12.17.2013: Favors / Apple’s Reservations


Philadelphia “Restaurant Reviewer” Wants Free Food for Her Family

This is why we can’t have nice things. A Philadelphia-based “restaurant blogger” had the gall to send an email to several restaurants presenting an “exciting opportunity.” In exchange for free dinner and drinks for her family of five, this woman will promote the restaurant on her Facebook page, share five Instagram images (to her highly-influential 560 followers), and inclusion in an e-newsletter.

Obviously, more influential people “promote” awesome and delicious restaurants through social channels with a far greater reach than these, expecting no special treatment in return. Respectable industry editorial folk and critics won’t demand free meals or special treatment. And, what especially irks me is the ridiculous sense of entitlement here. While this email got picked up by some fairly mainstream local press (and then Gawker, of course), I can’t believe this is the first time something like this has happened.

Here’s the thing: so-called digital influence or “connections” does not a successful reviewer make. Yelp Elite status doesn’t make it, either. And, just because you enjoy dining out at nice restaurants does not mean you are qualified to review or even ask for favors from them. The good that comes from this, I suppose, is the exposure it’s getting. If we as readers and general digital consumers expect the best from critics and other editorial professionals, ridiculousness like this will sink to the bottom and eventually burn itself out.



Fired UK Chef Uses Restaurant’s Twitter Account for Revenge

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters

Attention restaurants: before you fire a chef (or anyone, really), check to see who has access to the Twitter account. This week in the UK, a pub called The Plough allegedly fired its head chef after he asked for the day off on Christmas. So, the chef — who set up the restaurant’s Twitter account — decided to broadcast his firing to over 3,000 of the restaurant’s Twitter followers.

Apparently, it took a while for the restaurant to figure out how to take the Tweets down (they’ve since been removed.) A good reminder to keep your communications close — even if it’s just a simple Twitter account. Also a good reminder to treat staff fairly. Especially staff with keys to the public eye.


Apple Patents a Dynamic, Highly-Connected, Awesome-Sounding Reservations System

From the exciting world of restaurant reservations comes news that Apple has filed a patent for a restaurant reservation and ordering system, presumably for its iPad. And, of course, the benefit of such a system from Apple means people could connect directly via their iPhones. The entire system is incredibly integrated and dynamic — for example, wait times for guests can change based on what those seated actually order. whoa. The system can also tell you what to order based on allergies or food preferences.

Eater has the full patent application, which, if executed could seriously change the face of connected dining. But this also begs the question: at what point does restaurant tech simply become too intrusive and ruin the implicitly human dining experience?


Creating the Connected Kitchen

Meet The Orange Chef, a San Francisco startup working to connect otherwise ordinary kitchen gadgets to the internet. The company, which already sells basic kitchen + tech items (like a cutting board with a built-in tablet stand), just raised $1.2 million in seed funding from a host of investors, including Google Ventures. It’s still super early to say, but the type of stuff that The Orange Chef is working on — connecting food prep to available food information and facts, cataloguing ingredients and packaged goods, and more — lays the groundwork for a totally connected cooking experience. And with this specific company’s focus on food and nutrition, a connected kitchen could mean a healthier kitchen. Very exciting stuff.


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