Foodies and restaurateurs alike are feasting their eyes on a new online showcase, OneHundredTables.com, where diners can discover 100 unique spots—“from dive bars to five stars”—in their city of choice.
Launched in February 2013 with six participating cities, the website now includes 40 of the biggest markets around the world, from Atlanta and Chicago to Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Dubai. Each city page features a 10-by-10 grid of restaurants and bars that have snagged a coveted spot.
Participation is simple: For $100 a year, restaurants get a profile on the site, which features a personalized image, contact info, a map of the location, and a “Been There!” button that allows diners to share their visit with Facebook friends.
“That one activity could result in thousands of views of the restaurant from trusted people,” says OneHundredTables.com cofounder Tony Akston. “If you’re saying, ‘Oh, this is a great restaurant,’ then Sally or Joe will say, ‘Wow, this is a pretty cool place. Maybe I’d like it, too.’ It can put the restaurant in front of a lot of people with literally no effort.”
Restaurants interested in joining the site must also have at least 250 “likes” on Facebook, a requirement that Akston says helps guarantee the restaurant is a unique experience that diners enjoy. In the future, the requirement is expected to increase to at least 500 Facebook likes.
“This is a program that’s on near autopilot. For now, as long as a restaurant has 250 likes, they’re welcome on board,” he says. “It’s not so much a popularity contest, but really a quality hurdle.”
Michael Erickson, director of marketing for Atlanta-based Fifth Group Restaurants, says, “It gives kind of a common recommendation for all of us by being on here.” Four of the company’s high-end eateries—Ecco, Lure, La Tavola, and Alma Cocina—were among the first to sign up in Atlanta.
Not only does the site provide restaurants with an SEO-friendly profile, it also presents a hefty return on investment, Akston says. “If we send them one table in a year’s time, then they get their money back.”
Participating restaurants also can learn how many people have viewed their profile on OneHundredTables.com, and how many have clicked the “Been There!” button. In the future, the site plans to create a special code that will track how many people it has actually sent to each restaurant.
This year, OneHundredTables.com will expand to cities throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. But filling out each city’s list of 100 restaurants is just the first step. A mobile app is up next, and ultimately, a television show that explores unique restaurants in participating cities.