Because I live in a tourist destination such as Myrtle Beach, I have unlimited options when it comes to dining out. With hundreds of different restaurants and not enough time to try them all, I try to be selective when Sidney, Sloan, and I decide to go out to eat.
To make the most out of our experience, I take these five steps (in order) when deciding whether I want to try a place or not.
1. Look up the menu online – It is no fun going out to eat if the restaurant doesn’t offer anything you actually like, right? I always pull up the online menu to see if the place we are considering has a fun and diverse menu that would cater to the needs of each of us. Usually the menu will pass my personal test, no matter how eccentric it is, as long as you can order a hamburger and fries. Previewing the menu on line also always you to price gauge.
2. Instagram! – After the menu is screened, I go to Instagram. No, I don’t look at the restaurant’s carefully curated account. Rather, I do a location search and look at the food photos that actual customers are posting. If the food looks good and the captions provide favorable reviews then I will be inclined to pay a visit.
3. Visit the restaurant’s Facebook page – With Instagram I don’t care about the restaurant’s presence but with Facebook I do. If there is a place we might potentially eat at, I scope out the Facebook page to get a sense of the restaurant’s culture. I read the specials, watch videos, and read the reviews. I also take notice of how the restaurant treats its customers on Facebook, paying close attention to responses to bad reviews and general questions.
4. Complimentary Food – Call me a cheapskate, but nothing wins me over more than a free basket of something upon sitting down at the table. Complimentary chips, bread, peanuts, hush puppies, etc. all make the meal exciting and enhance the value. I will forgive some sketchy social media reviews if I know that my daughter is going to be appeased by something to munch on the moment we sit down.
5. Word of Mouth – Because everyone has different preferences and criteria, I don’t 100% base my decision off of what people tell me about a restaurant. I will definitely take it into consideration but I feel the above factors weigh more heavily when it comes to choosing where we will eat.
Of course, none of the above usually applies because it is my wife that makes the decision on where we eat. However, if I have a vote, I am doing my research to make the best possible choice. Bon appetit! Don’t Blink.