About six months ago, Canlis did something very smart. They used their Twitter feed to host a city-wide scavenger hunt in celebration of their 60th anniversary. The hidden items were all menus from the 1950s. The prize: a dinner for two at 1950s prices. Not only was this a brilliant way for the restaurant to utilize the power of social networking (something that most restaurants just can't figure out how to do, beyond pimping their chowder specials and giving digital shout-outs to their fans), but it got Canlis all sorts of press coverage (something most restaurants just don't get, especially ones that have been on the scene for 60 years).
Now granted, there is something a little bit strange about one of the city's most venerable institutions being on the forefront of digital technology (it's kind of like catching your grandpa sexting his 22-year-old mistress), but Canlis has now come through again with a new way to motivate its social network. And like the whole scavenger-hunt thing, this one is pretty smooth as well.
As mentioned last week, Canlis' chef, Jason Franey, is on the list of nominees for Food & Wine's "People's Best New Chef"--a democratic version of their annual Best New Chef competition in which the voters get to choose one of the best new chefs in America. Franey has got some serious competition in the PNW (from the likes of Shaun McCrain, Blaine Wetzel, Dana Tough, and Brian McCracken), but Canlis is really pulling out all the stops in order to get out the vote for their boy.
Like yesterday, when they were on top of the Space Needle.
Or today, busking down by Pike Place Market.
They're using Facebook and Twitter to whip up the electorate (that means you) and to get these photos out there, but pimping for Franey as the People's Best New Chef is not the only thing they're doing. This, from Mark and Brian Canlis, via eater.com:
"Three days ago we launched our second social media campaign, this time in support of our chef, who has been nominated for Food & Wine's new "The People's Best New Chef" award. Because we all believe that he should be in the kitchen, and not out garnering votes, we decided to hit the campaign trail for him with a series of photographs, one released each day of the campaign. On its own, it's just a fun idea, an artsy series of photographs. Unbeknown to anyone, however, is that the game, the hunt, is on again: Embedded into each photo is Morse Code--clues leading to a new pop-up restaurant we'll be launching to bring attention to our chef, Jason Franey. The first to figure this out and find the letters in each photo will join us for dinner."
So did you get all that? First, vote for Jason. Second, the chef has a new pop-up coming, in a secret location, and all you have to do is know Morse code in order to figure out where it is.