By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
They already have a captive audience: the thousands of Capitol Hill staffers who toil in House and Senate offices. But now the congressional cafeterias are doing even more to keep their crowd from stepping outside their workplaces to grab a Hawk 'n' Dove cheeseburger. They're reaching out to their customers on Twitter.
"Welcome to our first Tweet," said the Senate cafes [http://twitter.com/senatecafes], which just launched on the social networking site. "Our first tweet and just figuring this out . . . that would be we HAVE 5 new sandwiches and 2 new salads. Thanks for signing up for our tweets!" Their first advertised special: "Chef's Table in Dirksen today at 11:30! Herb Roast Cod w. Squid Ink Linguini, Broccolini & Asparagus. For today's date . . . $9.99 per plate."
The promotion, heralded in little plaques like the one pictured below, follows a similar effort on the House side. "Ushrcafes" [http://twitter.com/ushrcafes] promotes its daily chow at the various cafeterias, as well as drinks and treats at the "Creamery" and "Capitol Market" cupcake bar.
Fortunately for some fans of the long-operating congressional cafeterias, the new technology doesn't mean that old-time favorites have been replaced with lettuce wraps and panini. Still around: A grilled peanut butter, banana, and marshmallow sandwich and the staff fave, "16oz soda and bag of popcorn—$1.95."