In early April, my younger sister and I waited for about 45 minutes in the rain to eat at Black Tap in midtown Manhattan. The line extended along the block, and both tourists and locals stood with umbrellas, buzzing about the trendy restaurant’s popular “Crazy Shakes.”
On its website, Black Tap calls itself the “classic luncheonette modernized for the Instagram age.” It serves burgers, fries, craft beer and, of course, its over-the-top $15 milkshakes — piled high with toppings like candy, cookies, pretzels, cotton candy and even a slice of cake.
The restaurant business isn’t just about how good the food tastes — atmosphere and service are important, too. But increasingly, social media is taking on a bigger role and influencing food options offered, restaurant design and marketing.
Black Tap’s giant and colorful shakes went viral on Instagram. But that wasn’t the restaurant’s goal when it opened in 2015.
“Instagram was something we cared about, but we certainly at the time were not trying to become an Instagram brand,” Black Tap owner Chris Barish told CNN Business. “We had a [social media] following before the milkshakes based on our burgers. The milkshakes put it over the top.”