Founded in 2009 in New York City by longtime music industry executives Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal, The Infatuation has become one of the most innovative restaurant discovery platforms in the world. After all, what’s the best way to find out if a restaurant is the right one? Ask a friend who’s been there. The Infatuation is like always having a friend along with you who knows about every restaurant around every bend.
The Infatuation now covers nearly 50 global cities, offering its unique approach to restaurant reviews and guides via its prolific web and social media presence, useful mobile apps and email newsletter. The company also hosts and produces in-person and virtual events including its celebrated, large-scale, bi-coastal food festival, EEEEEATSCON.
To meet the demand from its rapidly growing community, The Infatuation launched its Friends of The Infatuation membership program in 2019. The program offers access to special events, exclusive use of its SMS-based restaurant recommendation platform Text Rex, and an array of perks, content and discounts, to its most loyal users.
The company’s expansion continues to evolve with the release of 2020’s Amazon best-selling book, How To Drink Wine, co-authored by Infatuation co-founder and CEO, Chris Stang. The book served as a catalyst for The Infatuation’s editorial leadership in both the wine and cocktail space, offering unique guides, tutorials, events and education for its audience across its platforms.
How It Began
In the middle of the 2000s, thanks to factors like food television and the early days of social media, a major shift occurred in consumer behavior around dining. Suddenly a huge market of newly-formed food enthusiasts had been created, and they weren’t looking to simply check every five-star French restaurant off their list. White tablecloths were replaced with communal tables, and familiar foods took center stage. The Infatuation was created to serve this new set of consumers in a way that the incumbents weren’t. The content was designed to be useful and entertaining, but above all relatable. Like getting advice from a knowledgeable friend, rather than an industry expert. A new brand for a new audience.
With the acquisition of Zagat from Google in 2018, The Infatuation is adding a community-sourced review platform to its restaurant discovery portfolio. As the company builds the soon-to-be-released new Zagat platform, it has established a restaurant industry leadership position with the 2020 launch of Zagat Stories. The as-told-to editorial site has offered a unique home for chefs and industry professionals to share stories of their life, work, passion, and businesses to consumers.
Between The Infatuation and Zagat, the company aims to be the first and only place people turn to when they think, “Let’s eat out!”