7.23.2013: Paris / @ChipotleTweets


Malaise and Dining in Paris

I visited Paris with my husband last month, and almost immediately upon our return, I noticed a glut of Paris-themed articles lamenting the more-pronounced-than-usual Parisian ambivalence that has taken hold of the city (Maureen Dowd’s NYT editorial captures it best.) Visiting with a critical eye toward restaurants and digital technology, (surprise!) I noticed a one exceptionally remarkable point: young chefs eschewing traditionally French styles in favor of a decidedly California-influenced, farm-to-table approach.
But for all of this recent innovation, the French haven’t caught on to American digital and social technology in restaurants — no surprise when you consider the institution of French cooking and dining. Now that new ways of sourcing and preparing are taking over, perhaps Parisians will see an uptick in digital creativity from their culinary stars.
It’s an interesting time in the Parisian dining scene — I posted my full thoughts on Medium.



Does It Matter if It Was on Purpose?

On Sunday morning, @ChipotleTweets Twitter followers were treated to what looked like a social media meltdown — and sounded like a Twitter n00b trying to use Siri on his iPhone to (maybe?) post to the site. Thanks to history’s sake, the general Twitter population is used “hacks’ like this — events that usually occur when a third party gains access to a brand or organization’s Twitter handle (probably thanks to a weak password… like p@ssw0rd.)
After the restaurant’s Social Media Manager, (Joe, who generally signs Tweets he posts) regained control of the account, and a few initial chuckles, savvy followers immediately started speculating that Chipotle staged the “hack” itself in a lighthearted attempt to get some press on an otherwise chillSunday morning. Supporting this theory are the bizarre-but-not-offensive Tweets, still live on the chain’s Twitter feed. While Twitter best practices generally dictate not removing Tweets once they’re posted, businesses whose accounts have been compromised rarely leave the offending material. All told, the event was a tiny blip on the radar in terms of engagement and payoff. Everyone loves a bit of humor — so does it really matter if it was staged or not? Initially, I thought the idea, if it was scripted, a total waste of time. But here I am discussing it, days later. Chipotle has a solid history of digital success… perhaps this was just another way of pushing the envelope?



Food Genius Food Trends Dashboard

Just launched: the Food Genius Report Dashboard, which tracks menu trends in restaurants — over 100,000 restaurants — to determine trends and hot items or ingredients. Fascinating information for food and recipe development… but it comes at a price; between 2-10k per month. So, while this information might be a bit unattainable to the average consumer, we can benefit from this new research method. Since the dashboard is entirely digital, it’s updated in real time, making these trends real-time and daily. Fast access to information means faster change, iteration, and innovation on menus… which in turn means more change, more excitement, and more new ideas. I’d love to see a consumer version.



@MarioBatali’s Social Media Marketing of Del Posto

Arguably one of the chef kings of social media, Mario Batali’s Del Posto is announcing some new menu items, and he’s taking over its Twitter handle to taste through the lot. Along with business partner and chef Lidia Bastianich, Batali has spent the morning directing his 489,000 followers to follow@DelPosto for the announcements and taste notes.
For menu-watchers, the excitement lies in the details of the new items. But for social tech marketing fans, the savvy move represents another new, smart way to engage with fans while growing a restaurant’s presence. Batali has a nationwide, if not worldwide, appeal. Del Posto caters to a New York City crowd. But when a national personality takes over the reins and shares tasty, personality-filled information of interest to fans who may never step inside the restaurant, a local business suddenly gets nationwide appeal. The restaurant’s following has grown by 200 in the last hour; curious to see how it grows after Batali spreads his original brand of social media commentary through (yet another) channel. Well done.



  • Daniel BouludEric Ripert, and Anthony Bourdain make dinner plans on Twitter (Ripert’s bringing the wine) — @EricRipert
  • Easy and obvious shortcut for recipe searches on Epicurious — Epicurious
  • Twitter fight! Top Chef alum/Ripert protege Jen Carroll’s new restaurant’s name is challenged by a musician with a sort-of band with the same name — Eater
  • Taco Bell is the best restaurant chain on social media, apparently — National Restaurant News

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