The Internet has made it easy to get quick information that used to take days, even weeks, to acquire. With fast, always-on connections now the norm, it's the first source I check when I need to find something fast.
I thought of this the other day as I "Googled" a restaurant I had heard about in a distant city. I clicked on several reviews, from bloggers, forums, web sites and print publications, riffled through the restaurant's own website, looked at a .pdf of its menu and wine list, made some notes of what I might want to order, and clicked on the "reservations" button to book a table.
I wonder how much this easy access to information has changed the restaurant-going experience. In my work, it means I can go to new restaurants much better-prepared than ever. It's like having read the musical score before going to a concert.
Having access to the wine list online lets me scope out what I might want to drink. I like to check our Wine Spectator reviews of wines I might be interested in ordering, especially if it involves wines I don't know from my own experience.
Does this change my expectations? Does it change the experience of dining? How does it change things for the restaurant? There must be some profound effects that I haven't figured out yet.
For example, in planning a short visit to New York, I was trying to decide whether to go to a particular restaurant for lunch or dinner. Sometimes the lunch menus are very different, lacking the best dishes that are only available at night. But the website had both the lunch and dinner menus, and all the dishes I was interested in trying were on the lunch menu, too.
When I got to the restaurant, I had a good idea of what I wanted and could spend more time focusing on my dining partner and less time with my nose in the menu or wine list.
That seems like a small thing, but I liked the feeling.
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — March 30, 2007 2:19pm ET
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — March 30, 2007 2:23pm ET
Will Miner — Denver, CO — March 30, 2007 4:43pm ET
William Newell — Buffalo, NY — March 30, 2007 4:49pm ET
Jim Mcclure — DFW, Texas — March 30, 2007 5:09pm ET
James B Seder — newton, ma — April 1, 2007 10:06am ET
Claude Pope — Raleigh, NC — April 2, 2007 11:16am ET
Steve Ritchie — Atlanta, GA — April 2, 2007 6:36pm ET
Jim Mcclure — DFW, Texas — April 2, 2007 8:53pm ET
Dominic Albanese — Beamsville,Ontario,Canada — April 3, 2007 2:34pm ET
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