Miami is a city with people who want to feel like ballers. For food enthusiasts, it is the magic four little words, "I know the chef" that unlocks the key for hard to get reservations and perhaps some sweet (or drinkable) perks.
To satisfy this desire for VIP access, and that "special feeling," the reservation and rewards app I Know the Chef was born a little over a year ago in New York City. Founder Joshua Stern was in Miami for a launch party on Tuesday night and we met up with him the next day for a media lunch at the Edge Steak & Bar to learn more about how the app came to be and why he chose Miami as the second city for the rollout.
The initial concept began at a sushi restaurant in New York. Stern was dining with a friend and knew the general manager, "He came over, chit-chatted with us, introduced himself to my friend and sent over shishito peppers and edamame on the house. My friend looked at me and said, 'That was awesome! I feel like a million bucks right now.' Really, that was his line. Even though these are small gestures, they go a really long way"
Now Stern has upwards of 14,000 users in New York. These personal touches, where good service becomes great, coupled with hard to get reservation at popular restaurants are his magic formula that he is bringing to the Magic City.
The restaurants see the advantages with the fact that "It combines an old school method with these gestures and the new age with the app and the website. The hospitality industry is all about relationship," said Stern.
Miami restaurants already featured on the mobile app are Katsuya, The Bazaar, Bianca, Catch Miami, Eating House, Lure Fishbar, The Federal, BLT Steak, Tongue & Cheek, and Lorenzo.
On Miami expectations, Stern noted, "Everyone seems really excited about it, I think it makes sense here. That's why we wanted to come here first."
If you have an iPhone you can simply download the app. For Android users, you aren't out of luck, just visit their website. When registering you get to personalize your profile with your preferences. After your preferred alcohol, seating and dessert choices are made you can enter any personal notes or dietary restriction. You then pick your reservation time slot and if it's not available you can request it.
Stern recommends that the restaurants provide a little something extra, whether it be a glass of champagne or a dessert on the house. Although it is up to the restaurant. He joked that one restaurant in New York was sending out so many complimentary appetizers that everyone was too full to eat their entrees.
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Even though Edge Steak & Bar isn't on the app yet, our sweet factor grew imagining these cake pops on the house as the final note to a great meal on the patio for the edge on hospitality.
What does it cost for this baller status? The pricing ranges from $59.99 for a quarterly membership up to $399 for Elite status for a year. It includes access in Miami, New York and Chicago.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst