Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FBO: 'Pie Charts not Pies'

While working for Lonely Planet in London earlier this decade, I started up the LP Sandwich Club. A handful of willing folks and I would head out once weekly, usually within Clerkenwell, and go to a local restaurant and order sandwiches. The same sandwiches. We'd eat togtether, but keep our impressions to ourselves. Back at the office, we'd indivdually rank the sandwich, (1 for a baddie, 5 for top-shelf), then pool together our cumulative rankings, record the individual and group scores on an Excel document and forward the results, with a challenge!, to LP's Oakland office to do the same.

We sought to alleviate a little cubicle boredom and get some mid-day nourishment and, if lucky, mystify local business while doing it.

In today's New York Times, I see that Manhattan has its own (newer!) version with a Burger of the Month Club, who go to various restaurants, record rankings of 13 factors with ratings of +4 to -2. Members alternate choices, and pre-plan with the hopes of getting one of the year's best, thus advancing to a post-season tourney to determine the city's best burger spotter, and best burger. (Primehouse at Park Ave & 27th St has their best. I've particularly enjoyed Queen's Donovan's Pub in the past, which makes their top five.)

They seem a bit macho for my tastes, but I'm a believer in their tactics. I think travel -- or a lunch, Super Bowl party or group screenings of The Patriot -- deserves more than the ol' passive flow. Often introducing a theme -- one requiring acquisition of data!, which can be turned into flow charts!!, and comparative graphs (as can be done counting moustaches in Russia )!!! -- can give the experience a broader meaning.

So we applaud the Burger of the Month Club, even if they're website is down right now.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

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