Even everyday customers can influence the menu. Some of the more Instagram-famous weekly specials have earned permanent spots on the menu thanks to enough double taps. In essence, the menu reinvents itself not just based on repeat sales customers chance into, but what a community of thousands looks at and drools over.
Plus, there are added bonuses for diners: if a customer is curious about what a menu item looks like, bartenders can easily show them on Instagram. If you enjoyed your meal, then with the right hashtags, an Insta-review can make it to the TV inside the restaurant for everyone to see (but of course, the owners vet it via an app first).
But the tech is only as good as the idea
But for all the power of Instagram and Yelp! to make changes at 2nd City, Ryan finds that dine-in customers are pretty phone-free. “They’re there for an experience. There’s not a lot of people on their phones at the bar; they all talk. We kind of created this little community, which is hard to get here in New York”. (Diners are, however, able to charge their phones with any of the several USB ports along the walls.)
The Chibama partners, who are opening their second 2nd City on the Upper East Side, say having the entire business in their pocket makes managing their restaurant much, much easier than it once was. And that ease may make all the difference between an open restaurant and a closed one. Sewell says, “The major thing that we’ve learned is that you can have a great menu but your innovation can never stop in this environment.”