You may have seen social media erupt over the weekend when Donald Trump’s VP nomination, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, tweeted a pic of he and his family eating at Chili’s… in New York City. New Yorkers naturally lost their minds over the fact that he’d have dinner at a chain when dining in a place with some of the most unique restaurants in the world.
But I don’t blame Pence. This situation could happen to anyone. It has happened to me.
Like most people, I travel for two reasons: pleasure and work. When I travel with my family for fun, I enjoy researching the new place that I am going to and discovering all sorts of tasty and local establishments. When it is time for lunch, I wander around looking for a cafe or diner that looks special. I can do this because time is my own.
But when I travel for work, I have to play by a different set of rules. I don’t know when that meeting might end or what part of town I’ll actually be in when it’s time to grab a bite. I always want to experience the local flavor but if you’re a stranger to a place and time is short, it can be overwhelming. You often end up falling back on a chain because they’re easy to find, you know what you’re going to get and they are on every corner.
But just because something is easier, doesn’t mean it is better. In fact, when this happens and I get home, I end up thinking about the missed opportunity. I was in New York City (how many more times will I even be there?) and I ate at Chili’s? Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with Chili’s. It is perfectly good food. But Chili’s is the same in NYC as it is in Indianapolis as it is in Cleveland. When you travel you want to experience something that is specific to NYC or Indianapolis or Cleveland. When guests come to Indiana, I doubt the Governor takes them to Chili’s. Again, not because the food isn’t good but because he’s trying to show off what Indiana has to offer. When you miss that chance you usually regret it. I imagine this is how Mike Pence felt too.
But it is easy to be overwhelmed by choice, especially when you’re a stranger, and there are not many services out there that let you know the best places to go nearby.
This is why my wife and I founded City Walker, which allows you to know the best places to eat, as recommended by locals, within 15 minutes walking from where you are. Local restaurants, even ones in New York City, are never going to be able to compete with chains when it comes to marketing dollars and name recognition. But they can compete – and dominate – when it comes to the dining experience. City Walker allows them to focus on that, which leads to happy customers, which leads to more recommendations, which leads to being at the top of City Walker, which means you’re easier to be found. It is a circle to success that has the customer at the center.
There is nothing better than finding a hidden gem in a city. But people are busy – especially potential Vice Presidents of the United States – so we shouldn’t blame them for taking the easy way out. City Walker tries to make the easy way, the way that leads to the best local food.
Governor Pence, you’re going to be traveling all across our country over the next few months. I suggest you download the City Walker app immediately, so you can make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and show off your local knowledge. That should be worth at least a few votes.