When it comes to eating out, a good food service design starts our experience way before we actually have our plates in front of us; even before entering the restaurant. From social media to a number of people waiting outside, anticipation affects our overall perception. Noticing how these external factors can influence our experience, a company has managed to give restauranteurs the necessary tools to hack customers’ minds.
Surkus is an emerging app dedicated to “crowdcasting”. It works by manufacturing the ideal crowd based on algorithms and paying the selected people to attend to food and beverage industry events, such as restaurant openings, product launching parties, etc. Users have a reputation score, so they must act as if they were truly fascinated by whatever is happening and stay throughout the event to get paid.
It might sound like a good deal to the foodies out there looking to make extra money. But is this what we really want? Allow the food industry to give up in creating well, though out, experiences that speak for themselves and are valuable enough for people to willingly try them? Are they just opting to buy people out? It seems like fiction and reality have no boundaries, making it difficult to distinguish what is real from what is not. What’s worse is that giving into systems like this, put in jeopardy user-generated content platforms. Facebook, Zomato, Yelp, Tripadvisor, are no longer reliable among users. Finding loopholes for attracting people’s attention can raise ethical questions, and in the way, lose all sense of good, transparent PR. It will definitely put at stake the brand’s image and our attachment to it.
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