Saturday, May 11, 2013

café loustic

Onto the third! It feel so good to be in the midst of my final final paper of the semester. This one is about how social media has empowered eateries to (1) brand themselves and (2) join the critic conversation, specifically in Paris. The phenomenon is more recent here, and foodie scene, a lot less saturated (compared to that in New York, for example). There are quite a few Anglophone-ran cafés, too--a plus for me as a researcher.
I examined the strategy of a few of the most popular (new and old): Cantine California, Le Mary Celeste, Blend, Ten Belles, Bob's Cold Press, and the establishment at which these photos were taken, Café Loustic. It was fun research, and a great opportunity to meet a handful of the talent behind such cool places.
Cantine California, a food truck, relies very heavily Twitter to inform customers about their whereabouts and share feedback. Blend, a burger joint, blogs to identify themselves not just as a curator of hamburgers, but of art, culture, and music, too. Bob's Cold Press utilized Facebook to attract customers even before they officially opened with photos, updates, and news about co-branding events. They continue to actively use it today.
Café Loustic has a Facebook page as well, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that owner Channa Galhenage intends for it to be "a true café du quartier". Though they've been considerably less visible online, Facebook serves as a convenient place for customers to find out their address and hours. In my opinion, that doesn't make Galgenage's commitment to quality products and service any less authentic.
Yet for some, I'm afraid, it can. Le Mary Celeste opened with a lot of online and offline buzz, for instance. I was hopeful based on their two existing successful venues (Candelaria and Glass), a great Brooklyn Brewery launch party, and the enjoyment of oysters at the bar on more than one occassion. Unfortunately, I left a recent dinner there hungry and disappointed. The amazing food was served in too small of portions, at too high of a price... without any bread whatsoever. (What?!) And our table for four was ridiculously cramped.
No matter what restaurant critics, Yelpers, and the eateries themselves say, it's doubtful that any online presence will surmount an unpleasant experience. Customer loyalty is archaic, even in our digital age.
What is fantastic is Café Loustic's 10 lunch. A few weeks ago, Lara and I absolutely adored our choices from their short but sweet, French-ish menu: spinach and salmon tarts, oatmeal-raisin cookies, and two espressos. Sometime soon, I hope to sample the "laptop special" (a Chemex of seasonal coffee with 3 mini-cupcakes) and The Kale Project's kale salad I've been, um, hearing so much about :). But not before finishing this paper...


  1. Very interesting stuff. I often use UrbanSpoon and some others to figure out where to go, but I'm yet to 'vote' on them, but I always tell plenty of people I know about the good places, so I guess that's what you were saying about customer loyalty. One time I was talking to the owners at a very popular Indian restaurant that I love, and I said to them I don't get why they had so many bad reviews online. They told me that it is their competition pretending to be customers to bring down the Indian restaurant's popularity. I never thought of that being a consequence of online cafe presence before! Another issue I've noticed is that if a cafe doesn't have an online presence e.g. votes, facebook page, I am far less likely to want to go there. I guess I assume they aren't as well run as the cafes with an online presence. Thanks for the thought-provoking post! Really tied together some loose strings for me.

    1. It is interesting, isn't it? I assume the same, even knowing that whether or not they have an online presence or positive reviews isn't actually an accurate reflection of how good of a place it is.

  2. Hi darling! Sad to have missed you when you stopped by. I was in the states but kale salads are back! Hope to see you soon! xx


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