The tech industry publication Red Herring is reporting on the rise of a new social networking site for food industry types. It’s called FohBoh, a name that will immediately capture the heart of anyone who’s ever gotten incredibly drunk and tried to say the word football.
It’s a little hard to suss out how FohBoh is going to do. To this reader’s jaundiced eye, it’s a little too much “Olive Garden Manager’s Retreat,” and not enough young Anthony Bourdain crawling down a bar on all fours hoovering up wacky dust.
The site is intended to appeal to the 13 million–plus Americans employed in the restaurant industry, but the content and usership—thus far—seems to be aimed at operations managers and suits working for national chains … not, by contrast, up-and-coming young chefs and/or Pedro the dishwasher, who is destined to become Pedro the restaurant owner after he puts in his 20 years of sweat equity.
The angry, the grizzled, the hungry, the demented, the artistic—these are the people who actually serve as the industry’s beating heart, and they’re not going to sit around and read a 2,600-word post revolving around a sports-based “coaching” metaphor that first became a fresh new way to think about business somewhere around 1952. The heart and soul of the restaurant industry does not go online to talk about “the seven steps of effective problem solving” or how you should change the title of your hostess to “Director of First Impressions.” It goes online to talk about food, commiserate about working conditions, and bitch about how dumb the manager is for changing the title of his hostess to “Director of First Impressions.”
Then again, demanding that a new social networking site be started on a punk-rock basis is kind of a tall order. Websites often aren’t born with souls; that doesn’t mean that they can’t pick ’em up as they grow.