CategoryLondon

Meal at Ponti’s Italian Kitchen Restaurant (London)

I was in London recently for a conference (see my other blog posts) and was looking for somewhere to eat at. Being close to Oxford Circus tube station, Ponti’s was a convenient place for me to have an evening meal before going back to my hotel near King’s Cross.

I initially reserved a table for 7:30pm, but ended up being tied up elsewhere so had to call them and ask to push it back by an hour. Although they were busy that evening and I had called at last minute, they handled it with no problems. In case you’re wondering, I went there on Monday 8th July.

I was surprised at how close it actually was to the Oxford Circus tube station – literally a minute’s walk down a side road.

Ponti's Italian Kitchen oxford circus london

When I went in to the restaurant, I was greeted by a waiter and after checking my reservation I was shown to my table.

Time to order a drink! As it had been a hot day, I decided to go for a freshly squeezed orange juice, which tasted really nice! It was tangy (but not bitter!), and the bits left in which made it taste authentic. There were a few ice cubes in the glass too (and a slice of orange!) which was nice as it was a hot day.

Ponti's Italian Kitchen orange juice oxford circus london

After looking through their menu (which can be found here: http://www.pontis.co.uk/menus/PIK_main_0413.pdf), I decided to order the “Cotoletta Alla Milanese”, which was a pan-fried breaded chicken breast served with mashed potato.

I was pleased with the speed of service which I thought was just right. Not too fast that you would think it had already been cooked and waiting, but not too long that you got bored waiting.

When it arrived, I was very hungry from a long day spent travelling so I tucked in right away! The chicken was moist, and you could tell that it has been fried with sage butter which was nice and meant the meat didn’t dry up.

Ponti's Italian Kitchen cotoletta alls milanese oxford circus london

The photo doesn’t really give it credit – it was really filling!

After all that, I was ready to leave, and didn’t actually realise that they did desserts until I was given their special desserts menu after my plate had been taken away.

After being given the menu, the waiter recommended the cheesecake or brownie, but said that if I felt full, the Panna Cotta would be a good option. As I was still fairly full from the main, I decided to go for the latter. I appreciated the recommendation as I can never decide what to have (especially when it comes to desserts!).

It certainly stood up to its description of being creamy. It was a fairly light dessert, but had a really nice milky taste which went well with the crumble and berry compote. Not incredibly filling, but very creamy/milky and possibly even refreshing to some degree!

Ponti's Italian Kitchen panna cotta oxford circus london

After finishing my dessert, I was asked if wanted tea or coffee, but as I wanted to get back to my hotel to unpack my things I chose not to.

 

Overall, the restaurant has a great atmosphere, with music playing in the background at a low volume which is nice. The staff were very friendly and gave “service with a smile” although it was fairly busy and they were always on their feet. I think at least some of the staff were Italian and I was called “signor” a few times. All of this made it feel fairly authentic Italian.

I only wish that staff would be like this at all of the places I eat at. There is always usually that one member of staff that looks stressed, unmotivated and ends up passing on that negativity to the customer. At this place, the staff always seemed positive (even though it was busy) and seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

 

If I had the chance to visit again, I’d definitely go for one of their pizzas which sound really nice!

If you’re not that hungry, I imagine it would also be a great place to go out for drinks with a few friends in the evening as the table next to me had just come for drinks.

If you’d like to experience Ponti’s Italian Kitchen for yourself, they can be found at 5-7 John Princes Street, Oxford Circus, London, W1G 0JN, and 54 Duke Street, London, W1K 6JN.

Social CRM 2013 Conference (London) – Live Blog

Here is my event blog for the Social CRM 2013 Conference at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so the main focus of the conference was on how Social can be used to build customer relationships.

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The day was kick-started with welcome drinks and networking and a brief introduction by Luke Brynley-Jones, CEO of Our Social Times.

 

The second speaker of the day was Ben Kay (@Benjamin_Kay) – Digital Strategist & Digital Media at Everything, Everywhere.

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Ben spoke about “Bringing Social to the Heart of the Business”, and how EE combined social and mobile to create the ultimate mobile network.

After Ben spoke about how EE became a ‘Social business’, we were then shown a short video of EE’s ‘Social Hub’. Rather than placing staff in a typical office or call centre environment, EE chose to design a purpose-built room called the ‘Social Hub’ as a central HQ for their Social operations. The video can be found here.

 

It was then the turn of Jacqui Taylor (@jacquitaylorfb) – Managing Director at FlyingBinary, to speak about ‘Looking beyond Social Data to Social Business’. As a data scientist, Jacqui showed how mentions through social channels can be categorised by sentiment then analysed.

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Lunch break! We were all given an hour’s lunch break which also facilitated networking and discussions with sponsors and exhibitors.

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Nico Henderijckx (@tweety2b) – European Forum & Community Manager at Sony Europe spoke about “Managing relationships with Brand Fans and Superfans”.

It was interesting to hear about how Sony uses “superfans” to moderate the online community and engage with fans and forum members on Sony’s behalf. Whilst these “superfans” are not paid a salary as such, they are provided with a support package which includes regular training, bi-annual conferences and week long team-building trips where Sony flies them out to a location in Europe along with a number of top-level executives to allow them to bond together. Sony’s “superfans” are also given confidential information and access to new products before everyone else.

At the end of the presentation, a representative from Spotify had asked about how they could make the most of their “superfans”, so it was good to see that they had set an example for other companies to follow.

 

Bian Salins (@b1an) – Head of Social at NOW TV.

Even though NOW TV was part of Sky, it was reassuring to hear that they had still faced the typical barriers that many start-ups face relating to getting their initial brand message out. Bian spoke about how they had run a number of Twitter campaigns with free tickets to exclusive cinema screenings.

Bian was very engaging throughout, and I’m sure she helped inspire the attendees.

 

Next up, it was Tom Ollerton (@mrtomollerton) – Marketing Director at We Are Social.

Tom spoke about how We Are Social had created a unique marketing plan for Marmite (Unilever), where they created a “secret society” group called the “Marmarati”!

A detailed case study can be found here: http://wearesocial.net/forrester-marmarati/

This actually turned out to be the most memorable presentation and talk of the day, as it was a rather unique marketing strategy.

 

Next it was a panel discussion with:

  • Guy Stephens, Managing Consultant – Social Business IBM (Host)
  • Naomi Trickey, EMEA Sales Director, Brandwatch
  • Thomas Messett, Head of Digital Marketing & Advocacy, Nokia
  • Matthew Brazil, COO, Conversocial

The topic of discussion was “Breaking down the ‘Social Façade’ between Internal and External Media”. Whilst members of the panel seemed to agree that internal social tools such as Yammer and Socialcast (although sometimes beneficial) actually wasted time, the opinion of the majority of attendees was actually the opposite.

One comment I found funny was that employees were getting emails from their CEO to say “I have just posted something to Yammer” – professional or what!

 

The day ended with Ronan Gillen (@AskeBay) – EU Complaints, Community & Social CS Manager at eBay, speaking about “Improving the Customer Experience with each social interaction”.

This was a good talk as I was interested to hear how eBay deals with what must be a large amount of enquiries coming in through Social channels.

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eBay realised that social media could be used as a Customer Service channel and whilst they still have traditional call centre support are now focusing their efforts on providing support through social media (Twitter and Facebook).

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Overall, it was a great event with interesting speakers, from which I learnt a lot about what companies are doing to utilize social media. It is clear that CRM through Social growing and is an area to watch out for.
The live ‘Tweet wall’ throughout the day was a great idea too! Thanks to Our Social Times for organising the event!

Social CRM 2013 Conference (London)

Our Social Times logo

 

 

Organised by Our Social Times, Social CRM 2013 is an annual two-day social/digital media event. The first day being a workshop with the second day a conference, which attracts speakers and attendees from a number of blue chip companies.

Key topics of discussion will include:

  • From Social CRM to Social Business
  • How Organisations are Managing Social Customer Engagement
  • Integrating Social Customer Service, Marketing and Communications
  • Brand Case Studies: Social CRM in Action
  • Measuring the Value of Social CRM
  • Beyond Big Data: The Long Road to Genuine Social Business
  • Leveraging Customer Communities
  • Delivering End-to-End Social Customer Service
  • Panel Discussion and Q&A

This year’s speakers are:

Ronan Gillen
Twitter: @Nanor23
eBay – EU Complaints, Community & Social CS Manager

Bian Salins
Twitter: @b1an
Job Title: Head of Social
Company: Now TV

Ben Kay
Twitter: @Benjamin_Kay
Job Title: Head of Digital Strategy & Adoption, Company: Everything, Everywhere

Jacqui Taylor
Twitter: @jacquitaylorfb
Job Title: Managing Director
Company: FlyingBinary

Martin Hill-Wilson
Twitter: @martinhw
Job Title: Consultant
Company: Brainfood Consulting

Chris Heffer
Twitter: @theotherhef
Job Title: EMEA Marketing Manager Company: Dachis Group

Leon Chaddock
Twitter: @leonchaddock
Job Title: CEO
Company: Sentiment Metrics

Luke Brynley-Jones
Twitter: @lbrynleyjones
Job Title: CEO
Company: Our Social Times

Nico Henderijckx
Twitter: @tweety2b
Job Title: European Forum and Community Manager
Company: Sony

Tom Messett
Twitter: @TomMessett

Social CRM London 2013 logos

A programme/agenda for the day can be found here:

Tickets are £295 and include complimentary breakfast and a 3 course lunch. It is being held at the Cavendish Conference Centre which is easily accessible by tube (Oxford Circus).

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