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Brandstorming is a team blog written by Jim and Franki Durbin. We like to think of it as our idea playground.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Restaurants and Social Media and Chipotle

Jeremiah has a interesting piece on a piece of snark journalism from the San Francisco Gate, with a sharply titled piece on reviewing restaurants.

The piece is actually written somewhat favorably, but the title says it all.

Food bloggers dish up plates of spicy criticism
Formerly formal discipline of reviewing becomes a free-for-all for online amateurs
Now, I don't know if I'm an amateur, because if you check out my resume, I've been eating solid food since I was, oh, let's just say over thirty years, with over 15 years of me "eating out" at restaurants of all calibers, in North America and Europe. My "range" of experience, if you will, might be broader than some food critics, who would never go so far as to eat Fatburger, fish tacos, or say machaca from 4th and Evergreen. Much less chowing down at The HomeTown Buffet because that's where your grandfather wants to eat.

But I digress. I like the idea of restaurants turning to social media to gather real-time criticism and praise in their local community, and if you look to Seattle, you'll see that restaurants are active marketing online - seeing as much of their demographic is web-savvy.

Food critics have their place, but is there anyone among us (who is not trying to be pretentious) that wouldn't ask a friend what they thought of a restaurant before checking the local paper for a review? Online, that's what we are looking for - is someone who is the equivalent of a friend.

A well written review, whether negative or positive, is a great thing to have online. Someone frothing about service or food, or relentlessly upbeat, tends to get little to no respect, because what most readers look for is an authentic opinion from a real person. You know - just like us.

Speaking of opinions, this is as good of time as any to tell you something about the local Chipotle restaurant here in Chesterfield. It's bland. Can you believe that? Chipotle, which we've written about as starting my trend to super-hot sauce use, is bland, in Chesterfield, MO. The service is decidedly unfriendly - and we just can't get excited when we go - after all that build-up.

We still look for the restaurants everywhere else we go - we just ate at one in Chicago that was excellent, but I was very disappointed. Luckily, the Chesterfield Qdoba is excellent.


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