Foursquare Specials: How to Get a Vegetarian to Eat at Your Burger Joint

How do you get a lifelong vegetarian to eat at your burger joint? You offer a Foursquare special.

As a vegetarian, I generally wouldn’t seek out meat-centric restaurants, including burger spots or steakhouses. But occasionally I find a reason to stop by one. Sometimes that’s because I’ve heard they serve awesome veggie burgers; sometimes it’s because my carnivore friends drag me along; and sometimes it’s because I’ve found a deal for a particular restaurant.

While attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit last week to speak on a panel, I was greeted with a “Special Here” note for the hotel I was staying at, the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The special was a coupon for $5 off a meal at Le Burger Brasserie, one of the many in-casino restaurants.

My first reaction was to roll my eyes and ask “whhhhhyyyy meeeeee?” But I promptly recovered from my vegetarian angst and headed straight for the Total Rewards desk where the Foursquare app said I could pick up my coupon. Surely enough, the Total Rewards attendants knew what was up and handed over one lovely coupon, which I used within an hour.

See, that’s me below, happily (and blurrily, thanks to my iPhone’s dodgy camera) smiling next to one of the most scrumptious veggie burgers I’ve ever tasted. Added bonus: it’s about the size of a human head, so you definitely won’t go hungry.

I shared the meal with my colleague, Brian Dresher, who took that photo above for me.

Bottom Line: A simple Foursquare special lead a vegetarian into a burger joint. Not only did she bring herself, she drug her colleague along as well. And both had a great time. Kudos to the Paris Las Vegas social media team for staying ahead of the curve.

Brands on Gowalla

A while back, I wrote a post called Brands on Foursquare. It seems to have served the community well, so I decided to cover one of Foursquare’s top competitors, as well, Gowalla.

While at SxSWi 2010, there was an all-out battle between Foursquare and Gowalla. I’ll tell you straight out that I’m a huge Foursquare fan. I’m such a fan that despite all of the promotions that Gowalla ran at SxSW, I vowed to only check in via Foursquare the entire time. As of writing this post, I have 57 badges and over 1,200 checkins logged on Foursquare.

As a professional in the social media space, though, I have to draw the line. I finally downloaded the Gowalla iPhone app today and logged my first check in. There’s no return from here. Once I join a social platform, I’m in testing mode. So, folks, here it goes.

For my first research endeavor, I will curate a list of brands with brand pages on Gowalla. Enjoy and let me know if there are any missing in the list below. Thanks!

Austin 360

Austin American-Statesman


CNN Money

Fort Worth, Texas


Longboards Ice Cream

National Geographic

Nets Basketball

NYC Media

Scottsdale, Arizona

Sierra Club (Vail Resorts)

University of Oklahoma

USA Today

Washington Post

How I Became an NY Times Olympian

Above: The “NY Times Olympian” Foursquare Badge
Above: The New York Times’ Foursquare Page (
Last weekend, I took a long weekend trip to Vancouver, Canada to visit my friend, Dario. A week prior to the trip, I had no firm plans to go, but an interest in attending the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Coincidentally, that week I had collaborated with a team of brilliant editors, producers and marketers in creating a Foursquare brand page for The New York Times. Phase 1 of the NY Times presence on Foursquare was sharing a list of Vancouver tips during the Olympics. Vancouver Foursquare players following The New York Times on Foursquare, had the opportunity to unlock the “NY Times Olympian” badge by checking into NY Times-recommended venues. As somewhat of a Foursquare fanatic, I was 95% sure that I NEEDED to go to Vancouver to get the first badge that my team created (Paul Lau, the badge designer, is stellar!).
Dario and I were chatting and he asked if I’d be in Vancouver for the Olympics. That was the last straw. It was on. How could I miss out on such an opportunity? Within a few days, I booked my flight and had a place to stay (Dario and his biz partner, Ryan, were kind to let me stay with them!).
On my second day in Vancouver, I officially unlocked the NY Times Olympian badge by checking into the Granville Island Public Market, where a few new friends and I ate lunch and waited in the Altantic Canada House line, before giving up and taking the AquaBus back to downtown Vancouver. Great times, though.
While in Vancouver, I had the opportunity to try a few other NY Times-recommended venues including Vancouver Art Gallery and Salt Tasting Room. I was hoping to make it around to Vij’s Rangoli. That will have to wait for another time!

My First Time as Mayor!

Hooray! I just became a Mayor on Foursquare for the first time ever! It just so happens that I’m the mayor of Dean & Deluca – Times Building. I owe The New York Times for this great honor. If I didn’t work in this building, I wouldn’t be compelled to eat so many Two Little Red Hens chocolate cupcakes, supplied by Dean & Deluca, just downstairs! And thank you, Dean & Deluca for your existence. And Soraya Darabi for introducing me to Foursquare! Cheers to all!