Jose Garces restaurant Volver is offering patrons a chance to charge their smart phones during their meals
Gourmet restaurants are always trying to push the limit of fine dining to its extremes, like pairing sushi with marajuana or letting customers pay with Instagram pictures. As with any fine art, the introduction of other technologies is integral to creating a new and one of a kind experience, with customers even bringing their camera phones to document a meal. Iron Chef Jose Garces is keeping his customers both well fed and well powered by introducing a cell phone charger as part of his four course meal.
At his Philadelphia restaurant Volver, Garces brings out a charger so that customers can keep their phones ready to take pictures, which has become as much a part of the dining experience as eating the meal itself. The waiter brings out a portable charger and battery on a silver platter to make sure that the diner has enough power to keep taking photos of the elegantly created culinary dishes.
Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Craig LaBan wrote a review of the restaurant, and while he used the charger that was provided for him, he says he isn’t sure that encouraging people to take lots of photos at the dinner table:
There have been chefs who banned cell phone pictures from the room because they feel it’s an intrusion, especially when people use flashes. I totally understand that, but this is the opposite direction. I definitely think this was a restaurant that wanted to embrace the promotional opportunities of social media. Here you have hundreds of people coming through your restaurant promoting you for what you used to pay marketing agencies for.
While it’s true these photos act as free publicity, people taking excessive photos of their food (or the food of people sitting with them) can be a distraction and disturb other diners in the area. Still, it probably won’t stop people from putting their meals on Instagram to show off to their followers. After all, meals like those presented at Chef Garces’s restaurant are not luxuries everyone can afford, so what’s the harm in having others at least admire the exquisite food they may never have a chance to eat?