Salt Bae’s Next Great Act? Endless Content

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    Salt Bae’s Next Great Act? Endless Content

    A gold wrapped steak, then, can be neatly used as a dividing line between Us and Them. On September 26, when someone tweeted a receipt showing that someone else had seemingly spent $2,400 in the restaurant, the internet fell into a frenzy, with the tweet gaining nearly 25,000 likes (the receipt’s veracity has never been confirmed). Since then, numerous other (possibly-fake-but-no-one-seems-to-care) Nusr-Et receipts have generated headlines; one claimed to show a $49,000 bill.

    The whole thing is a winning formula for clicks, almost as profitable as a $67 cappuccino.

    Yet Salt Bae doesn’t just provide content for journalists; his whole schtick is about creating content for his clientele. For the last few weeks, if you ordered a steak at Salt Bae’s London restaurant, it came with a big serving of the man himself, who would dramatically sprinkle salt in front of you and even dangle strips of meat directly into your mouth. If a customer goes to Salt Bae’s restaurant and doesn’t film him slicing their steak, did it even get sliced?

    “He is always willing to put on a show for the camera,” says Makiez Arghandewal, a 24-year-old refugee resettlement volunteer from San Francisco who has been to Salt Bae’s Istanbul restaurant “at least a dozen times.” Arghandewal once stayed in the same hotel as Salt Bae and interrupted his gym session to film a video. “He was more than happy to,” she explains. “He is really patient and understands people’s needs for social media content.”

    Arghandewal has a TikTok account, @kieeezzy, on which she has accumulated 37,700 followers by posting 31 videos, seven of which feature Salt Bae. Her most popular video of all—a clip of Salt Bae (doing what else but) slicing a gold steak—has 13.4 million views, while her non-Salt Bae videos generate as little as 600. “Salt Bae definitely attracts crowds,” Arghandewal says. “He is social media gold.”

    Arghandewal describes Nusr-Et Istanbul as having “a very hip vibe” with staff who “understood most people were there to take pictures of the food.” The second time she visited, the waiter noticed she was in the bathroom when the first course was brought out, so he brought out a second appetizer and assembled and sliced it in front of her so she could get a video.

    The entire thing, then, was built with social media in mind—the natural next step to restaurants decorated for the extremely online, where menus are only available via QR code. Salt Bae, who has 39.8 million followers on Instagram and owes his international notoriety to social media, clearly understands the power of the internet (though it might be a stretch to call him a guru, given his latest schtick is posting videos of himself saying “Cappuccino” in a long drawn out way). This is a man who screenshots and shares every headline about him on his Instagram Stories, even ones that are critical about how much he pays his employees. Salt Bae, it seems, knows that all publicity is good publicity.

    Published at Sun, 07 Nov 2021 12:00:00 +0000

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/salt-bae-restaurant-viral

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