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Photo: Crown Restaurant Group
Anthony and Haley Sitek own Crown Restaurant Group.
A local restaurant group is launching an effort to help small businesses “reclaim” their social media presence.
Crown Restaurant Group (CRG), which owns five restaurants in downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine, including Losanti and Crown Republic Gastropub, launched its “Reclaim Social” campaign. The goal is to collect narratives from business owners that were affected by random social media shutdowns, hacking and imposter accounts. Haley Sitek, co-owner and director of hospitality at CRG, said the idea came after CRG's Instagram pages were unexpectedly shut down in October.
Especially for small businesses and restaurants, social media plays an important role in marketing and engaging with customers. CRG losing access to its Instagram account meant losing access to all its followers and its main channel of communication with them. Sitek said she waited 30 days and tried to troubleshoot the problem. But after no help from Meta, Facebook and Instagram's parent company, came, she said she decided to cut her losses and remake the Instagram accounts from scratch, losing thousands of followers.
“I know that we are not alone in being shut out of our social media accounts,” Sitek said in a press release. “We believe that social media should be a space where small businesses feel in control of their identity and communication, and we want to do whatever is possible to protect that.”
CRG says other Cincinnati restaurants, including Arnold's Bar & Grill, Zip's and Via Vite, also experienced similar problems with Meta recently.
"On the heels of the pandemic where restaurants were struggling to survive the day-to-day, this hits especially hard," CRG said.
Sitek says Crown Restaurant Group is hoping to use the narratives collected to raise awareness of lax verification processes and widespread shutdowns of small businesses on social media. Sitek created this form
that small business owners can fill out and share their experiences.
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