their social experience online. Do accountants and doctors and bicyclists tweet? Sure. But not in the same proportion as as social media community. Generally establishments enjoy getting the free word of mouth, when it’s positive.

As far as having tried to obtain specials before the event and failing to do so, I take 100% of the blame. Yes, I should have moved the venue elsewhere when they declined our request. This is a lesson learned for me. I have the excuse that I was traveling, but I am the first to admit that I should have moved the venue elsewhere or asked someone from the community to assist. Whereas I’m really disappointment in the lack of flexibility of the establishment, I realize I should have moved the meetup elsewhere, as Ines said. There’s no question about that. Live and learn.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 11:28 AM

Social Media Douchebag says:

@Maria - thanks for the proof that working with the SushiSamba group requires corporate approval in advance.  That pretty much closes the case on this caper.

@Alex - It’s commendable for you to take responsibility for being the organizer when things at the event went awry.  I don’t think you should take responsibility for the backlash, however.  That is/was not your fault unless you told people there would be specials when there was no commitment to do so.  Putting together an event is no easy task.  There are lots of details involved.  The reason I repeated myself was to drive home my point.  Wristbands/tickets don’t work on a last minute deal because it’s unreasonable to assume that the restaurant has stock of these things.

I can more than guarantee you I don’t work for anything associated with Sugarcane or the restaurant industry.  Like I said before, I don’t care for Sugarcane at all.  I’ve been 3, maybe 4 times and the food doesn’t do it for me while the service blows.  Maybe if Sugarcane is reading this they will also look in the mirror and make some adjustments.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 12:04 PM

Carlos Miller says:

SMD or Steve,

In your expert opinion, Sugarcane was just using normal business practices by using social media to get the word out and then pulling back from it once they developed a customer base.

That may have worked in the old days when restaurants would go around to neighborhoods and pass out flyers with coupons introducing their new business to get the word out, but that is viewed as disingenuous in social media.

Social media is not just about using twitter to promote yourself, it’s about engaging with your customers on an ongoing basis.

People want to feel special. That’s just human nature. Back in the day, before corporate America ran most businesses, consumers had a personal relationship with their local businesses.

We knew our local bakers and bankers by first-name basis and they knew our names.

Social media is about getting that intimate relationship back.

Too many consumers have become accustomed to the corporate way of doing business, which provides you with impersonal service for cookie-cutter products.

Jimmy Carey at Jimmy’z is a complete contrast to that. He does it old-school in that he treats his customers as if they’re family and his customers in return treat him the same way by personally recommending him to their friends and families, whether it is through social media or verbally in person.

So if he sends a few drinks our way, we’ll take it, not because we’re taking advantage of him, but because we enjoy being treated special. In return, we’ll hype him up any chance we get and it’s not just because he gave us free drinks, it’s because he valued our company.

Some people either get it or don’t get it. Unfortunately, you don’t get it, SMD. You’re so conditioned to take the scraps they throw at you and gladly pay for more, that you think we’re out of line for demanding a little more.

I remember as a kid, my parents would take me to this bakery in Coral Gables called Andalusia. It was very popular. Every time I walked in there with my parents, an older lady behind the counter named Ethel would give me a cookie.

I imagine she did that to all the kids, but I don’t really know. But I do know my parents always shopped their for bread and pastries and cakes. And I always ended up with a free cookie.

Andalusia is long-gone. Ethel, I imagine, is long-gone because that was 35 years ago and she was in her 70s.

But I will never forget her name and how special she made me feel.

And I seriously doubt Andalusia lost business because of her. On the contrary. She was the best employee they had because my parents always raved about her (and not just because of the cookie, but because she knew their names).

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 12:14 PM

Under the Sun says:

As someone that has prospered iin old ( STILL CURRENT) marketing /adverstising tactics, I’ll hand Miller credit for a topic that sells on it’s own. 33 responses up to now. That’s hot !

Social Media today might be responsible for 12% of Madison Ave’s attention at this moment. It’s certanly to grow.I prefer tradition even if it means I’m still a dinosuar.

My only questron is: I’f I’m leading a charge of 150 peeps. I’m going to demand all T’s and I’s are crossed. What happened in this case, I don’t really know. It’s either a communication problem or poor planning on both parts. It’s definitELY a melt down issue.  I agree Sugarcane should have adapted to the situation. Nobody want’‘s to see a exodus out the door.

As for the issue regarding actual names: I go by under the sun ( UTS), and I’m not shy. A couple peeps here, including the author, have shared a raised glass or can with me. I have no need to market myself in the SM atmosphere. I do quite well just walking the streets.

The whinning issue is what struck me from the outset. Cooler heads will eventually see relatively new phenomena out. Just let the market iron itself. 

Without knowing ,Ii’ll bank Sugarcane and Akex (the leader) both made mistakes. It woud be a shame if it happens again. Another chance to get it right is always fothcomming.

Just everybody chill why don’t we ?

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 12:51 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@SMD Thanks for your reply above. I don’t disagree with everything you say, and I appreciate you understand that I’m not a professional event organizer—I was doing this for fun in between work and travel for work. I was not expecting this fallout after the event and certainly I don’t want to put myself in this situation again, and for that, I have only myself to blame.

@UTS As I mentioned, generally I organize events with more notice and more people, so all the T’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. This event was an exception, since Sebastian and I organized it in less than two weeks and I was out of town for a week. I did this for fun, I had fun at Sugarcane, and there was no exodus out the door. I’m glad to learn that the community was as disappointed as I was that the establishment didn’t “show us the love,” and this article and the comments made it event. However, at the time, we all had fun and then we all moved on to an establishment that did love to have us, Jimmy’z. We’re going there again this weekend for ArtWalk ... and we’re not expecting any specials, other than having a good laugh with Jimmy. But it’s all good and I certainly didn’t expect this bit of aggravation, having to justify my choice to pick Sugarcane. That choice bit me in the ass in this post and these comments, and I own up to it. Nevertheless, I had fun at the time and I will have fun the next time.

I’ve learned from the comments here, thank you.

Wholeheartedly, TGIF. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 2:06 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

this article and the comments made it event = this article and the comments made it apparent*

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 2:07 PM

Scott says:

This article just really makes me not want to be part of the social media circle jerk of Miami. Rather than being something informative or insightful on Social Media Day, the article just reads like a bitch session, Carlos.  You set forth your expectations from the outset with this:

“...but we figured we would play along in the hopes that we could cash in on some sweet social media specials.

After all, we not only like to party, we like to brag about it online as annoying as that may be to our friends who stay home.”

I just watched the video, and sadly, I know some of the people in that video.  I might lose some of you as friends (not you, Carlos), but really?  “Fuck sugarcane?”  And editing the video so that the closing words are “fuck sugarcane” yelled in unison after a few nice words from Jimmy’z?  I wouldn’t put my name anywhere near that video.

Honestly, if I were Sugarcane, I might consider banning social media gatherings just based on this behavior.  And clearly, they don’t need the business.  With only just over 10% of all online users using Twitter, I’m sure they’re looking at what percentage of THAT number, given this experience, is even meaningful to them.

I would hope that Social Media Day was really more about getting together and drinking than you make it out to be, Carlos.  Though, based on my own personal experience, that seems to be the end goal of social media gatherings.

All that said, I commend Alex on organizing the event and stepping up after the fact to accept responsibility.  Character: he has it.  And I applaud his work in growing social media in South Florida.  Sadly, I think this article does nothing to promote social media.  But that wasn’t the point of the article, was it?

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 2:46 PM

miamism says:

@Alex, FTR - we so appreciated the effort you put forth and did have a blast!

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 2:47 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Scott, I think you’re taking this article a little too personal if you’re going to let it affect your friendships. It’s not like anybody said, “Fuck Ipanemic.”

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 3:25 PM

scott says:

Carlos,
Silly.  I’m not taking it personal.  It’s simply that I worry about speaking ill of the social media circle wherein some friends happily reside.  Just found it kind of sad, really.  It’s rare for me to voice an opinion that isn’t middle of the road, you know.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 3:41 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I accept all responsibility for what was said in the video. I was leading the chant, then got them to say it.

It was all done in fun. These days, we can tell each other to fuck off and it’s not a big deal.

I edited it like that for brevity. And humor. It was supposed to be a funny video.

That’s why I think you’re taking it a little too serious.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:03 PM

Carlos Miller says:

In fact, this whole article was supposed to be a light-hearted look at social media.

Yeah, I was a little peeved at Sugarcane, not only for their high prices, but for their aloof bar staff, which is the norm in trendy Miami spots.

I was also peeved at how they used bait and switch tactics on Foursquare Day, though I wasn’t there. However, I did interview people after that day, including Maria and CG Gaines, two people who would not embellish for the sake of being dramatic.

They both said they had a great time on Foursquare Day, but were taken aback by the bait and switch tactics employed by Sugarcane.

I was going to write something back then, but I got caught up in other stories and then it too much time passed to make the story relevant.

So when this issue came up, I was like, WTF, why are we even partying at Sugarcane?

It was happy hour and they charged me $7 for a glass of OJ for my friend, Sze. It wasn’t like they freshly squeezed it or anything (at least not on the spot although it took a while for them to serve it).

Yeah, I know what some people are saying. If you don’t like the prices, then don’t go there. Truth be told, I probably won’t go back. I prefer Mercadito next door anyway.

But back to the article. It was supposed to be a sarcastic look at social media and these created holidays.

The point I was trying to make is that these holidays are not really benefiting the people. They are benefiting Mashable and in this case, it benefited Sugarcane, but we are the people who make Social Media happen and we got screwed.

So call it entitlement or whatever, but I don’t like to be used as a pawn by corporations. And that’s exactly what happened here.

And yes, it’s our fault because we allowed it to happen.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:13 PM

Carlos Miller says:

CB Gaines, CG Gaines in above comment.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:18 PM

Carlos Miller says:

But the point of the article was also to highlight Jimmy’z as a company that does social media right.

And I’ll be honest. I’m biased. I tend to favor the local small business owner over the corporate restaurant anyway. And this is one reason why.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:23 PM

SUGARCANE says:

To:  Carlos Miller and the Social Media Day Attendees,

SUGARCANE raw bar grill has been referenced multiple times with regards to participation in the second annual Social Media Day, which occurred on June 30, 2011. We would like for everyone to hear our side of the story.

On June 20 — 10 days prior to the event — Sebastian Rusk, one of the co-organizers of Miami’s Social Media Day, contacted SUGARCANE’s events manager. Within this email, Mr. Rusk provided a link to the Facebook invite/page for Social Media Day Miami, informing SUGARCANE that the Social Media Day group would be meeting at the restaurant. This correspondence was the first SUGARCANE had heard of the event. No further contact took place until June 29 — the day before the event — when he again emailed the events manager and said that 207 people had RSVPed for the Social Media Day Miami, with an expected attendance of 100-plus.

Up to this point, organizers had simply said their Social Media Day group would be meeting at SUGARCANE on June 30. SUGARCANE was supportive of the endeavor and agreed to allow the venue to be used for this gathering. The usual event fees and guarantees that are usually required for large parties were waived. Again, at no point was there any discussion of a discount or giveaways.

This changed on June 30, the day of the event. At approximately 1 p.m. — five hours before the beginning of the Social Media Day event —Mr. Rusk emailed SUGARCANE’s events manager asking for an extension of SUGARCANE’s happy hour menu from 6 to 9 p.m. for members of his Social Media Day group (SUGARCANE’s happy hour typically runs from 4 to 7 p.m.) or a Social Media Day SUGARCANE Drink for a special price. In addition to these, he also asked if SUGARCANE could pass around free appetizers for Social Media Day guests. The events manager contacted SUGARCANE’s corporate office, as SUGARCANE had not been approached before this, been in discussion about or promised any form of discount or giveaways, nor did it have the supply of any typically provided items to offer as an incentive to those who would be attending.

That same day, minutes after Mr. Rusk’s email, Miami Social Media Day’s other organizer, Alex de Carvalho, initiated contact with SUGARCANE through Twitter. His first tweet read: “@sugarcanerawbar We’re trying to organize drink specials for #SMDay today. We have 260+ RSVPs on.fb.me/jWMLb8 What can you do for us?” Nearly 30 minutes later, another message was sent to the Twitter handle of SUGARCANE’s sister restaurant, SUSHISAMBA, which read “@sushisamba We’ve been trying to organize drink specials for #SMDay, with no response from @sugarcanrawbar bit.ly/k9pqer Can you help?” Finally, a third tweet was sent to both restaurants: “@sugarcanerawbar Until now, both @sushisamba & @sugarcanerawbar have been happy to host. Why the change? We’re bringing a large community.”

Upon reading these messages and this article, it may seem that SUGARCANE does not appreciate or respect the power of social media. That’s far from the truth, as evidenced by the restaurant’s active Twitter feed, Facebook page and presence on foursquare, among others, and the appreciation it extends to those who tweet, post and check-in when they visit. Additionally, SUGARCANE is an active participant in the community. The restaurant regularly donates time and resources to give back to various causes, such as providing gift card donations to charities in order for them to fundraise; hosting the inaugural Ceviche Throwdown —in which 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to Friends of The Fisherman, a nonprofit organization that helps Louisiana fisherman; and participated in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Taste of the Nation among many other local and national culinary events.

SUGARCANE regularly hosts large parties and groups. Given enough notice, the restaurant is capable of accommodating nearly any special request made by its guests. But these requests must be made through formal channels and within an achievable timeframe. In order to best address them, planning must be done on the part of the event organizer and the restaurant in order to guarantee enough resources such as beverages, food and staff, as well as address behind-the-scenes issue such as alerting staff of promotions, can be taken care of.

We very much enjoyed participating in Social Media Day and as a gesture of concern regarding this matter and in an effort to restore your faith in SUGARCANE we would appreciate the opportunity to welcome you back for a special Social Media Happy Hour. We invite the organizer’s Mashable’s Social Media Day Miami event to contact us so that we can set up a mutually agreed upon date.  We believe that with the advanced notice we can guarantee the event to be a huge success and executed in the professional manner that we uphold. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
SUGARCANE raw bar grill

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 4:58 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Awesome! Thanks for commenting.

I really enjoy when conversations are brought out in the open like this. I will retweet this story to make sure everybody has a chance to read SUGARCANE’S side.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 5:12 PM

Rick says:

Sugarcane’s classy response to a whole bunch of nastiness and boorishness here is to be commended, I think.

A few apologies, I believe, are in order.

Who’s first? Personally, I think the people in the video effing off the restaurant should be at the head of the line.

Just sayin’.

.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 5:41 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I hear Social Media Douchebag will join us at this upcoming happy hour but will insist on paying full price for everything to prove he accepts no freebies and pulls his own weight.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:03 PM

Rick says:

Carlos….just fyi, any mocking of SMD and/or Sugarcane by anyone involved with that circus looks pretty lame at this point.

.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:08 PM

Social Media Douchebag says:

@Scott - glad to see someone with enough common sense to realize how absurd their behavior was in that video.  I’d be embarrassed to be associated with it too.

@Sugarcane - thanks for posting the whole REAL story.  Kudos to you for offering to host this crowd when they did nothing to deserve it.

My work here is done.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:09 PM

Under the Sun says:

This topic had it all, from beginning through middle and end. I think both positions had validity but with the belief in the same happy medium.

It might not be apparent to some but I learned a valuable useful lesson from the conversations.
As someone who has not placed both feet wholeheartedly in SM. I’m reconsidering that postion and play catch up.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:14 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Once a douchebag, always a douchebag. But at least you acknowledge it.

Now go back to the “anonymous” hole you crawled out from.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:16 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@sugarcane Thank you for posting and clarifying the issues from your perspective, and the story is correct as you posted. I wish you had jumped in earlier. As the co-organizer of this event, and as someone who enjoys meeting up with this community, I felt dismayed at having to justify my choice of Sugarcane. As I have repeatedly mentioned above, I was traveling to Paris during the week before the event and relied on Sebastian to organize things with you, and I was told by Sebastian that you had been uncooperative, which was a surprise to me. Hence the tweets before the event, which occurred the day after I returned from Paris. By the way, @sushisamba are always responsive to tweets and my tweets to @sugarcane did get answered after I tweeted Sushi Samba.

Social Media Happy Hour sounds like a great idea. Let bygones be bygones.

Posted on 07/08/2011 at 6:57 PM

bill says:

Very entertaining.

Posted on 07/09/2011 at 5:06 PM

bill says:

BTW, from reading the story and comments, I gather there was a lot of Facebooking, tweeting and emailing. Did anyone actually think of picking up the phone and calling Sugarcane to see if they might extend some courtesies to this large group? That’s the way things used to be done back in the day when people weren’t afraid to initiate a face to face conversation.

Posted on 07/09/2011 at 5:40 PM

Ines says:

Don’t know about the test of you, but for me, the faith has been restored - still a fan of Sugarcane

Posted on 07/09/2011 at 6:59 PM

miamism says:

(that was supposed to say “rest of you”) damn iphone!

Posted on 07/09/2011 at 7:01 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

I’m cross-posting this from SFDB:

It’s a stunning to consider that just five years ago almost to the day, this blogging community reacted adversely to any kind of corporate sponsorship of their meetups.
(see http://criticalmiami.com/2006/08/07/UmnosorrytheMiamibloggerswillNOTbegathering )

Now, there’s apparently a huge outcry because Sugarcane didn’t offer specials to the community?

But is there really? We gathered at Sugarcane, we had a good time, and then we moved on to have dinner elsewhere. No outcry. No controversy. End of story.

Now, as the organizer, I am the first to admit I should have negotiated for some specials (as you rightly noted, @bill) and I have said so in comments above for those who took the time to read through the whole thread. Although it’s hard to estimate exact numbers from Facebook RSVPs—because an RSVP on Facebook does not indicate commitment—it was evident we were going to have over 100 people. When you bring so many people to a venue, it really is customary to request specials, and I failed to do so. I had a busy work and travel schedule, but that’s no excuse. The blame lies with me and not with Sugarcane. There is no controversy. End of story.

Now consider that the event co-organizer, Sebastian, did contact Sugarcane ten days in advance to say we had picked their location for social media day and communicated the Facebook link. They themselves admitted to knowing about this event ahead of time, in the comments at MB411. Leading up to the event, Sugarcane could see the RSVPs climbing up through 100, 150, 200, 220 people ...

Consider also that Sugarcane repeatedly tweeted about the event in advance, including:
“Rain Rain… Go Away! Don’t you know it’s #SMDay and #Miami will be at @sugarcanerawbar!!!”
“You did hear that it was Social Media Day, didn’t you? Guess where #Miami’s gathering is taking place ... http://bit.ly/jUigAH”
“We are! RT @TheLCSocial: 2 days until the #smday meetup at @sugarcanerawbar Miami just enough time to study the menu! Who’s as excited as we are?”

Could Sugarcane have taken the extra step and created a special deal for us? Of course they could have. They knew what was happening and they were happy to be a part of it. Did they take that step? No. Were they obliged to? Of course not. While it might have been a really nice gesture on their part, they are of course not to blame.

I am.

Carlos is a friend and he didn’t put me on the spot in the article. He could have. I believe he also could have tried to get Sugarcane’s side of the story before writing the article. Surely journalists face the challenge of waiting for “the corporate channels to prepare a response for me” all the time, but that’s the way it is. The story is not complete until all sides are queried.

One positive thing about all this is to see that the community cares and is present. That really is very refreshing.

Posted on 07/10/2011 at 8:39 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Alex, I think your comment at SFDB may have gotten caught up in his spam filter because it’s not showing up.

Posted on 07/10/2011 at 9:42 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Alex, it is a little ironic that the social media community has been reluctant to accept corporate sponsorships, but ever since the corporations have immersed themselves in social media, some have made us offers we couldn’t refuse.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here.

And that’s exactly was the point of the article. That if we’re going to be corporate pawns and celebrate a fictitious holiday at a trendy Miami restaurant, make it worth our while.

As far as not calling Sugarcane for a response, as I said, I didn’t want to wait several days for a watered-down answer. I suspect I would not have received the detailed explanation we did if I had asked for their view before the article was published.

It wasn’t until Sugarcane realized what a firestorm this had become that they decided to provide the detailed response, which I’m very happy they did. More power to them.

But this came from the Marketing and PR Director in New York, so there was no way I could have picked up the phone and gotten those comments on deadline.

But the beauty of New Media is that it allows people to respond in the comments section, unlike the Old Media.

Posted on 07/10/2011 at 10:02 PM

Mike W says:

I agree with some of the other commenters in liking Sugarcane’s response. It’s not fair to indict them over this incident, although clearly JimmyZ deserves the praise.

But the store manager at Sugarcane clearly failed to do the smart thing. Give something - people appreciate damn near anything you can give them, like extending happy hour pricing. Maybe this is a chance to get rid of some overstock? In any event, yes, the manager would need to call corporate the next day and explain what happened, but that’s their job - to make decisions that create more loyal customers.

With fierce competition and knowing the cost of acquiring new customers this manager should have realized this is the cheapest marketing they will ever get!

Posted on 07/11/2011 at 1:30 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Here is an article about how Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is using social media.

Posted on 07/21/2011 at 10:23 AM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Julie Diaz Asper, co-founder of Gigcoin.com, just wrote a piece on Jimmyz and what they do to be successful: http://blog.gigcoin.com/jimmyz-kitchen-how-to-get-super-fans-not-just-likes/

Posted on 08/05/2011 at 2:15 PM

Jery says:

It obvious SurgarCane is not doing any local market research in FL. If they did they would have seen Jimmy’z Kitchen was out performing them and would have figured out why and kicked them self’s in the ass.

Posted on 01/02/2012 at 5:17 PM

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