Just An Online Minute... Yelp Kicks Beauty Into The Beastly
Yelp BEauty At The B.East, Broadway East, New York
March 9, 2009
Before I hit a Yelp (an online community of reviewers reviewing -- local reviews by the people who eat, get waxed, go to doctors, etc.) party, I like to see how it's been reviewed on Yelp. It might be awkward if every review of the event location was negative. And not just "the service was cruddy and I think there was a hair in my green beans," but more like "I was rudely dragged out of the restroom by a rat the size of Mayor Bloomberg and there was a full set of dentures in my foie gras." Not so for latest Yelp takeover Broadway East (or B.East) -- overwhelmingly (though there were only eight reviews at the time), stars do not fall below four. The Broadway East's Web site boasts a "flexitarian" menu (which makes me think of those fashion veggie types that guilt you about your own eating behaviors until they finally want that burger) and other annoying new words like "locavorism." Flowery faux language be gone, let's see if Broadway East puts its ecofriendly money where its mouth is as Yelpers converge to kick off Yelp BEautiful week.
Setting expectation and admitting fault before/when things happen are my top tier ammo in my communication arsenal. I respect others who arm themselves with this behavior. It's about being a human, not an error message, know what I mean? Now take your Ramboesque tool belt to the sparkly land of launch parties, networking events, and alcohol-soaked cocktail bonanzas. Letting your guests know what to expect equals a happy guest -- or, from the pessimist's handbook, at least a guest who isn't disappointed.
Which is why I dig the way Yelp communicates. The final reminder for the kickoff event for Yelp Beautiful Week (when the organized and finely coiffed folks at LifeBooker.com, including CMO Andrew Unger, partnered with select spas and salons to offer 50% off services when Yelpers booked online through Lifebooker.com), was once again like getting a fun email from a friend, saying they "will be serving up some elegant edibles fit for a princess, though we recommend that you indulge in dinner beforehand if you have more than a waifish appetite." Translation: There is food. There are a lot of YOU. Thus, don't count on a full plate, get a snack ahead of time.
I entertained myself watching the hungry party vultures descend upon the servers as soon as they emerged from the downstairs kitchen. This is also where I'd like to coin the evening "The night of inappropriate touching." It began past the tiny hall and into the dining area, where the Yelp Elite gathered in a clump -- possibly waiting to pounce on the wait staff -- even though there was plenty of room to wiggle around in the dining area. This clump enabled a sweaty rub-on-by ecosystem that inspired many a yelp from me. Escape to the downstairs bar!
A solo flat screen TV displayed black-and-white footage from a place unknown as the DJ spun his tracks so loudly I thought my brain was going to melt into the back of my pants. "I'm old," noted my +1, Gail Hilton, Director of Sales and Marketing at Qwikker, as we agreed the music was too loud, while waiting for our VeeV (a healthy... vodka) Acai and tonics. Somebody please clarify for me -- is there any energy enhancement going on with VeeV Acai? I turned into an instant chatterbox and didn't get even half a wink of sleep that night. I blame Miriam Warren, Director of Marketing for the East Coast, for suggesting the Acai beverage, though it was delicious! Truffle love continued as I found myself elbow deep in a bowl of truffle-oil-crisped potato chips. I inhaled the entire bowl as if I hadn't just eaten a ton of passed snacks at the "Stealing MySpace" book launch party.
I had a mini-reunion with Brian S. who, I met at The Yelp Inaugural Ball when I tried to help him in his camera purchase decision-making. Turns out because of his recent apartment acquisition in Williamsburg, the camera has dropped off the ole budget. John Riordan, Senior Account Executive at Yelp, joined Chantelle Karl, Yelp East Coast Public Relations Manager, Keri Schundler, Yelp Account Executive, Gail and I in our "no, really, I have the ugliest childhood photo" contest. John, offering his "when I was square, chunky, and two feet tall with a long red mullet" entry, won.
On the way out the door, I snapped a final picture of two guests and the inevitable happened -- a guest who shall remain nameless growled "heyyyy, when are you going to take a picture of us... and I mean you and I" The guest oozed at me, snaking his arm around my lower back, grinning like a pedophile at a playground. Why? I'm not a stripper (yet). And frankly, I don't think you're allowed to touch the strippers.
Oh! Literally, as I was on my way out the door, I finally met Jane Kwett, NYC Community Manager for Yelp, in person. I was blathering to her when I heard the horrific and unfortunately familiar sound of my lens cap popping of my camera and skittering across the bar floor. After crawling all over the floor unsuccessfully, I accepted it was gone forever. I was wrong! My hero Shane Brown, with the play "Reasons To Be Pretty" (they were giving out free tickets at the door!), found it.
That, the many laughs shared with Yelpers, and the grass-fed bison burger I nabbed made my evening.
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