5.20.2015: World’s 50 Best / TripAdvisor


Online Petition Against “World’s 50 Best”

I wrote about my own issues with worldwide restaurant rankings last fall— specifically that they’re unbelievably subjective and a true comparison of apples to oranges if there ever were one. Now, a France-based group of industry pros is calling for sponsors to actively boycott the event with an online campaign and petition to “Occupy 50 Best.” They claim the awards are “opaque, sexist, and complacent.”Eater has a great piece about this, including an interview with the initiative’s founder.


To Be Good at Twitter, One Must Empathize

…brands, take note. A recent Harvard study of top publicly-traded companies in the US and UK ranked the most- and least-empathetic companies on Twitter. The assumption: the best way for a brand to be “good” on Twitter is to empathize. And who doesn’t do this well? Starbucks, apparently, which ranked second-to-last in the study (just ahead of a pharmaceutical company, woohoo!) According to the study: “Starbucks simply redirects queries to an email address—with a grating exclamation point to add insult to injury.”

They’re on track with the empathy thing. The best brands respond quickly and directly, and offer real solutions. This is also real, empirical knowledge that can influence a brand’s social media strategy. (If you’ve ever had to explain a social media campaign’s success to a boss that doesn’t quite get it, you’ll appreciate this sort of thing.) So why does empathy top Harvard’s list of “ways to be good at social media”? Probably because it is a purely human emotion — pretty much the exact opposite of an automated or computer response. The real challenge of the digital world is to connect with the human on the other side of the screen through words, images, video, whatever. I agree, the best way to do this is by injecting as much human emotion as possible.


Are We Really Doing This? This Plate is for Instagram

I am 100 percent convinced that restaurant food presentation has evolved to photograph well on Instagram. My husband swears restaurants are using more square plates for this reason (I maintain they are more space-efficient for small tables and also trendy.) But, here we go: a “dinner concept” designed to get the best possible Instagram image of your plate. An Israeli chef designed a five-course meal for people who are apparently more excited about looking at their food than actually eating it, including a dish served on a rotating plate. (It’s called “360.” We’re really doing this.)


Three Stars Are NOT a Charm, Apparently

Some interesting data from a company called Review Trackers, that…. tracks online business reviews. A survey asked 500 “internet users of various backgrounds” whether they’d eat at a restaurant with a three-star review. 33 percent said they wouldn’t, ever. Takeaway: With great power comes great responsibility, online reviewers. That, plus the fact that these sites usually sort by ranking makes a place reviewed as “average” completely sub-par.


TripAdvisor + Restaurant Reservations

Things that make total sense: a service that will make restaurant reservations for you when you travel (she types, as she sits in Paris counting the minutes until a certain reservations-free restaurant opens its doors). On a recent earnings call, TripAdvisor leadership insinuated that they’re going to be looking into restaurant reservations, aggressively. They’ve bought several digital reservations services recently, including France’s La Fourchette (which is coincidentally advertised in partnership with TripAdvisor all over the Paris metro at the moment.) As food tourism grows in popularity, this makes a whole lot of sense. Search for hotel. Book hotel. Search for restaurant. Book restaurant (without having to fumble through a phone call in your non-native language.) People plan whole vacations around restaurant dining; it makes sense to include this level of service within travel planning.


Awesome Event Alert: BITE Silicon Valley

A food+tech conference “where ideas, issues, and solutions flow as easily as wine.” Yes, please! The inaugural BITE Silicon Valley event is June 5-7 at Levi’s Stadium. Tickets are still available.


  • New York! The next Food+Tech meetup is May 27: The Business of On-Demand Food Startups. You should go. — Food+Tech Connect
  • Officially ubiquitous: Google integrates food ordering into search results — TechCrunch
  • The inside story behind “cubes” — 98 different foods shaped into identical cubes — Bon Appetit

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